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עמוד בית
Tue, 11.08.20

May 2008

R. Magnezi, S. Reicher and Mordechai Shani

Chronic disease management has been a rapidly growing entity in the 21st century as a strategy for managing chronic illnesses in large populations. However, experience has shown that disease management programs have not been able to demonstrate their financial value. The objectives of disease management programs are to create quality benchmarks, such as principles and guidelines, and to establish a uniform set of metrics and a standardized methodology for evaluating them. In order to illuminate the essence of disease management and its components, as well as the complexity and the problematic nature of performing economic calculations of their profitability and value, we collected data from several reports that dealt with the economic intervention of disease management programs. The disease management economic evaluation is composed of a series of steps, including the following major categories: Data/information technology, information generation, assessment/recommendations, actionable customer plans, and program assessment/reassessment. We demonstrate the elements necessary for economic analysis. Disease management is one of the most innovative tools in the managed care environment and is still in the process of being defined. Therefore, objectives should include the creation of quality benchmarks, such as principles and guidelines, and the establishment of a uniform set of metrics and a standardized methodology for evaluating them.


Original Articles
V. Pinsk, J. Levy, D. A. Moser, B. Yerushalmi and J. Kapelushnik.

Background: Iron deficiency is the most common single cause of anemia worldwide. Treatment consists of improved nutrition along with oral, intramuscular or intravenous iron administration.

Objectives: To describe the efficacy and adverse effects of intravenous iron sucrose therapy in a group of children with iron deficiency anemia who did not respond to oral iron therapy.

Methods: We conducted a prospective investigation of 45 children, aged 11 months to 16 years, whose oral iron therapy had failed. The children attended the Pediatric Ambulatory Care Unit where they received intravenous iron sucrose infusion.

Results: Forty-four of the 45 patients were non-compliant. Nine had Helicobacter pylori gastritis and 16 patients suffered from intestinal malabsorption from different causes. Before treatment, the blood mean hemoglobin concentration was 7.43 g/dl (range 5–10.1 g/dl). Fourteen days after treatment the mean hemoglobin concentration increased to 9.27 g/dl (SD 1.23) and 6 months later to 12.40 g/dl (SD 1.28). One patient demonstrated a severe side effect with temporary and reversible reduced blood pressure during treatment.

Conclusions: These preliminary data suggest that administration of intravenous iron in pediatric patients is well tolerated and has a good clinical result, with minimal adverse reactions.

A. Bogdanov-Berezovsky, L. Rosenberg, E. Cagniano, and E. Silberstein.

Background: Skin basal and squamous cell carcinomas together account for over half of all newly diagnosed cancer cases. Frozen  section control of surgical margins is often required in the head and neck region. A paraffin permanent section does not always confirm the results of a frozen section.

Objectives: To test the diagnostic accuracy of frozen section histopathological analysis in determining the free margins of excised tumors.

Methods: This was a retrospective study of 169 cutaneous basal and squamous cell carcinomas excised with surgical margins diagnosed by frozen section and confirmed by permanent paraffin sections. The data included patients' age, gender, clinical and histopathological diagnosis, as well as characteristics of the lesions.

Results: There were 149 (88%) basal cell carcinomas and 20 (12%) squamous cell carcinomas. False negative margins were found in 19 cases (11.2%) and false positive margins in 11 cases (6.6%). We did not find any correlation between false positive or false negative margins and patients' age, gender, tumor size, tumor location, or the presence of sun-damaged skin. A significantly lower rate of false negative results was found in the residual tumor group.

Conclusions: Our findings show support the use of frozen section margin control in selected patients suffering from non-melanoma skin cancer of the head and neck.

H. Tessler, R. Gorodischer, J. Press and N. Bilenko

Background: Parental fear and misconceptions about fever are widespread in western society. Ethnicity and sociodemographic factors have been suggested as contributing factors.

Objectives: To test the hypothesis that undue parental concern about fever is less in traditional than in western cultural-ethnic groups.

Methods: Bedouin (traditional society) and Jewish (western society) parents of children aged 0–5 years with fever were interviewed in a pediatric emergency unit. Interviews were conducted in the parents' most fluent language (Hebrew or Arabic). A quantitative variable (a 9 item “fever phobia” scale) was constructed.

Results: The parents of 101 Jewish and 100 Bedouin children were interviewed. More Bedouin parents were unemployed, had less formal education and had more and younger children than the Jewish parents. Parents of both groups expressed erroneous beliefs and practices about fever; quantitative but not qualitative differences in fever phobia variables were documented. Compared with their Jewish counterparts, more Bedouin parents believed that fever may cause brain damage and death, administered antipyretic medications for temperature ≤ 38ºC and at excessive doses, and consulted a physician within 24 hours even when the child had no signs of illness other than fever (all P values < 0.001). The mean fever phobia score was higher in the Bedouin than in the Jewish group (P < 0.001). By multivariate analysis, only the cultural-ethnic origin correlated with fever phobia.

Conclusions: A higher degree of fever phobia was found among parents belonging to the traditional Bedouin group as compared to western society parents.

A. Khalaileh, I. Matot, C. Schweiger, L. Appelbum, R. Elazary and A. Keidar

Background: Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is currently considered the gold standard surgical option for the treatment of morbid obesity. Open RYGB[1] is associated with a high risk of complications. Laparoscopic RYGB has been shown to reduce perioperative morbidity and improve recovery.

Objectives: To review our experience with laparoscopic RYGB during a 19 month period.

Methods: The data were collected prospectively. The study group comprised all patients who underwent laparoscopic RYGB for treatment of morbid obesity as their primary operation between February 2006 and July 2007. The reported outcome included surgical results, weight loss, and improved status of co-morbidities, with follow-up of up to 19 months.

Results: The mean age of the 50 patients was 36.7 years. Mean body mass index was 44.7 kg/m2 (range 35–76 kg/m2); mean duration of surgery was 171 minutes. There was no conversion to open surgery. The mean length of stay was 4 days (range 2–7 days). Five patients (10%) developed a complication, but none of them required early reoperation and there were no deaths. Mean follow-up was 7 months (range 40 days–19 months). The excess body weight loss was 55% and 61% at 6 and 12 months respectively. Diabetes resolved completely or significantly improved in all five patients with this condition, as did hypertension in eight patients out of nine.

Conclusions: Laparoscopic RYGB is feasible and safe. The results in terms of weight loss and correction of co-morbidities are comparable to other previously published studies. However, only surgeons with experience in advanced laparoscopic as well as bariatric surgery should attempt this procedure.

[1] RYGB = Roux-en-Y gastric bypass

M. Shani, J. Dresner, and S. Vinker.

Background: The introduction of more potent statins such as atorvastatin and rosuvastatin in Israel was accompanied by massive advertising about their superiority.

Objectives: To assess the need for switching therapy from older statins to more potent ones among diabetic patients with uncontrolled hypercholesterolemia.

Methods: Data on all diabetic patients over 30 years old attending two urban clinics were extracted and analyzed. For each patient we checked the last low density lipoprotein-cholesterol measurements for the year 2006, the brand and the dose of cholesterol-lowering medications, prescriptions and actual purchasing over a 4 month period prior to the last LDL-C[1] measurement, and whether treatment changes were necessary to achieve the LDL-C target (100 mg/dl or 70 mg/dl).

Results: The study population comprised 630 patients, age 66.7 ± 12.6 years, of whom 338 (53.6%) were women. Of the 533 (84.6%) patients whose LDL-C was measured in 2006, 45 (8.1%) had levels < 70 mg/dl and 184 (33.3%) had levels of 70 mg/dl < LDL-C < 100 m/dl.  The reasons for LDL-C > 100 mg/dl were patients not prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs (38.3%), partial compliance (27.2%), and under-dosage of statins (15.4%); only 7.7% needed to switch to a more potent statin. Reasons for LDL-C > 70 mg/dl were patients not prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs (34.3%), partial compliance (22.0%), and under-dosage of statins (26.6%); only 8.7% needed to switch to a more potent statin.

Conclusions: Only a small minority of diabetic patients with uncontrolled hypercholesterolemia need one of the potent statins as the next treatment step. More emphasis on compliance and dose adjustment is needed to achieve the target LDL-C level.

[1] LDL-C = low density lipoprotein-cholesterol

S. Padeh, N. Stoffman, Y. Berkun.

Background: The new syndrome, known as PFAPA, of periodic fever characterized by abrupt onset of fever, malaise, aphthous stomatitis, tonsillitis, pharyngitis and cervical adenopathy  has been described only in pediatric patients. It usually begins before the age of 5 years and in most cases resolves spontaneously before age 10. 

Objectives: To describe a series of adults with PFAPA syndrome.

Methods: This 6 year retrospective descriptive study includes all newly diagnosed incident adult cases aged 18 years and over referred to our center with symptomatology suggestive of PFAPA syndrome. Patients’ medical records were reviewed for past history of the disease, demographic characteristics, symptoms and signs, course of the disease, laboratory findings, and outcome following corticosteroid therapy. The comparison group included our pediatric cohort children (N=320, age 0–18 years) followed for the last 14 years (1994–2008).

Results: Fifteen adult patients were diagnosed with PFAPA syndrome. Episodes of fever occurred at 4.6 ± 1.3 week intervals, beginning at the age of 20.9 ± 7.5.  All patients had monthly attacks at the peak of the disease, with attacks recurring at 4–8 week intervals over the years. Between episodes the patients were apparently healthy, without any accompanying diseases. Attacks were aborted by a single 60 mg dose of oral prednisone in all patients.

Conclusions: This study reports the presence of PFAPA syndrome in adult patients. Although the disease is rare, an increased awareness by both patients and family physicians of this clinical syndrome has resulted in more frequent diagnosis in adult patients.

C. Milgrom, V. Novack, Y. Weil, S. Jaber, D. R. Radeva-Petrova, and A. Finestone

Background: Idiopathic frozen shoulder is a self-limiting regional skeletal problem of unknown etiology. Clinically, patients first experience a phase of pain, progressing to a freezing stage when glenohumeral motion is lost, followed by a thawing phase when pain gradually subsides and most of the lost motion returns.

Objectives: To identify possible specific and non-specific risk factors for idiopathic frozen shoulder.

Methods: We compared the medical histories, drug treatment, previous hospital as well as health management organization blood tests of 126 new consecutive frozen shoulder patients from a shoulder clinic to those of an age-matched control group of 98 consecutive patients from an orthopedic foot and ankle clinic and to the regional population disease prevalence registry. Frozen shoulder was classified as idiopathic only if there was no history of trauma and no evidence of a rotator cuff tear.

Results: Among the frozen shoulder patients 29.4% had diabetes and 13.5% had thyroid disorders. The risk ratio for diabetes in the frozen shoulder group was 5.9 for males (95% confidence interval 4.1–8.4, P < 0.001) and 5.0 for females (95% CI[1] 3.3–7.5, P < 0.001). The risk ratio for thyroid disorders among females with frozen shoulder was 7.3 (95% CI 4.8–11.1, P = 0.001). No significant difference was found in the prevalence of thyroid disorders between frozen shoulder and the control group, but there was a significantly higher prevalence of diabetes in males and a trend for higher prevalence in females in the frozen shoulder group.

Conclusions: Physicians should be aware that diabetes is a specific risk factor for idiopathic frozen shoulder in both males and females and thyroid disorders are a non-specific risk factor in females only.  

[1] CI = confidence interval

L. Gaal, Jozsef Varga, PhD, Zoltan Szekanecz, MD PhD DSci, Julia Kurko, MD, Andrea Ficzere, MD PhD, Edit Bodolay, MD PhD DSci and Tamás Bender

Background: Balneotherapy is an established treatment modality for musculoskeletal disease. However, few studies have examined the efficacy of spa therapy in elderly patients with degenerative spine and joint diseases.

Objectives: To assess the effects of balneotherapy on chronic musculoskeletal pain, functional capacity, and quality of life in elderly patients with osteoarthritis of the knee or chronic low back pain.

Methods: A total of 81 patients enrolled and the results of 76 were analyzed. Subjects underwent a 1 day course of 30 minute daily baths in mineral water. Changes were evaluated in the following parameters:  pain intensity, functional capacity, quality of life, use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory or analgesic drugs, subjective disease severity perceived by the patients, investigator-rated disease severity, and severity of pain perceived by the patients.

Results: Compared to baseline, all monitored parameters were significantly improved by balneotherapy in both investigated groups. Moreover, the favorable effect was prolonged for 3 months after treatment.

Conclusions: This study showed that balneotherapy is an effective treatment modality for elderly patients with osteoarthritis of the knee or with chronic low back pain, and its benefits last for at least 3 months after treatment.

M. Mittelman, G. Lugassy, D. Merkel, H. Tamary, N. Sarid, E. Rachmilewitz and C. Hershko
Issues in Rheumatology and Autoimmunity
J. Rovenský, K. Švík, E. Rovenská, V. Štvrtinová and M. Stančíková

Background: In both adjuvant arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis edema and inflammation appear in synovial joints. Edema or effusion reflects an imbalance in lymph dynamics. Purified micronized flavonoid fraction is mainly used in the treatment of chronic venous insufficiency. This compound improves lymphatic drainage with a signicant increase in lymphatic flow and lymphatic pulsality. It is suggested that the beneficial effect of purified micronized flavonoid fraction may be involved in the treatment of adjuvant arthritis in rats.

Objectives: To evaluate the effect of Detralex on methotrexate prophylactic treatment of adjuvant arthritis in rats.

Methods: Groups of rats with adjuvant arthritis were treated with methotrexate (0.6 mg/kg/week), Detralex (20 mg/kg/day) and their combination for 50 days from adjuvant application. Hind paw swelling, arthrogram scores, serum albumin level, serum nitrite/nitrate concentrations, whole body mineral density and X-ray scans of synovial joints were evaluated as markers of inflammation and destructive changes associated with arthritis.

Results: Long-term prophylactic treatment with low dose methotrexate significantly inhibited the markers of both inflammation and arthritis. Detralex administered alone slightly decreased both the hind paw swelling and the arthritic score. Other inflammatory and arthritic markers were not significantly influenced. However, detralex combined with methotrexate markedly potentiated the beneficial effects of methotrexate, which resulted in a more significant reduction in hind paw swelling, arthritic scores, and serum concentrations of nitrite/nitrate. Interestingly, the arthritis-induced decrease of BMD[1] in AA[2] rats was significantly lower only in the group treated with the combination of Detralex+methotrexate.

Conclusion: Detralex increased the therapeutic efficacy of methotrexate basal treatment in AA. We suggest that this may be related to the beneficial effect of Detralex on microcirculation, especially on venules and lymphatic vessels.

[1] BMD = bond mineral density

[2] AA = adjuvant arthritis

Toxic Chemical Compounds
I. Makarovsky, G. Markel, T. Dushnitsky and A. Eisenkraft
Medical Education
B. Gesundheit and D. Shaham

Since the beginning of medical history, ethics has interested medical practitioners. The subject has become particularly important in recent years due to the huge advancements in medicine and medical technology and has elicited much public interest. While international ethical principles and guidelines have been established, classical Jewish tradition has always placed great emphasis on bioethics. Prof. Avraham Steinberg’s monumental Encyclopedia of Jewish Medical Ethics presents the subject comprehensively and in depth. We propose a bioethics syllabus, to be integrated into the medical curriculum in three stages: i) preclinical – covering basic ethical concepts and principles, relevant history, and ethical codes; ii) clinical  – covering bioethical topics relating to the human life cycle; iii) prior to students' final examinations and further specialization – covering bioethical topics relating to their personal interests. Steinberg’s Encyclopedia is an ideal basis for the development of a professional course, including Jewish traditional aspects. Such a course would provide future physicians with a varied cultural and intercultural background, help shape their image, and improve the quality of medical care.


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