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עמוד בית
Wed, 15.07.20

November 2011

A. Bleich, Y. Baruch, S. Hirschmann, G. Lubin, Y. Melamed, Z. Zemishlany and Z. Kaplan

Suicide is universal within the range of human behaviors and is not necessarily related to psychiatric morbidity, though it is considerably more prevalent among psychiatric patients. Considering the limitations of medical knowledge, psychiatrists cope with an unfounded and almost mythical perception of their ability to predict and prevent suicide. We set out to compose a position paper for the Israel Psychiatric Association (IPA) that clarifies expectations from psychiatrists when treating suicidal patients, focusing on risk assessment and boundaries of responsibility, in the era of defensive medicine. The final draft of the position paper was by consensus. The IPA Position Paper established the first standard of care concerning expectations from psychiatrists in Israel with regard to knowledge-based assessment of suicide risk, elucidation of the therapist's responsibility to the suicidal psychotic patient (defined by law) compared to patients with preserved reality testing, capacity for choice, and responsibility for their actions. Therapists will be judged for professional performance rather than outcomes and wisdom of hindsight. This paper may provide support for psychiatrists who, with clinical professionalism rather than extenuating considerations of defensive medicine, strive to save the lives of suicidal patients.

Original Articles
G. Vashitz, J. Meyer, Y. Parmet, Y. Henkin, R. Peleg, N. Liebermann and H. Gilutz

Background: There is a wide treatment gap between evidence-based guidelines and their implementation in primary care.

Objective: To evaluate the extent to which physicians "literally" follow guidelines for secondary prevention of dyslipidemia and the extent to which they practice "substitute" therapeutic measures.

Methods: We performed a post hoc analysis of data collected in a prospective cluster randomized trial. The participants were 130 primary care physicians treating 7745 patients requiring secondary prevention of dyslipidemia. The outcome measure was physician "literal" adherence or "substitute" adherence. We used logistic regressions to evaluate the effect of various clinical situations on “literal” and “substitute” adherence.

Results: "Literal" adherence was modest for ordering a lipoprotein profile (35.1%) and for pharmacotherapy initiations (26.0%), but rather poor for drug up-titrations (16.1%) and for referrals for specialist consultation (3.8%). In contrast, many physicians opted for "substitute" adherence for up-titrations (75.9%) and referrals for consultation (78.7%). Physicians tended to follow the guidelines “literally” in simple clinical situations (such as the need for lipid screening) but to use "substitute" measures in more complex cases (when dose up-titration or metabolic consultation was required). Most substitute actions were less intense than the actions recommended by the guidelines.

Conclusions: Physicians often do not blindly follow guidelines, but rather evaluate their adequacy for a particular patient and adjust the treatment according to their assessment. We suggest that clinical management be evaluated in a broader sense than strict guideline adherence, which may underestimate physicians' efforts.

A. Golan, R. Marco, H. Raz, E. Shany

Background: Neonatal cerebral imaging is a sensitive technique for evaluating brain injury in the neonatal period. When performing computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging, sedation is needed to prevent motion artifacts. However, general anesthesia in neonates carries significant risks and requires a complex logistic approach that often limits the use of these modalities. The development of infant immobilizers now enables imaging without general anesthesia and significantly increases clinical and research investigational opportunities.

Objectives: To assess the efficacy of the infant immobilizer instead of general anesthesia for infants undergoing imaging.

Methods: The study group comprised all infants born over a 1 year period at Soroka University Medical Center who required imaging such as MRI, CT or bone scans. A MedVac Vacuum Splint infant immobilizer was used in all infants to prevent motion during imaging. The success rate of a single scan and the need for general anesthesia were assessed.  

Results: Forty infants were examined during 1 year. The studies included 15 CT scans, 25 MRIs and 1 bone scan. The infants’ gestational age at birth was 27–40 weeks and the examinations were performed at ages ranging from delivery to 6 months old. All imaging was successful and none of the infants required general anesthesia.

Conclusions: An infant immobilizer should be used for imaging of newborns. Since this method carries a low risk and has a high success rate, general anesthesia in newborns is justified only when this non-invasive procedure fails.

A. Mashal, A. Katz and P. Shvartzman

Background: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia in adults and is associated with increased mortality and morbidity.

Objectives: To characterize patients diagnosed with AF in primary care clinics in southern Israel.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study in 14 primary care clinics of the largest health insurance fund in Israel, reviewing the electronic medical records of adults aged ≥ 25 years diagnosed with AF. The prevalence, evaluation, antithrombotic treatment and treatments for rate control/rhythm control were analyzed.

Results: We retrieved the records of 995 patients with a diagnosis of AF; the prevalence of AF was 1.5% (2.5% aged ≥ 45 years). The patients’ mean age was 73.5 ± 1.4 years and 55.3% were female. Vitamin K antagonist (VKA) was prescribed for 591 patients (59%), of whom 8.5% had no international normalized ratio follow-up tests for at least 3 months before our review. Among patients in the VKA treatment group the risk for thromboembolic events was considered to be high, moderate and low in 22% (n=131), 66% (n=391) and 12% (n=69), respectively. Patients with a low Congestive Hypertension Age Diabetes Stroke (CHADS2) score (odds ratio = 0.555, 95% confidence interval 0.357–0.862) and patients who did not receive VKA (OR[1] = 0.601, 95% CI[2] 0.459–0.787) received significantly less rate-control treatment. Of the patients with a low CHADS2 score (< 1) 52.7% received VKA treatment, and 39.4% with a high CHADS2 score (≥ 3) did not receive VKA. A positive correlation between anticoagulation and rate or rhythm control was found.

Conclusions: The prevalence and age distribution of AF in southern Israel are similar to findings in the western world. Many of the patients did not receive appropriate antithrombotic prophylaxis.

[1] OR = odds ratio

[2] CI = confidence interval

A. Blum, C. Simsolo, R. Sirchan and S. Haiek

Background: The "obesity paradox" is defined as an inverse association of good health, survival and obesity. Usually in healthy persons the more obese you are the more metabolic complications you have; however, thin patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have more cardiovascular complications and a higher mortality rate.

Objectives: To explore whether atherosclerosis and peripheral artery disease (PAD) contribute to the higher morbidity and mortality of patients with COPD.

Methods: This prospective study included 87 patients with chronic COPD who were treated in the pulmonary outpatient clinic; all signed a consent form before enrollment. We documented their lung function (FEV1%), body mass index (BMI) and ankle brachial index (ABI). The primary endpoints were to find an association between atherosclerosis and BMI in patients with COPD, and between atherosclerosis and severity of lung disease.

Results: Average ABI[1] was 1.01 ± 0.20, BMI[2] was 29.33 ± 7.48 kg/m2, and the abdominal circumference was 107.34 ± 18.87 cm. A positive correlation was found between BMI and ABI (P = 0.001) and between abdominal circumference and ABI (P = 0.000). Patients with peripheral artery disease were older (73.6 ± 11.5 vs. 68.1 ± 11.6 years old, P = 0.04), were thinner (average BMI 25.5 ± 6.2 vs. 31.06 ± 7.3, P = 0.001), and had a lower abdominal circumference (97.7 ± 18.3 vs. 111.7 ± 17.5 cm, P = 0.001). No such difference was observed for years of smoking. Male PAD patients with COPD had a lower BMI (25.2 ± 5.6 vs. 29.9 ± 7.4, P = 0.016), and their abdominal circumference was smaller (96.1 ± 18.0 vs. 110.2 ± 16.5 cm, P = 0.004). Female PAD patients with COPD had a lower BMI (26.3 ± 8.2 vs. 33.1 ± 7.0, P = 0.045), but their abdominal circumference was not different from females without PAD (102.0 ± 19.7 vs. 114.0 ± 19.4 cm, P = 0.162). Patients with PAD had a worse lung disease (FEV1% 34 ± 8% vs. 45 ± 16%, P = 0.01). During the 1 year of follow-up five patients died: two PAD patients due to acute myocardial infarction and three non-PAD patients died from pulmonary insufficiency (two patients) and pulmonary emboli (one patient).

Discussion: We found that COPD patients with PAD were older and thinner and had a lower abdominal circumference and a more progressive lung disease. Extensive atherosclerosis in patients with COPD may partly explain the “obesity paradox” observed in patients with COPD.

[1] ABI = ankle brachial index

[2] BMI = body mass index

D. Rosengarten, M.R. Kramer, G. Amir, L. Fuks and N. Berkman

Pulmonary epithelioid hemangioendothelioma (PEH), previously known as "intravascular bronchoalveolar tumor," is a rare vascular malignancy with an unpredictable prognosis. Treatment can vary from observation in asymptomatic patients to surgery in patients with resectable disease or chemotherapy in patients with disseminated disease. This report describes the clinical, radiological and pathological features of three cases of PEH and a review of the current literature.

E. Greenberg, I. Treger and J. Schwarz

Background: Little is known of the risk factor disparities in first stroke among Jewish and Arab patients undergoing rehabilitation in Israel.

Objectives: To investigate the age, gender and risk factor disparities in first stroke among Jewish (immigrant and non-immigrant) and Arab patients undergoing rehabilitation and to compare the prevalence and odds ratio of stroke risk factors in these patients.

Methods: The database of the Department of Neurological Rehabilitation C at Loewenstein Rehabilitation Center was used to investigate first ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke patients admitted for hospital rehabilitation over a 15 year period, January 1993 to December 2008. Particular attention was paid to age, gender and risk factor disparities.

Results: The 2000 patients with first stroke who were included in the study were grouped as Jewish (immigrant and non-immigrant) and Arab (237 Arabs, 370 non-immigrant Jews and 1393 immigrant Jews). A high percentage of Arab patients were found to have hypertension and diabetes mellitus, while a high percentage of Jewish immigrants had stenosis of the internal carotid artery.

Conclusions: The study demonstrated some differences in the effect of risk factors between the groups. It may be important to address such differences when developing stroke preventative strategies in this population of Jewish and Arab stroke survivors in Israel.

M. Kinori, T. Wygnanski-Jaffe and R. Huna-Baron

Background: Pediatric functional visual loss (FVL) is the loss of vision in a child that cannot be explained by an organic pathology. In the last decade, only a few studies on pediatric FVL have reported long-term patient follow-up.

Objectives: To report the characteristics of pediatric FVL with long-term follow-up in Israeli children.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective chart review of the medical records of patients with FVL from 2000 to 2010. Only children with adequate follow-up (at least 2 months) were included.

Results: Of the 12 patients identified, 9 were females. Mean patient age was 10.5 ± 4.4 years (range 3.5–17 years). Most children (75%) had bilateral visual loss. One patient had a history of psychiatric illness and in three patients a preceding psychosocial event/trauma was identified. Brain imaging and electrophysiology testing (if done) were normal in all cases. No medications were prescribed to any of the patients, and all were reassured that there was a high chance of spontaneous resolution. The follow-up time was 2–108 months (mean 23.8 months, median 6). During the follow-up period 9 of the 12 had complete resolution and 2 had relief of symptoms. Three patients reported a recurrence of symptoms. No organic disease was ever diagnosed in this group.

Conclusions: FVL may occur in all age groups, including children. In cases of visual loss, it is usually bilateral and can involve both acuity and visual field loss. In the present report most of the patients experienced normalization or relief of their symptoms without medical treatment.

D.E. Carney, K. Matsushima and H.L. Frankel

Since the Surviving Sepsis Campaign Guideline (SSG) was published in 2004, critical care physicians can readily access the evidence and current recommendations regarding management of patients with severe sepsis and septic shock. However, several issues including a potential conflict of interest in developing the guidelines were disclosed. There have also been dramatic changes in the management of sepsis, supported by high levels of evidence. SSG[1] 2008 was developed to update the evidence using a new grading system. We reviewed select topics, routinely addressed by intensivists in the surgical intensive care unit, that have changed between SSG 2004 and SSG 2008: namely, glucose control, and administration of steroids, recombinant human activated protein C (rhAPC) and total parenteral nutrition.

[1] SSG = Surviving Sepsis Campaign Guideline

J. Menczer

The incidence of invasive uterine cervical cancer in Israeli Jewish women is persistently lower than in many other countries, although the frequency of premalignant lesions is similar to that in other populations. Most characteristics, except certain traditional habits, are similar to those in other populations. The incidence among women born in North Africa and their Israeli born descendants is significantly higher than in those born in other continents, possibly due to genetic factors. In view of the similarities to other populations the reason for the low incidence in Israel remains obscure, and whether it may be attributed to genetic reasons or to some traditional habits remains to be confirmed

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