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עמוד בית Wed, 26.06.19

December 2008

A. A. Wanderer

The histopathology of severe persistent asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is predominantly characterized by neutrophilic inflammation. It is posited that chronic hypoxia from hypoventilation in combination with hypoperfusion and hypercapnia are associated with induction of pulmonary tissue acidosis in SPA[1] and COPD[2], which in turn provide ideal conditions to induce danger-associated molecular patterns, i.e., crystallized and calcium pyrophosphate. These stimuli in combination with other danger-related biochemical signals are capable of stimulating an innate immune receptor (cryopyrin inflammasome, NALP3) and cause interleukin-1β secretion with subsequent neutrophilic inflammation. There is evidence to suggest that the mechanisms and pathobiology associated with chronic hypoxia, reduced perfusion and reoxygenation in SPA/COPD may exhibit similarities to the biphasic pathobiology involved in ischemia-reperfusion injury. A rationale is suggested for trials of IL-1β[3] targeted therapies as an adjunct strategy to control neutrophilic inflammation in these conditions.

[1] SPA = severe persistent asthma

[2] COPD = chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

[3] IL = interleukin

R. J. Martin

Asthma is an airway disease, yet that airway extends all the way to the alveolar tissue area. Pathohistiological as well as physiological and clinical studies have recently documented this aspect of asthma. The implications of this are important for all asthmatic patients, but particularly for those whose asthma is more difficult to control. Many of the inhaled preparations used as therapy for asthma are of relatively large particle size. 

Thus, the deposition of these medications is mainly in the central and medium sized airways and very little of a given actuation gets to the distal airways. Ultrafine inhaled steroid particles have been shown to reach the more peripheral portions of the airway, and improvement in outcome variables such as air trapping as well as symptomatic outcomes have been demonstrated. This review focuses on anatomic airway changes, physiological changes of the distal airways, clinical outcome data, and particle size of inhaled preparations.


A. Reshef, I. Leibovich, A. Goren

Hereditary angioedema is a rare genetic disorder, manifested by recurrent edema leading to disfigurement, organ dysfunction and life-threatening respiratory impairment that may become fatal. The hallmark of HAE is a C1 esterase inhibitor deficiency, but recent evidence points at bradykinin as the main mediator that causes hyperpermeability of small vasculature, leading to accumulation of edema fluid. Current therapeutic options for HAE[1] are limited, and consist of drugs, replacement therapy, and supportive treatment. In view of many disadvantages of the current therapeutic modalities new approaches to the treatment of HAE are now being offered. This review summarizes our experience with a new line of medications developed for the treatment of acute exacerbations and prophylaxis of HAE – icatibant: bradykinin receptor antagonist, ecallantide: kallikrein inhibitor, and two C1 INH[2] preparations: Berinert-P, human plasma-derived concentrate, and Rhucin: novel recombinant C1-INH produced in transgenic rabbits. Preliminary results of these studies are encouraging and may bring new hope to the patients with this distressing condition. The exact number of HAE patients in Israel is unknown and because patients are treated individually and comprehensive laboratory assessment is partial, many cases might be missed or not treated according to accepted guidelines. We offer a new specialty center for HAE patients, addressing the medical and psychosocial needs of patients and their families.


[1] HAE = hereditary angioedema

[2] C1-INH = C1 esterase inhibitor

Y. Waisel, A. Eshel, N. Keynan, D. Langgut

The pollen of Ambrosia (ragweed) is one of the major causes of pollen-induced allergy worldwide. This family of plants has apparently evolved in North America but was later spread into Europe and Asia. Flowering of the Ambrosias starts in mid-July and continues throughout the autumn and is a cause of major morbidity to allergic sensitized patients. The invasion of new species of Ambrosia into Israel is still in progress. Plants of Ambrosia artemisiifolia (American short ragweed), Ambrosia trifida (American giant ragweed), Ambrosia confertifolia, Ambrosia grayi and Ambrosia tenuifolia are increasingly found in Israel, mainly in the Hula valley in the eastern Galilee and near the Alexander River in the Sharon plain. From experience it is known that the time it takes to eradicate a new invasive species is limited. Action should be taken immediately or this new invasion will spread and cause a significantly increased burden of morbidity and increased health costs in Israel.


V. Gazit, D. Tasher, A. Hanukoglu, Z. Landau, Y. Ben-Yehuda, E. Somekh, I. Dalal

Background: Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus is dominated by a Th1 response whereas atopic diseases such as asthma, eczema and allergic rhinitis are characterized by a Th2 response. Because it is known that Th1 and Th2 cells reciprocally counteract each other, it can be speculated that the prevalence of Th2-mediated diseases is lower in patients with a Th1-mediated disease.

Objectives: To compare the prevalence of atopic diseases among children with IDDM[1] and age-matched controls.

Methods: The study group comprised 65 children with IDDM attending the pediatric endocrinology clinic at the Wolfson Medical Center. The control group consisted of 74 non-diabetic children who presented at the emergency room due to an acute illness (burns, abdominal pain, fever, head trauma). Patients were asked to complete a detailed questionnaire on their history of personal and familial atopic and autoimmune diseases. In addition, a total serum immunoglobulin E concentration and the presence of IgE[2] antibodies to a panel of relevant inhalant allergens were analyzed.

Results: Children with IDDM and their first-degree relatives had a significantly higher prevalence of other autoimmune diseases such as thyroiditis and celiac as compared to controls. The two groups had a similar prevalence of atopic diseases with respect to history, total serum IgE, or the presence of IgE antibodies to a panel of relevant inhalant allergens.

Conclusions: The prevalence of atopic diseases in IDDM patients was similar to that in the normal population. Our results suggest that the traditional Th1/Th2 theory to explain the complexity of the immune response is oversimplified. 



[1] IDDM = insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus

[2] Ig = immunoglobulin

M. Rottem, D. Shostak, S. Foldi

Background: Cow's milk allergy is the most prevalent food hypersensitivity, affecting 2–3% of infants, but it tends to resolve with age. Cow’s milk-specific immunoglobulin E in the serum is an important measure in the diagnosis and follow-up of infants and children with cow's milk allergy.

Objectives: To examine the relation between CmsIgE[1] and the probability of resolution of milk allergy.

Methods: CMsIgE was determined in the serum of 1800 infants and children referred for the evaluation of possible milk allergy. All children with CmsIgE of 1 kU/L or above were followed at the allergy clinic and, according to their condition, underwent milk challenge. The diagnosis of cow's milk allergy was made on the basis of a significant and specific history or a positive oral food challenge. Subsequently, oral tolerance was defined as an uneventful oral challenge.

Results: A total of 135 infants and children had milk-specific IgE greater than 1 kU/L. Forty-one percent of children still had clinical milk allergy after the age of 3 years. Sixty-eight percent of children older than 3 years with persistence of cow's milk allergy had milk-specific IgE > 3 IU/ml before the age of 1 year. Furthermore, 70% of children who at 3 years old had resolved their cow's milk allergy had milk-specific IgE that was lower than 3 IU/ml before the age of 1 year. The positive predictive value of CmsIgE > 3 IU/ml to persistent cow's milk allergy at age 3 years was 82.6% (P = 0.001), with a sensitivity of 67.9% and specificity of 70.4%.

Conclusions: Milk-specific IgE concentration in the first year of life can serve as a predictor of the persistence of milk allergy.


[1] CmsIgE = cow’s milk-specific immunoglobulin E

S. Halevy, N. Grossman

Background: Multiple drug allergy syndrome is a rarely reported clinical condition characterized by an adverse reaction to more than one different class of pharmacologically and structurally unrelated drugs. The pathogenesis may involve immediate-type or delayed-type hypersensitivity.

Objectives: To further characterize patients with MDA[1] in terms of the type of CADR, drug intake and clinical drug suspicion.

Methods: The study group comprised 12 patients (6 males, 6 females) with CADRs[2] showing in vitro drug-induced IFNγ[3] release for multiple drugs, suggesting the presence of MDA. The diagnostic role of in vitro IFNγ release in identifying the culprit drugs was evaluated in terms of clinical data and the results of in vivo tests (withdrawal and/or challenge tests) with the offending drugs.

Results: Clinical relevance was attributed to in vitro drug-induced IFNγ release towards multiple drugs in this series of 12 patients with a variety of CADRs, implying MDA. The results of in vivo tests for the offending drugs confirmed the diagnosis. The main causative agents responsible were antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Conclusions: The study further supports the role of a T cell-mediated mechanism in the pathogenesis of MDA. The in vitro drug-induced IFNγ release test may serve as a laboratory tool to identify the culprit drugs associated with this allergy.  

[1] MDA = multiple drug allergy

[2] CADR = cutaneous adverse drug reaction

[3] IFNg = interferon-gamma

Y. Zeldin, Z. Weiler, E. Magen, L. Tiosano, M. I. Kidon

Background: Subcutaneous allergen immunotherapy is effective in treating allergic airway disease. Disadvantages include immediate local and systemic adverse reactions and poor compliance.

Objectives: To obtain real-life efficacy and safety data through a prospective observational study of SIT[1] in the allergist's office.

Methods: We prospectively collected data from all patients with a diagnosis of allergic rhinitis and/or asthma and a specific immunoglobulin E-mediated sensitization to one or more aeroallergens who began SIT during the 2 year period 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2006. As part of the routine immunotherapy care patients were asked to complete a disease activity questionnaire before and yearly during the treatment. The primary outcome measure was the combined rhinitis and asthma symptoms scores. Data from patients completing at least 1 year of immunotherapy were analyzed.

Results: Altogether, 133 enrolled patients with a mean age of 22.7 years completed at least 1 year of SIT. The allergic rhinitis and asthma disease activity score decreased from a mean of 8.1 to 3.3 (rhinitis) and from 4.8 to 2.4 (asthma) on a 10 cm visual analogue scale after 1 year of SIT (P < 0.001 for all comparisons). Rhinitis medication use in all patients and asthma medication use in asthmatics decreased significantly. Mild local adverse reactions were almost universal. There were 11 patients (8%) who developed 14 immediate systemic, mild to moderate reactions. All reactions were successfully treated in the clinic; none required additional observation or hospitalization.

Conclusions: In the hands of experienced allergists subcutaneous allergy immunotherapy is a safe and efficacious option for patients with allergic rhinitis and asthma. 

[1] SIT = subcutaneous allergen immunotherapy

A. Bleich, M. Gelkopf, R. Berger, Z. Solomon

Background: Detrimental effects of military service among the civilian Palestinian population have been reported in soldiers.

Objectives: To examine the frequency and type of stressors encountered by soldiers in close contact with the CPP and its relationship with post-traumatic symptomatology. We also investigated coping methods and the preferred types of professional help.

Methods: Using random digit dialing methodology we conducted a phone survey of veteran soldiers, men (n=167) and women (n=59) in close contact with the CPP; the comparison group comprised male veteran soldiers with no CPP exposure (n=74). We used focus groups to develop context-related measures to assess exposure to violent incidents, coping modes and preferred modes of professional assistance. We included measures of traumatic exposure, post-traumatic stress symptoms and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Results: Soldiers who served among the CPP had greater exposure to traumatic events and to civilian-related violent incidents (more than half as victims, and a third as perpetrators); and 17.4% perceived their behavior as degrading civilians. Primary traumatic exposure, perceived health problems and avoidance coping were found to be risk factors for PTS[1] and PTSD[2]. Involvement in incidents that may have degraded Palestinian civilians predicted PTS.
Conclusions: Friction with the CPP in itself does not constitute a risk factor for psychopathology among soldiers. However, contact with this population entails more exposure to traumatic events, which may cause PTS and PTSD. Furthermore, a relative minority of soldiers may be involved in situations that may degrade civilians, which is a risk factor for PTS. To avoid violent and sometimes degrading behaviors, appropriate psycho-educational and behavioral preparation should be provided.|


[1] PTS = post-traumatic stress symptoms

[2] PTSD = post-traumatic stress disorder

Original Articles
A. Vivante, R. Bilik, I. S. Eisen, J. Kuint

Background: Over the last two decades, the epidemiology, treatment strategy and mortality rate for congenital diaphragmatic hernia have changed.

Objectives: To retrospectively analyze our experience with CDH[1] of the last 22 years.

Methods: We reviewed the charts of all infants suffering from CDH between 1985 and 2007. Prenatal and maternal as well as perinatal and neonatal data were collected, including outcome parameters. The 71 infants that we identified were divided them into two historical groups: from 1985 to 1995 (group 1, 123 patients) and from 1996 to 2007 (group 2, 45 patients).

Results: We found an increase in the incidence of prenatal diagnosis and a subsequent significant decrease in gestational age at diagnosis in group 2 (25 weeks gestation, compared with 30 weeks gestation in group 1, P = 0.018). In addition, we noted a trend toward a reduced number of infants with right-sided hernia and associated cardiac anomalies. The timing to post-delivery surgery was significantly longer in group 2 (20 hours in group 1 vs. 53 hours in group 2, P < 0.001). A significant reduction in postoperative mortality was demonstrated in group 2 compared with group 1 (13.5% vs. 38.7% respectively, P = 0.04),

Conclusion: Our data suggest a higher survival rate for operated infants in group 1 during the last decade, probably due to changes in preoperative methods of treatment as well as later surgery timing compared to group 1. We speculate that today’s cases of congenital diaphragmatic hernia are probably milder than in the past due to earlier and more detailed prenatal diagnosis and subsequent termination of pregnancies for the more severe forms of the disorder. 

[1] CDH = congenital diaphragmatic hernia

Y. Michowitz, S. Kisil, H. Guzner-Gur, A. Rubinstein, D. Wexler, D. Sheps, G. Keren, J. George

Background: Myeloperoxidase levels were shown to reflect endothelial dysfunction, inflammation, atherosclerosis and oxidative stress.

Objectives: To examine the role of circulating myeloperoxidase, a leukocyte-derived enzyme, as a predictor of mortality in patients with congestive heart failure.

Methods: Baseline serum MPO[1] levels were measured in 285 consecutive CHF[2] patients and 35 healthy volunteers. N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide and high sensitivity C-reactive protein concentrations were also measured. The primary outcome endpoint was overall mortality.

Results: MPO levels were significantly elevated in patients with CHF compared to healthy volunteers (P = 0.01). During a mean follow-up of 40.9 ± 11.3 months there were 106 deaths. On a univariate Cox regression analysis MPO levels were of marginal value (P = 0.07) whereas NT-proBNP[3] was of considerable value (P < 0.0001) in predicting all-cause mortality. By dividing our cohort according to NT-proBNP levels into high, intermediate and low risk groups a clear difference in mortality was shown. By further dividing the patient cohort according to MPO levels above or below the median (122.5 ng/ml), mortality prediction improved in the patients with intermediate NT-proBNP values.

Conclusions: MPO levels are elevated in CHF and correlate with disease severity. MPO has an additive predictive value on mortality in patients with intermediate NT-proBNP levels.



[1] MPO = myeloperoxidase

[2] CHF = congestive heart failure

[3] NT-proBNP = N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide

A. Hadary, I. Dashkovsky, A. Rapaport, J.C. Cozakov

Background: Non-traumatic rupture of the spleen is a rare condition. It can occur in a pathological spleen caused by any of a variety of diseases. For yet unknown reasons this condition may sometimes involve an apparently normal spleen as well.

Objectives: To examine the incidence, symptoms, causes, therapy and prognosis of "spontaneous" splenic rupture.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective study of seven patients diagnosed with splenic rupture not related to any traumatic event, who had been treated in the surgical department of a community hospital within the last 19 years.

Results: The male to female ratio was 5:2. In some patients, no background disease that could explain increased friability of splenic tissue could be identified. In some cases, where hemodynamic stability and absence of peritoneal signs afforded observation, splenectomy was delayed. In one case it was avoided altogether.

Conclusions: “Spontaneous” rupture of spleen should be suspected when abdominal symptomatology occurs against a background of an acute infectious disease, especially in young males, or a disease known to affect target organs of the reticular endothelial system. Preoperative use of imaging studies in hemodynamically stable patients can sometimes obviate surgery, or in cases of massive hemoperitoneum reduce intraoperative time.

Health Policy
Click here for article written by Orly Tamir, MHA, MSc, Joshua Shemer, MD, Mordechai Shani, MD, Sharona Vaknin, MSc and Miriam Ines Siebzehner, PhD, MPA, RN. IMAJ 2008: 12: December: 901-905
The Israeli Center for Technology Assessment in Health Care (ICTAHC) was established in 1998 at the Gertner Institute for Epidemiology and Health Policy Research, on foundations set in 1992 by the Medical Technology Assessment Unit. The Center is defined as an independent multidisciplinary research center, whose main aims are to assist in developing processes for the adoption of new technologies, identify and propose health priorities, and serve as an educational center for all stakeholders. Moreover, the Center promotes working relations with overseas counterparts as an essential component for expansion and advancement of the field of health technology assessment. Throughout the years, ICTAHC had contributed significantly to the development of the discipline of health technology assessment in Israel and to actual decision making in the health care system. The Center had outlined the principles, guidelines and overall framework for technology assessment in the country, as well as substantiating the discipline through various research areas, which materialized into a variety of technology-related policy accomplishments. Today, the Center serves as a national focal point in the health care system in Israel, as well as maintaining an active position in the international milieu. It has been a decade since the establishment of ICTAHC. This paper reviews the evolution of the center, describes changes in the HTA[1] field in Israel, identifies areas of focus and main research accomplishments, and illustrates the breadth of potential research scope and projections for the future.

[1] HTA = health technology assessment

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