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עמוד בית
Fri, 19.07.24

September 2003

Original Articles
S. Finci, R. Rachmani, E. Arbel and S. Mizrahi

Background:  One of the major reasons for the shortage of organs for transplantation in Israel is the failure to identify potential donors. According to the World Health Organization, the expected number of potential donors in Israel is 300 per year. In recent years an average of only 200 donors (2/3) has been identified.

Objective: To identify the reasons for the gap between the potential and the actual number of organ donors.

Methods: We reviewed the medical records of all potential donors at the Soroka University Medical Center between October 1997 through September 1999.

Results: The total of 183 death records was consistent with the minimal inclusion criteria for potential organ donation, of which 41 were suspected to be potential brain death (PBD) In 31 cases an ad hoc committee had declared brain death, and the patients were evaluated for organ donation. However, in 10 cases no committee was formed. We found that 24.4% (10/41) of the potential donors had not been designated as such by their medical team.

Conclusion: We believe that a comprehensive education program for medical and nursing staff might increase awareness for organ donation and may eliminate the gap between the potential and actual number of organ donors.

E.L. Shabtai, M. Ben-Haim, D. Rosin, J. Kuriansky, E. Gazit, A. Ayalon and M. Shabtai

Background: An organ sharing system should achieve fairness and optimal graft longevity. Balancing between social and utilitarian considerations is a sensitive ethical, public and medical issue that requires a means to examine the consequences of any allocation policy or planned changes thereof.

Objective: To evaluate the performance and applicability of a computerized simulation model by examining the impact of two opposing organ allocation policies (social or utilitarian) on predicted organ distribution regarding age, waiting time, recipient sensitization measured by panel reactive antibody level and overall donor-recipient tissue matching (measured by the number of HLA antigen mismatches).

Methods: Using a computerized simulation model, virtual donors and recipients were emulated and organs were allocated according to either social algorithms or utilitarian policies. The resulting number of HLA mismatches, PRA[1], age, and waiting time distributions were compared between allocation strategies.

Results: Simulating allocation of 7,000 organs to 17,000 candidate recipients and implementing social policies yielded donor-recipient compatibility comparable to utilitarian policies (0–1 mm: 19.4% vs. 28%) while allocating 66.7% of organs to long waiters (>48 months).

Conclusion: This computerized simulation model is a valuable tool for decision-makers establishing or modifying organ allocation policies.

[1] PRA = panel reactive antibody

A.B. Chkhotua, T. Klein, E. Shabtai, A. Yussim, N. Bar-Nathan, E. Shaharabani, S. Lustig and E. Mor

Background: Recent advances in immunosuppressive therapy have led to a substantial improvement in the outcome of kidney transplantation. Living unrelated donors may become a source of additional organs for patients on the kidney waiting list.

Objectives: To study the impact of combination of calcineurin inhibitors and mycophenolate-mofetile, together with steroids, on outcomes of living related and unrelated transplants. 

Methods: Between September 1997 and January 2000, 129 patients underwent living related (n=80) or unrelated (n=49) kidney transplant. The mean follow-up was 28.2 months. Immunosuppressive protocols consisted of MMF[1] with cyclosporine (41%) or tacrolimus (59%), plus steroids. Patient and graft survival data, rejection rate, and graft functional parameters were compared between the groups.

Results: LUD[2] recipients were older (47.8 vs. 33.6 years) with higher number of re-transplants (24.5% vs. 11.2% in LRD[3] recipients, P < 0.05). Human leukocyte antigen matching was higher in LRD recipients (P < 0.001). Acute rejection developed in 28.6% of LUD and 27.5% of LRD transplants (P = NS). Creatinine levels at 1, 2 and 3 years post-transplant were 1.6, 1.7 and 1.7 mg/dl for LRD patients and 1.5, 1.5 and 1.3 mg/dl for LUD recipients (P = NS). There was no difference in patient survival rates between the groups. One, 2 and 3 year graft survival rates were similar in LRD (91.3%, 90% and 87.5%) and LUD (89.8%, 87.8% and 87.8%) recipients.

Conclusions: Despite HLA[4] disparity, rejection and survival rates of living unrelated transplants under current immunosuppressive protocols are comparable to those of living related transplants.

[1] MMF = mycophenolate-mofetile

[2] LUD = living unrelated donor

[3] LRD = living related donor

[4] HLA = human leukocyte antigen

P.A. Feldman, J. Steinberg, R. Madeb, G. Bar, O. Nativ, J. Tal and I. Srugo

Background: Seroepidemeliogic surveys have provided valuable information on the prevalence and incidence of herpes simplex virus-2 infection in general and in selected populations.

Objective: To review the reliability of traditional diagnostic approaches in herpes simplex virus-2 infection.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 472 patients attending a clinic for sexually transmitted disease in 1998-1999 were evaluated for HSV-2 infection through collection of epidemiologic and clinical data.

HSV-2 infection was confirmed by the presence of specific Viral glycoprotein, gG-2, antibody in sera.

Results: The seroprevalence of HSV-2 among clinic attendees was 9.33%. Of these attendees only 22% presented with or reported a history of typical vesicular lesions in the genital area. Infection rate was  higher in patients with multiple sex partners (20.8% vs. 8.7%, P< ( 0.0023 in individuals aged 30 or older (12.6 vs. 6.4%, P = 0.03) and  in the Israeli Jewish population as compared to the Israeli Arab population (11.1% vs. 2.4%, P ~ 0.01). Females with multiple sex partners exhibited higher rates of infection than did their male counterparts (50 vs. 16.1%, P < 0.0275(.

Conclusion: The findings support the need for HSV-2 serologi  testing in patients presenting to STD clinics even when typical genital  lesions are not evident but where risk factors for HSV-2 infection are  identified.

M. Dan, N. Kaneti, D. Levin, F. Poch and Z. Samra

Background: Vaginal symptoms are a leading reason for a patient to visit her gynecologist. Little is known about the prevalence of the different causes of vaginitis and the risk factors for this entity in Israel.

Objective: To determine the prevalence in a gynecologic practice in Israel of the main forms of vaginitis: vulvovaginal candidiasis, bacterial vaginosis, and trichomoniasis.

Methods: We evaluated 208 patients presenting with vaginal symptoms to a gynecologic clinic; 100 asymptomatic women who attended the clinic for routine check-up served as controls. Demographic, medical and gynecologic histories were obtained, and a pelvic examination was performed in all patients. Vaginal specimens were tested for pH and amine reaction, smeared for Gram-staining and cultured for yeasts and Trichomonas vaginalis. Bacterial vaginitis was diagnosed using the Nugent scoring system. candida infection was diagnosed by microscopic examination and by culture.

Results: Candida spp. was the most common pathogen, documented by microscopy and culture in 35.5% of symptomatic women and 15% of asymptomatic controls (P < 0.001). Detection by culture only (negative microscopy) was documented in 18.7% of symptomatic patients and 15% of controls (P = 0.5). Bacterial vaginosis (Nugent score ≥ 7) was diagnosed in 23.5% of patients and 13% of controls (P = 0.04). Trichomoniasis was present in 8.1% of symptomatic women and 4% of controls (P = 0.1). The main risk factors were antibiotic use for candidiasis and lack of use of oral contraception and condom use for trichomoniasis.

Conclusion: Candida was by far the most common pathogen detected in our population. A statistically significant difference between patients and controls was noted for the prevalence of microscopically diagnosed candidiasis and bacterial vaginosis.

I. Gotsman, C. Lotan and M. Mosseri

Background: Acute myocardial infarction is rare in people under the age of 30.

Objective: To determine the clinical features and outcome in young patients presenting with AMI.

Methods: All patients aged 30 years and younger hospitalized with AMI during a period of 8 years (1993–2000) were evaluated for clinical features and outcome.

Results: Of the 3,758 patients with AMI, 15 were 30 years old or younger (0.4%). The mean age was 28 (range 21–30 years) and all were male. Eight had normal coronary arteries on angiogram; seven had obstructive coronary artery disease. Patients with OCA[1] had more classical risk factors for coronary disease. A complete diagnostic work-up was abnormal in four patients with NCA[2]: thrombophilia in two patients, spasm due to alcohol withdrawal and hyperthyroidism in one patient each. All patients presented with typical new-onset chest pain. None had a previous history of angina. All patients with OCA received reperfusion therapy as compared to one patient with NCA. Peak creatine phosphokinase in NCA and OCA was 504 ± 547 and 1,328 ± 440 respectively (P < 0.01). All patients with NCA had good left ventricular function on follow-up echocardiography, compared to only three in the OCA group (P = 0.02). There was one death due to cardiogenic shock in a patient with OCA. Follow-up of 4 ± 2 years demonstrated recurrent acute coronary syndromes in four of seven patients with OCA versus none in the NCA patients (P = 0.02).

Conclusions: AMI is rare in very young patients, and more than half have NCA. A thrombophilic tendency or spasm should be considered. Young patients with NCA have an excellent prognosis.

[1] OCA = obstructive coronary artery disease

[2] NCA = normal coronary arteries

A. Peleg, T. Hershcovici, R. Lipa, R. Anbar, M. Redler and Y. Beigel

Background: The beneficial effect of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutyaryl co-enzyme A reductase inhibitors on cardiovascular risk reduction has been clearly established. Concerns have been raised that lowering blood cholesterol by other hypolipidemic drugs or by a non-pharmacologic approach may have deleterious effects on psychopathologic parameters. Garlic is one of the most commonly used herbal remedies and is considered to have hypocholesterolemic as well as other cardio-protective properties. Its effect on psychopathologic parameters has never been reported.

Objectives: To evaluate the effect of garlic on lipid parameters and depression, impulsivity, hostility and temperament in patients with primary type 2 hyperlipidemia.

Methods: In a 16 week prospective double-blind placebo-controlled study, 33 patients with primary hypercholesterolemia and no evidence of cardiovascular disease were randomly assigned to receive either garlic or placebo. Garlic in the form of alliin 22.4 mg/day was given to 13 patients, and placebo to 20. Both groups received individual dietary counseling. The changes in lipid profile and the various psychopathologic parameters were determined at the beginning and end of the trial. The differences in lipid parameters were evaluated by Student’s t-test. The psychological data were analyzed by one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with repeated measures and Neuman-Keuls test.

Results: No significant changes were observed in levels of total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein-cholesterol, high density lipoprotein-cholesterol and triglycerides, or in the psychopathologic parameters evaluated.

Conclusion: Short-term garlic therapy in adults with mild to moderate hypercholesterolemia does not affect either lipid levels or various psychopathologic parameters.

R. Gerrah, E. Rudis, A. Elami, E. Milgalter, U. Izhar and G. Merin

Background: About 40% of patients with infective endocarditis will require surgical treatment. The guidelines for such treatment were formulated by the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association in 1998.

Objectives: To examine our experience with surgical treatment of infective endocarditis in light of these guidelines.

Methods: Surgery was performed in 59 patients with infective endocarditis between 1990 and 1999. The patients' mean age was 48 years (range 13–80). The indications for surgery were hemodynamic instability, uncontrolled infection, and peripheral embolic events. The surgical treatment was based on elimination of infection foci and correction of the hemodynamic derangement. These objectives were met with valve replacement in the majority of patients. Whenever conservative surgery was possible, resection of vegetation and subsequent valve repair were performed and the native valve was preserved.

Results: Six patients (10%) died perioperatively from overwhelming sepsis (n=3), low cardiac output (n=2) and multiorgan failure (n=1). The mean hospital stay was 15.6 days. Of 59 patients, 47 (80%) underwent valve replacement and in 11 (19%) the surgical treatment was based on valve repair. After 1 year of follow up, there was no re-infection.

Conclusion: The new guidelines for surgical treatment of infective endocarditis allow better selection of patients and timing of surgery for this aggressive disease, which consequently decreases the mortality rate. Valve repair is feasible and is preferred whenever possible. According to the new guidelines, patients with neurologic deficit in our series would not have been operated upon, potentially decreasing the operative mortality to 7%.

D. Marchaim, M. Hallak, L. Gortzak-Uzan, N. Peled, K. Riesenberg and F. Schlaeffer

Background: In southern Israel, a discrepancy between a relatively high prevalence of Group B streptococcus maternal carriage (12.3%) and a very low incidence of neonatal disease (0.1/1,000 live births) has been found despite the fact that no preventive strategy has been implemented.

Objectives: To determine the risk factors for maternal carriage in order to clarify this discrepancy and further examine the different aspects of GBS[1] in southern Israel.

Methods: Cultures for GBS were obtained from 681 healthy pregnant women and relevant demographic and obstetric data were collected. The medical records of 86 neonates born to carrier women were retrospectively examined. Statistical analysis was performed using the Pearson chi-square test.

Results: Women who were not born in Israel, particularly immigrants from the former USSR, were significantly prone to carry the pathogen compared to native Israeli women (Bedouin Arabs and Jews) (P = 0.03).

Conclusions: A high GBS transmission rate is expected among immigrants who came from areas with a high prevalence of maternal carriage to one with a low incidence of neonatal disease environment and were not subject to any preventive strategy. Clinical attention should be directed to this issue throughout Israel.

[1] GBS = Group B Streptococcus

R. Greenberg, Y. Barnea, S. Schneebaum, H. Kashtan, O. Kaplan and Y. Skornik

Background: Drains are inserted in the dissected axilla of most patients during surgery for breast cancer.

Objective: To evaluate the presence and prognostic value of MUC1 and Met-HGF/SF in the axillary drainage of these patients.

Methods: The study group included 40 consecutive patients with invasive ductal carcinoma of the breast who were suitable for breast-conserving treatment; 20 malignant melanoma patients found to have negative axillary sentinel lymph node served as the control group. The output of the drains, which had been placed in the axilla during operation, was collected, and the presence of MUC1, Met-hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor and b-actin were assessed in the lymphatic fluid by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction assays. The data were compared to the pathologic features of the tumor and the axillary lymph nodes, and to the estrogen and progesterone receptors status.

Results: RT-PCR[1] assays of the axillary lymphatic drainage were positive for MUC1 and Met-HGF/SF[2] in 15 (37.5%) and 26 (65%) of the patients, respectively. Patients in whom MUC1 and Met-HGF/SF were not found in the axillary fluid had smaller tumors and less capillary and lymphatic invasion, compared to patients with positive assays (P < 0.02 for all these comparisons). The lymph nodes were negative for metastases in all patients with negative assays (P < 0.001). The presence of MUC1 and Met-HGF/SF showed negative correlations with the estrogen and progesterone receptors (P < 0.05).

Conclusion: MUC1 and Met-HGF/SF can be detected in the axillary fluids of patients with breast cancer. The expression of both tumor markers in the axillary drainage is strongly associated with unfavorable tumor features and can be used as a prognostic factor.

[1] RT-PCR = reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction

[2] HGF/SF = hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor

M. Birger, M. Swartz, D. Cohen, Y. Alesh, C. Grishpan and M. Kotelr

The relevance of central neurotransmission to aggressive and impulsive behavior has become more evident due to extensive research in humans and in animals. Among other findings, there are abundant data relating low serotonergic activity – as measured by low cerebrospinal fluid 5-hydroxyindolacetic acid, and a blunted response of prolactin to fenfluramine – to impulsive behavior. Many studies on testosterone activity show a relation between high plasma levels and a tendency towards aggression. It is hypothesized that the interaction between low serotonin and high testosterone levels in the central nervous system has a significant effect on the neural mechanisms involved in the expression of aggressive behavior. It seems that testosterone modulates serotonergic receptors activity in a way that directly affects aggression, fear and anxiety. Our survey reviews the main findings on serotonin, testosterone and the possible interaction between them with regard to these behavioral phenomena.

D. Nitzan Kaluski and A. Leventhal

Only one case of a cow infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy has been reported in Israel. Its publication, in 2002, caused both public and professional concern. The inevitable health policy question raised was whether or not to recommend against consuming beef and what public health measures should be taken. In this article we describe the prion diseases among animals and humans, their interaction and the precautionary procedures that were carried out by the state Veterinary Services and the Ministry of Health since 1988. The BSE[1] case (a 10 year old dairy cow) is believed to be the result of local consumption of infected food with mammalian meat and bone meal more than a decade earlier. The risk assessment took into consideration that no cases of vCJD (a new variant of Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease) have ever been diagnosed in Israel, as well as the low risk of contamination of the meat due to the religious method of slaughtering performed in the country. The policy decision was to implement a contingency plan prepared in advance. Israel was reclassified from the level II category of geographic risk where BSE is unlikely but not excluded in the herds, to level III, where BSE is likely but not confirmed, or confirmed at a lower level. No undue damage to the meat industry has occurred. By the end of 2002, despite the examination of more than 3,800 brains from slaughtered cows older than 3 years, no other cases of BSE have been detected.


[1] BSE = bovine spongiform encephalopathy

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M. Jmoudiak, M. Itzchaki, I. Hadas-Halpern, M. Hrebicek, K. Hodanova, D. Elstein and A. Zimran
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