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עמוד בית Wed, 26.06.19

June 2011

Original Articles
Z.H. Abramson, O. Avni, O. Levi and I.N. Miskin

Background: Influenza vaccination of community-dwelling elderly is widely recommended. Observational studies have shown a strong association between physicians' personal vaccination status and their reported level of recommendation to patients and possibly their patients' actual vaccination. No published trials have examined whether increasing vaccination rates of primary care staff raises vaccination among their patients. Proof of a positive effect would support the notion that vaccinating health care workers benefits their patients.

Objectives: To examine whether an intervention to increase staff vaccination also increases vaccination of their patients aged 65 and over.

Methods: A trial examining an intervention aiming to raise staff immunization rates was performed in primary care community clinics in the Jerusalem area. The study population comprised the staff of 13 randomly chosen intervention clinics during the season of 2007–2008, with another 14 clinics serving as controls. The intervention resulted in a staff vaccination rate of 52.8% compared to 26.5% in the control clinics (66.1% and 32.2% among physicians). No intervention was directed at the patients. Data on patient vaccination and other patient characteristics were extracted from the health funds’ computerized databases.

Results: The percentage of patients vaccinated during the intervention season was 57.8% in both intervention and control groups, reflecting an increase of 14.4% compared to the previous season in the intervention clinics and of 13.4% in the control clinics. Logistic regression demonstrated a statistically significant association between intervention and patient vaccination with an odds ratio of 1.10 (95% confidence interval 1.03–1.18). However, analysis adjusting for clustering did not show a significant association.

Conclusions: Increasing influenza vaccination of the medical staff did not substantially increase patient vaccination. These results do not show any patient benefit from staff vaccination in primary care.

G. Katz, R. Durst, E. Shufman, R. Bar-Hamburger and L. Grunhaus

Background: Some specialists and policy makers advocate progression of the mental health reform in Israel by transferring beds from psychiatric to general hospitals.

Objectives: To compare the demographic, diagnostic and psychopathological profiles of psychiatric inpatients hospitalized in psychiatric and general hospitals, as well as their patterns of drug abuse and to estimate the preparedness of general hospitals for the possible expansion of their psychiatric services.

Methods: Between 2002 and 2006 a total of 250 patients were consecutively admitted to the Jerusalem Mental Health Center-Kfar Shaul Hospital and 220 to the psychiatric department of Sheba Medical Center, a general hospital in central Israel; the patients’ ages ranged from 18 to 65. The two groups were compared for demographic features, psychiatric diagnoses and severity of psychopathology (utilizing PANSS, HAD-21, YMRS rating scales). Drug abuse was diagnosed by urine analyses and self-report.

Results: The patients in the psychiatric hospital were significantly younger, predominantly male, and more dependent on social security payments. In the general hospital, diagnoses of affective and anxiety disorders prevailed, while in the psychiatric hospital schizophrenic and other psychotic patients constituted the majority. The patients in the general hospital were decidedly more depressed; in the psychiatric hospital, notably higher rates of manic symptoms as well as positive, negative and general schizophrenic symptoms were reported. For the most abused substances (opiates, cannabis and methamphetamines) the rates in the psychiatric hospital were significantly higher.

Conclusions: The differences between the two groups of inpatients were very pronounced, and therefore, the transferring of psychiatric beds to general hospitals could not be done without serious and profound organizational, educational and financial changes in the psychiatric services of general hospitals. Since each of the two inpatient systems has particular specializations and experience with the different subgroups of patients, they could coexist for a long time.

M. Garcia-Carrasco, C. Mendoza-Pinto, C. Riebeling, M. Sandoval-Cruz, A. Nava, I. Etchegaray-Morales, M. Jimenez-Hernandez, A. Montiel-Jarquin, A. Lopez-Colombo and R. Cervera

 Background: The prevalence of vertebral fractures in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) ranges between 20% and 21.4%, and patients with these fractures have impaired walking and activities of daily living. Moreover, clinical and radiological vertebral fractures have been associated with increased mortality.
 Objectives: To compare the quality of life of patients with SLE[1] with and without vertebral fractures.

Methods: The study group comprised 140 women with SLE undergoing screening for vertebral fractures using a standardized method. SLE disease activity and organ damage were measured by the Mexican Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index (MEX-SLEDAI) and Systemic International Collaborating Clinics/American College of Rheumatology damage index (SLICC), respectively. The QUALEFFO and Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale were used to measure health-related quality of life and depression, respectively.

Results: The median age of the 140 patients was 43 years (range 18–76); disease duration was 72 months (range 6–432); 49.7% were menopausal. Thirty-four patients (24.8%) had vertebral fractures (≥ 1), mostly in the thoracic spine. Patients with vertebral fractures had a higher mean age (49.5 ± 13.4 vs. 41 ± 13.2 years, P = 0.001) and disease damage (57.1% vs. 34.4%, P = 0.001). The global QUALEFFO score was not different between the vertebral fractures group and the non-vertebral group. The only significant difference in the QUALEFFO items was in physical function (P = 0.04). A significant correlation was found between the severity of vertebral fractures and the QUALEFFO pain (r = 0.27, P = 0.001) and physical function (r = 0.37, P = 0.02) scores. The number of vertebral fractures correlated only with physical function (r = 0.01).

Conclusions: The HRQOL of women with SLE is low, regardless of whether they have vertebral fractures or not, but patients with vertebral fractures have worse physical function compared to those without. Strategies to improve the HRQOL of patients with SLE with or without vertebral fractures are necessary.

[1] SLE = systemic lupus erythematosus

J. Bishara, E. Goldberg, L. Madar-Shapiro, J. Behor and Z. Samra

Background: The rate of infection with Clostridium difficile colitis and its associated mortality have been increasing in the last decade. The molecular epidemiology of C. difficile in Israel has as yet not been studied.

Objectives: To screen for the existence of the 027 and 078 ribotypes and determine the longitudinal molecular epidemiology of the circulating clinical C. difficile isolates in a large hospital in central Israel.

Methods: Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) ribotyping was performed on C. difficile isolates obtained from hospitalized patients from November 2003 to May 2004 (first study period) and September 2009 (second study period). Isolates with PCR[1] ribotype patterns, unlike those of the available reference strains (078 and 027), were labeled with letters. Forty-six isolates from the first study period and 20 from the second were analyzed.

Results: PCR strain typing of C. difficile isolates yielded approximately 26 unique ribotypes. During the first study period, ribotype A and B accounted for 30% and 28%, respectively, whereas ribotype E and K accounted for 6.5% for each. During the second study period, ribotypes A, E and K disappeared, and the incidence of ribotype B decreased from 28% to 15%. One isolate (1/20, 5%) emerged during the second period and was identified as ribotype 027. Moxifloxacin resistance was found in 93% of ribotype A isolates, 81% of the ribotype B group, and in 44% of other ribotypes.

Conclusions: The predominant ribotypes circulating in our institution were diverse and changing. This is the first report on the emergence of the 027 ribotype in Israel.

[1] PCR = polymerase chain reaction

O. Chechik, R. inbar, B. Danino, R. Lador, R. Greenberg and S. Avital

Background: The effect of anti-platelet drugs on surgical blood loss and perioperative complications has not been studied in depth and the management of surgical patients taking anti-platelet medications is controversial.

Objective: To assess the effect of anti-platelet therapy on perioperative blood loss in patients undergoing appendectomy either laparoscopically or via open surgery.

Methods: We reviewed the files of all patients > 40 years old who underwent open or laparoscopic appendectomies from 2007 to 2010. Excluded were patients with short hospitalization and no follow-up of hemoglobin level, patients on warfarin treatment and patients who underwent additional procedures. Estimation of blood loss was based on decrease in hemoglobin level from admission to discharge. Risk factors for blood loss, such as anti-platelet therapy, age, gender, surgical approach, surgical time, surgical findings and complications, were analyzed.

Results: The final cohort included 179 patients (mean age 61 ± 14 years, range 40–93) of whom 65 were males. The mean perioperative hemoglobin decrease was 1.59 ± 1.07 mg/dl (range 0–5 mg/dl). Thirty-nine patients received anti-platelet therapy prior to surgery and 140 did not. No significant differences in decrease of hemoglobin level were found between patients receiving anti-platelet therapy and those who were not (1.73 ± 1.21 vs. 1.55 ± 1.02 mg/dl, P = 0.3). In addition, no difference was found between patients on anti-platelet therapy operated laparoscopically and those operated in an open fashion (1.59 ± 1.18 vs. 2.04 ± 1.28 mg/dl, P = 0.29). Five patients required blood transfusions, two of whom were on anti-platelet therapy. Blood loss was significantly greater in patients with a perforated appendicitis and in those with an operative time of more than one hour.

Conclusions: Anti-platelet therapy does not pose a risk for increased blood loss following emergent appendectomy performed either laparoscopically or in an open fashion.

M. Abu-Tailakh, S. Weitzman and Y. Henkin

Background: The incidence and prevalence of coronary heart disease (CHD) among Bedouins living in the Negev region was very low until the 1960s. During the past 50 years this pattern has changed: in parallel to the changes in lifestyle and nutrition in the Bedouin population, a rapid increase in incidence and mortality from CHD occurred. The relationship between the rise in CHD incidence and the degree of urbanization in this population has not been investigated to date. The study hypothesis was that the prevalence of risk factors and the outcome of myocardial infarction in Bedouins differ between those settled in permanent villages and those remaining in unrecognized villages.

Objectives: To compare the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors, clinical characteristics, and in-hospital management of a first acute myocardial infarction (AMI) in two Bedouin groups: those residing in permanent villages versus those residing in unrecognized villages.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of in-hospital data of 352 patients admitted with a first AMI during the period 1997–2003 to Soroka Medical Center, the only medical facility in the region.

Results: There were no differences between the two groups regarding the major cardiovascular risk factors and outcome. A relatively greater number of patients from urban areas underwent catheterization of any sort during their hospitalization (primary, rescue, and risk stratification; P = 0.038). No significant difference was found between the two groups in the type of catheterization performed (P = 0.279).

Conclusions: We found no differences in the clinical characteristics and in-hospital management of patients with AMI between Bedouins residing in permanent villages versus unrecognized villages.

J. Freire de Carvalho, V. Santos Trindade Viana, E. Ferreira Borba Neto, R. Dias Santos and E. Bonfa

Background: Anti-lipoprotein lipase antibodies have been described in rare cases of patients with hypertriglyceridemia. However, no systematic study evaluating these antibodies in patients with this lipid abnormality has been undertaken.

Objectives: To analyze the correlation of anti-lipoprotein lipase (anti-LPL) antibodies with other laboratory findings in patients with hypertriglyceridemia but no autoimmune disease.

Methods: We evaluated 44 hypertriglyceridemic patients without autoimmune disease. Clinical and laboratory evaluations included analyses of co-morbidities, fasting lipid profile and anti-LPL antibodies.

Results: Mean patient age was 55 ± 10 years; 46% of the patients were female and 64% were Caucasian. The mean disease duration was 94.4 months and mean body mass index 28.7 ± 3.6 kg/m2; 34.0% were diabetic, 25.0% were obese, 72.7% had systemic arterial hypertension, 75% were sedentary, 15.9% were smokers, 56.8% had a family history of dyslipidemia, 45.5% had a family history of coronary insufficiency, 20.5% had acute myocardial infarction, 9.0% had undergone revascularization and 11.0% angioplasty, 79.5% were being treated with statins and 43.2% were taking fibrates. Median triglyceride levels were 254 mg/dl (range 100-3781 mg/dl), and total cholesterol level was 233 ± 111 mg/dl. High-density lipoprotein was 42.6 ± 15.4 mg/dl, low-density lipoprotein 110.7 ± 42.4 mg/dl and very low-density lipoprotein 48 ± 15 mg/dl. Anti-LPL antibodies were identified in 2 patients (4.5%), both of whom had a family history of dyslipidemia, coronary insufficiency and acute myocardial infarction; one had undergone myocardial revascularization and percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty, and both were using fibrates and had normal triglyceride levels.

Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate a correlation between the immune response and dyslipoproteinemia in hypertriglyceridemic patients, suggesting that autoimmune disease contributes to the dyslipidemia process.

A. Schlez, I. Litmanovitz, S. Bauer, T. Dolfin, R. Regev and S. Arnon

Background: Music therapy has been recommended as an adjuvant therapy for both preterm infants and mothers during their stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and has been shown to have beneficial effects.

Objectives: To study the usefulness of combining live harp music therapy and kangaroo care (KC) on short-term physiological and behavioral parameters of preterm infants and their mothers in the NICU setting.

Methods: Included in this study were stable infants born between 32 and 37 weeks of gestation, with normal hearing .Mother-infant dyads were randomly assigned to KC and live harp music therapy or to KC alone. Using repeated measures, neonatal and maternal heart rate, oxygen saturation and respiratory rate were recorded along with neonatal behavioral state and maternal anxiety state. Maternal age, ethnicity, education, and love of music were documented.

Results: Fifty-two mother-infant dyads were tested. Compared with KC alone, KC and live harp music therapy had a significantly beneficial effect on maternal anxiety score (46.8 ± 10 vs. 27.7 ± 7.1, respectively, P < 0.01). Infants’ physiological responses and behavior did not differ significantly. No correlation was found between mothers’ age, ethnicity, years of education and affinity for music, and anxiety scores (P = 0.2 to 0.5 for all four variables).

Conclusions: KC combined with live harp music therapy is more beneficial in reducing maternal anxiety than KC alone. This combined therapy had no apparent effect on the tested infants’ physiological responses or behavioral state.

E. Anis, A. Leventhal, I. Grotto, D. Gandacu , B. Warshavsky , A. Shimshony and A. Israeli

Background: The majority of human brucellosis cases in Israel are caused by the ingestion of unpasteurized dairy foods produced from unlicensed family-owned flocks whose products are sold door-to-door at low prices. Exposure to infected farm animals is another major cause of infection.

Objectives: To determine, by examining recent incidence data and brucellosis control programs, whether a reduction in the incidence of human brucellosis in Israel can be sustained.

Methods: Case information is reported to the Health Ministry and national data are compiled and analyzed by the Division of Epidemiology. The current study focuses on data from 1998 through 2009 and discusses several of the major prevention and health education programs that have been implemented.

Results: An incidence decline of almost 70% during the period 1998–2002 was followed by a return to previously existing levels, although the incidence has remained consistently lower than in past decades. The disease is mostly limited to certain sectors of the rural Arab population. In 2009 the incidence rate per 100,000 population was 7.0 among Arabs compared with 0.2 among Jews. Between 1998 and 2009, 63% of cases were from the Beer Sheva and Acre health districts, which together comprise 15.5% of the Israeli population. Control programs - including efforts to combat brucellosis in animals and to discourage the sale of unpasteurized homemade dairy products - have met with partial success.

Conclusions: Without routine vaccination of all family-owned flocks, more effective restraints on the market for unpasteurized dairy foods and improved regional cooperation, human brucellosis will continue to be a contained, but persistent, health problem in Israel due to cultural behavior, socioeconomic factors, and the regional political environment.

N. Sherr-Lurie, G.M. Bialik, A. Ganel, A. Schindler and U.Givon

Background: Fractures of the humerus in neonates can pose a diagnostic challenge, especially when the fracture occurs in the proximal or distal epiphysis.

Objectives: To review our experience in the diagnosis and treatment of birth-related humeral fractures.

Methods: Between the years 2001 and 2009, seven newborn patients and two patients treated in the neonatal intensive care unit sustained a fracture of the humerus. Four of the fractures occurred in the humeral shaft, three in the proximal epiphysis and two in the distal epiphysis. In all the newborn patients the diagnosis was made on the first day of life using radiography and ultrasonography. The fractures of the shaft and of the distal epiphysis were treated by gentle manipulation and casting, and the fractures of the proximal epiphysis were treated by swaddling.

Results: All of the patients demonstrated fracture union within 2 weeks, and radiographs at the age of 6 months demonstrated complete remodeling of the fracture.

Conclusions: Ultrasonography is a simple, readily available and inexpensive modality for the diagnosis of birth-related fractures of the humerus, especially in the yet unossified epiphyses.

A. Markel

Hypercholesterolemia is one of the main factors in the development of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. The advent of statins led to huge progress in the treatment of hypercholesterolemia, yet the proportion of patients with prohibitive lipid values and the high incidence of cardiovascular events despite treatment are still very high. Niacin, one of the older drugs used to treat hyperlipidemia, was shown to reduce low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) and triglycerides and to markedly increase high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) levels. This drug came into disuse owing to frequent side effects, mainly flushing, but in recent years a reemergence of its application has occurred, and multiple clinical trials have shown its effectiveness in the treatment of hyperlipidemia and in the reduction in cardiovascular events. New formulations such as extended-release niacin (ERN) have been developed with the purpose of reducing side effects. Lately, a new compound, laropiprant, which selectively antagonizes the prostaglandin 2 (PGD2) receptor responsible for flushing, has been developed. Laropiprant, when combined with ERN,[1] significantly reduces the incidence of flushing. New and ongoing trials will definitively prove in the long term whether this drug combination significantly reduces the severity of flushing and the incidence of cardiovascular events.

[1] ERN = extended release niacin

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