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עמוד בית Thu, 20.06.19

March 2008

Marfan Syndrome
E. Avivi, H. Arzi, Paz L. I. Caspi and A. Chechik
B. Sheick-Yousif, A. Sheinfield, S. Tager, P. Ghosh, S. Priesman, A.K. Smolinsky and E. Raanani

Background: As the shortcomings of the Bentall operation and its variants in the Marfan syndrome have become apparent, the recent cusp-sparing techniques (remodeling or reimplantation) bear promise of better mid-term and long-term outcomes.

Objective: To examine the results of aortic root surgery in patients with Marfan syndrome.

Methods: During the period March 1994 to September 2007, 220 patients underwent aortic valve-sparing surgery; 20 were Marfan patients (group 1) who were compared with another 20 Marfan patients undergoing composite aortic root replacement (group 2). Fourteen patients had aortic dissection and 26 had thoracic aortic aneurysm. There were 31 males and 9 females with a mean age of 37.9 ± 13.8 years. In group 1, reimplantation was used in 13 patients, remodeling in 4, and aortic valve repair with sinotubular junction replacement in 3. In group 2, a mechanical valve conduit was used. Mean logistic Euroscore was 12.27 ± 14.6% for the whole group, five of whom were emergent cases

Results: Group 2 had more previous cardiac procedures compared to group 1 (9 vs. 2, P = 0.03) and shorter cross-clamp time (122 ± 27.1 vs. 153.9 ± 23.7 minutes, P = 0.0004). Overall mortality was 10%. Early mortality was 10% in group 2 and 5% in group 1(NS). Mean follow-up time was 25 months for group 2 and 53 months for group 1. Three patients were reoperated; all had undergone the remodeling. Five year freedom from reoperation and death was 86% and 90% in group 2 and 70% and 95% in group 1 (P = 0.6, P = 0.6), respectively.

Conclusions: Late survival of patients with Marfan syndrome was similar in both groups. Root reconstruction tends towards a higher incidence of late reoperations if the remodeling technique is used. We now prefer to use the reimplantation technique.

N. Shoenfeld and R.D. Strous

The biblical story of Samson may be understood at various levels and from different perspectives. Since the story of Samson in the Bible is sketchily drawn, the interpretations of the narrative are numerous. One version, according to David Grossman, a contemporary writer and liberal Israeli political activist, regards Samson critically, viewing him as a tormented individual who opts to end his life in order to end his suffering. Another version is that of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, a twentieth century author and nationalistic Jewish political activist, who regards Samson as a heroic figure exemplifying the ultimate Jewish hero who killed himself to help his people. While suicide is considered a tragic event, viewed as the outcome of an unstable state of mind from a psychopathological point of view, and a controversial issue in Judaism (as in other religions), there is value in examining how each of these authors explains the act. Since the personal and political opinions of the authors influenced their interpretations, the discussion will briefly expound on their biographies. A comparison between their two versions of the narrative will be made. A word of caution is introduced regarding the merits and demerits of artistic and creative analysis of the biblical narrative.

Original Articles
Z. Mor, A. Adler, A. Leventhal, I. Volovic, E. Rosenfeld, M.N. Lobato and D. Chemtob

Background: The crowded environment of correctional facilities may enhance infectious diseases transmission, such as tuberculosis.

Objectives: To define the tuberculosis burden in prisons in Israel, a country of low TB[1] incidence (7.9 cases:100,000 population in 2004), in which about 13,000 inmates are being incarcerated annually, and to recommend policy adaptations for TB control.

Methods: All prison clinic lung records from 1998 through 2004 in Israel were reviewed to identify pulmonary TB patients. Additionally, we reviewed TB epidemiological investigation files from one northern prison (years 2002 through 2005) to evaluate possible transmission of the disease.

Results: During the study period 23 Israeli inmates had pulmonary TB (25 cases/100,000 prisoners), which was 3.5 times higher than for the general population. Of those, 18 (78%) were born in the Former Soviet Union and immigrated to Israel after 1990. Four pulmonary TB cases in the evaluated prison were reported, and 22% (149/670) of all inmates and staff were referred for treatment of latent TB infection.

Conclusions: To prevent future TB cases, we recommend new prevention measures, including a symptom questionnaire for all new inmates and selective tuberculin skin testing for inmates infected with human immunodeficiency virus/AIDS, those who inject drugs, and those who emigrated from the former Soviet Union after 1990. New staff should be screened by the two-step tuberculin skin test and annual symptoms questionnaire thereafter. Incarceration may be used as a point of detection for TB and a window of opportunity for treatment in this hard-to-reach population. 

[1] TB =tuberculosis

J. Kertes, M. Dushenat, J. Landes Vesterman, J. Lemberger, J. Bregman and N. Friedman

Background: Bisphosphonates are effective in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, yet their use is suboptimal.

Objectives: To measure bisphosphonate compliance among first-time users and identify factors associated with compliance.

Methods: We conducted a prospective follow-up of all women aged 45+ in the second largest health management organization in Israel who were prescribed bisphosphonates for the first time. The 4448 women were classified by drug dosage. Persistence and adherence measures of compliance were calculated for each woman over a 1 year period.

Results: Mean bisphosphonate persistence over a year was 216 days, with a mean medication possession ratio of 66%. Women whose medication was changed, whether from weekly to daily or daily to weekly, always had better persistence rates than those who consistently took the original dose. Persistence rates were as follows: 264 days for women who switched back and forth between daily and weekly doses, 229 days for those who switched from daily to weekly, 222 days for those who took the dosage weekly only, 191 days for those who switched to daily dosage, and 167 days for those who took the dosage daily only (P < 0.001). Switchers were also more likely to have adequate adherence rates (MPR[1] ≥ 80%): 81.3%, 76.6%, 67.5%, 61.3% and 52.2% respectively (P < 0.001). More than 20% of women stopped taking their medication within the first month. Women with higher supplemental insurance (offering significant discounts for weekly dose medications) had better persistence rates: 221 vs. 208 days (P = 0.03). Younger women and women on national pension insurance had the lowest persistence rates: 204 and 209 days respectively.

Conclusions: While weekly bisphosphonate takers had better compliance rates, persistence and adherence rates were inadequate for all groups. Changing medication to meet the needs of the patient, discounting weekly medications, and providing follow-up within the first months of prescription may promote compliance. 

[1] MPR = medication possession ratio

I. Gotsman, S. Rubonivich and T. Azaz-Livshits

Background: Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers improve prognosis in congestive heart failure and are the treatment of choice in these patients; despite this, the rates of ACE-I[1] usage in heart failure patients remain low in clinical practice.

Objectives: To evaluate the rate of ACE-I/ARB[2] treatment in hospitalized patients with CHF[3], and analyze the reasons for non-treatment.

Methods: We prospectively evaluated 362 consecutive patients hospitalized with CHF. Patients were evaluated for ACE-I/ARB usage at discharge and were followed for 1 year.

Results: At hospital discharge 70% of the patients were prescribed ACE-I/ARB treatment. Only 69% received recommended target or sub-target dosages, proven to improve prognosis. This decreased to 63% and 59% at 6 months and 12 months of follow-up respectively, due to a shift from sub-target levels to low dosages. Justified reasons for under-treatment were apparent in only 25% not optimally treated discharged patients and this decreased to 12% and 4% at 6 and 12 months follow-up, respectively. Common reasons for non-treatment at discharge were hyperkalemia and elevation in serum creatinine, while hypotension and cough were more prominent at follow-up. Clinical parameters associated with increased treatment rates were ischemic heart disease and the absence of chronic renal failure. Patients receiving treatment had lower hospitalization and mortality rates.

Conclusions: ACE-I/ARB treatment is still underutilized in patients discharged from hospital with a diagnosis of CHF. Increasing the awareness of the importance of these drugs may increase the number of patients treated.

[1] ACE-I = angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors

[2] ARB = angiotensin receptor blockers

[3] CHF = congestive heart failure

Z. Shani-Gershoni, T. Freud, Y. Press and R. Peleg

Background: Acupuncture and public interest in this modality have increased over recent years in Israel and throughout the western world.

Objectives: To compare the knowledge and attitudes of physicians to medical students with regard to acupuncture.

Methods: An anonymous questionnaire was completed by internists and medical students at the Soroka Medical Center.

Results: There were 122 respondents in all, 57 of them women (46.7%). The study sample included 40 physicians (33%), 39 fifth year medical students (32%) and 43 second year medical students (35%). The majority of participants (93.4%) had never received training in acupuncture and 84.4% had never undergone acupuncture therapy themselves. In these variables there were no significant differences between the physicians and the students. The participants’ level of knowledge of acupuncture was very low, with 40% unable to answer even one question (of eight) correctly. Despite the poor level of knowledge and the lack of personal exposure to acupuncture, 90 participants (74%) believed that acupuncture has more than a placebo effect, and 57 (42%) believed it was important to include acupuncture in medical education. There were no statistically significant differences in the attitudes of physicians and medical students to acupuncture.

Conclusions: The level of knowledge and exposure of physicians and medical students to acupuncture is low. However, both groups have relatively positive attitudes to this modality as an acceptable treatment for health problems and were open to its inclusion in the medical school curriculum.

I. Amirav and M.T. Newhouse

Background: Valved holding chambers with masks are commonly used to deliver inhaled medications to young children with asthma. Optimal mask properties such as their dead space volume have received little attention. The smaller the mask the more likely it is that a greater proportion of the dose in the VHC[1] will be inhaled with each breath, thus speeding VHC emptying and improving overall aerosol delivery efficiency and dose. Masks may have different DSV[2] and thus different performance.

Objectives: To compare both physical dead space and functional dead space of different face masks under various applied pressures.

Methods: The DSV of three commonly used face masks of VHCs was measured by water displacement both under various pressures (to simulate real-life application, dynamic DSV) and under no pressure (static DSV).

Results: There was a great variability of both static and dynamic dead space among various face mask for VHCs, which is probably related to their flexibility.

Conclusions: Different masks have different DSV characteristics. This variability should be taken into account when comparing the clinical efficacy of various VHCs. 


[1] VHC = valved holding chambers

[2] DSV = dead space volume

Issues in Rheumatology and Autoimmunity
N. Tzaribachev, M. Vaegler, J. Schaefer, P. Reize, M. Rudert, R. Handgretinger and I. Muler

Mesenchymal stromal cells are multipotent cells capable of tissue repair and immune modulation. They are primarily found in bone marrow, but are also present in other tissues of mesenchymal origin, such as fatty tissue, muscle, tendons, etc. MSC[1] can easily be obtained by bone marrow aspiration, showing a rapid expansion in vitro. New protocols enable cell culture without the use of animal-derived sera and artificial growth factors. Avascular necroses of the bone may have different causes. AVN[2] in autoimmune and hematological diseases show a strong association with corticosteroid treatment, which is often unavoidable in severe cases. Until recently, core decompression of the affected osseous area was the standard approach. Because of their differentiation properties, easy accessibility and proliferative capacity, autologous MSCs could potentially complement AVN treatment by adding fresh “osteogenic cells” to the healing process.

[1] MSC = mesenchymal stromal cells

[2] AVN = avascular necrosis

הבהרה משפטית: כל נושא המופיע באתר זה נועד להשכלה בלבד ואין לראות בו ייעוץ רפואי או משפטי. אין הר"י אחראית לתוכן המתפרסם באתר זה ולכל נזק שעלול להיגרם. כל הזכויות על המידע באתר שייכות להסתדרות הרפואית בישראל. מדיניות פרטיות
ז'בוטינסקי 35 רמת גן, בניין התאומים 2 קומות 10-11, ת.ד. 3566, מיקוד 5213604. טלפון: 03-6100444, פקס: 03-5753303