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עמוד בית Tue, 25.06.19

February 2004

A.D. Heymann, J. Azuri, E. Kokia, S.M. Monnickendam, M. Shapiro and G. Shalev

The complexity of medical problems is a well-recognized phenomenon. In the presence of economic and cultural restrictions, medical decision-making can be particularly challenging. This paper outlines a system of analysis and decision-making for solving such problems, and briefly describes a case study in which the method was used to analyze the case of antibiotic overprescribing in a large health maintenance organization. The purpose of the study was to determine if a technique for problem-solving in the field of engineering could be applied to the complex problems facing primary care. The method is designated Systematic Inventive Thinking and consists of a three-step procedure: problem reformulation, general search-strategy selection, and an application of idea-provoking techniques. The problem examined is the over-prescribing of antibiotics by general practitioners working in Maccabi Healthcare Services, an HMO[1] serving one and a half million patients in Israel. The group of healthcare professionals involved in the discussions generated 117 ideas for improving antibiotic use. Six of these ideas were then implemented in a national campaign in the winter of 2000/1 and 2001/2. During this period, a significant reduction in per-visit antibiotic purchasing was observed for influenza visits (from 79.2 per 1,000 to 58.1 per 1,000, P < .0001), but not for other categories of visits. The SIT[2] methodology is a useful technique for problem-solving and idea generation within the medical framework.

[1] HMO = health maintenance organization

[2] SIT = systemic inventive thinking

Orginal Articles
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

C. Benbassat, G. Tsvetov, B. Schindel, M. Hod, Y. Blonder and B.A. Sela

Background: Iodine intake is necessary to maintain normal thyroid function and prevent iodine deficiency disorders. In 1990, a resolution calling for universal salt iodination to eliminate iodine deficiency worldwide was taken by the World Health Organization and endorsed by some 130 countries. As of today, very little is known about iodine intake and the prevalence of iodine deficiency disorders in Israel, and iodine enrichment of regular salt has not been authorized.

Objectives: To assess the current level of iodine intake in an unselected group of residents from the Israeli costal area.

Methods: Spot urine samples were collected from three groups: Group A comprising 51 pregnant women attending the Women s Health Clinic at our institution, with a mean age of 32 years and at gestational week 28; group B consisting of 35 healthy subjects, mean age 38; and group C consisting of 16 euthyroid subjects harboring nodular goiters. Tap drinking and mineral water were also analyzed for iodine content. Iodine concentration was measured using the catalytic reduction of ceric ammonium sulfate method.

Results: When considering all groups together the median urinary iodine concentration was 143 µg/L, with 27% of the study population having concentrations under 100 µg/L and 7.8% under 50 µg/L. Values were distributed similarly between sites of residency, and no significant differences were seen between groups. The mean iodine concentration for tap drinking water was 22.8 µg/L (range 0.5–53.5 µg/L) and for mineral water 7 µg/L (range 0–15 µg/L).

Conclusions: Overall, iodine intake appeared to be satisfactory in our study population, however mild deficiency may exist in up to 26% of this group. A nationwide survey is needed to better determine the status of iodine intake in Israel, allowing for recommendations on salt-iodine enrichment in the future.

M. Yigla, M.R. Kramer, D. Bendayan, S.A. Reisner and A. Solomonov

Background: Unexplained pulmonary hypertension is assumed to occur mainly in young adults.

Objectives: To describe the features of the disease in older patients and compare them to those in PHT[1] patients of all ages.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective evaluation of the files of patients over 65 years of age in whom UPHT[2] was diagnosed between 1987 and 1999 at two PHT centers serving a population of 4 million. Patients were followed for survival until March 2003. Clinical variables of the study patients were compared to those in PHT patients of all ages.

Results: The study group included 14 patients, 10 females and four males, with a mean age of 70.5 ± 6.7 years. The calculated mean annual incidence of UPHT for the study population was one new case per year per million persons. Seven patients (50%) had systemic hypertension. The mean interval from onset of symptoms to diagnosis was 8.3 months. At diagnosis, 64% of patients had functional capacity of III-IV according to the New York Heart Association classification, and 43% had right heart failure. Mean systolic pulmonary artery pressure was 80 ± 21 mmHg, peripheral vascular resistance 11.7 ± 7 mmHg/L/min, cardiac index 2.16 ± 0.81, and mean right atrial pressure 10.5 ± 5.9 mmHg. Median survival time was 43 months; survival rates for 1 year, 3 years and 5 years were 92.6%, 50%, 40%, respectively. Compared to data from the U.S. National Institute of Health Registry, UPHT in older patients is more common in females, but the incidence as well as clinical, hemodynamic and survival parameters are similar to those in PHT patients at any age.

Conclusions: UPHT occurs in the elderly more frequently than previously thought, with similar features in PHT patients of all ages. The coexistence of systemic and pulmonary hypertension warrants further investigation.

[1] PHT = pulmonary hypertension

[2] UPHT = unexplained pulmonary hypertension

O. Hochwald, I. Harman-Boehm and H. Castel

Background: Hypovitaminosis D is an important risk factor for osteoporosis and its complications. Previous studies found that the incidence of hypovitaminosis D among patients in an internal medicine ward reached up to 57%.

Objectives: To determine the prevalence and determinants of hypovitaminosis D among patients in internal medicine wards in a sunny country.

Methods: We measured 25-hydroxyvitamin D, parathyroid hormone and various other laboratory parameters, and assessed the amount of sun exposure, dietary vitamin D intake and other risk factors for hypovitaminosis D in 296 internal medicine inpatients admitted consecutively to the Soroka University Medical Center, which is situated in a sunny region of Israel.

Results: We found hypovitaminosis D (serum 25-HO-D[1] <15 ng/ml) in 77 inpatients (26.27%). The amount of sunlight exposure, serum albumin concentration, being housebound or resident of a nursing home, vitamin D intake, ethnic group, cerebrovascular accident and glucocorticoid therapy were all significantly associated with hypovitaminosis D. Multivariate analysis showed a significant association between hypovitaminosis D and Bedouin origin, sun exposure, vitamin D intake, and stroke. Hypovitaminosis D was also found among inpatients who reported consuming more than the recommended daily amount of vitamin D. Parathyroid hormone levels were significantly higher in patients with 25-OH-D levels below 15 ng/ml. In a subgroup of 74 inpatients under 65 years old with no known risk factors for hypovitaminosis D, we found 20.3% with hypovitaminosis D.

Conclusions: Hypovitaminosis D is common in patients hospitalized in internal medicine wards in our region, including patients with no known risk factors for this condition. Based on our findings, we recommend vitamin D supplementation during hospitalization and upon discharge from general internal medicine wards as a primary or secondary preventive measure.

[1} 25-OH-D = 25-hydroxyvitamin D

Y. Menachem and I. Gotsman

Background: Pyoderma gangrenosum is an uncommon ulcerative cutaneous condition associated with inflammatory bowel disease. PG[1] occurs rarely in IBD[2] patients and there are insufficient data on the clinical manifestations of this disease with IBD.

Objective: To determine the incidence, clinical manifestations and treatment of PG in patients with IBD and the connection to IBD, its activity and extent.

Methods: All patients hospitalized with IBD at a university hospital during a 20 year period were evaluated for the occurrence of PG.

Results: Of 986 patients hospitalized for IBD 6 suffered from PG (0.6% incidence). Their average age was 37 with equal sex distribution and equal distribution of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. PG appeared 6.5 years on average after diagnosis of IBD in all patients. The development of PG correlated with significant clinical exacerbation of IBD, the majority having active colitis at the onset of the PG. Extra-intestinal manifestations of IBD occurred in half the patients (sacroiliitis, peripheral arthritis and erythema nodosum). Pathergy was not elicited in any patients. Four patients had multiple skin lesions, frequently on the lower extremities. Diagnosis was made by skin biopsy in four patients. There was little correlation between amelioration of IBD and the skin lesions. Treatment consisted of high dose steroids and immunomodulatory drugs (cyclosporine, azathioprine and dapsone) in conjunction with topical treatment.

Conclusions: PG is a rare extra-intestinal manifestation of IBD that coincides with the exacerbation of the intestinal disease but does not always respond to treatment of the bowel disease.

[1] PG = pyoderma gangrenosum

[2] IBD = inflammatory bowel disease

D. Mandel, Y. Littner, F.B. Mimouni, Z. Stavarovsky and S. Dollberg

Background: Increased serum potassium and intraventricular hemorrhage occur frequently in preterm infants.

Objective: To retrospectively analyze data obtained on infants with severe IVH[1] in relation to blood K+ concentrations.

Methods: We identified all patients with severe IVH born between July 1997 and July 2000. Each patient was pair-matched with a control infant of the same gestational age (±1 week) without IVH in terms of head ultrasound findings on day 5, and whole blood K+ on days 3–5.

Results: There were 24 infants in each group. The IVH group had significantly lower 1 minute Apgar scores and pH and higher blood K+ than the control group. Blood pH and K+ were inversely correlated. Stepwise regression analysis, taking into account blood pH and 1 minute Apgar score, showed a correlation only between blood K+ and IVH status.

Conclusions: Severe IVH is significantly associated with higher blood K+ concentrations. A causal relationship cannot be ascertained at this point.

[1] IVH = intraventricular hemorrhage

Case Communications
D. Zamir, I. Leibovitz, I. Polyschuch, T. Reitblat and G. Lugassy
J. Delgado, B. Delgardo, I. Sztarkier, A. Baer and E. Depsames
I. Solt, L. Lowenstein, A. Amit, R. Bergman and H. Kerner
M. Gross, R. Eliashar, B. Maly and Y-V. Sichel
הבהרה משפטית: כל נושא המופיע באתר זה נועד להשכלה בלבד ואין לראות בו ייעוץ רפואי או משפטי. אין הר"י אחראית לתוכן המתפרסם באתר זה ולכל נזק שעלול להיגרם. כל הזכויות על המידע באתר שייכות להסתדרות הרפואית בישראל. מדיניות פרטיות
ז'בוטינסקי 35 רמת גן, בניין התאומים 2 קומות 10-11, ת.ד. 3566, מיקוד 5213604. טלפון: 03-6100444, פקס: 03-5753303