R. Ram, A. Gafter-Gvili, P. Raanani, M. Yeshurun, O. Shpilberg, J. Dreyer, A. Peck, L. Leibovici and M. Paul
Background: Monitoring the rate of infections in individual centers that treat patients with hematological malignancies is of major importance. However, there are no uniform guidelines for infection surveillance.
Objectives: To describe the epidemiology of bacterial and fungal infections in a single hematology ward and to compare methods for reporting surveillance and infection rates in other centers in Israel.
Methods: We conducted a prospective surveillance of all patients admitted to our hematology ward, applying standard definitions for invasive fungal infections and adapting definitions for non-fungal infections. Incidence rates were calculated using patients, admissions, hospital days and neutropenia days. We performed a search for other reported surveillance studies in Israel.
Results: We detected 79 infectious episodes among 159 patients admitted to the hematology ward during 1 year. Using neutropenia days as the denominator for calculation of incidence discriminated best between patients at high and low risk for infection. The incidence of invasive fungal infections was 7, 10 and 18 per 1000 neutropenia days, among all patients, those with acute leukemia and those with acute leukemia undergoing induction therapy, respectively. Only 10 reports from Israel were identified, 6 of which were prospective. Our data could not be compared to these reports because of the varying definitions and denominators used.
Conclusions: Hematology centers should monitor infection rates and report them in a uniform methodology.
A. Maayan-Metzger, A. Barzilai, N. Keller and J. Kuint
Background: Early-onset neonatal sepsis is a major cause of morbidity and mortality among newborn infants.
Objectives: To determine the incidence, type of pathogens and resistance to antibiotics among newborns with early-onset neonatal sepsis, and to identify the risk factors predisposing infants to resistant pathogens in order to reevaluate antibiotic regimens appropriate for resistant bacteria in these high risk neonates.
Methods: We retrospectively studied maternal and neonatal variables of 73 term and near-term infants and 30 preterm infants, born over a period of 10.5 years and exhibiting early-onset neonatal sepsis (positive blood cultures in the first 72 hours of life).
Results: Predominant pathogens in term and near-term infants were gram-positive compared with gram-negative organisms (mostly Escherichia coli) in preterm infants. Mothers of infants with antibiotic-resistant organisms were more likely to have prolonged rupture of membranes and prolonged hospitalization before delivery and to be treated with antibiotics. No trends towards more resistant strains of pathogens were recorded over the 10.5 years of the study period.
Conclusions: Early-onset neonatal sepsis in term infants differs in bacterial species from that in preterm infants, with predominantly gram-positive organisms in term and near-term infants and gram-negative organisms in preterms. Rates of bacterial resistance to the combination of ampicillin and gentamicin, though higher among infants born to mothers with prolonged hospitalization who had been treated with antibiotics, still remained very low in our department. Thus, it seems that our classic antibiotic regimen is still appropriate for both term and preterm newborns.
L. Migirov, S. Tal, A. Eyal and J. Kronenberg
Background: Aural cholesteatoma is an epidermal cyst of the middle ear or mastoid that can only be eradicated by surgical resection. It is usually managed with radical or modified radical mastoidectomy. Clinical diagnosis of recurrent cholesteatoma in a closed postoperative cavity is difficult. Thus, the accepted protocol in most otologic centers for suspected recurrence consists of second-look procedures performed approximately 1 year after the initial surgery. Brain herniation into a post-mastoidectomy cavity is not rare and can be radiologically confused with cholesteatoma on the high resolution computed tomographic images of temporal bones that are carried out before second-look surgery.
Objectives: To present our experience with meningoceles that were confused with recurrent disease in patients who had undergone primary mastoidectomy for cholesteatoma and to support the use of magnetic resonance imaging as more suitable than CT in postoperative follow-up protocols for cholesteatoma.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective chart review of four patients.
Results: Axial CT sections demonstrated a soft tissue mass in the middle ear and mastoid in all four patients. Coronal reconstructions of CT scans showed a tympanic tegmen defect in two patients. CT failed to exclude cholesteatoma in any patient. Each underwent a second-look mastoidectomy and the only finding at surgery was meningocele in all four patients.
Conclusions: Echo-planar diffusion-weighted MRI can differentiate between brain tissue and cholesteatoma more accurately than CT. We recommend that otolaryngologists avoid unnecessary revision procedures by using the newest imaging modalities for more precise diagnosis of the patients who had undergone mastoidectomy for cholesteatoma in the past.
E. Lubart, R. Segal, A. Yearovoi, A. Fridenson, Y. Baumoehl and A. Leibovitz
Background: The QT interval reflects the total duration of ventricular myocardial repolarization. Its prolongation is associated with increased risk of polymorphic ventricular tachycardia, or torsade de pointes, which can be fatal.
Objectives: To assess the prevalence of both prolonged and short QT interval in patients admitted to an acute geriatric ward.
Methods: This retrospective study included the records over 6 months of all patients hospitalized in an acute geriatric ward. Excluded were patients with pacemaker, bundle branch block and slow or rapid atrial fibrillation. The standard 12 lead electrocardiogram of each patient was used for the QT interval evaluation.
Results: We screened the files of 422 patients. QTc prolongation based on the mean of 12 ECG leads was detected in 115 patients (27%). Based on lead L2 only, QTc was prolonged in 136 (32%). Associated factors with QT prolongation were congestive heart failure and use of hypnotics. Short QT was found in 30 patients (7.1%) in lead L2 and in 19 (4.5%) by the mean 12 leads. Short QT was related to a higher heart rate, chronic atrial fibrillation and schizophrenia.
Conclusions: Our study detected QT segment disturbances in a considerable number of elderly patients admitted acutely to hospital. Further studies should confirm these results and clinicians should consider a close QT interval follow-up in predisposed patients.
B. Makhoul, E. Braun, M. Herskovitz, R. Ramadan, S. Haddad and N. Krivoy
Background: West Nile virus, the etiologic agent of West Nile fever, is an emerging mosquito-borne disease. WNV was recognized as a cause of severe human meningo-encephalitis in elderly patients during outbreaks in various parts of the world.
Objectives: To analyze WNV encephalitis therapy and its outcome after prescribing hyperimmune gammaglobulin therapy.
Methods: Eight subjects with WNV encephalitis were treated with supportive therapy and 5 days of IVIG 0.4 g/kg/day containing high WNV antibodies obtained from healthy blood donors.
Results: Patients who were treated with IVIG as soon as possible exhibited an improvement in their symptoms. All subjects presented with high fever, progressive confusion and headaches, nausea and vomining. The Glasgow Coma Screen for six patients ranged between 8 and 13 and all were discharged with a score of 15. The remaining two subjects died during their hospitalization.
Conclusions: In severe WNV infection, where the disease affects the central and/or peripheral nervous system, early intervention with IVIG together with supportive treatment is recommended.
 WNV = West Nile virus
 IVIG = intravenous hyperimmune gammaglobulin
I. Ben-Dor, H. Vaknin-Assa, E. Lev, D. Brosh, S. Fuchs, A. Assali and R. Kornowski
Background: Although unprotected left main coronary artery disease is considered by contemporary guidelines to be an indication for surgery, percutaneous coronary intervention may be necessary in patients at high surgical risk.
Objectives: To assess the outcome of angioplasty in the treatment of unprotected LMCA disease.
Methods: Angiographic and clinical data were collected prospectively for all patients who underwent emergent or non-emergent (planned) therapeutic PCI for unprotected LMCA disease at our center from 2003 to 2007. Baseline values were compared with findings at 1, 6 and 12 months after the procedure.
Results: The study group comprised 71 consecutive patients with a mean age of 74 ± 12 years; 63% were men, and 31% had diabetes. Forty-three patients had a planned procedure and 28 an emergent procedure. Mean EuroScore was 7.3 ± 3.6 (range 5–12). Forty-nine percent of the procedures were performed with bare metal stents and 51% with drug-eluting stents. Procedural success was achieved in 100% of cases. The overall mortality rate was 11.3% at 1 month, 18.3% at 6 months and 19.7% at 12 months. Elective PCI was associated with significantly lower mortality (2.3% vs. 25% at 1 month, 4.6% vs. 39% at 6 months and 6.9% vs. 39% at 12 months), and the use of drug-eluting stents was associated with lower rates of target vessel revascularization and major adverse cardiac events than use of bare metal stents (2.8% vs. 14% at 1 month, 8.3% vs. 43% at 6 and 12 months). Variables that correlated with increased mortality or MACE at 6 and 12 months were cardiogenic shock, emergent PCI, ejection fraction < 35%, renal failure, distal left main stenosis location, and reference diameter < 3 mm.
Conclusions: PCI is a feasible and relatively safe therapeutic option for unprotected LMCA. The less favorable outcome of emergent compared to planned PCI is probably attributable to the overwhelming acute myocardial ischemic injury in emergent cases. The use of drug-eluting stents may improve the intermediate-term restenosis rate.
 LMCA = left main coronary artery
 PCI = percutaneous coronary intervention
 MACE = major adverse cardiac events
L. Ore, H.J. Garzozi, A. Tamir and M. Cohen-Dar
Background: Uncorrected refractive error is the leading cause of visual impairment in children. In 2002 a screening project was launched in Israel to provide data on the effectiveness of the illiterate E-chart in identifying Jewish and Arab schoolchildren in need of a comprehensive eye examination.
Objectives: To present the aims, design and initial results of the visual screening project and the prevalence of vision abnormality in the study population.
Methods: A cross-sectional population-based study was conducted during 2002–2003 among first- and eighth-graders in 70 schools in northern Israel. The nurse's test included use of the illiterate E-chart to measure visual acuity. The medical examination included vision history, clinical eye examination, VA and retinoscopy. The ophthalmologist's evaluation as to whether a child needed a referral for diagnostic procedures, treatment and/or follow-up was recorded and compared with explicit referral criteria formulated after data collection.
Results: Of 1975 schoolchildren, 31% had abnormal VA, defined as VA worse than 6/6 in at least one eye, and a quarter had VA equal or worse than 6/12 in both eyes. The prevalence of vision abnormality among the children was 22.4% when based on the evaluation of the field ophthalmologist and 26.1% when based on two sets of explicit severity scores and referral criteria.
Conclusions: Vision abnormality is a significant health problem among northern Israeli schoolchildren. This project is unique in scope and importance, providing evidence to assist policy making with regard to vision screening for schoolchildren (including data on test reliability and validity) and optimal VA cutoff level, and confirming the need for clinical guidelines regarding referral criteria.
S. Machlenkin, E. Melzer, E. Idelevich, N. Ziv-Sokolovsky, Y. Klein and H. Kashtan
Background: The role of endoscopic ultrasound in evaluating the response of esophageal cancer to neoadjuvant chemotherapy is controversial.
Objectives: To evaluate the accuracy of EUS in restaging patients who underwent NAC.
Methods: The disease stage of patients with esophageal cancer was established by means of the TNM classification system. The initial staging was determined by chest and abdominal computed tomography and EUS. Patients who needed NAC underwent a preoperative regimen consisting of cisplatin and fluouracil. Upon completion of the chemotherapy, patients were restaged and then underwent esophagectomy. The results of the EUS staging were compared with the results of the surgical pathology staging. This comparison was done in two groups of patients: the study group (all patients who received NAC) and the control group (all patients who underwent primary esophagectomy without NAC).
Results: NAC was conducted in 20 patients with initial stage IIB and III carcinoma of the esophagus (study group). Post-chemotherapy EUS accurately predicted the surgical pathology stage in 6 patients (30%). Pathological down-staging was noted in 8 patients (40%). However, the EUS was able to observe it in only 2 patients (25%). The accuracy of EUS in determining the T status alone was 80%. The accuracy for N status alone was 35%. In 65% of examinations the EUS either overestimated (35%) or underestimated (30%) the N status. Thirteen patients with initial stage I-IIA underwent primary esophagectomy after the initial staging (control group). EUS accurately predicted the surgical pathology disease stage in 11 patients (85%).
Conclusions: EUS is an accurate modality for initial staging of esophageal carcinoma. However, it is not a reliable tool for restaging esophageal cancer after NAC and it cannot predict response to chemotherapy.
 EUS = endoscopic ultrasound
 NAC = neo-adjuvant chemotherapy
M. Kastner, M. Salai, S. Fichman, S. Heller and I. Dudkiewicz
Background: Elastofibroma is a rare type of lesion consisting of elastic fibers within a stroma of collagen and fatty tissue. It is usually located on the lower scapular region attached firmly to the thoracic cage, often causing debilitating pain. Its clinical presentation mimics a soft tissue tumor.
Objectives: To evaluate the diagnosis and treatment results of elastofibroma.
Methods: Clinical and radiographic evaluations were performed in 11 patients with thoracic wall mass. In five of them a biopsy was taken before surgery. All patients were operated and the diagnosis of elastofibroma was confirmed by histology.
Results: Two patients had a postoperative seroma that resolved spontaneously within a few days. All patients resumed their preoperative activities, including sports.
Conclusions: Considering the slow-growing nature of this tumor and its typical presentation, we believe that when this diagnosis is suspected, investigation does not necessitate staging (as in sarcomas). Also, marginal surgical excision is sufficient. Observation is an acceptable alternative to surgery.