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עמוד בית
Wed, 15.07.20

February 2009

Original Articles
T. Davidson, O. Goitein, A. Avigdor, S. Tzila Zwas and E. Goshen

Background: Venous thromboembolism is a well-recognized and relatively frequent complication of malignancy, whereas tumor thrombosis is a rare complication of solid cancers. Correct diagnosis of tumor thrombosis and its differentiation from VTE[1] can alter patient management and prevent unnecessary long-term anticoagulation treatment.

Objectives: To evaluate the contribution of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography to the diagnosis of tumor thrombosis and its differentiation from VTE.

Methods: PET/CT[2] scans from 11 patients with suspected tumor thrombosis were retrospectively evaluated. Suspicion arose from positive PET/CT in eight cases, or from findings on contrast-enhanced CT in three patients. Criteria for positivity of PET/CT included increased focal or linear uptake of 18F-FDG[3] in the involved vessel. Findings were categorized as PET/CT positive, or PET/CT negative and compared to contrast-enhanced or ultrasound Doppler, pathology where available, and clinical follow-up.

Results: Eight occult tumor thromboses were identified by PET/CT-positive scans. Underlying pathologies included pancreatic, colorectal, renal cell, and head-neck squamous cell carcinoma, as well as lymphoma (4 patients). Three thrombotic lesions on contrast-enhanced CT were PET/CT negative, due to VTE (2 patients) and leiomyomatosis. Accuracy of PET/CT to differentiate between tumor thrombosis and benign VTE was 100% in this small study.

Conclusions: Contrast-enhanced CT defines the extent of thrombotic lesions, while the functional information from PET/CT characterizes the lesions. It appears that PET/CT may be helpful in the diagnosis of occult tumor thrombosis and its differentiation from VTE.

[1] VTE = venous thromboembolism

[2] PET/CT = positron emission tomography/computed tomography

[3] FDG = fluorodeoxyglucose

S. Kivity, D. Elbirt, K. Sade, D. Sthoeger, Z. Sthoeger and the Israeli Allergy Rhinitis/Asthma Study Group

Background: Mite allergy is an indoor allergen responsible for most respiratory allergies in the western world. Environmental control can modify disease activity in these patients.

Objectives: To examine the benefit of the Plasma Cluster® device (Sharp, Japan) for inactivating and removing mites from the environment of patients diagnosed with either mite‑sensitive perennial allergic rhinitis or mite‑sensitive allergic asthma.

Methods: Patients with AR[1] (n=30) or AA[2] (n=10) were enrolled into a prospective open observational 8 week study. The first 2 weeks involved initial evaluation, the following 4 weeks consisted of active usage of the device, and the last 2 weeks were designated for follow‑up. Symptom scores (recorded daily by patients and during visits by physicians) were recorded and analyzed.

Results: Patients with AR experienced a significant (P < 0.05) reduction in nasal discharge, post‑nasal drip, nasal congestion, nasal itching, watery eyes, itchy eyes, headache, itchy ears, night disturbances and an improvement in general well‑being during the last 2 days of the study compared to baseline. Patients with AA reported significant (P < 0.05) reduction in dyspnea, wheezing and the need to avoid dust mites. There was a significant (P < 0.05) improvement in mean peak expiratory flow rate at study closure compared to baseline.

Conclusions: Short-term usage of the Plasma Cluster® device resulted in considerable clinical improvement and increased peak expiratory flow rate in patients with AR or AA. The findings of this pilot study warrant longer and controlled studies to determine the value of this device in the treatment of various allergic disorders.

[1] AR = allergic rhinitis

[2] AA = allergic asthma

R. Dankner, G. Geulayov, N. Farber, I. Novikov, S. Segev and B-A. Sela

Background: High levels of plasma homocysteine constitute a risk for cardiovascular disease. Physical activity, known to reduce CVD[1] risk, has been related to levels of Hcy[2]. Recently, higher Hcy was shown to be associated with lower cardiovascular fitness in women but not in men.

Objectives: To further explore the relationship between cardiorespiratory fitness and plasma total homocysteine levels in a large cohort of adult males and females.

Methods: This cross-sectional study included 2576 fitness and Hcy examinations in adults (62% males) aged 30–59 years, randomly drawn from a population undergoing a periodic health examination in the Sheba Medical Center's Executive Screening Survey. Blood tests were collected for tHcy[3] and a sub-maximal exercise test was performed to estimate cardiorespiratory fitness. Information on CVD/CVD risk factors (coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular accident, diabetes, hypertension or dyslipidemia) was self-reported.

Results: Mean tHcy plasma levels were 14.4 ± 7.7 and 10.2 ± 3.0 µmol/ml, and mean maximal oxygen uptake 36.5 ± 11.7 and 29 2 ± 9.5 ml/kg/min for males and females, respectively. A multiple regression analysis, adjusting for age, body mass index and CVD/CVD risk factors, showed no association between cardiorespiratory fitness and level of tHcy in males (P = 0.09) or in females (P = 0.62).

Conclusions: In this sample no relationship was found between level of cardiorespiratory fitness and plasma tHcy in men or women. The inconsistency of findings and the small number of studies warrant further research of the association between cardiorespiratory fitness and tHcy, an association that may have clinical implications for the modifications of cardiovascular risk factors.

[1] CVD = cardiovascular disease

[2] Hcy = homocysteine

[3] tHcy = total homocysteine

by Lone S. Avnon, MD, Fauaz Manzur, MD, Arkadi Bolotin, PhD, Dov Heimer, MD, Daniel Flusser, MD, Dan Buskila, MD, Shaul Sukenik, MD and Mahmoud Abu-Shakra, MD.

Background: A high incidence of abnormal pulmonary function tests has been reported in cross-sectional studies among patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Few patients have been enrolled in longitudinal studies.

Objectives: To perform PFT[1] in rheumatoid arthritic patients without pulmonary involvement and to identify variables related to changes in PFT over 5 years of follow-up.

Methods: Consecutive RA[2] patients underwent PFT according to American Thoracic Society recommendations. All surviving patients were advised to repeat the examination 5 years later.

Results: PFT was performed in 82 patients (21 men, 61 women). Their mean age was 55.7 (15.9) years and the mean RA duration was 11.1 (10) years. Five years later 15 patients (18.3%) had died. Among the 67 surviving patients, 38 (56.7%) agreed to participate in a follow-up study. The initial PFT revealed normal PFT in only 30 patients (36.6%); an obstructive ventilatory defect in 2 (2.4%), a small airway defect in 12 (17%), a restrictive ventilatory defect in 21 (25.6%), and reduced DLco in 17 (20.7%). Among the 38 patients participating in the 5 year follow-up study, 8 developed respiratory symptoms, one patient had a new obstructive ventilatory defect, one patient developed a restrictive ventilatory defect, and 5 patients had a newly developed small airway defect. The DLco had improved in 7 of the 8 patients who initially had reduced DLco, reaching normal values in 5 patients. Over the study period a new reduction in DLco was observed in 7 patients. Linear regression analyses failed to identify any patient or disease-specific characteristics that could predict a worsening in PFT. The absolute yearly decline in forced expiratory volume in 1 sec among our RA patients was 47 ml/year, a decline similar to that seen among current smokers.

Conclusions: Serial PFT among patients with RA is indicated and allows for earlier identification of various ventilatory defects. Small airways disturbance was a common finding among our RA patients.

[1] PFT = pulmonary function testing

[2] RA = rheumatoid arthritis

G. Sherman, L. Zeller, A. Avriel, M. Friger, M. Harari and S. Sukenik

Background: Balneotherapy, traditionally administered during a continuous stay at the Dead Sea area, has been shown to be effective for patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis.

Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of an intermittent regimen of balneotherapy at the Dead Sea for patients with knee osteoarthritis.

Methods: Forty-four patients with knee osteoarthritis were included in a prospective randomized single-blind controlled study. The patients were divided into two groups: a treatment group (n=24), which were treated twice weekly for 6 consecutive weeks in a sulfur pool heated to 35–36°C, and a control group (n=20) treated in a Jacuzzi filled with tap water heated to 35–36°C. Participants were assessed by the Lequesne index of osteoarthritis severity, the WOMAC index, the SF-36 quality of health questionnaire, VAS scales for pain (completed by patients and physicians), and physical examination.

Results: A statistically significant improvement, lasting up to 6 months, was observed in the treatment group for most of the clinical parameters. In the control group the only improvements were in the SF-36 bodily pain scale at 6 months, the Lequesne index at 1 month and the WOMAC pain score at the end of the treatment period. Although the patients in the control group had milder disease the difference between the two groups was not statistically significant.

Conclusions: Intermittent balneotherapy appears to be effective for patients with knee osteoarthritis.

C. Stein-Zamir, E. Tallen-Gozani, N. Abramson, H. Shoob, R. Yishai, V. Agmon, A. Reisfeld, L. Valinsky and E. Marva

Background: Foodborne Salmonella enterica outbreaks constitute both a threat to public health and an economic burden worldwide.

Objectives: To characterize the pathogen(s) involved and possible source of infection of an outbreak of acute gastroenteritis in a banqueting hall in Jerusalem.

Methods: We conducted interviews of guests and employees of the banqueting hall, and analyzed food items, samples from work surfaces and stool cultures.

Results: Of 770 persons participating in three events on 3 consecutive days at a single banqueting hall, 124 were interviewed and 75 reported symptoms. Salmonella enterica, serovar Enteritidis, phage type C-8, was isolated from: 10 stool cultures (eight guests, one symptomatic employee and one asymptomatic employee) and a sample of a mayonnaise-based egg salad. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis[c1]  of the isolates revealed an identical pattern in the outbreak isolates, different from SE C-8 controls. A culture-positive, asymptomatic employee was linked to all three events. After a closure order, allowing for cleaning of the banqueting hall, revision of food preparation procedures and staff instruction on hygiene, the banqueting hall was reopened with no subsequent outbreaks.

Conclusions: It is often difficult to pinpoint the source of infection in S. enterica outbreaks. Using molecular subtyping methods, a link was confirmed between patients, a food handler, (presumably a carrier) and a food item – all showing an identical specific Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis. Testing asymptomatic as well as symptomatic food handlers in outbreak investigations is imperative. Pre- and post-hiring screening might be considered as preventive measures; hygiene and sanitation education are essential.


I. Rabin, B. Chikman, R. Lavy, J. Sandbank, M. Maklakovsky, R. Gold-Deutch, Z. Halpren, I. Wassermann and A. Halevy

Background: Gastrointestinal stromal tumors are the most common mesenchymal neoplasms of the human gastrointestinal tract.

Objectives: To review our accumulated experience using surgery to treat gastrointestinal stromal tumors.

Methods: We reviewed all patient charts and histological diagnoses of leiomyomas, leiomyosarcomas, leiomyoblastomas and schwannomas. Only tumors that displayed c-kit (CD117) immunopositivity were defined as GISTs[1].

Results: The study group comprised 40 female and 53 male patients (age 26–89 years); 40.9% of the tumors were classified as malignant, 39.8% as benign, and 19.4% as of uncertain malignancy. Fifty-six GISTs were located in the stomach (60.2%), 29 in the small bowel (31.2%), 4 in the duodenum (4.3%), 2 in the colon (2.1%) and 2 in the rectum (2.1%). Incidental GISTs were found in 23.7% of our patients. Mean overall survival time for malignant gastric GISTs was 102.6 months (95% confidence interval 74.2–131.1) as compared to 61.4 months mean overall survival for malignant small bowel GISTs (95% CI[2] 35.7–87) (P = 0.262). The mean disease-free survival period for patients with malignant gastric GISTs was 97.5 months (95% CI 69.7–125.2) as compared to only 49.6 months (95% CI 27.4–71.7) for patients with small bowel malignant GISTs (P = 0.041).

Conclusions: We found a high percentage of incidental GISTs. Gastric GISTs are more common than small bowel GISTs. Patients with malignant gastric GISTs have a significantly better prognosis than patients with malignant small bowel GISTs. A statistically significant correlation was found between age and malignant potential of the GIST.

[1] GISTs = gastrointestinal stromal tumors

[2] CI = confidence interval

A. Blum

Ten years ago we published a review updating current knowledge on heart failure. We summarized that heart failure is a neuro-humoral and inflammatory syndrome, and that pro-inflammatory cytokines are involved in cardiac depression and in the complex syndrome of heart failure. We suggested that understanding the involvement of these cytokines may enable us to reverse cardiac depression and heart failure. Now we know that there are several mechanisms involved in this syndrome, including inflammation, nitric oxide-dependent pathways, apoptosis, reactive oxygen species, and mitochondrial energy metabolism. This review will focus on the up-to-date mechanistic aspects of heart failure, including clinical trials that have contributed to our better understanding of this entity.

N. Agmon-Levin, B. Porat Katz and Y. Shoenfeld

Primary biliary cirrhosis is an autoimmune cholestatic liver disease characterized by humoral and cellular response directed at mitochondrial autoantigens, mainly the E2 component of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex. The etiology of PBC[1], like most polygenic autoimmune diseases, belongs to the "complex" category, including genetic elements and environmental factors. Many environmental factors, such as xenobiotics, smoking, hormonal therapy, toxins, oxidative stress and recurrent urinary tract infections, are associated with PBC. Infectious agents can trigger autoimmunity via several mechanisms and are associated with various autoimmune diseases. A relationship between PBC and several infectious agents, and a possible role for Escherichia coli in the pathogenesis of PBC has been suggested. The identification of a culprit agent that induces or exacerbates PBC might have diagnostic and therapeutic implications. This review evaluates the evidence for an infectious agent role in the pathogenesis of PBC.

[1] PBC = primary biliary cirrhosis

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