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עמוד בית
Thu, 23.05.24

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December 2023
Rotem Liran MD, Wakar Garra MD, Or Carmi MD, Yair Levy MD, Yael Einbinder MD

Higher potency bisphosphonates, typically intravenous formulations, are given at lower doses for postmenopausal women. The treatment has improved compliance compared to daily oral therapy. Since bisphosphonates are exclusively excreted via the kidneys, intravenous formulation has been associated with deterioration of renal function, specifically in the setting of preexisting renal disease or concomitant use of nephrotoxic agents [1].

October 2023
Wakar Garra MD, Yair Levy MD

Nocardia species are gram-positive aerobic bacteria, usually acquired by inhalation or traumatic percutaneous inoculation [1,2]. It is a rare opportunistic infection that mainly occurs in immunocompromised hosts, patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), organ transplant recipients, and long-term corticosteroid treated patients [1,2]. It is associated with high morbidity and mortality rates. The increased use of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors has been accompanied by increased risk of different opportunistic infections including reactivation of tuberculosis, viral hepatitis B and C, listeria, fungal and bacterial infections [3,4]. To date, there are scarce case reports regarding nocardial infection with anti-TNF, particularly during the first 6 months of treatment.

We present a case of nocardial tenosynovitis of the hand in a patient with psoriatic arthropathy who was followed in our rheumatology clinic in Meir medical center in Israel after treatment with an anti TNF therapy.

November 2022
Izabella Elgardt MD, Or Carmi MD, Yair Levy MD

At the end of 2019, the world faced a new virus–coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)–which quickly became a pandemic. It has become clear that the COVID-19 virus can affect various body systems. Over time, we are finding more and more diverse manifestations of the course of the disease itself, its consequences, and complications. There have been several studies and reviews describing circulating antibodies in patients infected with COVID-19 (e.g., antinuclear antibodies [ANA], anti-cardiolipin, anti-B2 glycoprotein, perinuclear anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies [p-ANCA], cytoplasmic ANCA [c-ANCA]). The development of autoimmune disorders has been reported (e.g., Graves' disease, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), immune thrombocytopenia [ITP], diabetes mellitus [DM] type 1, psoriasis). There are descriptions of COVID-19 associated vasculitis include Kawasaki-like symptoms in children and immunoglobulin A (IgA) vasculitis in children and adults [1].

Katya Meridor MD, Pnina Rotman-Pikielny MD, Or Carmi MD, Myriam Werner MD, Yair Levy MD

Background: Patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) are at increased risk for autoimmune thyroid diseases, but information regarding thyroid nodules and cancer in SSc is scarce.

Objectives: To evaluate the thyroid gland in patients with SSc at a single Israeli center.

Methods: Thyroid workup was conducted in consecutive SSc patients: thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), free thyroxine (fT4), anti-thyroid peroxidase, and anti-thyroglobulin antibodies, as well as thyroid ultrasound and fine needle aspiration (FNA) when appropriate.

Results: Fifty patients, mean age 51.3 ± 13.5 years (44 women) were evaluated. Ten were previously diagnosed with thyroid disease. Median TSH level was 2.0 (normal range 0.23–4 mIU/l) and median fT4 level was 1.0 (normal range 0.8–2.0 ng/dL). Among the 40 thyroid disorder-naive patients, 3 had subclinical hypothyroidism and 5 had positive anti-thyroid antibodies; 22 (44%) had 1–6 thyroid nodules, which were ≥ 1 cm in 12 (24%). Accordingly, six patients underwent FNA, and five were diagnosed as colloid nodules and one as papillary carcinoma.

Conclusions: New cases of clinically significant autoimmune thyroid disease were not detected in our cohort of patients with SSc. Nevertheless, almost half had thyroid nodules. The clinical significance of these findings and their relation to thyroid cancer remains to be determined.

October 2021
Udi Nussinovitch MD PhD, Omer Gendelman MD, Shiri Rubin MD, Yair Levy MD, Vicktoria Vishnevskia Dai MD, Avi Livneh MD, and Merav Lidar MD

Background: Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a connective tissue disease that may affect the heart and the autonomic nervous system (ANS). There is little knowledge regarding the degree of ANS involvement in SSc patients with unknown cardiac disease.

Objectives: To evaluate cardiac and pupillary autonomic functions in patients before cardiac involvement has emerged.

Methods: The study comprised 19 patients with SSc and 29 healthy controls. Heart rate variability (HRV) analysis for time and frequency domains, as well as deep breathing test and Ewing maneuvers, were performed in all patients. Automated pupillometry for the evaluation of pupillary diameter and pupillary light reflex was completed in 8 SSc patients and 21 controls.

Results: Both groups had similar characteristics, except for medications that were more commonly or solely prescribed for SSc patients. Compared with control subjects, the SSc patients had significantly lower HRV parameters of NN50 (15.8 ± 24.4 vs. 33.9 ± 33.1, P = 0.03), pNN50 (4.9 ± 7.4% vs.10.8 ± 10.8%, P = 0.03), and triangular index (11.7 ± 3.4 vs. 15.7 ± 5.8, P = 0.02). Abnormal adaptive responses in heart rate changes were recorded during deep breathing tests and Ewing maneuvers. There was no significant difference in any of the pupillometric indices or other HRV parameters within groups.

Conclusions: SSc patients may manifest cardiac autonomic dysfunction, while their autonomic pupillary function is seemingly spared. The role of certain medications, the significance of differential organ involvement, as well as the prognostic value of our findings should be evaluated in future studies

June 2021
Omer Gendelman MD, Yuval Kuntzman MD, Ora Shovman MD, Pnina Langevitz MD, Avishai M. Tsur MD MHA, Daniel Erez MD, Yair Levy MD, and Howard Amital MD MHA

Background: Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) is a rare small vessel vasculitis. It usually involves the respiratory tract and kidney. Rarely, tumor-resembling inflammatory changes ensue.

Objectives: To report three unique cases of GPA presenting with tumor-like lesions in various organs.

Methods: We presented three cases of GPA. Case 1 presented with typical upper respiratory symptoms of GPA and a mediastinal mass. Case 2 presented with low back pain, a large retroperitoneal mass, and nodular skin lesions. Case 3 presented with epigastric pain and a paravertebral inflammatory mass.

Results: The patients were treated successfully with rituximab.

Conclusions: Clinicians should be aware of this presentation of granulomatosis with polyangiitis, which is known as Tumefaction Wegener’s granulomatosis

April 2018
Mahmoud Abu–Shakra MD, Devy Zisman MD, Alexandra Balbir-Gurman MD, Howard Amital MD, Yair Levy MD, Pnina Langevitz MD, Moshe Tishler MD, Yair Molad MD, Suhail Aamar MD, Itzhak Roser MD, Nina Avshovich MD, Daphna Paran MD, Tatiana Reitblat MD, Reuven Mader MD, Hillel Savin MD, Joshua Friedman MD, Nicky Lieberman MD and Sharon Ehrlich MD

Background: Chronic fatigue is common among patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), affecting quality of life. Osteoporosis is a prevalent co-morbidity in RA patients.

Objectives: To assess the effect of long-term treatment with tocilizumab on fatigue and bone mineral density (BMD) in RA patients with inadequate response to synthetic or biologic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs. 

Methods: In this multicenter, open-label, non-controlled, single-arm study, patients ≥ 18 years of age received intravenous tocilizumab 8 mg/kg every 4 weeks for 96 weeks. The primary outcome was the change in Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy (FACIT)-Fatigue score from baseline to weeks 24, 48, 72, and 96. BMD was assessed before and 96 weeks after treatment. 

Results: The study comprised 145 patients (mean age 53.4 ± 13.4 years, 83.4% women). Of these, 88 (60.7%) completed the 2 year treatment period. The mean FACIT-Fatigue score improved consistently starting from week 4 and showed a statistically significant increase of 5.0 ± 9.7, 6.8 ± 10.5, 7.3 ± 10.9, and 7.3 ± 10.4 from baseline to weeks 24, 48, 72, and 96, respectively (P < 0.0001). Mean BMD of femoral neck and total spine remained stable. Disease activity, acute phase reactants, and composite efficacy measures decreased during the study, while hemoglobin levels increased. Adverse events and serious adverse events were as expected for the known and previously described data.

Conclusions: Tocilizumab therapy for 2 years significantly and clinically decreased fatigue. BMD remained stable and no new safety issue was reported. 

 

February 2015
Narin N. Carmel MD, Pnina Rotman-Pikielny MD, Alexey Lavrov MD and Yair Levy MD


Background: Vitamin D is a pivotal factor in calcium homeostasis and exerts immunomodulatory effects. Hypovitamin D has been demonstrated in systemic sclerosis (SSc) patients and may be related to more severe disease of longer duration and with extensive skin involvement. 

Objectives: To seek anti-vitamin D antibodies in SSc patients, as found by previous research in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Methods: The study included 54 SSc patients and 41 volunteers. Immunoglobulin (Ig) G and IgM autoantibody levels against 25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)D were obtained from patients and controls and compared. SSc patients were assessed for autoantibody profile and disease severity. 

Results: Vitamin D antibodies were present in 87% of SSc patients and 42% of controls. Higher levels of anti-25(OH)D IgM antibodies were detected in SSc patients compared to controls (0.48 ± 0.22 vs. 0.29 ± 0.29, respectively, P = 0.002); however, IgG levels were lower in the SSc patients. No such discriminative effect was found regarding anti-1,25(OH)D antibodies between SSc and controls. No correlation was found between vitamin D antibodies and other autoantibodies, disease severity, or target organ damage.

Conclusions: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study of these novel anti-vitamin D antibodies in SSc patients and the first time a correlation between IgM 25(OH) vitamin D antibodies and scleroderma has been identified. Further research on the pathophysiological significance and therapeutic potential of vitamin D is required. 

 
June 2014
Joshua Feinberg*, Laurel Grabowitz*, Pnina Rotman-Pikielny MD, Maya Berla MD and Yair Levy MD
May 2014
Timna Agur MD MSc, Yair Levy MD, Eleonora Plotkin MD and Sydney Benchetrit MD
February 2011
T. Berlin, A. Meyer, P. Rotman-Pikielny, A. Natur and Y. Levy

Background: Many patients in the internal medicine ward have anemia. The etiology for the anemia may be multifactorial and, in the setting of inflammatory process when the ferritin is increased, it is difficult to diagnose iron deficiency anemia. Soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR) had been suggested as an indicator for iron deficiency. No study has investigated the meaning of high sTfR as the only positive marker of iron deficiency anemia (IDA) caused by gastrointestinal tract (GIT) bleeding in hospitalized patients.

Objectives: To demonstrate the importance of high levels of sTfR as a marker for further GIT investigation in cases of anemia where the level of ferritin was normal or increased

Methods: We retrospectively assessed all patients in an internal medicine ward in our facility with anemia, high sTfR[1] levels (> 5.0 mg/L) and normal or high ferritin levels who underwent esophagogastroduodenoscopy and colonoscopy.

Results: Of 32 patients with anemia and normal or high ferritin levels and high sTfR, 22 patients (68%) had findings that explained IDA[2] (in some patients more than one finding). Those findings were colonic polyps (n=9), carcinoma of colon (n=4), duodenal ulcer (n=4), carcinoma of stomach (n=3), colitis (n=3), atrophic gastritis (n=1), erosive gastritis (n=1) and angiodysplasia (n=1).

Conclusions: High sTfR may be a good indicator of IDA caused by GIT[3] bleeding when the ferritin level is normal or high. GIT investigation is warranted in such cases.






[1] sTfR = soluble transferrin receptor



[2] IDA = iron deficiency anemia



[3] GIT = gastrointestinal tracgt



 
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