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עמוד בית
Sun, 14.07.24

May 2000

Original Articles
Ziona Haklai MSc, Shimon Glick MD and Jochanan Benbassat MD

Background: The increasing utilization of general internal medicine hospital wards in Israel during the last decade is a source of concern for health policy makers.

Objectives: To report on the distribution of selected main and secondary diagnoses among GIM inpatients, and to estimate the proportion of disorders for which appropriate care in the community will reduce the need for hospital admissions and re-admissions.

Methods: Data from the Health Information and Computer Services of the Israel Ministry of Health (national hospitalization database) for a one year period were analyzed by distribution of diagnostic entities (ICD-9-CM) in GIM and in medical subspecialty wards.

Results: Of the 313,824 discharges from hospital divisions of medicine in 1995, 256,956 (81.9%) were from GIM and 56,868 (18.1%) from specialty wards. Main and secondary discharge diagnoses were available for 188,807 GIM and 35,992 specialty patients. Of all main diagnoses in GIM wards, 27% were coded as "general or systemic symptoms and signs" or as "abnormal laboratory or ill defined manifestations" (ICD-9-CM codes 780-799, 276,277), and heart diseases comprised another 27%. The remaining main diagnoses covered almost all medical conditions. The combined proportion of "ambulatory care sensitive hospital admissions" (bronchial asthma, hypertension, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes) constituted 12% of all main diagnoses in GIM, and respiratory symptoms or signs comprised another 11%. A by-product of this analysis was an insight into the experience of undergraduate medical students in GIM.

Conclusions: Assuming that 12-75% of admissions for "ambulatory care sensitive disorders" are preventable, an improved review before hospital discharge and a closer outpatient follow-up may reduce the load on GIM wards by 1-17%. This wide range justifies controlled trials to determine the effect of improved community care on hospital utilization. GIM wards offer valuable learning opportunities, but they cannot be a substitute for primary care clinics. The unexplained high proportion of GIM inpatients who were discharged with an unspecified main diagnosis could be detrimental for the accuracy of hospitalization statistics, and justifies investigation by chart audits into physicians' habits of documentation.



GIM= general internal medicine

Dan Miron MD, Raul Colodner MSc and Yoram Kenes PhD

Background: Two recent studies found that the prevalence of cryptosporidiosis among children in Israel was 3.4-7.4%.

Objectives: To assess the cumulative infection rate by testing immunoglobulin A and G seroprevalence for Cryptosporidium in children and adults in Israel.

Patients and Methods: The seroprevalence of IgA and IgG anti-Cryptosporidium antibodies was determined by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay procedure in a group of 163 healthy children and adults.

Results: The overall seroprevalence rates for IgG, IgA, both IgA and IgG, and any immunoglobulin were 12.6%, 23%, 30% and 65.6% respectively. Half the children under the age of 12 years were already infected, with seroprevalence increasing to 95.6% in those over age 13 (P<0.05). Seropositivity for IgG or IgA did not significantly increase with age.

Conclusions: These results indicate that a large percentage of healthy children and adults in northern Israel have been infected with Cryptosporidium, and at early ages.

Lutfi Jaber MD, Tzipora Dolfin MD, Tamy Shohat MD, Gabrielle J. Halpern MB ChB, Orit Reish MD and Moshe Fejgin MD.

Background: A high rate of consanguineous marriages exists within the Israeli Arab community, with approximately half occurring between first cousins. This contributes towards a high incidence of congenital malformations and autosomal recessive diseases, many of which are detectable at prenatal diagnosis.

Objectives: To assess the levels of both awareness and acceptance regarding prenatal diagnosis and termination of pregnancy among a group of Arab women in order to devise the optimal means of providing genetic counseling and general health services.

Methods: A total of 231 Arab women of childbearing age were interviewed 3 days postpartum to assess their knowledge of prenatal diagnosis and termination of pregnancy, their willingness to undergo prenatal diagnosis, and their opinions on termination of pregnancy in the event of a severely affected fetus.

Results: Half the women believed that prenatal testing is not an effective (or accurate) tool for diagnosing an affected fetus. A quarter had poor knowledge on prenatal diagnosis, and a quarter believed that prenatal diagnosis does provide the correct diagnosis. Ninety-five percent said they would agree to undergo prenatal diagnosis; and in the event of a severely affected fetus, 36% said they would agree to a termination of pregnancy, 57% said they would not, and 7% were undecided.

Conclusions: There is a need for special intervention programs, with guidance by health professionals, geneticists and religious authorities, that will inform this population on the increased risk associated with consanguinity, stress the importance and effectiveness of prenatal testing to identify severe congenital malformations, and help them to accept prenatal diagnosis and termination of pregnancy if indicated.

Liubov (Louba) Ben-Noun MD, Aya Biderman MD and Pesach Shvartzman MD

Background: Smoking rates have decreased in western countries as well as in Israel during the past 20 years.

Objectives: To estimate current rates of smoking and smoking cessation, and to assess factors associated with smoking and smoking cessation in family practice.

Methods: Prospective face-to-face interviews were conducted with 1,094 subjects, aged 16 years or older, registered in a family practice.

Results: Of all subjects studied, 746 (68.2%) were non-smokers, 237 (21.7%) were current smokers, and 111 (10.1%) had stopped smoking. Overall, 31.8% of the males and 13.8% of the females were current smokers, and 20.1% males and 2.4% females had stopped smoking. Current smoking and smoking cessation rates were significantly and inversely associated with age among males and females. Smoking rates were higher among males and females who were married, had 10-12 years of education, and among males of North African origin and females of Israeli origin. The number of cigarettes smoked per day was associated with smoking and smoking cessation in males, but not in females. The highest rate of quitting occurred among males who smoked 25 cigarettes per day. In a multiple regression analysis, gender and the number of cigarettes smoked per day were the most significant factors that predicted smoking cessation. The most common reason for stopping was the appearance of new signs of illness or the development of a new chronic disease, followed by a physician's recommendation to quit smoking.

Conclusions: Female smokers and male smokers who smoke less than 25 cigarettes per day are the least likely to quit smoking. Future programs should be designed for and targeted at these groups of patients.

Ami D. Sperber MD MSPH, Merav Goren-Lerer MD, Aya Peleg PhD and Michael Friger PhD

Background: Smoking is the most important preventable cause of chronic disease in the western world. Many smokers want to quit, but have difficulty overcoming the addictive effect of nicotine.

Objectives: To assess the quitting rate of smokers who participated in smoking cessation groups and to characterize predictors of success or failure over a 1-3 year follow-up period.

Methods: We studied 89 participants in 7 groups. Questionnaires were completed at baseline and after a follow-up period of 1 to 3 years. Smoking cessation was determined by self-report and a carbon monoxide breath test.

Results: Of the 89 participants in the support groups 76 (85%) were located. An intention-to-treat analysis was done for these participants. At follow-up 25 (33%) were non-smokers. There was a 95% agreement rate between self-report of smoking status and CO breath analysis. There were no differences between quitters and non-quitters in education level, gender, age at initiation of smoking, previous quit attempts, extent of participation in group meetings, concern about gaining weight, Fagerstrom index, or the number of close friends or relatives who smoke. Belief in one's ability to quit, satisfaction with group meetings, and spouse support were significantly associated with success (P<0.01).

Conclusions: The quit rate was 33%. Self-report is a reliable method for assessing smoking status. Smokers' belief in their ability to quit must be reinforced. Spouse participation in some group meetings may be beneficial, as may the involvement of a dietician and an expert on exercise. Follow-up "booster" meetings may also help.



CO= carbon monoxide

* In partial fulfilment of the requirements for an MD degree.

Perla Werner PhD and Iris Vered MD

Background: Osteoporosis is the most common human bone disease. It affects millions of persons throughout the world and its prevalence will increase as the population ages worldwide.

Objective: To assess Israeli physicians' attitudes and knowledge with regard to management of osteoporosis.

Methods: A questionnaire was mailed to 1,900 Israeli physicians concerning their attitudes to the management of osteoporosis, their prescribing habits, and their knowledge on the pharmacological treatment of the disease.

Results: Replies were received from 19% of the physicians. The respondents encouraged physical activity and cessation of smoking for all women, and prescribed estrogen replacement as the main treatment for 50-year-old women. A relatively low level of knowledge was found regarding the adequate dosage of several of the pharmacological treatments.

Conclusions: The findings of the present study stress the need to provide clear guidelines and to extend physicians' knowledge regarding the management of osteoporosis.

Josef Ben-Ari MD, Imad R. Makhoul MD DSc, Raymond J. Dorio MD, Sue Buckley MSc,David Warburton MD and Sharyn M. Walker

Background: Exposure of newborn animals to high concentrations of oxygen leads to diffuse alveolar damage similar to that seen in bronchopulmonary dysplasia in human infants. Therefore, neonatal rats are a suitable practical model of hyperoxic lung damage in human infants.

Objective: To determine the involvement of tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-6 in lung injury in neonatal rats exposed to 100% O2 concentration.

Methods: A randomized controlled study was designed in which litters of term Sprague-Dawley rat pups were assigned to experimental or control groups. The pups in the experimental group were placed in 100% O2 from birth for 9 days, while the control pups were placed in room air. Twelve to 15 pups from each group were sacrificed on day 1, 3, 6, 9 and 13 after birth for bronchoalveolar lavage collection and lung histologic study. The bronchoalveolar lavage fluid was assayed for TNFα and IL-6.

Results: Newborn rats exposed to 100% O2 for the first 9 days of life showed severe pulmonary edema and hypercellularity on days 1 and 3, which then improved to nearly complete resolution on days 6 and 9. Pulmonary TNFα was produced early on O2 exposure (day 3) and pulmonary IL-6 later (days 6 and 9).

Conclusions: Hyperoxia induces sequential production of pulmonary TNFα and IL-6, which corresponds to the severity of the pathological findings and the known inflammatory and anti-inflammatory role of these cytokines.



TNFα= tumor necrosis factor-alpha

IL-6= interleukin-6

Case Communications
Zvi Shimoni, MD, Mark Niven, MA, MB, Bchir MRCP, Margarita Mosenkis, MD and Joel Greif, MD
Elias Toubi, MD, Aharon Kessel, MD, Anna Blant, MD and Sergio Szvalb, MD
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