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עמוד בית Wed, 26.06.19

August 2013

Original Articles
A. Segev, D. Spiegelstein, P. Fefer, A. Shinfeld, I. Hay, E. Raanani and V. Guetta

Background: Trans-catheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) has emerged as a novel therapeutic approach for patients with severe tricuspid aortic stenosis (AS) not suitable for aortic valve replacement.

Objectives: To describe our initial single-center experience with TAVI in patients with "off-label" indications.

Methods: Between August 2008 and December 2011 we performed TAVI in 186 patients using trans-femoral, trans-axillary, trans-apical and trans-aortic approaches. In 11 patients (5.9%) TAVI was undertaken due to: a) pure severe aortic regurgitation (AR) (n=2), b) prosthetic aortic valve (AV) failure (n=5), c) bicuspid AV stenosis (n=2), and d) prosthetic valve severe mitral regurgitation (MR) (n=2).

Results: Implantation was successful in all: six patients received a CoreValve and five patients an Edwards-Sapien valve. In-hospital mortality was 0%. Valve hemodynamics and function were excellent in all patients except for one who received an Edwards-Sapien that was inside a Mitroflow prosthetic AV and led to consistently high trans-aortic gradients. No significant residual regurgitation in AR and MR cases was observed.
Conclusions: TAVI is a good alternative to surgical AV replacement in high risk or inoperable patients with severe AS. TAVI for non-classical indications such as pure AR, bicuspid AV, and failed prosthetic aortic and mitral valves is feasible and safe and may be considered in selected patients. 

R. Somech, A. Lev, A.J. Simon, D. Korn, B.Z. Garty, N. Amariglio, G. Rechavi, S. Almashanu, J. Zlotogora and A. Etzioni
 Background: Enumeration of T cell receptor excision circles (TREC) was recently adopted as a neonatal screening assay for severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID). Enumeration of kappa-deleting recombination excision circle (KREC) copy numbers can be similarly used for early assessment of B cell lymphopenia.

Objective: To assess the ability of TREC and KREC counts to identify patients with combined T and B cell immunodeficiency in a pilot study in Israel.

Methods: We studied seven children born in Israel during the years 2010–2011 and later diagnosed with SCID, and an additional patient with pure B cell immunodeficiency. TREC and KREC in peripheral blood upon diagnosis and in their neonatal Guthrie cards were analyzed using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction, as were Guthrie cards with dried blood spots from healthy newborns and from normal and SCID-like controls.

Results: The first features suggestive of SCID presented at age 3.1 ± 2.4 months in all patients. Yet, the diagnosis was made 4.1 ± 2.9 months later. Their TREC were undetectable or significantly low at their clinical diagnosis and in their originally stored Guthrie cards, irrespective of the amount of their circulating T cells. KREC were undetectable in six SCID patients who displayed B cell lymphopenia in addition to T cell lymphopenia. KREC were also undetectable in one patient with pure B cell immunodeficiency.

Conclusions: TREC and KREC quantification are useful screening tests for severe T and B cell immunodeficiency. Implementation of these tests is highly important especially in countries such as Israel where a high frequency of consanguinity is known to exist. 

L. Goldberg, J. Dreiher, M. Friger, A. Levin and P. Shvartzman
 Background: The Qassam rocket attacks on southern Israel during the years 2000–2007 created a unique situation of life under a continuous threat. The effect of this unique situation on health services utilization has not been previously evaluated.

Objectives: To evaluate health utilization patterns in two primary care clinics in southern Israel: one under continuous attacks of Qassam rockets as compared with a similar clinic not under a rocket threat.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cross-sectional study in two primary care clinics in southern Israel, with 11,630 persons listed in the two clinics during the entire study period. The primary outcome measures were total annual number of visits per person to the clinic and for specific diagnoses, and the number of drug prescriptions issued, emergency room (ER) visits, hospitalization days, cardiac catheterizations and coronary bypass surgeries.

Results: In both clinics there was an increase over time in the mean annual number of visits per person. During the years of severe attacks there was an increase in visits with a chief complaint of depression and anxiety and an increase in the number of anxiolytic prescriptions in the study clinic compared with the control. During the same period there was a decrease in the number of ER visits in the study clinic compared with the control.

Conclusions: The population under continuous life-threatening events showed more depression and anxiety problems. Under severe bombardment, the residents prefer not to leave home, unless necessary.


G. Segal, I. Alperson, Y. Levo and R. Hershkovitz
 Background: Predicting mortality is important in treatment planning and professional duty towards patients and their families.

Objectives: To evaluate the predictive value regarding patients' survival once the diagnosis of “general deterioration” replaces an ICD-9 diagnosis upon re-admission.

Methods: In a retrospective cohort case-control study, we screened the records of patients re-admitted at least three times during the past 2 years. For each patient's death during the third hospitalization, we matched (for age and gender) a patient who survived the third hospitalization. We evaluated 14 parameters potentially accountable for increased risk of mortality, e.g., length of stay at each admission, interval to re-admission, etc. We applied a multifactorial analysis using logistic regression to predict the risk of mortality during the third hospitalization as potentially affected by the aforementioned parameters.

Results: The study included 81 study patients and 81 controls. Of the 14 parameters potentially explaining an increased risk of mortality during the third hospitalization, several were found to be statistically significant. The most significant was the diagnostic switch from a specific ICD-9 diagnosis on first admission to the non-specific diagnosis of “general deterioration” at the second hospitalization. In such cases, the risk of death during the third hospitalization was increased by 5300% (odds ratio = 54, P = 0.008). The increased risk of mortality was not restricted to patients with malignancy as their background diagnosis.

Conclusions: At re-admission, a switch from disease-specific diagnosis to the obscure diagnosis “general deterioration” increases the subsequent risk of mortality.


O. Kassis, N. Katz, S. Ravid and G. Pillar
 Background: Post-lunch dip is a well-known phenomenon that results in a substantial deterioration in function and productivity after lunch.

Objectives: To assess whether a new herbal-based potentially wake-promoting beverage is effective in counteracting somnolence and reduced post-lunch performance.

Methods: Thirty healthy volunteers were studied on three different days at the sleep clinic. On each visit they ate a standard lunch at noontime, followed by a drink of "Wake up®," 50 mg caffeine, or a placebo in a cross-over double-blind regimen. At 30 and 120 minutes post-drinking, they underwent a battery of tests to determine the effects of the beverage. These included: a) a subjective assessment of alertness and performance based on a visual analog scale, and b) objective function tests: the immediate word recall test, the digit symbol substitution test (DSST), and hemodynamic measurements. The results of the three visits were compared using one-way analysis of variance, with P < 0.05 considered statistically significant.

Results: In all performance tests, subjective vigilance and effectiveness assessment, both Wake up® and caffeine were significantly superior to placebo 30 minutes after lunch. However, at 2 hours after lunch, performance had deteriorated in those who drank the caffeine-containing drink, while Wake up® was superior to both caffeine and placebo. Blood pressure and pulse were higher 2 hours after caffeine ingestion, compared to both Wake up® and placebo.

Conclusions: These results suggest that a single dose of Wake up® is effective in counteracting the somnolence and reduced performance during the post-lunch hours. In the current study it had no adverse hemodynamic consequences.


R. Cooper-Kazaz
 Background: Many tertiary hospitals provide psychiatric services that treat diverse clinical situations. Most patients referred to these services following a serious suicide attempt have psychiatric diagnoses, but their unique characteristics and needs are not known.

Objectives: To examine the files of patients hospitalized in a tertiary hospital in Israel following a serious suicide attempt. Their mental conditions were determined and their unique demographic and clinical characteristics and needs compared to the other patients examined by the psychiatric service.

Methods: The study focused on 49 consecutive patients admitted after performing a life-threatening suicide attempt. They were compared to 389 non-suicidal patients assessed by the same psychiatric service during one year.

Results: Nearly half the patients hospitalized following a serious suicide attempt had only an axis II diagnosis (personality disorder). Non-violent methods of suicide were used predominantly by females, and violent methods mainly by males. All suicide attempts by Muslims used violent methods, while less than half the attempts by Jews were violent. Compared to the non-suicidal patients, the suicide-attempters group was younger, had greater representation of Jewish females and Muslim males. Compared to the non-suicidal patients, these patients required more intense psychiatric care, earlier commencement of treatment in the course of hospitalization, more psychiatric visits and treatment hours, and more referrals for further care. Several risk factors appear to be associated with a need for more intense in-hospital care and a greater need for referral: male gender, religion, method of suicide attempt (violent vs. non-violent), and the existence of a psychiatric diagnosis.

Conclusions: Suicide-attempt patients who are in need of hospitalization for further medical treatment have unique clinical characteristics and require more intense treatment provided by the Consultation-Liaison Unit. 


M. Drendel, E. Carmel, P. Kerimis, M. Wolf and Y. Finkelstein
 Background: Cricopharyngeal achalasia (CA) is a rare cause of dysphagia in children presenting with non-specific symptoms such as choking, food regurgitation, nasal reflux, coughing, recurrent pneumonia, cyanosis, and failure to thrive. It results from failure of relaxation of the upper esophageal sphincter (UES) and may appear either as an isolated lesion or in conjunction with other pathologies. Recognition and early diagnosis of this condition may minimize children's morbidity.

Objectives: To evaluate the clinical course of four children with cricopharyngeal achalasia presenting to our clinic.

Methods: We conducted a 5 year retrospective chart review in a tertiary referral center.

Results: Four children were diagnosed with primary cricopharyngeal achalasia between 2006 and 2010. Diagnosis was established by videofluoroscopy and all underwent uneventful cricopharyngeal myotomy. Three children recovered completely and one child showed partial improvement. For residual UES spasm in a partially improved patient, botulinum toxin was injected into the UES which led to further improvement. Dysphagia recurred in one child who was successfully treated with botulinum toxin injection.

Conclusions: Cricopharyngeal myotomy is a safe procedure in infants and young children. Botulinum toxin injection of the UES was found to be effective in refractory cases. 

E. Rogev and G. Pillar
 Background: Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder. Treatment options are improved sleep hygiene, relaxation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and medications. Studies examining the effect of hypnotics on insomnia reported that placebo had a substantial beneficial effect. Objectives: To evaluate whether placebo is an effective treatment for insomnia.

Methods: We assessed 25 patients with insomnia who were enrolled in a hypnotic study but prior to the study were asked to undergo two full nights in lab polysomnography studies: with and without a placebo. Although they were not explicitly told that they were receiving a placebo, the participants knew that the results of these studies would determine whether they met the criteria to participate in the pharmaceutical study.

Results: Although the participants acknowledged that they were given a placebo, almost all measures of their sleep improved. With placebo, sleep latency was shortened from 55.8 ± 43.5 to 39.8 ± 58.5 minutes (P < 0.05); total sleep time was extended from 283 ± 72.5 to 362.9 ± 56.3 minutes, and sleep efficiency improved from 59.57 ± 14.78 to 75.5 ± 11.70% (P < 0.05). Interestingly, placebo had no effect on the relative sleep stage distribution (percentage of total sleep time), except for a trend toward increased percentage of REM[1] sleep.

Conclusions: Our findings how a clear and significant beneficial effect of placebo on insomnia, despite participants' understanding that they were receiving placebo. These results emphasize the importance of the patients' perception and belief in insomnia treatment, and suggest that in some cases placebo may serve as a treatment.

[1] REM = rapid eye movements

E. Nachum, A. Shinfeld, A. Kogan, S. Preisman, S. Levin and E. Raanani
 Background: Patients with Marfan syndrome are referred for cardiac surgery due to root aneurysm with or without aortic valve regurgitation. Because these patients are young and frequently present with normal-appearing aortic cusps, valve sparing is often recommended. However, due to the genetic nature of the disease, the durability of such surgery remains uncertain.

Methods:  Between February 2004 and June 2012, 100 patients in our department suffering from aortic aneurysm with aortic valve regurgitation underwent elective aortic valve-sparing surgery. Of them, 30 had Marfan syndrome, were significantly younger (30 ± 13 vs. 53 ± 16 years), and had a higher percentage of root aneurysm, compared with ascending aorta aneurysm in their non-Marfan counterparts. We evaluated the safety, durability, clinical and echocardiographic mid-term results of these patients.

Results: While no early deaths were reported in either group, there were a few major early complications in both groups. At follow-up (ranging up to 8 years with a mean of 34 ± 26 months) there were no late deaths, and few major late complications in the Marfan group. Altogether, 96% and 78% of the patients were in New York Heart Association functional class I-II in the Marfan and non-Marfan groups respectively. None of the Marfan patients needed reoperation on the aortic valve. Freedom from recurrent aortic valve regurgitation > 3+ was 94% in the Marfan patients.

Conclusions: Aortic valve-sparing surgery in Marfan symdrome patients is safe and yields good mid-term clinical outcomes.

Case Communications
From Botswana
M.W. Moloi, F. Zhou, K. Baliki, M.K. Kayembe, F. Cainelli and S. Vento
הבהרה משפטית: כל נושא המופיע באתר זה נועד להשכלה בלבד ואין לראות בו ייעוץ רפואי או משפטי. אין הר"י אחראית לתוכן המתפרסם באתר זה ולכל נזק שעלול להיגרם. כל הזכויות על המידע באתר שייכות להסתדרות הרפואית בישראל. מדיניות פרטיות
ז'בוטינסקי 35 רמת גן, בניין התאומים 2 קומות 10-11, ת.ד. 3566, מיקוד 5213604. טלפון: 03-6100444, פקס: 03-5753303