T. Naftali, L. Bar Lev, D. Yablekovitz, E. Half and F.M. Konikoff
Background: The marijuana plant cannabis is known to have therapeutic effects, including improvement of inflammatory processes. However, no report of patients using cannabis for Crohn’s disease (CD) was ever published.
Objectives: To describe the effects of cannabis use in patients suffering from CD.
Methods: In this retrospective observational study we examined disease activity, use of medication, need for surgery, and hospitalization before and after cannabis use in 30 patients (26 males) with CD. Disease activity was assessed by the Harvey Bradshaw index for Crohn’s disease.
Results: Of the 30 patients 21 improved significantly after treatment with cannabis. The average Harvey Bradshaw index improved from 14 ± 6.7 to 7 ± 4.7 (P < 0.001). The need for other medication was significantly reduced. Fifteen of the patients had 19 surgeries during an average period of 9 years before cannabis use, but only 2 required surgery during an average period of 3 years of cannabis use.
Conclusions: This is the first report of cannabis use in Crohn’s disease in humans. The results indicate that cannabis may have a positive effect on disease activity, as reflected by reduction in disease activity index, and in the need for other drugs and surgery. Prospective placebo-controlled studies are warranted to fully evaluate the efficacy and side effects of cannabis in CD.
D. Rosin, A. Lebedyev, D. Urban, D. Aderka, O. Zmora, M. Khaikin, A. Hoffman, M. Shabtai and A. Ayalon
Background: The treatment of rectal cancer has changed significantly over the last few decades. Advanced surgical techniques have led to an increase in the rate of sphincter-preserving operations, even for low rectal tumors. This was facilitated by preoperative oncologic treatment and the use of chemoradiation to downstage the tumor before resection. The introduction of total mesorectal excision further improved the oncologic outcome and became the standard of care. The use of laparoscopy for rectal resection is the most recent addition to this series of improvements, but in contrast to the use of laparoscopy in colon cancer its role is not yet well defined.
Objectives: To present our experience with laparoscopic surgery for upper and lower rectal tumors.
Methods: A database was used to prospectively collect all data on laparoscopic rectal surgery in our department since we started performing these procedures in 1997. Follow-up data were collected from outpatient clinic visits, oncology files and telephone interviews. Updated survival data were retrieved from the national census.
Results: Of 750 laparoscopic colorectal procedures performed over a 13 year period, 67 were for rectal cancer. Of these, 29 were resections for tumors in the upper rectum (11–15 cm from the anal verge) and 38 for tumors at 10 cm or below. Surgery was performed in 24 patients after neoadjuvant chemoradiation. There were 54 sphincter-preserving operations and 13 abdominoperineal resections. The mean operative time was 283 minutes. Conversion to an open procedure was required in 22% of the cases. Anastomotic leaks occurred in 17% of cases. Postoperative mortality was 4.5%. Long-term follow-up was available for 77% of the group, for a mean period of 42 months. Local recurrence was diagnosed in 4.5% of the patients and overall 5 year survival was 68%.
Conclusions: Laparoscopic rectal resection is a demanding procedure. However, laparoscopy may become the preferred approach since it is a minimally invasive procedure and has an acceptable oncologic outcome that is comparable to the open approach. This conclusion, however, needs further validation.
O. Goitein, R. Beigel, S. Matetzky, R. Kuperstein, S. Brosh, Y. Eshet, E. Di Segni and E. Konen
Background: Coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) is an established modality for ruling out coronary artery disease. However, it has been suggested that CCTA may be a source of non-negligible radiation exposure.
Objectives: To evaluate the potential degradation in coronary image quality when using prospective gated (PG) CCTA as compared with retrospective gated (RG) CCTA in chest pain evaluation.
Methods: The study cohort comprised 216 patients: 108 consecutive patients in the PG CCTA arm and 108 patients matched for age, gender and heart rate in the RG CCTA arm. Scans were performed using a 64-slice multidetector CT scanner. All 15 coronary segments were evaluated subjectively for image quality using a 5-point visual scale. Dose-length product was recorded for each patient and the effective radiation dose was calculated
Results: The PG CCTA technique demonstrated a significantly higher incidence of step artifacts in the middle and distal right coronary artery, the distal left anterior descending artery, the second diagonal, the distal left circumflex artery, and the second marginal branches. Nevertheless, the diagnostic performance of these scans was not adversely affected. The mean effective radiation doses were 3.8 ± 0.9 mSv vs.17.2 ± 3 mSv for PG CCTA and RG CCTA, respectively (P < 0.0001).
Conclusions: Artifacts caused by the PG CCTA technique (64 MDCT) scanners tended to appear in specific coronary segments but did not impair the overall diagnostic quality of CCTA and there was a marked reduction in radiation exposure. We conclude that 64-slice PG CCTA is suitable for clinical use, especially for acute chest pain "fast track" evaluation targeted at relatively young subjects in a chest pain unit.
I. Gotsman, D. Zwas, Z. Zemora, R. Jabara, D. Admon, C. Lotan and A. Keren
Background: Patients with heart failure (HF) have a poor prognosis. Heart failure centers with specialized nurse-supervised management programs have been proposed to improve prognosis.
Objectives: To evaluate the clinical outcome of patients with HF treated at a multidisciplinary HF center of Clalit Health Services in Jerusalem in collaboration with Hadassah University Hospital.
Methods: We evaluated clinical outcome including hospitalizations and death in all HF patients followed at the HF center for 1 year.
Results: Altogether, 324 patients were included and followed at the HF center; 58% were males with a mean age of 76 ± 11 years, and 58% were in New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class 3-4. The overall 1 year survival rate was 91% and the 1 year hospitalization rate 29%. Comparing patients in the HF center to the whole cohort of patients with a diagnosis of HF (N=6618) in Clalit Health Services in Jerusalem demonstrated a similar 1 year survival rate: 91% vs. 89% respectively but with a significantly reduced hospitalization rate: 29% vs. 42% respectively (P < 0.01). Cox regression analysis demonstrated that treatment in the HF center was a significant predictor of reduced hospitalization after adjustment for other predictors (hazard ratio 0.65, 95% confidence interval 0.53–0.80, P < 0.0001). A subset of patients that was evaluated (N=78) showed significantly increased compliance. NYHA class improved in these patients from a mean of 3.1 ± 0.1 to 2.6 ± 0.1 after treatment (P < 0.0001).
Conclusions: Supervision by dedicated specialized nurses in a HF center increased compliance, improved functional capacity in HF patients, and reduced hospitalization rate. HF centers should be considered part of the standard treatment of patients with symptomatic HF.
A. Balbir-Gurman, B. Fuhrman, Y. Braun-Moscovici, D. Markovits and M. Aviram
Background: Pomegranate extract (POMx) consumption has been shown to reduce the incidence and severity of collagen-induced arthritis in mice.
Objectives: To investigate whether pomegranate consumption affects disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), in relation to their serum oxidative status.
Methods: In this pilot 12 week open-labeled study eight patients with active RA consumed POMx (10 ml/day) for 12 weeks. Patients’ joint status and serum oxidative status (lipid peroxidation, total thiols group, paraoxonase 1 activity) were evaluated at baseline and at week 12.
Results: Six patients completed the study. POMx consumption significantly (P < 0.02) reduced the composite Disease Activity Index (DAS28) by 17%, which could be related mostly to a significant (P < 0.005) reduction in the tender joint count (by 62%). These results were associated with a significant (P < 0.02) reduction in serum oxidative status and a moderate but significant (P < 0.02) increase in serum high density lipoprotein-associated paraoxonase 1 (PON1) activity. The addition of POMx to serum from RA patients reduced free radical-induced lipid peroxidation by up to 25%.
Conclusions: The pomegranate consumption reduced DAS28 in RA patients, and this effect could be related to the antioxidative property of pomegranates. Dietary supplementation with pomegranates may be a useful complementary strategy to attenuate clinical symptoms in RA patients.
A. Fattal-Valevski, H. Bassan, J. Bernheim, B. Redianu, Y. Leitner and S. Harel
Background: Epidemiological studies have found that intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) is closely related to hypertension and is associated with a reduced number of nephrons that may be a predisposing factor for the development of hypertension.
Objectives: To determine whether blood pressure levels of children with a history of IUGR are higher than those of children without IUGR.
Methods: Diastolic, systolic and mean arterial blood pressure levels were measured in 64 children aged 8–12 years old with a history of IUGR (mean birth weight 1780 ± 422 g) and compared with 64 age and gender-matched controls who had a normal birth weight (mean 3134 ± 594 g).
Results: Contrary to previous reports, systolic blood pressure values were significantly lower in the IUGR group compared to the controls (91.6 ±11.3 vs. 96.6 ±13.9, P = 0.027). There was no difference in diastolic blood pressure values. In the IUGR group, systolic blood pressure correlated significantly with current weight (P < 0.01) and body mass index (P < 0.05), and diastolic blood pressure with weight gain between age 2 and 4 years (P < 0.05). None of the blood pressure values correlated with birth weight.
Conclusions: Children born with IUGR have lower systolic blood pressure levels than matched controls at age 8–12 years. These data indicate that postnatal weight gain in this group has a greater impact on systolic blood pressure than birth weight.