Fabiola Atzeni MD PhD, Elisabetta Gerratana MD, Sara Bongiovanni MD, Rossella Talotta MD PhD, Gianfranco Miceli MD, Fausto Salaffi MD PhD, and Piercarlo Sarzi-Puttini MD
Background: There is a lack of real-life clinical data for biosimilar etanercept, an anti-TNF blocking fusion protein. We describe the comparable efficacy and safety of originator and biosimilar etanercept in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients in a real-life clinical setting. Our data confirm that a biosimilar etanercept can be safely used as first-line treatment as well as in patients switched from a previous originator compound.
Objectives: To compare the efficacy and safety of originator and biosimilar etanercept in a cohort of RA patients attending two Italian hospitals.
Methods: The study involved 81 consecutive adult RA patients treated for at least 6 months with originator or biosimilar etanercept and considered their clinical and laboratory data, concomitant medications, and adverse events at baseline, and after 3 and 6 months of treatment.
Results: Group 1 included 51 patients taking originator etanercept; group 2 included 30 taking biosimilar etanercept, including 19 who had been switched from the reference product. Despite a significant baseline difference in clinical disease activity, one-way analysis of variance showed that the two groups were clinically comparable after 6 months of treatment, and the same was true when only those receiving etanercept as first-line biological treatment were considered. Nine patients discontinued the treatment due to inefficacy or adverse events, which were never serious and were only reported in group 1.
Conclusions: The efficacy and safety profiles of originator and biosimilar etanercept are comparable in RA patients in a real-life clinical setting. Further studies are needed to confirm these preliminary findings
Omer Gendelman MD, Yuval Kuntzman MD, Ora Shovman MD, Pnina Langevitz MD, Avishai M. Tsur MD MHA, Daniel Erez MD, Yair Levy MD, and Howard Amital MD MHA
Background: Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) is a rare small vessel vasculitis. It usually involves the respiratory tract and kidney. Rarely, tumor-resembling inflammatory changes ensue.
Objectives: To report three unique cases of GPA presenting with tumor-like lesions in various organs.
Methods: We presented three cases of GPA. Case 1 presented with typical upper respiratory symptoms of GPA and a mediastinal mass. Case 2 presented with low back pain, a large retroperitoneal mass, and nodular skin lesions. Case 3 presented with epigastric pain and a paravertebral inflammatory mass.
Results: The patients were treated successfully with rituximab.
Conclusions: Clinicians should be aware of this presentation of granulomatosis with polyangiitis, which is known as Tumefaction Wegener’s granulomatosis
Avishay Elis MD, Robert Klempfner MD, Chen Gurevitz MD, Ela Gilady MD, and Ilan Goldenberg MD
Background: Real-world information regarding the use of direct oral anticoagulants therapy and the outcome in patients with renal dysfunction is limited.
Objectives: To evaluate the clinical characteristics and outcomes of patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) and severe renal dysfunction who are treated with apixaban.
Methods: A sub-analysis was conducted within a multicenter prospective cohort study. The study included consecutive eligible apixaban- or warfarin-treated patients with non-valvular AF and renal impairment (estimated glomerular filtration rate [eGFR] modification of diet in renal disease [MDRD] < 60 ml/min/BSA) were registered. All patients were prospectively followed for clinical events and over a mean period of 1 year. Our sub-analysis included the patients with 15 < eGFR MDRD < 30 ml/min/BSA. The primary outcomes at 1 year were recorded. They included mortality, stroke or systemic embolism, major bleeding, and myocardial infarction as well as their composite occurrence.
Results: The sub-analysis included 155 warfarin-treated patients and 97 apixaban-treated ones. All had 15 < eGFR MDRD < 30 ml/min/BSA. When comparing outcomes for propensity matched groups (n=76 per group) of patients treated by reduced dose apixaban or warfarin, the rates of the 1-year composite endpoint as well as mortality alone were higher among the warfarin group (30 [39.5%] vs. 14 [18.4%], P = 0.007 and 28 [36.8%] vs.12 [15.8%], P = 0.006), respectively. There was no significant difference in the rates of stroke, systemic embolism, or major bleeding.
Conclusions: Apixaban might be a reasonable alternative to warfarin in patients with severe renal impairment.
Zvi Shimoni MD, Vendi Danilov MD, Shoshana Hadar MD, and Paul Froom MD
Background: Recommendations for a head computed tomography (CT) scan in elderly patients without a loss of consciousness after a traumatic brain injury and without neurological findings on admission and who are not taking oral anticoagulant therapy, are discordant.
Objectives: To determine variables associated with intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) and the need for neurosurgery in elderly patients after low velocity head trauma
Methods: In a regional hospital, we retrospectively selected 206 consecutive patients aged ≥ 65 years with head CT scans ordered in the emergency department because of low velocity head trauma. Outcome variables were an ICH and neurological surgery. Independent variables included age, sex, disability, neurological findings, facial fractures, mental status, headache, head sutures, loss of consciousness, and anticoagulation therapy.
Results: Fourteen patients presented with ICH (6.8%, 3.8–11.1%) and three (1.5%, 0.3–4.2%) with a neurosurgical procedure. One patient with a coma (0.5, 0.0–2.7) died 2 hours after presentation. All patients who required surgery or died had neurological findings. Reducing head CT scans by 97.1% (93.8–98.9%) would not have missed any patient with possible surgical utility. Twelve of the 14 patients (85.7%) with an ICH had neurological findings, post-trauma loss of consciousness or a facial fracture were not present in 83.5% (95% confidence interval 77.7–88.3) of the cohort.
Conclusions: None of our patients with neurological findings required neurosurgery. Careful palpation of the facial bones to identify facial fractures might aid in the decision whether to perform a head CT scan.
Yana Kakzanov MD, Ziv Sevilya PhD, Mordehay Vaturi MD, Alexander Goldman MD, and Eli I. Lev MD
Background: Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) is a common clinical entity, with a mechanism that appears to involve endothelial dysfunction of the cardiac microcirculation. Endothelial progenitor cells (EPC) are bone marrow derived cells that are able to differentiate into functional endothelial cells and participate in endothelial surface repair.
Objectives: To compare the level and function of EPCs in patients with HFpEF compared with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) and control subjects.
Methods: We enrolled 21 patients with HFpEF (LVEF ≥ 50%, age 74.5 ± 9.9 years, 43% men, 48% diabetes), 20 patients with HFrEF (LVEF < 40%, age 70 ± 11.5 years, 90% men, 60% diabetes), and 11 control subjects with cardiovascular risk factors (age 53.3 ± 6.1years, 90% men, 64% diabetes). Circulating EPC levels were evaluated by expression of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR-2), CD34, and CD133 by flow-cytometry. EPCs colony forming units (CFUs) were quantified after 7 days in culture.
Results: The proportion of cells that co-expressed VEGFR-2 and CD34 or VEGFR-2 and CD133 was similar among the HFpEF and HFrEF groups, and significantly lower than in the control group. The number of EPC-CFUs was also similar among the two heart failure groups and significantly lower than the control group.
Conclusions: Patients with HFpEF, like HFrEF, have significant reduction in EPC level and function.
Yaron Niv MD AGAF FACG, Michael Kuniavsky RN MSc, Olga Bronshtein RN MSc, Nethanel Goldschmidt MSc, Shuli Hanhart MSc, Alexander Konson RN PhD, and Hannah Mahalla BSc
Background: With diagnostic imaging, such as a duplex of the carotid arteries, finding of stenosis and atherosclerotic plaque and consequent end arterectomy may be important for decreasing the danger of developing cerebrovascular accident after transient ischemic attack (TIA).
Objectives: To measure performance rates of duplex of carotid arteries within 72 hours of TIA diagnosis.
Methods: The denominator included all patients who were admitted to emergency departments because of TIA, and the numerator included those who underwent duplex within 72 hours of admission. Inclusion criteria included all patients older than 18 years who were admitted because of TIA according to the ICD9 codes.
Results: Measuring this indicator started in 2015 with 5504 patients and a 58% success rate. The figures for the years 2016, 2017, and 2018 were 5309, 5447, and 5278 patients with success rates of 73%, 79%, and 83%, respectively. Six of 26 hospitals (23.0%) reached the target of 80% in 2018. From 2015 to 2018 a total of 21,538 patients were admitted to emergency departments in Israel and diagnosed with TIA. Of these, 15,722 (72.9%) underwent duplex within 72 hours. The mortality rate within 30 days from diagnosis was 0.81% in patients who performed duplex within 72 hours of diagnosis and 2.37% in patients who did not, odds ratio 2.676, 95% confidence interval 2.051–3.492, P < 0.0001. These results indicate a statistically significant decrease of 65.82%.
Conclusions: A significant decrease in mortality was noted in patients with a new diagnosis of TIA who underwent duplex within 72 hours of diagnosis