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עמוד בית
Sun, 16.06.24

June 2000

Original Articles
Ernesto Kahan MD MPH, Shmuel M. Giveon MD MPH, Simon Zalevsky MD, Zipora Imber-Shachar MD and Eliezer Kitai MD

Background: The reasons that patients consult the clinic physician for common minor symptoms are not clearly defined. For seasonal epidemic events such as flu-like symptoms this characterization is relevant.

Objectives: To identify the factors that prompt patients to seek medical attention, and correlate patient behavior with different demographic and disease variables.

Methods: A random sample of 2,000 enrolled people aged 18–65 years and registered with eight primary care clinics located throughout Israel were asked to report whether they had had flu-like symptoms within the previous 3 months.  Those who responded affirmatively (n=346) were requested to complete an ad hoc questionnaire evaluating their treatment-seeking behavior.

Results: A total of 318 patients completed the questionnaire (92% response rate), of whom 271 (85%) consulted a physician and 47 (15%) did not. Those who sought medical assistance had more serious symptoms as perceived by them (cough, headache and arthralgia) (P<0.05), and their main reason for visiting the doctor was “to rule out serious disease.”  Self-employed patients were more likely than salaried workers to visit the clinic to rule out serious disease (rather than to obtain a prescription or sick note or to reassure family). They also delayed longer before seeking treatment (P=0.01).

Conclusion: In our study the majority of individuals with flu symptoms tended to consult a physician, though there were significant variations in the reasons for doing so, based on a combination of sociodemographic variables. We believe these findings will help primary care physicians to characterize their practices and to program the expected demand of flu-like symptoms.

Raul Raz MD, Nechama Okev MD, Yoram Kennes PhD, Astrid Gilboa PhD, Idit Lavi MA and Naiel Bisharat MD

Background: Urinary tract infection is one of the most common bacterial infections. Since antibiotics are given empirically, it is necessary to assess the distribution and susceptibility of the microorganisms in each case.

Objectives: To evaluate the demographic characteristics of ambulatory patients with UTI, the distribution and susceptibility of uropathogens, and the risk factors associated with trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole resistant bacteria in women.

Methods: During 12 days in August 1997 all the urine cultures sent to the Tel-Hanan Laboratory (Haifa) were evaluated. Demographic characteristics of the patients, their underlying diseases and the previous use of antibiotics were obtained.

Results: During the 12 day survey 6,495 cultures were sent for evaluation. Of the 1,075 (17%) that were positive 950 were included in the study; 83.7% were from females, of whom 57% were ≥50 years old. Escherichia coli was the most common pathogen, with 74.7% in the female and 55% in the male population; 86.2% of the E. coli were resistant to amoxicillin, 38.8% to cephalexin and 46.8% to TMP-SMX. Cefuroxime (4.2%), ofloxacin (4.8%), ciprofloxacin (4.8%) and nitrofurantoin (0.4%) showed the lowest rates of resistance. By a multivariant analysis, post-menopause and recurrent UTI were found to be independent factors related to TMP-SMX resistance in women.

Conclusion: In northern Israel, ampicillin, cephalexin and TMP-SMX cannot be used empirically in the treatment of community-acquired UTI. Post-menopause and recurrent UTI are independent factors associated with TMP-SMX resistant pathogens in women.



UTI= urinary tract infection

TMP-SMX= trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole

Ehud Melzer MD and Herma Fidder MD

Background: Differentiating between benign and malignant submucosal tumors is difficult. Moreover, the natural course of benign-appearing SMTs is not clearly elucidated.

Objectives: To evaluate the natural course of upper gastrointestinal SMTs by endoscopic endosonography.

Methods: We followed 25 consecutive patients with small (<40 mm) SMTs for a mean period of 19 months. Evaluation included maximal tumor diameter, internal echo pattern, and outer margin of lesions.

Results: Follow-up revealed no change in echo features in 24 of 25 patients (96%). In only one patient a homogenous hypoechoic smooth margin lesion converted to a non-homogenous tumor with an irregular outer margin. This lesion also increased in size from 30 to 38 mm. On surgical removal this tumor was found to be a stromal tumor with high malignant potential.

Conclusions: Most small SMTs do not change during a period of 19 months and a conservative policy of surveillance is warranted.



SMTs= submucosal tumors

George S. Habib MD, Walid R. Saliba MD and Reuven Mader MD

Background: Acute rheumatic fever is considered a relatively uncommon disease in developed countries. Although cases are encountered in the Nazareth area in Israel, no systematic study of this disease has been done in the last 20 years.

Objective: To study the incidence and characteristics of acute rheumatic fever cases in the Nazareth area during the last decade.

Methods: Cases of acute rheumatic fever diagnosed according to the modified Jones criteria were identified in two hospitals in the Nazareth area during the 10 years. These two hospitals receive about 75% of non-obstetric referrals to the emergency room. Clinical, laboratory and treatment data of these patients were documented and the incidence of disease calculated. The population census in the Nazareth area was obtained from the Central Bureau of Statistics.

Results: Forty-four patients, with a mean age of 18 years, were identified. The mean annual incidence was 5 cases/100,000 population. Arthritis was found in 98% of the patients (migratory in 52%) and carditis in 34%, but only one patient had a subcutaneous nodule, and none had either erythema marginatum or chorea. Only one patient with carditis developed heart failure a few months later due to severe mitral stenosis.

Conclusion: Rheumatic fever in the Nazareth area is still manifest. The mean age of the patients was higher than found previously. In only half of the patients was the arthritis migratory, with other major manifestations of rheumatic fever found only rarely.

Segev Shani PhD, Tal Morginstin MSc and Amnon Hoffman PhD

Background: The more patients know about their medications the higher their compliance with drug therapy, reflecting an effective communication between health professionals and their patients. Numerous studies on this subject have been published, but none has been conducted in Israel.

Objectives: To evaluate patients’ perceptions of drug counseling by health professionals – the prescribing physician and dispensing pharmacist – and to determine whether there is a difference in the patient’s perception according to his or her place of birth and mother tongue.

Methods: A total of 810 patients were interviewed following receipt of their medications from in-house pharmacies at two community clinics of Israel’s largest sick fund. Each patient was interviewed in his or her mother tongue according to a constructed questionnaire, which included the patient’s demographic background, type of medications received, the patient’s perceptions of drug counseling given by both the physician and the pharmacist, and the patient’s perception of non-prescription drug counseling given by the dispensing pharmacist.

Results: Of the 810 patients enrolled in this study, 32% received three or more medications at each physician visit. The main therapeutic classes of medications prescribed and dispensed were for neurological disorders, cardiovascular diseases, gastrointestinal problems and respiratory diseases. While 99% of the patients claimed that they knew how to use their medications, only 96% reported receiving an explanation from either physician or pharmacist. The quality of counseling, as evaluated by the patients, was ranked above average for 75% of the consultations with the prescribing physician and 63% with the dispensing pharmacist.

Conclusions: Although few conclusions can be drawn from this study based on the initial statistical analysis of the data, the major findings were that patients value highly the counseling they receive and that 99% believe they have the requisite knowledge for using their medications. Compared to the international literature, our results – based on the patients' perceptions – indicate that counseling by pharmacists is a common and well-accepted activity in Israel and occurs at a high rate.

Jacob Urkin MD, Sheila S. Warshawsky MSc and Joseph Press MD

Background: In Israel the pediatric emergency room functions as an urgent primary care clinic in addition to dealing with life-threatening situations. Due to health insurance stipulations, most patients come to the PER with a referral from the community clinic. The relationship between the referring physician’s expectations and the subsequent management of the referred patient in the PER is not well defined.

Objectives: To evaluate the relationship between the expectations of the primary care physician and the management of referred patients in the PER, assess the type of information provided by the referring physician, and examine the effect of additional information obtained from the referring physician on patient management in the PER.

Methods: We reviewed the records of patients presenting at the PER with referrals from primary care physicians as well as additional information obtained by telephone interviews with the referring physicians.     

Results: The expectations of the referring physicians were not fully documented in the referral form. The PER responded to the patient as if the PER was the initial contact. There was no significant difference in the response of PER physicians with or without additional information from the referring physicians.

Conclusions: The PER acts as an independent unit with no obligation to satisfy the expectations of the referring physicians. The relationship between the PER and the referring physicians needs to be clarified. Guidelines and structured PER referral forms should be implemented in all primary care clinics to improve patient management and communication between health providers. 



PER= Pediatric Emergency Room

Paltiel Weiner MD, Joseph Waizman MD, Margalit Weiner PhD, Marinella Rabner MD, Rasmi Magadle MD and Doron Zamir MD

Background: Cigarette smoking is a major contributor to the risk of acute myocardial infarction and the subsequent morbidity and mortality. Physicians can play an important role in smoking cessation among patients with AMI because of their frequent contact with the patient during the event.

Objectives: To study the prevalence of smoking, age, localization of coronary occlusion, mortality and rate of smoking cessation in consecutive patients who were diagnosed with a first AMI in our center in 1989–93.

Methods: The study included 1,510 consecutive patients with first AMI: 973 men (512 smokers, 52.6%) and 537 women (215 smokers, 40%), whose mean age was 64.1±6.7 and 68.6±5.2 years respectively.

Results: The median age at the first AMI in non-smoking and smoking men differed significantly (70.4±6.8 vs. 56.6±6.1 years, P<0.001) while the difference in the women was smaller (70.4±6.9 vs. 66.8±7.2). The proportion of smokers/non-smokers among men was greater at a younger age and decreased proportionally with age. The overall mortality was 11.3% with a significant difference in mortality rate in the younger age groups between smokers and non-smokers (1% vs. 0% in the age group 31–40 years, P<0.05, and 6.1% vs. 0.8% in the 41–50 year age group, P<0.001). Only 62% of the smokers who survived the AMI declared that they had received anti-smoking advice from a physician during hospitalization. The cessation rate in this group was significantly higher than in smokers who had not been cautioned against smoking (56% vs. 18%).

Conclusions: Current smokers sustained their first AMI more than one decade earlier than non-smokers, and the younger smokers had a higher mortality rate. The majority of the smokers who received anti-smoking advice during their hospitalization for AMI quit smoking in the year following the acute event. 



AMI= acute myocardial infarction

Osnat Madhala–Givon MD, Edith Hochhauser PhD, Avi Weinbroum MD, Yacov Barak MD, Tatyana Krasnov MSc, Shlomo Lelcuk MD, Daniella Harell PhD and Bernardo Vidne MD

Background: The beneficial effect of aprotinin, a naturally occurring protease inhibitor, on preservation of organs such as the liver, kidney and lung has been documented.

Objective: To explore the effects of hepatic ischemia and reperfusion on both liver and myocardial function, using a dual isolated perfused organ model with and without aprotinin.

Methods: Isolated rat livers were stabilized for 30 minutes with oxygenated modified Krebs-Henseleit solution at 37°C. Livers were then perfused continuously with KH or KH + aprotinin 106 KIU/L for an additional 135 min. Livers of two other groups were made globally ischemic for 120 min, then perfused for 15 min with KH or with KH + aprotinin. Isolated hearts (Langendorff preparation) were stabilized for 30 min and then reperfused with KH or KH + aprotinin exiting the liver for 15 min.  The liver’s circuit was disconnected, and hearts were re-circulated with the accumulated liver + heart effluent for an additional 50 min.

Results: In the ischemia and ischemia + aprotinin groups, portal vein pressure (1 and 15 min reperfusion) was 331±99% and 339±61% vs. 308±81% and 193±35% of baseline, respectively (P<0.03 vs. ischemia). There were no other differences in the enzyme leakage  between aprotinin-treated or untreated ischemic livers. Left ventricular pressure was stable in the controls.

However, LV pressure in groups perfused with ischemic liver effluent declined within 65 min reperfusion, whether aprotinin treated or not (84±8% and 73±5% of baseline, respectively, P<0.004 only for ischemia vs. control)

Conclusion: When aprotinin was used, LV pressure was inclined to be higher while liver portal vein pressure was lower, thus providing protection against liver and heart reperfusion injury. 



* These authors contributed equally to the article

KH = Krebs-Henseleit

LV = left ventricular

Case Communications
Ronen Jaffe, MD, David A. Halon, MBChB, Giora Weisz, MD and Basil S. Lewis, MD
Rimona Durst, MD, Sergery Raskin, MD, Gregory Katz, MD, Josef Zislin and Ronen Durst, MD
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