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עמוד בית
Tue, 23.07.24

March 2010

Original Articles
B. Prietl, S. Pilz, M. Wolf, A. Tomaschitz, B. Obermayer-Pietsch, W. Graninger and T.R. Pieber

Background: Epidemiological data show significant associations of vitamin D deficiency and autoimmune diseases. Vitamin D may prevent autoimmunity by stimulating naturally occurring regulatory T cells.

Objectives: To elucidate whether vitamin D supplementation increases Tregs[1] frequency (%Tregs) of circulating CD4+ T cells.

Methods: We performed an uncontrolled vitamin D supplementation trial among 50 apparently healthy subjects including supplementation of 140,000 IU at baseline and after 4 weeks (visit 1). The final follow-up visit was performed 8 weeks after the baseline examination (visit 2). Blood was drawn at each study visit to determine 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and %Tregs. Tregs were characterized as CD4+CD25++ T cells with expression of the transcription factor forkhead box P3 and low or absent expression of CD127.

Results: Forty-six study participants (65% females, mean age ± SD 31 ± 8 years) completed the trial. 25(OH)D[2] levels increased from 23.9 ± 12.9 ng/ml at baseline to 45.9 ± 14.0 ng/ml at visit 1 and 58.0 ± 15.1 ng/ml at visit 2. %Tregs at baseline were 4.8 ± 1.4. Compared to baseline levels we noticed a significant increase of %Tregs at study visit 1 (5.9 ± 1.7, P < 0.001) and 2 (5.6 ± 1.6, P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Vitamin D supplementation was associated with significantly increased %Tregs in apparently healthy individuals. This immunomodulatory effect of vitamin D might underlie the associations of vitamin D deficiency and autoimmune diseases. Hence, our finding provides a rationale for further studies to investigate vitamin D effects on autoimmunological processes.

[1] Tregs = regulatory T cells

[2] 25(OH)D = 25-hydroxyvitamin D

O. Kobo, M. Hammoud, N. Makhoul, H. Omary and U. Rosenschein

Background: Renal artery stenosis is one of the most frequent causes of secondary hypertension. Appropriate methods for screening, diagnosis and therapy are currently under debate.

Objectives: To evaluate and recommend methods for screening and diagnosing renal artery stenosis, and to assess the clinical outcomes of renal artery stenting.

Methods: A total of 450 patients undergoing non-emergent coronary angiography fulfilled the selection criteria for selective renal arteriography; those with severe (luminal narrowing ≥ 70%) renal artery stenosis underwent percutaneous transluminal renal angioplasty with renal artery stenting.

Results: Of 166 patients (36.9%) with renal artery stenosis, 41 (9.1%) had severe stenosis that required renal artery stenting, and 83% had ostial renal stenosis. The primary success rate was 100% and there were no complications. During the follow-up period, two patients required a second PTRA[1]. After stent deployment, significant reductions were observed in systolic and diastolic pressures (P < 0.001 and P = 0.01, respectively) and in the number of antihypertensive drugs used by the patients (P < 0.001). These reductions were sustained during follow-up. Hypertension was cured (systolic blood pressure < 130 mmHg) in 9 (21.4%) and improved in 27 (64.3%) patients. Plasma creatinine did not change significantly.

Conclusions: Selective renal angiography is an effective diagnostic tool for identifying symptomatic cases of renal artery stenosis in patients undergoing coronary angiography. Our finding of a high success rate and low complication rate supports the use of primary renal artery stenting in symptomatic patients with renal artery stenosis.

[1] PTRA = percutaneous transluminal renal angioplasty

I. Kessel, D. Waisman, O. Barnet-Grinnes, T. Zim Ben Ari and A. Rotschild

Background: High frequency oscillatory ventilation based on optimal lung volume strategy is one of the accepted modes of ventilatory support for respiratory distress syndrome in very low birth weight infants. In 1999 it was introduced in our unit as the primary ventilation modality for RDS[1].

Objectives: To evaluate if the shift to HFOV[2] influenced the outcome of ventilated VLBW[3] infants in the neonatal intensive care unit of Carmel Medical Center.

Methods: Data were obtained from the medical charts of VLBW infants born at Carmel Medical Center, and late mortality data were taken from the Israel Ministry of Internal Affairs records. A retrospective analysis and a comparison with a historical control group ventilated by the conventional method were performed.

Results: A total of 232 VLBW infants with RDS were mechanically ventilated, from 1995 to 2003: 120 were ventilated using HFOV during the period 1999–2003 and 102 infants using CV[4] during 1995–1999. The mean gestational age of survivors was 27.4 ± 2 weeks in the HFOV group and 28.4 ± 2 in the conventional ventilation group (P = 0.03). The sub-sample of infants with birth weights <1000 g ventilated with HFOV showed higher survival rates than the infants in the conventional ventilation group, 53 vs. 25 (64.6% vs. 44.6%) respectively (P < 0.05). A trend for lower incidence of pulmonary interstitial emphysema was observed in the HFOV group.

Conclusions: The introduction of HFOV based on optimal lung volume strategy proved to be an efficient and safe method of ventilation support for VLBW infants in our unit.

[1] RDS = respiratory distress syndrome

[2] HFOV = high frequency oscillatory ventilation

[3] VLBW = very low birth weight

[4] CV = conventional ventilation

M. Vaturi, T. Hadar, I. Yedidya, Y. Shapira, D. Monakier, D.E. Weisenberg and A. Sagie

Background: Left atrial volume and exercise capacity are strong predictors of cardiovascular risk. Decreased exercise capacity is expected when LAV[1] is increased due to its association with abnormal left ventricular filling pressure. However, LAV enlargement is expected in chronic mitral regurgitation as well.

Objectives: To examine the linkage between LAV and exercise capacity in chronic MR[2] and to determine whether larger LAV has indeed better exercise capacity in patients with chronic severe degenerative MR and good LV systolic function.

Methods: The study included asymptomatic patients with severe chronic degenerative MR and normal LV[3] systolic function that underwent stress echocardiography. LAV was measured at rest using the biplane Simpson’s method and indexed to body surface area. The cutoff of good exercise capacity was determined at 7 METS.

Results: The patient group comprised 52 consecutive patients (age 60 ± 14 years, 36 males). Two subgroups (19 vs. 33 patients), age- and gender-matched, were formed according to LAVi[4] cutoff of 42 ml/m2. Those with higher LAVi had lower exercise capacity (P = 0.004) albeit similar MR grade, baseline blood pressure, LV function and size. Receiver-operator curve analysis revealed indexed LAV value of ≤ 42 as 51% sensitive and 88% specific for predicting exercise capacity > 7 METS (AUC[5] = 0.7, P = 0.03). In multivariate analysis, age, gender and LAVi were identified as independent predictors of exercise capacity.

Conclusions: In asymptomatic patients with severe chronic degenerative MR and normal LV systolic function, mild enlargement of the left atrium (≤ 42 ml/m2) is associated with good exercise capacity.

[1] LAV = left atrial volume

[2] MR = mitral regurgitation

[3] LV = left ventricular

[4] LAVi = LAV indexed to body surface area

[5] AUC = area under the curve

K. Weiss, A. Fattal-Valevski and S. Reif

Background: Infants who have experienced an apparent life-threatening event typically undergo an extensive evaluation to rule out serious underlying conditions.

Objectives: To evaluate the yield of different tests performed after an apparent life-threatening event and to identify high risk groups in which more extensive diagnostic tests are required.

Methods: A retrospective study was conducted in a children's hospital over a 4 year period during which the charts of infants who were admitted with an apparent life-threatening event were reviewed. The yield for each diagnostic test was established according to the ratio of positive results contributing to the diagnosis of the apparent life-threatening event.

Results: The study included 69 infants between the ages of 1 week and 1 year. There were abnormal findings in 36% of the cases. Gastroesophageal reflux was the most common diagnosis (60%). In the remaining patients the diagnosis was either seizures (12%) or respiratory tract infections (28%). Tests used for the diagnosis of cardiac, metabolic and non-respiratory infections had no yield. A positive correlation was found between abnormal test results and abnormal physical examination (P = 0.001), an abnormal perinatal history (P = 0.017), and age older than 2 months (P = 0.002).

Conclusions: The yield of most of the tests performed after an apparent life-threatening event is low, especially in infants with a normal perinatal history and physical examination.

O. Amir, O. Rogowski, M. David, N. Lahat, R. Wolff and B.S. Lewis

Background: Interleukin-10 is an anti-inflammatory cytokine and consequently is considered by many to have a protective role in heart failure, as opposed to the notorious tumor necrosis factor-alpha.

Objectives: To test the hypothesis of the possible beneficial impact of IL-10[1] on mortality in systolic heart failure patients in relation to their circulating TNFα[2] levels.

Methods: We measured circulating levels of IL-10 and TNFα in 67 ambulatory systolic heart failure patients (age 65 ± 13 years).

Results: Mortality was or tended to be higher in patients with higher levels (above median level) of circulating TNFα (9/23, 39% vs. 6/44, 14%; P = 0.02) or IL-10 (10/34, 30% vs. 5/33, 15%; P = 0.10). However, mortality was highest in the subset of patients with elevation of both markers above median (7/16, 44% vs. 8/51, 16%; P = 0.019). Elevation of both markers was associated with more than a threefold hazard ratio for mortality (HR[3] 3.67, 95% confidence interval 1.14–11.78).

Conclusions: Elevated circulating IL-10 levels in systolic heart failure patients do not have a protective counterbalance effect on mortality. Moreover, patients with elevated IL-10 and TNFα had significantly higher mortality, suggesting that the possible interaction in the complex inflammatory and anti-inflammatory network may need further study.


[1] IL = interleukin

[2] TNFα = tumor necrosis factor-alpha

[3] HR = hazard ratio

M. Sofer, G. Lidawi, G. Keren-Paz, R. Yehiely, A. Beri and H. Matzkin

Background: Tubeless percutaneous nephrolithotomy is defined as PCNL[1] without postoperative nephrostomy tubes. It is reported to reduce postoperative pain, hospital stay and recovery time. To date the procedure has been reserved for selected patients.

Objectives: To assess our initial experience in extending the implementation of tubeless PCNL without preoperative patient selection.

Methods: All consecutive PCNLs performed during 2004–2008 were evaluated. Tubeless PCNL was performed when residual stones, bleeding and extravasation were excluded intraoperatively. Staghorn stones, stone burden, supracostal and multiple accesses, anatomic anomalies, solitary kidneys and operative time were not considered contraindications. We analyzed the clinical data and the choice of tubeless PCNL over time.

Results: Of 281 PCNLs performed during the study period, 200 (71%) were tubeless. The patients' average age was 53 years (range 28–82 years), the stone burden was 924 mm2 (400–3150 mm2), operative time was 99 minutes (45–210 min), complication rate was 14% and immediate stone-free rate 91%. There were 81 conversions to standard PCNL (29%) due to expected second-look (n=47, 58%), impression of bleeding (n=21, 26%), suspected hydrothorax (n=7, 9%) and extravasation (n=6, 7%). The transfusion rate was 1%. The median hospital stay was 1 day (1–15 days) and recovery time 7 days (5–20 days). The rate of implementing the tubeless procedure increased steadily along time from 46% to 83% (P = 0.0001). 

Conclusions: Tubeless PCNL can be safely and effectively performed based on intraoperative decisions, without preoperative contraindications. They are easily accommodated by experienced endourologists and provide real advantages.


[1] PCNL = percutaneous nephrolithotomy


M. Stein, H. Roisin, B. Morag, S. Ringel, D. Tasher, M. Vohl, A. Mizrahi, M. Raz and E. Somekh

Background: While the burden of rotavirus infection with regard to hospitalizations has been extensively investigated, there are sparse data regarding the impact and the cost of this infection on the ambulatory part of the health system in Israel.

Objectives: To investigate the burden of rotavirus infection on the ambulatory system in Israel.

Methods: Infants younger than 3 years old examined for acute gastrointestinal symptoms in four pediatric clinics had their stool tested for rotavirus. The parents were contacted 7–10 days later and questioned about the symptoms of illness, medications given, use of diapers, consumption of formula, and any loss of parents' workdays.

Results: Rotavirus was detected in 71 of the 145 stool samples tested (49%). A total of 51 parents responded to the telephonic survey. Patients' mean age was 15.4 months. Three patients were hospitalized due to the illness. The mean duration of fever was 1.7 days. Infants with rotavirus gastroenteritis had on average 2.25 days of vomiting and 7.5 days of diarrhea. The average number of workdays lost was 2.65 days per RVGE[1] case. The cost of the average case of RVGE in Israel is 257 euros; 69.64% of this cost (179 euros) is due to parental work loss.

Conclusions: Our results indicate that the economic impact of the ambulatory cases in Israel is quite significant.


[1] RVGE = rotavirus gastroenteritis

Case Communications
O. Jarchowsky Dolberg, A. Elis and M. Lishner
S. Vano-Galvan, B. De la Hoz, R. Nunez and P. Jaen
D. Kraus, J. Yacobovich, V. Hoffer, O. Scheuerman, H. Tamary and B-Z. Garty
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