Ayelet Grupper MD, Moshe Shashar MD, Talia Weinstein MD PhD, Orit Kliuk Ben Bassat MD, Shoni Levy MD, Idit F. Schwartz MD, Avital Angel MD, Aharon Baruch MD, Avishay Grupper MD, Gil Chernin MD and Doron Schwartz MD
Background: Dialysate purity contributes to the inflammatory response that afflicts hemodialysis patients.
Objectives: To compare the clinical and laboratory effects of using ultrapure water produced by a water treatment system including two reverse osmosis (RO) units in series, with a system that also includes an ultrapure filter (UPF).
Methods: We performed a retrospective study in 193 hemodialysis patients during two periods: period A (no UPF, 6 months) and period B (same patients, with addition of UPF, 18 months), and a historical cohort of patients treated in the same dialysis unit 2 years earlier, which served as a control group.
Results: Mean C-reactive protein, serum albumin and systolic blood pressure worsened in period B compared to period A and in the controls.
Conclusions: A double RO system to produce ultrapure water is not inferior to the use of ultrapure filters.
Nesrin Ghanem-Zoubi MD, Silvia Pessah Eljay MD MPH, Emilia Anis MD MPH and Mical Paul MD
Background: The epidemiology of human brucellosis (HB) continues to evolve.
Objectives: To describe the current epidemiology of HB in Israel in general and in the population at risk.
Methods: We calculated the incidence of HB in Israel for the period 2009–2015, overall and for the Arab population. Data are based on mandatory reporting of HB in Israel, defined clinically with either laboratory confirmation or epidemiological linkage to a laboratory-confirmed case. We mapped the geographic distribution of HB throughout the study period according to localities. We specified localities with high incidence (≥ 10 per 100,000 population) and mapped the distribution of dense localities with time.
Results: The incidence of HB in the general population in Israel increased sharply from 1.9 per 100,000 in 2009 to a peak of 7.3 per 100,000 in 2014. Each year, 95–100% of cases occurred among Arabs, thus the incidence in the Arab population increased from 10 per 100,000 in 2009 to 33.5 per 100,000 in 2014. Throughout this period 133 different localities reported at least one case of HB, and of these 20 were high-incidence localities during one year at least. During the period 2009–2013 the number of affected localities ranged from 35 to 44 per year and the disease was local, while in 2014 there were 82 localities distributed across the country.
Conclusions: We demonstrate the importance of analyzing incidence in the population at risk for a disease. HB is an urgent public health issue in the Arab population in Israel, mandating an immediate and long-term eradication and control program.
Avi Sabbag MD, Yasmin Farhadian MD, Arwa Younis MD, David Luria MD, Osnat Gurevitz MD, Eyal Nof MD, Michael Glikson MD and Roy Beinart MD
Background: Catheter ablation (CA) is a well-established therapeutic option for patients with recurrent symptomatic atrial fibrillation (AF). Data on gender-related differences are limited with regard to baseline characteristics and long-term success rates of catheter ablation for AF.
Methods: We analyzed a cohort of 251 consecutive patients who underwent a first catheter ablation for AF in our institute during the period 2008 through 2015. All patients were followed by regular annual clinic visits, electrocardiograms, periodic 24–48 hour Holter monitoring, and loop recorders. The primary endpoint was first recurrence of AF during 1 year of follow-up.
Results: The cohort comprised 26% women (n=65), who were older (62.1 ± 9.6 vs. 54.4 ± 11.3 years, P < 0.01) and had a higher proportion of diabetes mellitus (23.1 vs. 5.4%, P < 0.001) than male patients. No other significant differences were evident. At 1 year follow-up, the cumulative survival free of AF was significantly higher in women compared with men (83% vs. 66%, respectively, log rank P value = 0.021). Subgroup analysis showed an interaction between female and small indexed left atrial diameter (LADi < 23 mm/m2).
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that women experience a significantly lower rate of AF recurrence post-CA compared with men. This gender-related advantage appears to be restricted to women without significant left atrial enlargement. It further implies that left atrial enlargement has a stronger negative impact on post-CA AF recurrence in females than in males. Due to the relatively small sample number of females further research is warranted to validate our conclusions.
Sagee Tal MD, Yochai Adir MD, Nili Stein MPH, Hadar Shalom MSc, Orit Lache MSc, Andrew Levy MD, PhD and Michal Shteinberg MD
Background: Frequent chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbators are at a higher risk of adverse health outcomes when compared to infrequent exacerbators. A COPD frequent exacerbator phenotype and its definition has been reported. Haptoglobin (Hp) polymorphism has been associated with differing clinical outcomes in cardiovascular and renal disease. The Hp 2-2 phenotype has been found to have bacteriostatic properties, while the Hp 1-1 phenotype was found to be associated with infections.
Objectives: To determine the correlation in haptoglobin phenotypes and the frequent exacerbator status compared to COPD non-exacerbators.
Methods: Inclusion criteria included previous diagnosis of COPD and presence of at least two documented exacerbations of COPD in the previous 12 months (frequent exacerbator group) or absence of such exacerbations in the previous 24 months (non-exacerbator group). Descriptive data was analyzed using Fisher's exact test and the nonparametric Kruskal–Wallis test. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed.
Results: The multivariate logistic regression yielded a model in which haptoglobin phenotype did not have a statistically significant association with frequent exacerbator status. Smoking status was found to be negatively related with the frequent exacerbator status (odds ratio [OR] 0.240, 95% confidence interval (95%CI) 0.068–0.843, P = 0.03). Number of pack-years was negatively related to being a frequent exacerbator (OR 0.979, 95%CI 0.962–0.996, P = 0.02).
Conclusions: We found no relationship between haptoglobin polymorphism and frequent exacerbator status. However, frequent exacerbator status had a statistically significant association with COPD Assessment Test scores and pack-years and a negative correlation with current smoking status.
Sarah Israel MD, Hila Fruchtman MD, David Hakimian MD and Zvi Ackerman MD
Background: Since the implementation of a hepatitis A virus (HAV) immunization program for children, which began in 1999 in Israel, HAV infections in the country have occurred mostly in adults. HAV infection in adults is usually symptomatic and may present with hepatic, as well as extrahepatic, abdominal complications.
Objectives: To estimate the prevalence of extrahepatic abdominal complications in patients diagnosed with HAV.
Methods: Most extrahepatic abdominal complications corresponding to HAV infection have ultrasonographic manifestations; therefore, we retrospectively collected findings from ultrasound examinations in addition to laboratory data from adult patients with HAV infection who were admitted to our medical center between 2004 and 2016. Associations between ultrasonographic findings and laboratory parameters that reflect disease severity were identified.
Results: A total of 43 consecutive adult patients were included in this study. None presented with fulminant hepatic failure. Thirty patients (70%) had at least one ultrasonographic finding. Ascites was noted in 8 patients, a thickened gallbladder wall was observed in 14, pericholecystic fluid was found in 8, and biliary sludge was observed in 4. Significant associations included the presence of any ultrasonographic finding and peak total bilirubin levels (P = 0.021), the presence of ascites with peak aspartate and alanine aminotransferase levels (P = 0.041 and P = 0.038, respectively), and the presence of biliary sludge and nadir albumin during the HAV disease course (P = 0.037).
Conclusions: Abdominal ultrasonographic findings, such as ascites and gallbladder abnormalities, are frequently observed during acute HAV infection and are significantly associated with disease severity.
Alexandra Balbir-Gurman MD, Vika Shataylo BSc and Yolanda Braun-Moscovici MD
Background: The aggregation of autoimmune diseases in relatives (AID-R) of patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) has been reported.
Objectives: To analyze the prevalence of autoimmune diseases in SSc relatives and to compare their features to those of SSc patients without AID-R (controls).
Methods: A case-control analysis compared SSc patients with AID-R to those without AID-R (25 patients) with similar disease duration.
Results: Among 322 patients, 25 (7.7%; 21 females, 41.4 ± 15.6 years of age, disease duration 11 ± 8.6 years) had AID-R (21 had a first-degree relative, 4 had a second-degree relative, and 2 had both). Fourteen patients (56%) and five controls (20%) had an additional autoimmune disease (P < 0.009). Diffuse SSc (48% vs. 24%) and arthritis (72% vs. 28%) were more frequent among the patients with AID-R than the controls (P < 0.05). No significant differences were found regarding lung, heart, vascular, and digestive system involvement. The mean number of additional autoimmune diseases was 0.84 ± 0.94 in AID-R vs. 0.24 ± 0.52 in controls (P < 0.038). The mean number of autoantibodies was 2.8 ± 1.5 and 2.2 ± 0.9 (P < 0.047). Five patients died during follow-up, four of whom had AID-R. Relatives of SSc patients had diverse autoimmune diseases; the prevalence of SSc in scleroderma relatives was 1.86% (2 in first-degree and 6 in second-degree relatives). SSc patients with AID-R had an obvious tendency to polyautoimmunity.
Conclusion: A precise family history is an important clue in prognosis and prediction of autoimmune diseases in SSc patients and their relatives.
Itay Wiser MD PHD, Roni Averbuch Sagie MD, Liran Barzilai MD, Moti Haratz MD and Josef Haik MD MPH
Background: Burn injury pathophysiology is characterized by severe catabolic state and poor glycemic control. A tight glycemic control protocol using insulin for burn victims has yielded inconsistent mortality and morbidity outcomes.
Objectives: To compare the effect of standard and tight glycemic control protocols on mortality and hypoglycemia events in critical care burn patients.
Methods: We conducted a case-control study of burn victims admitted to the burn intensive care unit between 2005 and 2011. Patients were assigned to either a standard or a tight glycemic control protocol.
Results: Of the 38 burn patients in the study, 28 were under a tight glycemic control protocol. No differences in glucose area-under-the-curve per day levels were observed between the groups (148.3 ± 16 vs. 157.8 ± 16 mg/dl in the standard and tight glycemic control protocol groups respectively, P < 0.12). The hypoglycemic event rate was higher in the tight glycemic control protocol group (46.4% vs. 0%, P < 0.008). No difference in mortality rate was noted (67.9% vs. 50%, P < 0.31). Mortality-independent risk factors found on multivariate analysis included total body surface area (adjusted hazard ratio [AHR] 1.039, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.02–1.06, P < 0.001), white blood cell count on admission (AHR 1.048, 95%CI 1.01–1.09, P < 0.02) and surgery during hospitalization (AHR 0.348, 95%CI 0.13–0.09, P < 0.03).
Conclusions: The tight glycemic control protocol in burn patients was associated with higher rates of hypoglycemic events, and no association was found with improved survival in the acute setting of burn trauma care.
Emily Fisher MD MSc, Christine Loock MD, Ariana Melamed BA, Shulamit Blank MD and Gideon Koren MD
Background: Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) may be under-recognized and under-diagnosed in Israel. Fewer than 10 FASD diagnoses were reported between 1998 and 2007; however, several hundred diagnoses have been made since. Furthermore, less than 10% of surveyed Israeli pediatricians reported adequate knowledge of FASD.
Objectives: To determine the prevalence of suspected FASD, to establish a database as a starting point for epidemiological studies, and to develop FASD awareness for health, social, and educational services.
Methods: A chart review was conducted at an educational facility for children and adolescents with behavioral and learning challenges. The following information was extracted: adoption status, history of alcohol/drug abuse in the biological mother, medical diagnoses, medication use, and information regarding impairment in 14 published neurobehavioral categories. Subjects were classified as: category 1 (highly likely FASD) – impairment in three or more neurobehavioral categories and evidence of maternal alcohol abuse was available; category 2 (possible FASD) – impairment in three or more neurobehavioral categories and evidence to support maternal substance abuse (type/time unspecified); and category 3 (unconfirmed likelihood of FASD) – impairment in three or more neurobehavioral categories and no information regarding the biological family.
Results: Of 237 files analyzed, 38 subjects (16%) had suspected FASD: 10 subjects (4%) in category 1, 5 (2%) in category 2, and 23 (10%) in category 3. Twenty-seven subjects with suspected FASD (69%) had been adopted.
Conclusions: This study is the most comprehensive review of FASD among Israeli children and adolescents in a population with learning and behavior challenges.