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עמוד בית
Fri, 14.06.24

October 2004

Original Articles
I. Teplitsky, A. Asali, H. Vaknin, G. Golovchiner, S. Fuchs, A. Battler and R. Kornowski

Background: Left main coronary artery disease is considered a surgical indication in most centers. However, in some cases prohibited from surgery or in patients with prior bypass grafting, there is a need for percutaneous coronary intervention in LMCA[1] disease scenarios.

Objectives: To assess the clinical outcomes among patients undergoing stent-based LMCA angioplasty.

Methods: We identified 34 consecutive patients who underwent PCI[2] in LMCA at our institution. Procedural data and clinical outcomes were obtained for all patients.

Results: The mean age was 71 ± 12 years. There were 27 elective and 7 emergent procedures performed on 23 “protected” LMCA and 11 “unprotected” LMCA. In emergent procedures, the prevalence of cardiogenic shock (29% vs. 0%, P = 0.04) in patients with prior coronary bypass (29% vs. 8.5%, P = 0.007) was significantly higher compared to elective cases. Procedural success in emergent procedures was significantly lower than in elective procedures (71 vs. 100%, P = 0.04). In emergent versus elective procedures, the in-hospital mortality rate was higher (43 vs. 0%, P = 0.006). The rate of cumulative major adverse cardiac events at 1 and 6 months was 43% and 71% in emergent cases versus 0% and 33% in elective cases (P < 0.05 for both comparisons). In patients with “unprotected” LMCA the overall major cardiac events at 1 month was higher compared to “protected” LMCA patients (27 vs. 0%, P = 0.02). Multivariate analysis revealed emergent procedure as an independent predictor for mortality and adverse cardiac events (odds ratio 6.7; 95% confidence interval 1.2–36; P = 0.02).

Conclusions: Percutaneous interventions in LMCA are feasible and relatively safe in carefully selected cases. Procedural outcomes and clinical prognosis is highly dependent on the nature of disease prior to angioplasty (e.g., elective vs. emergent procedure) as well as on protection of the LMCA by patent grafts.

[1] LMCA = left main coronary artery

[2] PCI = percutaneous coronary intervention

I. Lejbkowicz, Y. Denekamp, S. Reis and D. Goldenberg

Background: Various medical centers in Israel have recently incorporated electronic medical record systems. Knowing the EMR[1] systems’ features and pattern of use is an essential step for developing locally and nationally integrated systems.

Objectives: To evaluate the status of EMR systems in all major general hospitals in Israel in terms of the applications used and the patterns of use.

Methods: Structured questionnaires were sent to hospital directors and directors of medical informatics units of 26 general and pediatric hospitals serving the vast majority of the population in Israel. The qheuestionnaire included questions pertaining to the EMR systems, their usage and the attitude of the participants to data security issues.

Results: Of the 26 general hospitals 23 (88.4%) returned the questionnaires. Of these, 21 (91.3%) use EMR systems. Twenty-seven different types of systems are in use in Israeli hospitals, and generally more than one type is used in a hospital. [YD1] Physicians work with EMR systems in over 98% of the departments. Also, the EMR systems are used for clinical admission and discharge in over 90% of the departments and for medical daily follow-up in about 45%.

Conclusions: Most of the hospitals in Israel use EMR systems but there is no standard data model. Physicians are the main users but the amount of data entered is still limited. Adoption of standards is essential for integration of electronic patient records across Israeli healthcare organizations.

[1] EMR = electronic medical record

[YD1] The reader does’t know at this stage the security concerns abroad

N.R. Kahan, E. Kahan, D-A. Waitman and D.P. Chinitz

Background: Until recently trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole was the drug recommended in the Leumit Health Fund for the empiric treatment of uncomplicated urinary tract infection in women. However, due to increased uropathogen resistance to this drug, the fund has designated nitrofurantoin as its new drug of choice.

Objectives: To evaluate the potential economic impact of implementing this new pharmaco-policy.

Methods: Using data derived from the electronic patient records of the Leumit Health Fund we identified all non-recurrent cases of women aged 18–49 with a diagnosis of acute cystitis or UTI[1] without risk factors for complicated UTI and empirically treated with antibiotics throughout 2003. The final sample comprised 5,489 physician-patient encounters. The proportion of cases treated with each individual drug was calculated, and the excess expenditure due to non-adherence to the new guideline from the perspective of the health fund was evaluated using 5 days of therapy with nitrofurantoin as the reference treatment.

Results: Ofloxacin was the most frequently prescribed drug (30.24%), followed by TMP-SMX[2] (22.43%), cephalexin (15.08%), and nitrofurantoin (12.59%). The observed net aggregate drug expenditure was 2.3 times greater than expected had all cases been treated with nitrofurantoin according to the guideline duration of 5 days. The cost of treatment in 53% of the cases exceeded the expected cost of the guideline therapy.

Conclusions: Successful implementation of the new drug policy will likely improve quality of care and reduce costs to the health fund.

[1] UTI = urinary tract infection

[2] TMP-SMX = trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole

E. Gnessin, P.M. Livneh, J. Baniel and G. Gillon
Background: Sphincter-related incontinence after radical prostatectomy, benign prostatectomy or due to neurogenic disease has a considerable negative impact on quality of life. Artificial urinary sphincter implantation is a mainstay therapeutic option for these patients.

Objectives: To assess patient satisfaction, subjective long-term continence and complications after AMS 800 artificial urinary sphincter implantation.

Methods: The medical records of 34 patients who underwent artificial urinary sphincter implantation for radical prostatectomy (n=23), simple prostatectomy (n=9) or neurogenic disease (n=2) between 1995 and 2003 were studied retrospectively. Median follow-up was 49 months (range 3–102 months). Records were analyzed for urinary sphincter survival and complications. Quality of life and continence assessment was done by mailing an impact questionnaire.

Results: In 4 of the 34 patients (11.7%) the device was removed due to infection. One of the four had surgical revision elsewhere, and the other three were not interested in re-implantation of the device. Two patients (5.9%) underwent revisions due to mechanical failure. One patient died and three patients were not located. Twenty-seven out of a possible 30 patients (88%) completed the questionnaire; 22 (85%) achieved social continence (0–2 pads daily), and one patient had subjective difficulty activating the device. Subjective improvement and patient satisfaction was rated as 4.22 and 4.11, respectively (scale 0 to 5).
Conclusions: Artificial urinary sphincter implantation is an efficacious option for sphincter-related incontinence. This study documents the positive impact of artificial urinary sphincter implantation on quality of life with acceptable complications; these results are comparable to other published studies.

M.R. Pfeffer, Y. Kundel, M. Zehavi, R. Catane, M. Koller, O. Zmora, R. Elkayam and Z. Symon

Background: Preoperative radiotherapy is standard treatment for rectal cancer and is often combined with 5-fluorouracil-based chemotherapy. UFT, a new oral 5FU[1] derivative, given daily during a course of radiotherapy mimics the effect of continuous-infusion 5FU.

Objectives: To determine the maximum tolerated dose of oral UFT and leucovorin with preoperative pelvic irradiation for rectal cancer, and assess tumor response.

Methods: In this phase 1 trial, 16 patients aged 42–79 years with tumors within 12 cm of the anal verge received radiotherapy, 45 Gy over 5 weeks, an escalating dose of oral UFT, and a fixed dose of 30 mg/day leucovorin. UFT and leucovorin were given for 28 consecutive days concomitant with the first 4 weeks of radiotherapy. Surgery was scheduled for 4–6 weeks after completion of radiotherapy. The surgical procedure was determined by the surgeon at the time of surgery.

Results: No grade III toxicity was seen at 200 mg/m2/day UFT. Of eight patients who received 240 mg/m2/day UFT, one developed grade IV diarrhea; of four patients who received 270 mg/m2/day UFT, one was hospitalized with grade IV diarrhea and leukopenic fever and died during hospitalization. Of the 15 evaluable patients, 9 had pathologic tumor down-staging including 4 patients with complete response. Only one patient required a colostomy.
Conclusions: The MTD[2] of UFT together with leucovorin and preoperative radiotherapy for rectal cancer is 240 mg/m2. The major toxicity was diarrhea. Down-staging was noted in 60% of patients, allowing sphincter-preserving surgery even in patients with low tumors.

[1] 5FU = 5-fluorouracil

[2] MTD = maximum tolerated dose

Y. Levy, O. Shovman, C. Granit, D. Luria, O. Gurevitz, D. Bar-Lev, M. Eldar, Y. Shoenfeld and M. Glikson

Background: The appearance of pericarditis following insertion of a permanent pacemaker is not widely acknowledged in the literature.

Objectives: To describe our experience with pericarditis following 395 permanent pacemaker implantations over 2 years.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 395 consecutive patients in whom new pacing systems or pacemaker leads had been implanted over a 2 year period. We searched the records for pericarditis that developed within 1 month after pacemaker implantation according to the ICD-9 code. The incidence, clinical picture, response to treatment and relationship to lead design and location were studied.

Results: Eight cases (2%) of pericarditis following implantation were detected. Clinical manifestations in all patients were similar to those of post-pericardiotomy syndrome and included chest pain (n=7), friction rub (n=1), fever (n=2), fatigue (n=2), pleural effusion (n=2), new atrial fibrillation (n=2), elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (n=4) and echcardiographic evidence of pericardial effusion (n=8). All affected patients had undergone active fixation (screw-in) lead implantation in the atrial position. The incidence of pericarditis with screw-in atrial leads was 3% compared to 0% in other cases (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Pericarditis is not uncommon following pacemaker implantation with active fixation atrial leads. Special attention should be paid to identifying pericardial complications following pacemaker implantation, especially when anticoagulant therapy is resumed or initiated. The use of passive fixation leads is likely to reduce the incidence of pericarditis but this issue should be further investigated.

E. Greenberg, I. Treger and H. Ring

Background: Follow-up examinations in a rehabilitation center clinic after stroke are essential for coordinating post-acute services and monitoring patient progress. Of first-stroke patients discharged from our rehabilitation ward to the community 92% are invited for ambulatory check-up once every 6 months.

Objectives: To review patient complaints at follow-up and the recommendations issued by the attending physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at the outpatient clinic.

Methods: We extracted relevant data from the records, and assessed the relationship between functional status on admission and discharge (measured by FIM[1]), length of stay, and number of complaints. Patients were divided according to the side of neurologic damage, etiology, whether the stroke was a first or recurrent event, and main clinical syndrome (neglect or aphasia).

Results: Patients' complaints included: decreased hand function (40%), general functional deterioration (20%), difficulty walking (11%), speech dysfunction (10%), various pains (especially in plegic shoulder) (8%), urine control (2%), sexual dysfunction (3%), swallowing difficulties (2%), and cognitive disturbances (2%). Patients received the following recommendations: physiotherapy (52.5%), occupational therapy (37.5%), speech therapy (12.5%), different bracing techniques (22.5%), pain clinic treatment (12.5%), changing medication prescriptions (7.5%), psychological treatment (10%), sexual rehabilitation (5%), vocational counseling (2.5%), counseling by social workers (2.5%), and recurrent neuropsychological diagnosis (2.5%). A reverse correlation was found between the number of complaints and FIM at admission (P = 0.0001) and discharge (P = 0.0003), and between LOS[2] and FIM at admission (P = 0.0001) and discharge (P = 0.004). A direct correlation was found between the number of complaints and LOS (P = 0.029). No relation was found between age, type of stroke, first and recurrent event, and clinical syndromes and patient complaints in the outpatient rehabilitation. Community rehabilitation services met 58% of all recommendations in 62% of patients, mainly physiotherapy and occupational therapy, with 34% of patients waiting for implementation of the recommendations and 4% not available for follow-up.

Conclusions: Follow-up examinations should be an integral part of post-stroke rehabilitation. Rehabilitation treatment in the community must be strengthened.

[1] FIM = Functional Independence Measure

[2] LOS = length of stay

V. Royter, A.Y. Gur, I. Bova and N.M. Bornstein
K. Belkic

Israel has a National Screening Program for early detection of breast cancer. The need to continue and even expand this program was recently stressed in light of the high risk in the population. However, the optimal modalities for breast cancer screening are controversial, especially for women at risk. Mammography, the established screening method, is critically examined, and molecular imaging techniques, such as magnetic resonance spectroscopy and spectroscopic imaging are explored, especially for primary breast cancer detection. MRS[1] and MRSI[2] are currently limited by their reliance on the conventional framework for data analysis in biomedical imaging, i.e., the fast Fourier transform. Recent mathematical advances in signal processing via the fast Pade transform can extract diagnostically important information, which until now has been unavailable with in vivo MRS. A clinical MRS signal illustrates the rapid and stable convergence provided by FPT[3], yielding accurate information about key metabolites and their concentrations at short acquisition times. We suggest that the next step would be to apply the FPT to in vivo MRS/MRSI signals from patients with breast cancer and to compare these to findings for normal breast tissue. The potential implications of such an optimized MRS/MRSI for breast cancer screening strategies are discussed, especially for younger women at high risk.

[1] MRS = magnetic resonance spectroscopy

[2] MRSI = magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging

[3] FPT = fast Padé transform

O. Shevah, M. Rubinstein and Z. Laron

Background: Laron Syndrome, first described in Israel, is a form of dwarfism similar to isolated growth hormone deficiency caused by molecular defects in the GH[1] receptor gene.

Objective: To characterize the molecular defects of the GH-R[2] in Laron syndrome patients followed in our clinic.

Methods: Of the 63 patients in the cohort, we investigated 31 patients and 32 relatives belonging to several ethnic origins. Molecular analysis of the GH-R gene was performed using the single strand conformation polymorphism and DNA sequencing techniques.

Results: Eleven molecular defects including a novel mutation were found. Twenty-two patients carried mutations in the extracellular domain, one in the transmembrane domain, and 3 siblings with typical Laron syndrome presented a normal GH-R. Of interest are, on one hand, different mutations within the same ethnic groups: W-15X and 5, 6 exon deletion in Jewish-Iraqis, and E180 splice and 5, 6 exon deletion in Jewish-Moroccans; and on the other hand, identical findings in patients from distinct regions: the 785-1 G to T mutation in an Israeli-Druze and a Peruvian patient. A polymorphism in exon 6, Gly168Gly, was found in 15 probands. One typical Laron patient from Greece was heterozygous for R43X in exon 4 and heterozygous for Gly168Gly. In addition, a novel mutation in exon 5: substitution of T to G replacing tyrosine 86 for aspartic acid (Y86D) is described.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates: a) an increased focal incidence of Laron syndrome in different ethnic groups from our area with a high incidence of consanguinity; and b) a relationship between molecular defects of the GH-R, ethnic group and geographic area.

[1] GH = growth hormone

[2] GH-R = growth hormone receptor

Case Communications
Y. Mor, I. Leibovitch, N. Sherr-Lurie, J. Golomb, P. Jonas and J. Ramon
M. Korem, Z. Ackerman, Y. Sciaki-Tamir, G. Gino, S. Salameh-Giryes, S. Perlberg and S.N. Heyman
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