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עמוד בית
Sun, 16.06.24

December 2002

Original Articles
David Varssano MD, Adi Michaeli-Cohen MD and Anat Loewenstein MD

Background: Pterygium is a common disease in Israel. Different surgical techniques are used to manage it with varying degrees of success.

Objectives: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of a conjunctival autograft after excision of pterygium.

Methods: Excision followed by conjunctival autograft was used to treat 40 eyes of 40 patients with pterygium. The surgical results were evaluated retrospectively. Follow-up continued for a median of 296 days (range 6±1,056); 26 cases were followed for more than 100 days (average 418 days) and comprised the study cohort. All reported procedures were performed consequentially and by one surgeon in the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Israel between 1 June 1997 and 31 March 2000.

Results: There were two recurrences of pterygium (2/26, 7.7%) 2 months postoperatively. There were no major complications. Super-ficial corneal vessels (without concurrent fibrosis) appeared in 10 of 17 cases sutured with nylon, but none occurred in any of the seven grafts sutured with vicryl (P = 0.068). The average LogMAR-corrected visual acuity of the study group improved slightly, from 6/16.5 to 6/11 (P = 0.003).

Conclusions: Excision of pterygium with a conjunctival autograft is a safe and effective operation, with no procedure-specific added surgical risks. The relatively long surgical time and microsurgical methods required to perform the procedure properly have hindered its acceptance as the mainstream approach to pterygium management. Long-term follow-up is needed for better discernment of the surgical results in Israel.

Salvatore De Vita MD, Rosaria Damato MD, Ginevra De Marchi MD, Stefania Sacco MD and Gianfranco Ferraccioli MD

Background: Hepatis C virus infection is presently an exclusion criterion to classify SjoÈ gren's syndrome; however, there are distinct clinicopathologic and biologic similarities between HCV-related and SS-related chronic inflammation of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue and lymphoproliferation that suggest common pathogenetic pathways.

Objectives: To determine whether a subset of patients with sicca syndrome and HCV infection may present a true primary SS rather than a distinct clinicobiologic entity.

Methods: We extensively characterized 20 consecutive patients with positive anti-HCV antibodies and heavy subjective dry eye and/or dry mouth symptoms, plus positive unstimulated sialometry and/or Shirmer's test. We then compared these features with those in HCV-negative primary SS controls (classified according to the latest American-European Consensus Group Classification Criteria for SS).

Results: Of the 20 HCV-positive patients with sicca manifesta-tions, 12 (60%) had positive anti-SSA/SSB antibodies (3/12 by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and 6/12 by immunoblot) and/or positive salivary gland biopsy (at least 1 focus/4 mm2), which met the strict classification criteria for SS, as in the case of HCV-negative SS controls. Comparing the HCV-positive SS subset with HCV-negative SS controls showed similar female to male ratio (11/1 vs. 46/4), major salivary gland swelling (17% vs. 26%), positive antinuclear antibodies (75 vs. 94%) and positive rheumatoid factor (58 vs. 52%). Significant differences (P< 0.05) were seen in mean age (69 vs. 56 years), liver disease (50 vs. 2%), lung disease (25 vs. 0%), anti-SSA/SSB positivity (25 vs. 90%), and low C3 or C4 (83 vs. 36%). HCV-positive SS patients exhibited a trend for more frequent chronic gastritis (50 vs. 22%), fibromyalgia (33 vs. 14%), peripheral neuropathy (33 vs. 18%), purpura (33 vs. 19%) and cryoglobulinemia (33 vs. 6%).

Conclusions: A major subset of HCV-positive patients with definite subjective sicca symptoms and positive objective tests may indeed present a true, though peculiar, subset of SS. There are strict similarities with key clinical, pathologic and immunologic findings of definite HCV-negative SS. Other features appear more characteristic of HCV infection. When also considering that HCV is sialotropic and may be treated, HCV-related chronic sialadenitis represents a unique opportunity to clarify key pathogenetic events occurring in the large majority of HCV-negative SS; and similarities to typical primary SS, rather than differences, should be taken into account.

Ada Kessler MD, Annat Blank MD, Hadar Merhav MD, Dan Orron MD, Fred Konikoff MD, Ran Oren MD, Arie Figer MD, Nissim Marouani MD, Judith Weiss MD, Mordechai Gutman MD, and Moshe Graif MD.

Background: Despite advances in cancer therapy the treatment of liver tumors remains a challenge. Most patients are poor candidates for surgical resection; both chemotherapy and irradiation have a low success rate and neither is without complications. New minimally invasive techniques for ablation of unresectable tumors have gained attention as effective treatment alternatives. Among these are percutaneous ethanol injection and radiofrequency ablation; both are effective for primary liver tumors and RFA is also effective for hepatic metastases.

Objective: To report our experience with PEI and RFA in the treatment of hepatic lesions.

Methods: The study included 49 lesions in 27 patients: 23 primary lesions in 13 patients treated with PEI and 26 lesions (22 secondary and 4 primary) in 14 patients treated with RFA. PEI was performed on an outpatient basis in the ultrasound suite; RFA was done in hospitalized patients (9 in the ultrasound suite and 4 in the operating room). Patients were followed with triphasic spiral computerized tomography 1 month after treatment and every 3±6 months thereafter.

Results: Complete necrosis was achieved with PEI on the first attempt in 11 of 23 primary lesions (91.3%). In 8.7% (2/23) a second series of treatments was required. Using RFA, complete necrosis was achieved in 85% of lesions (22/26) and partial necrosis in 15% (4/26). Complications included low fever (3 patients), high fever and abscess formation (1 patient), peri-tumoral necrosis (1 patient ) and portal vein thrombosis (1 patient ).

Conclusions: Our preliminary results confirm that PEI and RFA are an effective and safe option for treating hepatic tumors in patients unfit for surgery.

JoeÈ l Zlotogora MD PhD, Yona Amitai MD, Dorit Nitzan Kaluski MD MPH RD and Alex Leventhal MD MPH MPA

Background: Open neural tube defects are among the most common malformations of the fetus. Secondary prevention by early diagnosis during pregnancy and abortion of affected fetuses result in a marked reduction of NTD incidence at birth. The dramatic effect of folic acid for primary prevention of these defects led to recommendations for folic acid supplementation in women of reproductive age.

Objective: To describe the epidemiologic features of NTD in Israel in 1999±2000.

Methods: A national registry of NTD was begun in 1999. During the years 1999±2000, a non-syndromic NTD was diagnosed in at least 394 pregnancies (166 anencephaly, 166 spina bifida, 43 encephalo-cele, and 19 with other types of NTD). The religious-ethnic affiliation was known in 392 cases (209 Jews and 183 non-Jews).

Results: Despite a marked decline in the rate of NTD at birth in the last few decades, the total rates during pregnancy did not change significantly, demonstrating that the changes were secondary to termination of affected pregnancies. At birth, NTD were almost four times more frequent among non-Jews (3.6 per 10,000 live births for anencephaly and 5.9 for spina bifida) than among Jews (anencephaly 1/10,000 live births, spina bifida 1.4/10,000 live births). The complete data of the registry showed an approximately twofold difference in the overall rates during pregnancy between Jews (anencephaly 5.3, spina bifida 4.6, total 11/10,000 live births) and non-Jews (anencephaly 8.8, spina bifida 10.3, total 22.3/10,000 live births). The registry demon-strated that the significant differences in NTD incidence observed at birth between Jews and non-Jews are secondary to a combined effect of a higher frequency of the malformations among non-Jews and a lower proportion of termination of affected pregnancies among non-Jews.

Conclusions: The data presented here will serve as a basis for evaluating the impact of the Ministry of Health recommendations for folic acid supplementation on the incidence of NTD.

Shlomo Eliyahu MD, Ehud Weiner MD, Zohar Nachum MD and Eliezer Shalev MD.

Background: Prematurity remains the most significant cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality. Knowing which group of women is at risk for developing preterm labor will define a target population for better prenatal care and prevention modalities.

Objective: To examine whether preterm delivery rates are associated with ethnicity, age, parity, and style of living.

Methods: We conducted a longitudinal case series examining obstetric and demographic data of 17,493 deliveries that occurred between June 1994 and May 1999. All deliveries were performed in the obstetric department of HaEmek Medical Center (Afula, Israel), which serves as a referral center. The main outcome measures were preterm delivery, as related to the women's ethnicity, age parity, and style of living ± namely, town, village, or kibbutz.

Results: The overall preterm delivery rate was 8.5%. The preterm delivery rate in non-Jewish women (10.5%) was higher than in Jewish women (7.1%) (P < 0.00001). The preterm delivery rate in women younger than 20 or older than 40 (12.5%) was much higher than in women between the ages of 21 and 40 (8.0%) (P< 0.00001). Grand-multipara women (>8) had a higher preterm delivery rate (13.8%) than less parous women (8.5%) (P < 0.012). Style of living was also associated with the preterm delivery rate (P< 0.00001): kibbutz 5.5%, Jewish towns 7.8%, non-Jewish towns 8.7%, Jewish villages 6.7%, and non-Jewish villages 11.0%.

Conclusions: Style of living, ethnicity, age and parity are statistically significant risk factors for preterm delivery in our area. These factors provide a more definable target population for better prenatal care.

Yehonatan Sharabi MD, Idit Reshef-Haran MS, Moshe Burstein MD and Arieh Eldad MD

Background: Some studies have indicated a possible link between cigarette smoking and hearing loss.

Objectives: To analyze the association between smoking and hearing loss, other than that induced by noise, and to characterize the type of HL impairment found in smokers.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cross-sectional study in 13,308 men aged 20±68 (median 34.6 years) who underwent a hearing test as part of a routine periodic examination. For each subject, age, smoking status (current, past or non-smokers) and number of cigarettes per day were noted and a hearing test was performed. The test was performed in a sealed, soundproof room by an experienced audiologist and included pure tone audiometry of 250±8,000 Hz. The audiograms were analyzed and subjects were accordingly divided into two groups: those with HL and at least one of the following impairments in at least one ear: sensorineural, conductive or mixed; and those with no hearing loss (control). Audiograms showing HL typical to noise exposure were excluded.

Results: The prevalence of any type of HL among subjects <35 years was 4.5%, compared to 10.5% among those >35 years (P < 0.0001). A significantly higher incidence of any type of HL was found in current (11.8%) and past smokers (11.7%) than in non-smokers (8.1%) (P < 0.0001). The risk increment of the smoking status for developing HL among subjects under age 35 was 43%, and 17% among those above 35 years. Both mild, flat, sensorineural impairment and conductive impairment were found to be associated particularly with smoking (odds ratio 2.2 and 1.9, respectively).

Conclusions: The incidence of HL unrelated to noise exposure is higher in smokers than in non-smokers, and in young adults the effect is greater.

Davut Keskin MD, Naci Ezirmik MD and Hakan CË elik MD

Background: Familial multiple lipomatosis is an extremely rare disease. The disease usually does not affect the daily life of FML victims, but they may experience difficulty in performing everyday physical tasks if the lipomas are multiple and large. Inheritance is frequently by autosomal dominant transmission, although cases with recessive inheritance have also been reported.

Objectives: To determine the pattern of inheritance of the disease in a family with 83 members spanning three generations.

Methods: A complete family analysis was performed and all surviving members of the family were examined. Laboratory investiga-tions were conducted in those with FML, including serum lipid, cholesterol and glucose levels, white blood cell count, hemoglobin, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and renal and hepatic function tests.

Results: There were no consanguineous relationships between spouses in the family. The disease was first seen on the neck of the (male) index patient. This patient had 4 sons, 8 daughters and 60 grandchildren. The disease was established in four of his daughters and two of his sons. One of the female grandchildren whose mother has the disease was also affected. The laboratory findings were normal for all patients.

Conclusion: Our findings showed that a) the disease is transmitted by the autosomal dominant route of inheritance; and b) lipomas observed at an early age may be numerous and large, may diffuse, and sometimes have to be excised surgically.

David B. Geffen MD and Sophia Man MD

Between 1990 and 2001, altogether 28 new anticancer drugs were approved for use in Israel. The new agents include cytotoxic drugs, biologic compounds, and hormone therapies. Among the cytotoxic agents introduced, the taxanes, vinorelbine, gemcitabine, irinotecan, topotecan and temozolomide, represent important new drugs active in a range of solid malignancies including lung, breast, ovarian, bladder, pancreatic, and colon cancer as well as brain tumors. Epirubicin, idarubicin, and liposomal doxorubicin offer less toxic and in some instances more effective alternatives to older anthracylines for leukemia, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and other diseases. New oral agents are offering a chance for disease palliation without the need for burdensome intravenous access. Rituximab and trastuzumab have introduced monoclonal antibody therapy to the clinic, substantially improving the treatment of patients with lymphoma and breast cancer, respectively. The first tyrosine kinase inhibitor, a molecularly targeted therapy, imatinib, was approved for use in chronic myeloid leukemia and has also shown remarkable activity in gastrointestinal stromal tumors. A variety of aromatase inhibitors have provided less toxic and more effective hormone therapy for the treatment of breast cancer. The challenge for clinicians is to optimize the use of the new available agents for their patients' benefit, and the challenge for health policy-makers in Israel is to integrate the new anticancer pharmaceuticals into the basic health benefits package mandated for all citizens.

Jayson Rapoport BSc MB MRCP, Alexander Kagan MD and Michael M. Friedlaender BM FRCP
Itai Berger MD, Solomon Jaworowski MBBS FRANZCP and Varda Gross-Tsur MD
Pulmonology Update
Case Communications
Arie Ariche MD, Ilan Shelef MD, Nir. Hilzenrat MD and Zeev Dreznik MD.
Joseph Laufer MD, Galia Grisaru-Soen MD, Orith Portnoy MD and Yoram Mor MD
Gilles Morali MD1, Rifaat Safadi MD, Orit Pappo MD, Oded Jurim MD and Daniel Shouval MD
Naomi A. Avramovitch MD, Moshe Y. Flugelman MD, David A. Halon MB ChB and Basil S. Lewis MD FRCP
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