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עמוד בית
Sat, 13.07.24

August 2003

Original Articles
L. Gruberg, S. Milo, M. Ben Tzvi, C. Lotan, G. Merin, S. Braun, R. Mohr, D. Tzivoni, D. Bitran and R. Beyar

Background: The Arterial Revascularization Therapies Study was a multicenter, randomized trial designed to compare percutaneous coronary intervention with stenting versus coronary artery bypass graft surgery in 1,205 patients with multivessel coronary artery disease. The most appropriate type of treatment for these patients is still a matter of considerable debate.

Objectives: To evaluate the clinical characteristics of patients enrolled in the ARTS[1] trial in Israel in comparison to those worldwide, and to assess the 1 year outcome in these patients.

Methods: Between April 1997 and June 1998, a total of 1,205 patients with multivessel coronary artery disease, who were considered to be equally treatable with both modalities, were randomized to either stenting (n=600) or CABG[2] (n=605) at 67 centers around the world. In Israel, 53 patients at four participating medical centers underwent randomization to either PCI[3] with stents (n=27) or CABG (n=26).

Results: Clinical and angiographic characteristics were similar in the two groups, except for a significantly higher incidence of diabetic patients in Israel who were randomized to CABG, compared to those worldwide (35% vs. 16%, P = 0.01). Also, there were more patients with unstable angina in Israel (63 vs. 37%, P = 0.006). At 1 year follow-up, overall mortality and cerebrovascular accident rates were similar between the two groups and equivalent to results obtained around the world. There was a significantly higher incidence of myocardial infarction rates in patients randomized to stenting in Israel compared to patients worldwide (7.4 vs. 5.3%, P = 0.01) or to patients randomized to CABG in Israel (7.4 vs. 0%, P = 0.006). Similar to the overall ARTS results, there was a higher incidence of repeat revascularization procedures in patients assigned to the PCI with stenting arm (22.2 vs. 3.8%, P = 0.004) compared to those randomized to CABG, respectively.

Conclusions: The results of this analysis of the Israeli ARTS population indicate that coronary stenting and bypass surgery yield similar findings with regard to mortality and stroke and are comparable to those obtained in the whole study group. Likewise, coronary stenting was associated with an increased incidence of repeat revascularization procedures as compared to CABG. However, patients in Israel randomized to stenting had a higher rate of myocardial infarctions as compared to the overall results and to patients who underwent CABG in Israel. The present analysis provides important data for the safety and efficacy of either stenting or bypass surgery in treating patients with multivessel disease in Israel.


[1] ARTS = Arterial Revascularization Therapies Study

[2] CABG = coronary artery bypass graft surgery

[3] PCI = percutaneous coronary intervention

K. Salame, G.E.R. Ouaknine, S. Rochkind, S. Constantini and N. Razon

Background: Spasticity is a common neurologic disorder with adverse effects on the patient's function. Conservative management is unsuccessful in a significant proportion of patients and neurosurgical intervention should be considered. The mainstay of surgical treatment of spasticity is selective posterior rhizotomy, i.e., section of sensory nerve roots of the cauda equina.

Objective: To report our experience with selective posterior rhizotomy in the treatment of spasticity.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed our experience in 154 patients who underwent SPR during 30 years. The indication for surgery was spasticity that significantly hindered the patient's function or care and was resistant to conservative treatment. All patients were evaluated for spasticity in the lower and upper limbs, the presence or absence of painful spasms, and sphincter disturbances. The decision

as to which roots to be sectioned, and to what extent, was based mainly on clinical muscle testing.

Results: Reduction of spasticity in the lower limbs was obtained in every case, with improvement in movements in 86% of cases. Painful spasms were alleviated in 80% of cases. Amelioration of neurogenic bladder was observed in 42%. A minority of the patients also showed improvement in speech and cognitive performance. There was no perioperative mortality or major complications.

Conclusion: SPR is a safe and effective method for the treatment of spasticity with long-lasting beneficial effects. We suggest that this method be considered more frequently for patients with spasticity that interferes with their quality of life.

E. Rosenblatt, N. Meushar, R. Bar-Deroma, K. Drumea, M. Stein, J. Zidan and A. Kuten

Background: There are radiobiologic and technical advantages to the use of interstitial brachytherapy alone or as an adjunct to external beam radiotherapy in the postoperative treatment of soft tissue sarcomas.

Objectives: To review the experience of the Rambam Medical Center in implementing interstitial brachytherapy in the treatment of 32 patients with soft tissue sarcomas.

Methods: Thirty-two patients with variously located soft tissue sarcomas were managed with a combination of surgery and brachytherapy of the tumor bed, with or without EBRT[1]. In 27 of 32 patients, brachytherapy catheters were placed intraoperatively, while in 5 patients the implant was performed as a separate postoperative procedure. Twenty-seven patients received low dose-rate brachytherapy with iridium-192 seeds. Five patients received fractionated high dose-rate brachytherapy using the microSelectron machine.

Results: With a median follow-up of 36 months, the overall local control rate was 87.5%. Four of 32 patients (13%) failed locally at the implant site, and 6 (19%) developed lung metastasis. Two of the five patients with lung metastasis had a local recurrence as well. At the time of analysis, eight patients had died of sarcoma (disease-specific mortality rate was 25%), while three had died of intercurrent causes. The 5 year actuarial disease-free survival rate was 56%, and the 5 year actuarial overall survival was 70%. Five patients (16%) developed severe wound complications following surgery/brachytherapy, and six patients (19%) developed late local toxicity (fibrosis and telangiectasia).

Conclusions: Wide local excision followed by interstitial brachytherapy has resulted in an 87.5% local control rate with a 17% local complication rate.


[1] EBRT = external beam radiotherapy

A. Mahajna, D.D. Hershko, S. Israelit, A. Abu-Salih, Z. Keidar and M.M. Krausz

Background: The histologic status of axillary lymph nodes is one of the most important prognostic factors in breast cancer, influencing the management of these patients. Axillary lymph node dissection was traditionally performed in all patients to obtain this information but this procedure carries a considerable rate of complications. Recently, sentinel lymph node biopsy has emerged as an accurate and minimally invasive tool for predicting the axillary nodal status and has become the standard of care in selected patients with breast cancer.

Objective: To examine the accuracy of SLN[1] biopsies performed by surgical residents during surgical resident training.

Methods: This prospective, randomized controlled study included 100 consecutive patients with clinically early breast cancer (T1-T2, N0, M0) study. Lymphatic mapping was performed using radiotracers, blue dye, or both. Formal axillary lymph node dissection completed the operations in all patients. All operations were performed by surgical residents under the supervision of senior surgeons.

Results: The overall rate of identification of sentinel lymph nodes was 92%. The accuracy of SLN biopsy in reflecting the axillary nodal status was 96% with a false negative rate of 5.7%.

Conclusions: Sentinel lymph node biopsy is an accurate method for the evaluation and staging of regional lymph nodes in breast cancer patients. A dedicated instruction program for surgical residents may increase the standard of care and lead to highly trained surgeons in the management of early breast cancer.


[1] SLN = sentinel lymph node

M. Huerta, H. Castel, I. Grotto, O. Shpilberg, M. Alkan and I. Harman-Boehm

Background: We treated two patients diagnosed with legionellosis and simultaneous Rickettsia conorii co-infection.

Objectives: To report the clinical and laboratory characteristics of this unusual combination, and to describe the execution and results of our environmental and epidemiologic investigations.

Methods: Serial serologic testing was conducted 1, 4 and 7 weeks after initial presentation. Water samples from the patients’ residence were cultured for Legionella. Follow-up cultures were taken from identical points at 2 weeks and at 3 months after the initial survey.

Results: Both patients initially expressed a non-specific rise in anti-Legionella immunoglobulin M titers to multiple serotypes. By week 4 a definite pattern of specifically elevated IgG[1] titers became apparent, with patient 1 demonstrating a rise in specific anti-L. pneumophila 12 IgG titer, and patient 2 an identical response to L. jordanis. At 4 weeks both patients were positive for both IgM and IgG anti-R. conorii antibodies at a titer ³ 1:100. Heavy growth of Legionella was found in water sampled from the shower heads in the rooms of both patients. Indirect immunofluorescence of water cultures was positive for L. pneumophila 12 and for L. jordanis.

Conclusions: Although most cases of community-acquired Legionella pneumonia in our region appear simultaneously with at least one other causative agent, co-infection with R. conorii is unusual and has not been reported to date. This report illustrates the importance of cooperation between clinicians and public health practitioners.

[1] Ig = immunoglobulin

O. Goldstick, A. Weissman and A. Drugan

Background: Even operative deliveries defined as “urgent” show marked diurnal variation with a significant increase during regular working hours.

Objective: To investigate the diurnal variation of urgent operative deliveries and its potential implications on the outcome of newborns.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective study of all deliveries in a public hospital from 1 January 1990 to 31 December 1998. Delivery mode variables analyzed were spontaneous vaginal delivery, urgent cesarean section and operative vaginal delivery. Deliveries were stratified hourly throughout the day. The rate of operative deliveries was calculated and the analysis was then performed according to the daily routine shifts of the medical staff. Birth weight and Apgar scores at 1 and 5 minutes were retrieved as outcome measures.

Results: The rate of urgent cesarean deliveries increased significantly between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. (150%–230%) from that predicted. The lowest rate of urgent cesarean sections was found between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. (5.3%). Mean birth weight in spontaneous deliveries was higher in the morning hours than during the night shift (3,293 ± 520 g vs. 3,277 ± 510 g, respectively, P < 0.005). Apgar scores of newborns delivered by urgent cesarean section during the morning were higher compared to those delivered during night shifts and the rate of low Apgar scores was lower in the morning than in evening and night shifts.

Conclusions: Our results indicate a marked diurnal variation in urgent operative deliveries, caused perhaps by varying definition of “urgency” according to the time of day.

S. Luria, L. Kandel, D. Segal, M. Liebergall and Y. Mattan

Background: Revision of total knee arthroplasties are performed with increasing frequency due to the increasing numbers of primary arthroplasties.

Objectives: To retrospectively analyze 71 patients who underwent 78 revision total knee arthroplasties during the years 1991 to 1999

Methods: We evaluated the revised knees using the Knee Society Clinical Rating System after an average follow-up period of 3 years and 9 months (2–10 years). The indications for revision included pain and instability, deep infection of the joint, complaints linked to the patella, or post-trauma to the operated knee.

Results: The average knee score (evaluation of the knee joint itself) calculated after the revision was 74.5. The results on the knee score were excellent (>85) in 48% of patients and poor (<60) in 22%. The functional results (patients’ ability to walk and climb stairs) were only 48.3.

Conclusion: Although the revision of total knee replacements is known to be problematic, most patients show good results on knee examination, and reasonable functional results given the factors involved.

Y. Waisman, N. Siegal, M. Chemo, G. Siegal, L. Amir, Y. Blachar and M. Mimouni

Background: Understanding discharge instructions is crucial to optimal healing but may be compromised in the hectic environment of the emergency department.

Objectives: To determine parents’ understanding of ED[1] discharge instructions and factors that may affect it.

Methods: A convenience sample of parents of children discharged home from the ED of an urban tertiary care pediatric facility (n=287) and a suburban level II general hospital (n=195) completed a 13-item questionnaire covering demographics, level of anxiety, and quality of physician’s explanation. Parents also described their child’s diagnosis and treatment instructions and indicated preferred auxiliary methods of delivery of information. Data were analyzed using the BMPD statistical package.

Results: Full understanding was found in 72% and 78% of the parents at the respective centers for the diagnosis, and in 82% and 87% for the treatment instructions (P  = NS between centers). There was no statistical correlation between level of understanding and parental age, gender, education, level of anxiety before or after the ED visit, or time of day. The most contributory factor to lack of understanding was staff use of medical terminology. Parents suggested further explanations by a special discharge nurse and written information as auxiliary methods.

Conclusions: Overall, parental understanding of ED discharge instructions is good. However, there remains a considerable number (about 20%) who fail to fully comprehend the diagnosis or treatment directives. This subset might benefit from the use of lay terminology by the staff, institution of a special discharge nurse, or use of diagnosis-specific information sheets.

[1] ED = emergency department

R. Djaldetti, N. Lev and E. Melamed

Progressive neurodegenerative disorders share common mechanisms of cell death, and in all likelihood multiple factors are involved in every disease. Therefore, several neuroprotective agents are being investigated with the purpose of slowing or preventing further deterioration of cell loss. These include experimental animal and clinical studies on the neuroprotective effects of caspase inhibitors, antioxitands, glutamate antagonists, anti-inflammatory agents and trophic factors in several neurodegenerative diseases. At present there is limited clinical evidence for direct neuroprotective effects against these diseases, but much effort is being invested in research on novel technologies and compounds.

N. Zaks, Y. Shinar, S. Padeh, M. Lidar, A. Mor, I. Tokov, M. Pras, P. Langevitz, E. Pras and A. Livneh

Background: Familial Mediterranean fever is an autosomal recessive disease characterized by recurrent attacks of fever and serositis. The disease is caused by mutations in the MEFV gene, presumed to act as a down-regulator of inflammation within the polymorphonuclear cells.

Objectives: To present the results of 412 FMF patients genotyped for three MEFV mutations, M694V, V726A and E148Q.

Results: The most frequent mutation, M694V, was detected in 47% of the carrier chromosomes. This mutation, especially common among North African Jewish FMF[1] patients, was not found in any of the Ashkenazi (East European origin) patients. Overall, one of the three mutations was detected in 70% of the carrier chromosomes. M694V/M694V was the most common genotype (27%), followed by M694V/V726A (16%). The full genotype could be assessed in 57% of the patients, and one disease-causing mutation in an additional 26%. Only one patient with the E148Q/E148Q genotype was detected despite a high carrier rate for this mutation in the Jewish population, a finding consistent with a low penetrance of this genotype. The M694V/M694V genotype was observed in 15 patients with amyloidosis compared to 4 amyloidosis patients with other genotypes (P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Because of low penetrance and as yet other undetermined reasons, mutation analysis of the most common MEFV mutations supports a clinical diagnosis in only about 60% of patients with definite FMF.


[1] FMF = familial Mediterranean fever

Case Communications
E. Lebel, D. Elstein, D. Hain, I. Hadas-Halperin, A. Zimran and M. Itzchaki
H.A. Schwarz, S. Nitecki, T. Karram and A. Hoffman
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