Sharon Blum Meirovitch MD, Igal Leibovitch MD, Anat Kesler MD, David Varssano MD, Amir Rosenblatt MD MPH and Meira Neudorfer MD
Background: Thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy (TAO) is an inflammatory disease that affects the thyroid gland and the eye orbit. Of patients with TAO, 3%–5% have severe sight-threatening disease due to optic neuropathy Optical coherence tomography (OCT), the non-invasive imaging technology that yields high-resolution cross-sectional images of the retina, provides qualitative and quantitative data on the retina.
Objectives: To apply this technique to quantitatively assess retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) and macular ring thicknesses in healthy subjects and in patients with TAO to determine their relationship to the severity of the orbital disease.
Methods: All patients in the ophthalmology clinic who were diagnosed with TAO and underwent OCT imaging as part of their ocular examination comprised the study group, and healthy patients who volunteered to undergo OCT examination served as controls. Results of the complete ophthalmologic examination and OCT findings were collected from medical files, including the thickness of the RNFL and the macula.
Results: The study comprised 21 patients and 41 healthy controls. TAO patients exhibited RNFL thickening and inner macula thinning compared to healthy subjects. Mean RNFL thickness was correlated with the severity of the orbital disease.
Conclusion: The OCT findings suggest that the retina is involved in TAO, probably as early as the subclinical stage. This highlights the ability of OCT to identify retinal changes earlier and far more accurately than is detected today, enabling earlier diagnosis and more timely treatment to prevent severe visual sequelae.
Marina Leitman MD, Vladimir Tyomkin MSc, Eli Peleg MD, Therese Fuchs MD, Ziad Gabara MD and Zvi Vered MD FACC FESC
Background: In recent years cardioversion of atrial fibrillation has become a routine procedure, enabling symptomatic functional improvement in most cases. However, some patients develop complications after cardioversion. Identifying these individuals is an important step toward improving patient outcome.
Objectives: To characterize those patients who may not benefit from cardioversion or who may develop complications following cardioversion.
Methods: We retrospectively analyzed 186 episodes of cardioversion in 163 patients with atrial fibrillation who were admitted to our cardiology department between 2008 and 2013 based on their clinical and echocardiographic data. Patients were divided into two groups: those with uncomplicated cardioversion, and those who developed complications after cardioversion.
Results: Of the 186 episodes, cardioversion was done in 112 men (60%) and 74 women (40%), P < 0.00001. Complications after cardioversion occurred in 25 patients (13%). These patients were generally older (72 vs. 65 years, P < 0.01), were more often diabetic (52% vs. 27%, P = 0.005), had undergone emergency cardioversion (64% vs. 40%, P = 0.01), had left ventricular hypertrophy (left ventricular mass 260 vs. 218 g, P = 0.01), had larger left atrium (left atrial volume 128 vs. 102 ml, P < 0.009), and more often died from complications of cardioversion (48% vs. 16%). They had significant mitral regurgitation (20% vs. 4%, P = 0.03) and higher pulmonary artery pressure (50 vs. 42 mm Hg, P < 0.02).
Conclusions: People with complications after cardioversion tend to be older, are more often diabetic and more often have severe mitral regurgitation. In these patients, the decision to perform cardioversion should consider the possibility of complications.
Dallit Mannheim MD, Batla Falah MD and Ron Karmeli MD
Background: Stroke is a major cause of death in the western world, and carotid endarterectomy has been shown to be effective in treating both symptomatic and asymptomatic carotid stenosis. Carotid stenting is a relatively new form of treatment for carotid stenosis and few studies have looked specifically at asymptomatic patients.
Objectives: To retrospectively examine short- and long-term results in the treatment of asymptomatic carotid artery stenosis with surgery or stenting.
Methods: We retrospectively collected data of all patients with asymptomatic carotid stenosis treated by carotid artery stenting or carotid endarterectomy in our department from 2006–2007. The primary endpoints were stroke, myocardial infarction, or death during the periprocedural period; or any ipsilateral stroke, restenosis, or death within 4 years after the procedure.
Results: The study comprised 409 patients who were treated by either stenting or surgery. There was a low morbidity rate in both treatment groups with no significant difference in morbidity or mortality between the treatment groups in both in the short-term as well as long-term.
Conclusion: Both treatment methods have a low morbidity and mortality rate and should be considered for patients with few risk factors and a long life expectancy. Treatment method should be selected according to the patient's individual risk factors and imaging data.
Michael Findler MD, Jeremy Molad MD, Natan M Bornstein MD and Eitan Auriel MD MSc
Background: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia and a common cause of ischemic stroke. Stroke patients with AF have been shown to have a poorer neurological outcome than stroke patients without AF.
Objectives: To determine the impact of pre-existing AF on residual degree of disability in patients treated with IV thrombolysis.
Methods: In this case-control study, data of 214 stroke patients (63 with AF and 151 without AF) were collected from the National Acute Stroke Israeli Registry, a nationwide quadrennial stroke database. Stroke severity and outcome were compared using the National Institute of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) on admission and the modified Rankin Scale (mRS) on admission and discharge. Demographics and stroke characteristics were also compared between the groups.
Results: Stroke severity, as determined by NIHSS at admission, was higher in the AF group than the non-AF. In the group of patients who were treated with intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), more patients had favorable outcomes (mRS = 0–1 on discharge) in the non-AF group than in the AF group (P = 0.058, odds ratio = 2.217, confidence interval 0.973 to 5.05).
Conclusions: Our study suggests worse outcome in thrombolized patients with AF compared to non-AF stroke patients. Therefore, AF itself can be a poor prognostic factor for tPA sensitivity regarding the chance of revascularization and recovery after intravenous tPA.
Sa’ar Minha MD, Tali Taraboulos MD, Gabby Elbaz-Greener MD, Eran Kalmanovich MD, Zvi Vered MD and Alex Blatt MD MSc
Shlomit Koren MD, Shani Zilberman-Itskovich MD, Ronit Koren MD, Keren Doenyas-Barak MD and Ahuva Golik MD
Background: Concerns about metformin-associated lactic acidosis (MALA) prohibit the use of metformin in a large subset of diabetic patients, mostly in patients with chronic kidney disease. Increasing evidence suggests that the current safety regulations may be overly restrictive.
Objectives: To examine the association between chronic metformin treatment and lactate level in acute illness on the first day of admission to an internal medicine ward.
Methods: We compared diabetic and non-diabetic hospitalized patients treated or not treated with metformin in different sets of kidney function.
Results: A total of 140 patients participated in the study, 54 diabetic patients on chronic metformin treatment, 33 diabetic patients without metformin and 53 patients with no diabetes. Most participants were admitted for conditions that prohibit metformin use, such as heart failure, hypoxia and sepsis. Average lactate level was significantly higher in the diabetes + metformin group compared to the diabetes non-metformin group. Metformin treatment was not associated with higher than normal lactate level (hyperlactatemia) or low pH. No patient was hospitalized for lactic acidosis as the main diagnosis.
Conclusions: Chronic metformin treatment mildly increases lactate level, but does not induce hyperlactatemia or lactic acidosis in acute illness on the first day of admission to an internal medicine ward. These data support the expansion of metformin use.
Eliyahu H. Mizrahi MD, Emilia Lubart MD and Arthur Leibovitz MD
Yeela Borenstein Ben Naftali MD, Ido Solt MD, Lior Lowenstein MD and Irit Chermesh MD
Background: Both high and insufficient weight gain during pregnancy have been associated with adverse outcomes for mothers and their offspring.
Objectives: To describe self-reported weight gain during pregnancy, assess the concurrence of this weight gain with issued recommendations, and investigate associations between lifestyle factors and weight gain.
Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 109 pregnant women hospitalized in one gynecological and obstetrics department completed questionnaires related to weight gain and lifestyle factors such as smoking, diet and exercise. Recommended weight gain was defined by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and was compatible with the Ministry of Health guidelines in Israel.
Results: Fifty-three (49%) participants reported weight gain above the recommendation, 31 (28%) met the recommendations and 25 (23%) reported weight gain below the recommendations. Characteristics associated with high weight gain included past smoking and/or age above 36 years and/or body mass index (BMI) above 25 kg/m2. Only 34 women (31%) reported seeking professional nutritional counseling during pregnancy. An increased tendency to consult a nutritionist was reported among diabetic women.
Conclusion: Only a minority of women gained the recommended weight during pregnancy. High BMI and/or a history of smoking and/or older age were associated with weight gain above recommendations. Particular effort should be directed toward counseling women at high risk of weight gain during pregnancy.
Dvora S. Shapiro MD, Reuven Friedmann MD, Ashraf Husseini MD, Hefziba Ivgi PhD, Amos M. Yinnon MD and Marc V. Assous MD PhD
Background: It is a challenge to diagnosis Clostridium difficile colitis.
Objectives: To determine, among patients who developed nosocomial diarrhea, whether serum procalcitonin (PCT) can distinguish between C. difficile toxin (CDT)-positive and CDT-negative patients.
Methods: This prospective study included 50 adults (>18 years) who developed diarrhea during hospitalization, 25 with a positive fecal test for CDT (study group) and 25 CDT negative (control group).
Results: Baseline demographic and underlying illnesses were similar in both groups. Duration of diarrhea was 6 ± 4 days and 3 ± 1 in the study and control groups, respectively (P = 0.001). Mean blood count was 20 ± 15 and 9.9 ± 4, respectively (P = 0.04). CRP level was higher in the study than in the control group (10.9 ± 7.4 and 6.6 ± 4.8, P = 0.028). PCT level was higher in the study group (4.4 ± 4.9) than the control group (0.3 ± 0.5, P = 0.102). A PCT level > 2 ng/ml was found in 7/25 patients (28%) and 1/25 (4%), respectively [odds ratio 9.33, 95% confidence interval (0.98 to 220), P = 0.049]. Multivariate analysis showed that only duration of diarrhea and left shift of peripheral leucocytes were significant indicators of CDT (P = 0.014 and P = 0.019, respectively). The mortality rate was 12/25 (48%) vs. 5/25 (20%), respectively (P = 0.04).
Conclusions: We found a non-significant tendency to higher PCT levels in patients with CDT-positive vs. CDT-negative nosocomial diarrhea. However, a PCT level > 2 ng/ml may help distinguish between these patients.