Bshara Mansour MD and Nael Elias MD MHA
Background: Foreign body aspiration (FBA) is common in the pediatric population and if not diagnosed and treated properly can lead to major complications.
Objectives: To define the clinical and radiological features of aspirated foreign bodies, characterize the incidence of FBA among the Israeli-Arab population, and evaluate flexible bronchoscopy as a diagnostic tool prior to performing rigid bronchoscopy.
Methods: We reviewed the e-files of 115 children who underwent bronchoscopy for suspected FBA between January 2006 and December 2010 in the pediatric department of the St. Vincent French Hospital, Nazareth.
Results: We identified 44 patients (38.3%) who had foreign body aspiration (mean age 31.2 ± 29 months, males 64%). Organic-type foreign body was seen in 70% of cases and location was equally distributed. Statistically significant correlations were found between the presence of a foreign body and a history of choking, abnormal lung auscultation, and abnormal chest X-ray (P < 0.05). The rate of negative finding in rigid bronchoscopy in our study was as low as 15% (in only 8 of 52 rigid bronchoscopies was the finding negative for FBA). Compared with other centers in our region where rigid bronchoscopy was performed without the preceding flexible procedure, we found that our protocol reduced the rate of negative rigid bronchoscopies.
Conclusions: Introducing flexible bronchoscopy initially in FBA management reduced the rate of negative rigid bronchoscopies.
Ophir Lavon MD and Yedidia Bentur MD
Background: Exposure to silica gel, a common desiccant, is considered common and non-toxic although data are limited.
Objectives: To evaluate the characteristics of silica gel ingestion, and to attempt to estimate the associated health care costs.
Methods: We conducted a one year retrospective review of charts of a national poison information center to characterize ingestions of silica gel and estimate its direct cost to health care services. Cost evaluation was based on emergency department and community clinic tariffs (NIS 807/US$ 213 and NIS 253/US$ 67, respectively).
Results: A total of 546 cases were recorded, 2.1% of the annual calls to the poison information center. Most ingestions occurred in children younger than 6 years old (91.4%, 65.2% < 2 years). Median monthly exposure was 42; the peak (74) occurred in April, before the Passover holiday. Sixty calls (11%) came from health care facilities and the rest were reported by the public; 2.7% were symptomatic, mainly mild self-limited mouth and throat discomfort. The direct annual treatment cost of patients who referred themselves to health care facilities without consulting first with the Poison Center (n=60) was NIS 24,598/US$ 6507 (emergency department and community clinic visit fees).
Conclusions: Silica gel ingestion is relatively common, occurring mainly in young children; it is rarely symptomatic but is a source of unnecessary referrals to health care facilities. The potential annual saving by preventing unnecessary referrals due to poison information center advice was estimated at NIS 375,678/US$ 99,383. The availability of poison information center services may prevent unnecessary referrals to health care facilities and thus save costs.
Zaza Iakobishvili MD PhD, Adaya Weissler MD, Kiril Buturlin MD, Gustavo Goldenberg MD, Boris Strassberg MD, Ruth Tur MD and David Hasdai MD FESC
Background: The kinetics of high sensitivity cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT) levels after elective, biphasic, direct-current cardioversion for persistent atrial fibrillation/flutter remains unknown.
Methods: We examined hs-cTnT kinetics in 24 patients at baseline and at 2, 6 and 24 hours post-cardioversion, and again at 7 and 30 days. We also examined levels of creatine kinase, aspartate aminotransferase, lactate dehydrogenase, brain natriuretic peptide (BNP), and high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP).
Results: Median (25th, 75th interquartiles) baseline hs-cTnT concentration was 19.8 (10.4, 35.2) ng/L with 14 patients presenting with levels above the 99th percentile (13 ng/L). Hs-cTnT levels did not change significantly over time although they tended to decrease by 30 days, 18.8 ng/L (12.5, 23.3). There was no significant rise in other markers of myocardial injury. Similarly, BNP and hs-CRP levels were elevated at baseline and tended to decrease over time.
Conclusions: Patients with persistent atrial fibrillation/flutter have elevated hs-cTnT levels, as part of a general rise in biomarkers such as BNP and hs-CRP, without a further rise after cardioversion. After cardioversion, there is a gradual non-significant decrease in biomarker levels over time, and thus a rise in hs-cTnT levels should not be attributed to cardioversion.
Jonathan E. Cohen MD PhD, Yasmin Cohen MD, Tamar Peretz MD and Ayala Hubert MD
Background: Predictive biomarkers for personalized treatment of neoplasms are suggested to be a major advancement in oncology and are increasingly used in clinical practice, albeit based on level II evidence. Target Now® (TN) employs immunostaining and RNA expression on tumor samples to identify potentially beneficial or ineffective drugs.
Objectives: To explore retrospectively the predictive value of TN for patients with colorectal and gastric carcinomas.
Methods: The study group comprised colorectal and gastric carcinoma patients with TN test reports. We identified chemotherapy regimens given for stage IV disease for which TN reports indicated prediction. Protocols were classified as having clinical benefit (CB; i.e., stable disease or any objective response) or progressive disease, and this was compared with the TN prediction.
Results: Nineteen patients – 12 colorectal and 7 gastric carcinomas – met the inclusion criteria. There were 26 evaluable treatment protocols; of 18 with a CB 15 were predicted to have a CB while 3 were predicted to have a lack of CB. Of eight protocols that had no CB, seven were predicted to have a CB and one was predicted to have a lack of CB. A chi-square test was non-significant (P = 0.78). An exploratory analysis yielded a positive predictive value of 68% and a sensitivity of 83% for the TN test.
Conclusions: This study emphasizes the need for larger multicenter studies to validate the TN test before it is adopted into clinical practice.
David Goitein MD, Alex Zendel MD, Lior Segev MD, Anya Feigin MD and Douglas Zippel MD
Background: Obesity causes specific sexual problems, including diminished sexual desire, poor performance and avoidance of sexual encounters.
Objectives: To systematically evaluate the effect of bariatric surgery on patients' sexual function as compared to their preoperative status.
Methods: Bariatric surgery candidates were given a validated sexual function questionnaire the day before surgery and again 1 year after surgery. Females were polled with the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) and males with the Brief Sexual Function Inventory (BSFI). Statistical analysis was performed to elucidate differences in response to the questionnaires.
Results: The study population included 34 females and 14 males. Mean age and body mass index (BMI) were 40.2 ± 10.2 years and 43.4 ± 5.3 kg/m2, respectively. Postoperative BMI was 31.4 ± 4.9 kg/m2 (P < 0.001). Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy was performed in 36 patients and laparoscopic Roux-y gastric bypass in 12. In females, the FSFI index rose significantly from 24 to 30 (P = 0.006), indicating increased sexual performance and satisfaction. In males the BSFI increased from 40.2 to 43.9 but did not reach statistical significance (P = 0.08). However, general satisfaction, desire and erection were each significantly improved within the BSFI.
Conclusions: In addition to the well-documented medical and quality-of-life benefits of bariatric surgery, there is also clear improvement in patients' sexual function, both physical and psychosexual.
Fruma Tzur MSc, Michal Chowers MD, Nancy Agmon-Levin MD, Yoseph A. Mekori MD and Alon Y. Hershko MD PhD
Background: Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a metabolic sequel in people infected with HIV, especially following the advent of HAART. This may be a particular concern in immigrants due to lifestyle changes.
Objectives: To characterize the prevalence of DM in HIV-infected Ethiopians in Israel, and to define the risk factors.
Methods: We retrospectively screened the records of 173 HIV-infected Ethiopians and 69 HIV-infected non-Ethiopian HIV patients currently registered at the HIV Clinic of Meir Medical Center. Data were also retrieved from 1323 non-HIV Ethiopians treated in the hospital between 2007 and 2012. The presence of DM was determined by family physician diagnosis as recorded in the hospital database or by the presence of one or more of the following: fasting glucose > 127 mg/dl, hA1C > 6.5% (> 48 mmol/mol), or blood glucose > 200 mg/dl. Population data and risk factors for DM were analyzed by univariate and multivariate analyses.
Results: Among HIV-infected Ethiopian subjects, the prevalence of DM was 31% (54/173) compared to 4% (3/69) in HIV-infected non-Ethiopians and 8% (102/1323) in non-HIV-infected Ethiopians (P < 0.0001). The relatively increased prevalence of DM was age independent, but most noticeable in those under the median age (< 42 years). Body mass index (BMI) was a predictor for DM (OR 1.263, CI 1.104–1.444, P = 0.001), although its values did not vary between the two ethnic groups.
Conclusions: HIV-infected Ethiopians are more likely to develop DM at low BMI values compared to non-Ethiopians. This observation questions the relevance of accepted BMI values in this population and suggests that preventive measures against DM be routinely taken in these subjects.
Uri Rozovski MD, Ofira Ben-Tal MD, Ilya Kirgner MD, Moshe Mittelman MD and Mara Hareuveni PHD
Background: Approximately 80% of patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) receive multiple red blood cells (RBC), often multiple transfusions, and are therefore prone to develop alloantibodies against RBC. Because of increasing evidence for the role of immune dysregulation in the pathobiology of MDS, we hypothesized that in patients with MDS there is an increase in alloantibody formation beyond that expected by multiple transfusions.
Objectives: To determine the prevalence rates of alloantibodies in patients with MDS who are transfusion dependent and compare them to those of non-MDS patients matched for number of RBC units they received.
Methods: The blood bank database was screened to identify non-MDS patients matched for age and number of units transfused. Logistic regression analysis was applied to determine factors affecting alloantibody formation.
Results: Of 60 patients with MDS, 18 (30%) developed alloantibodies against RBC. Transfusion-dependent MDS and non-MDS patients (N=56 each), matched for number of RBC units and age, were compared. Fifteen MDS patients (27%) but only 12 non-MDS patients (12%) developed alloantibodies (P = 0.057). The relative risk for developing antibodies in MDS patients was 2.14, and MDS was the strongest predictor for formation of alloantibodies during transfusion therapy (odds ratio 3.66, confidence interval 1.4–9.3).
Conclusions: Patients with MDS are at increased risk to develop RBC alloantibodies, partly because these patients receive multiple RBC transfusions. Whether matching for RH and KEL would lead to lower rates of RBC alloantibodies remains to be determined.
Avraham Ebenstein PhD, Eyal Frank and Yaniv Reingewertz PhD
Background: Exposure to air pollution in the form of particulate matter smaller than 10 µm in diameter (PM10) has been associated with increased morbidity and mortality. However, since air pollution is correlated with confounding factors that might otherwise affect health, identifying the causal link has proven challenging.
Objectives: To identify the effect of PM10 on hospital admissions due to respiratory illnesses.
Methods: We used the Instrumental Variable (IV) methodology to control for confounding factors affecting hospital admissions. Exploiting the timing of sandstorms as an instrumental variable allows for a better estimate of the relationship between PM10 and hospital admissions. Data on PM concentrations and hospital admissions rates were compiled for Israel’s two largest cities, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, for 2007–2009. We compared our IV estimates to those derived from a Poisson regression, which is commonly used in the existing literature.
Results: Sandstorms led to an increase of 307 µg/m3 of PM10 concentrations. A 10 µg/m3 increase in PM10 is associated with a 0.8% increase in hospital admissions due to respiratory conditions, using Poisson regression. The same finding was noted using the IV methodology.
Conclusions: The association between PM10 and hospital admission reflects a primarily causal relationship. Instrumental variable methodology could be applied to analysis of the effect of air pollution on hospital admissions.
Barak Raguan BSc, Efrat Wolfovitz MD and Efrat Gil MD
Background: Physical restraints are a common, albeit controversial, tool used in the acute care setting.
Objectives: To determine the prevalence of physical restraint use in an acute care hospital. Secondary objectives were to determine whether physical restraints are used more commonly in night shifts, identify patient risk factors for physical restraint use, and establish if staff-to-patient ratio correlated with physical restraint use.
Methods: An observational cross-sectional study was conducted over 3 months in 2013 in the medical, surgical and intensive care units in a mid-sized general hospital. All the physically restrained patients in each observation were added to the registry. At each observation one department was selected for comparison and all non-restrained patients were added to the registry.
Results: The study population comprised 2163 patients. Seventy-six were restrained and 205 were included as case-controls. The prevalence of physical restraint use was 3.51% (95%CI = 2.79–4.37%). Physical restraint use was more common in night shifts than day shifts: 4.40% vs. 2.56% (P = 0.03). Male gender, dependency, invasive ventilation, invasive tubes (nasogastric tube or urine catheter), and bedsores were all significantly correlated with restraint use. Staff-to-patient ratios were not significantly correlated with use of physical restraints.
Conclusions: Physical restraints are relatively common in acute care wards. The use of physical restraints seems to correlate with certain patient characteristics but not with staff-to-patient ratios, and seems more common at night.
Alon Nevet MD PhD, Talia Polak MD, Ovdi Dagan MD and Yehezkel Waisman MD
Background: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) may serve as a bridge to regain cardiac function in refractory resuscitation. However, its use has so far been limited owing to low availability, especially in emergency departments.
Objectives: To describe two children with acute myocarditis successfully treated with ECMO in the emergency department of a tertiary pediatric medical center.
Description: The children presented with vomiting, followed by rapid deterioration to cardiogenic shock that failed to respond to conservative treatment. Given the urgency of their condition and its presumably reversible (viral) etiology, treatment with ECMO was initiated in the department’s resuscitation room.
Results: Outcome was excellent, and cardiac function remained normal throughout 6 and 10 months follow-up.
Conclusions: Extracorporeal life support has enormous potential in the emergency department and warrants further assessment.