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עמוד בית Thu, 20.06.19

August-September 2008

G. Izbicki, G. Fink, A. Algom, R. Hirsch, L. Blieden, E. Klainman, E. Picard, S. Goldberg and M. R. Kramer

Background: Since surgical repair of tetralogy of Fallot was introduced, follow-up studies have shown that the majority of patients lead actives lives and have no subjective exercise limitation.

Objectives: To examine lung function, cardiopulmonary functional capacity and echo-Doppler assessment of pulmonary pressure in adult patients 20 years after repair of TOF.

Methods: Unselected consecutive patients performed full lung function testing, progressive cardiopulmonary exercise, and echo-Doppler assessments of pulmonary pressure.

Results: Fifty consecutive patients (33 men, 17 women) aged 29 ± 11 years who underwent surgical repair of TOF at age 10.1 ± 10.9 years were enrolled in this study. Patients after TOF showed no restriction (forced expiratory vital capacity 80%, total lung capacity 91%) and had normal oxygen saturation (97%) and 6 minute walking distance (600 meters). Echocardiography showed normal pulmonary pressure and left ventricular ejection function (62%). Cardiopulmonary exercise testing showed mild limitation of exercise capacity with oxygen uptake at maximal effort of 75–78% predicted.

Conclusions: After corrections of TOF the study patients had normal lung function and pulmonary arterial pressure but mild limitation in their exercise capacity.

D. Starobin, L. Bolotinsky, J. Or, G. Fink and Z. Shtoeger

Background: Locally delivered steroids by inhalers or nebulizers have been shown in small trials to be effective in acute asthma attack, but evidence-based data are insufficient to establish their place as routine management of adult asthma attacks.

Objectives: To determine the efficacy of nebulized compared to systemic steroids in adult asthmatics admitted to the emergency department following an acute attack.

Methods: Adult asthmatics admitted to the ED[1] were assigned in random consecutive case fashion to one of three protocol groups: group 1 – nebulized steroid fluticasone (Flixotide Nebules®), group 2 – intravenous methylprednisolone, group 3 – combined treatment by both routes. Objective and subjective parameters, such as peak expiratory flow, oxygen saturation, heart rate, and dyspnea score, were registered before and 2 hours after ED treatment was initiated. Steroids were continued for 1 week following the ED visit according to the protocol arm. Data on hospital admission/discharge rate, ED readmissions in the week after enrollment and other major events related to asthma were registered.

Results: Altogether, 73 adult asthmatics were assigned to receive treatment: 24 patients in group 1, 23 in group 2 and 26 in group 3. Mean age was 44.4 ± 16.8 years (range 17–75 years). Peak expiratory flow and dyspnea score significantly improved in group 1 patients compared with patients in the other groups after 2 hours of ED treatment (P = 0.021 and 0.009, respectively). The discharge rate after ED treatment was significantly higher in groups 1 and 3 than in group 2 (P = 0.05). All 73 patients were alive a week after enrollment. Five patients (20.8%) in the Flixotide treatment arm were hospitalized and required additional systemic steroids. Multivariate analysis of factors affecting hospitalization rate demonstrated that severity of asthma (odds ratio 8.11) and group 2 (OD[2] 4.17) had a negative effect, whereas adherence to chronic anti-asthma therapy (OD 0.49) reduced the hospitalization rate.

Conclusions: Our study cohort showed the advantage of nebulized steroid fluticasone versus systemic corticosteroids in adult asthmatics managed in the ED following an acute attack. Both these and previous results suggest that nebulized steroids should be used, either alone or in combination with systemic steroids, to treat adults with an acute asthma attack.

[1] ED = emergency department

[2] OD = odds ratio

M. Avital, I. Hadas-Halpern, M. Deeb and G. Izbicki

Background: Sarcoidosis is a multisystemic disorder of unknown cause that primarily affects the lungs. The diagnosis is made by the clinical manifestations, radiological findings and histological examination.

Objectives: To review and illustrate the typical and atypical radiological findings of sarcoidosis in the chest.

Methods: We analyzed the radiographic thoracic findings of all patients who had biopsy-proven sarcoidosis over the last 10 years.

Results: There were 100 consecutive patients (36 men and 64 women, age 20–84 years) with an established diagnosis of sarcoidosis. Thoracic lymphadenopathy was detected in 89 patients (89%). Lung parenchyma involvement was found in 60 patients. These changes were variable and included: ground glass attenuation (n=39), multiple small nodules (n= 44) and irregular thickening of the interlobular septa (n=16). Larger nodules (1–3 cm) were identified in 12 patients and frank consolidations were seen in 12 patients. Pleural thickening with subpleural nodules was identified in 17 patients.

Conclusions: Sarcoidosis has a wide variety of radiological manifestations in the chest. Familiarity with the various radiographic findings is important for diagnosis and management.

Y. Esayag, V. Furer and G. Izbicki

Background: Spontaneous pneumomediastinum is a rare entity that usually occurs in young males without any apparent precipitating factor. Several case series have been published focusing on clinical features, workup and prognosis. Due to the rarity of this entity, there is no consensus on the most appropriate treatment.

Objectives: To describe the clinical characteristics and course of patients with spontaneous pneumomediastinum in our institution.

Methods: This is a retrospective descriptive study based on a review of the charts of all patients discharged from our hospital with a diagnosis of SPM during the period 2000 to 2007. Thirteen patients were identified and information on their clinical presentation, course, hospital stay, investigations and outcome was gathered.

Results: In 70% of patients the presenting complaint of SPM was pleuritic chest pain, while 30% of patients developed SPM in the course of another respiratory illness. Subcutaneous emphysema was the most common clinical finding (46%). Chest X-ray was diagnostic in 12 of 13 patients, and additional tests such as esophagogram and echocardiogram were unrevealing. Leukocytosis and electrocardiographic changes in inferior leads were seen in 30% of patients. Mean hospital stay was 48 hours, treatment was supportive, and symptomatic improvement was usually noted within 24 hours. No recurrences occurred.

Conclusions: SPM is a rare entity that should be considered in patients with pleuritic chest pain. Treatment is supportive, and if no clues for esophageal rupture are present investigations other than chest X-ray are probably not warranted. It is safe to discharge the patient within 24 hours provided that symptomatic improvement is achieved.

I. Ben-Dov, N. Kaminski, N. Reichert, J. Rosenman and T. Shulimzon
Diaphragmatic paralysis has a predictable effect on lung function. However, the symptoms depend on the preexisting heart-lung diseases and may mimic various cardiorespiratory processes. We describe the presentation in six patients. In a fit man, unilateral diaphragmatic paralysis caused dyspnea only at strenuous exercise. In a patient with emphysema it caused dyspnea mainly when carrying light weights. In another patient with emphysema it caused life-threatening hypoxemia simulating parenchymal lung disease. A patient with mild chronic obstructive lung disease and nocturnal wheezing following the onset of ULDP[1] was believed for 15 years to have asthma. A patient with bilateral diaphragmatic weakness had severe choking sensation only in the supine position, simulating upper airway obstruction or heart failure. A female patient suffered nocturnal sweating due to ULDP. The clinical manifestations of diaphragmatic paralysis vary and can mimic a wide range of cardiorespiratory diseases. 

[1] ULDP = unilateral diaphragmatic paralysis

L. J. Rosen, D. Zucker, H. Rosenberg and G. Connolly

Background: Secondhand smoke poses a serious health hazard. In Israel The recent passage of a law designed to protect people from secondhand smoke in public places was greeted with controversy. The debate is taking place without data on actual levels of pollution for secondhand smoke in public places.

Objectives: To estimate levels of small respirable suspended particles, atmospheric markers of secondhand smoke, in Israeli bars, pubs and cafes, to compare them with levels in other countries, and to analyze RSP[1] determinants.

Methods: This study was conducted in bars, pubs and cafes in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv prior to passage of the enforcement bill. Venues were randomly sampled from lists available in the local mass media.

Results: The average level of RSPs across all venues, 283 μg/m3, was nearly identical to levels in countries without enforced smoking bans. Bars and pubs had higher values than cafes (P = 0.0101). The effect of smoker concentration was borderline significant (P = 0.0540), with RSP levels increasing as smoker concentration increased. The effect of venue height was also borderline significant (P = 0.0642), with RSP levels decreasing as venue height increased.

Conclusions: Levels of indoor air pollution from secondhand smoke in Israeli bars, pubs and cafes prior to the recent passage of the enforcement bill were similar to levels in countries without enforced smoking bans, and roughly 10 times as high as countries with enforced smoking bans. Whether the new law will successfully promote clean air in Israeli bars, pubs, cafes, and other indoor places is yet to be seen.

[1] RSP = respirable suspended particles

H. Maayan, G. Izbicki, J. Heyd, R. Cyter, S. Silberman and M. Deeb
Original Articles
Y. Bloch and A. Toker

Background: Children report various types of fear in the context of hospitalization, such as fear of separation from the family, having injections and blood tests, having to stay in the hospital for a long time, and being told “bad news” about their health.

Objectives: To examine the effects of the “Teddy Bear Hospital” method on preschool children’s fear of future hospitalization.

Methods: The study group comprised 41 preschool children aged 3–6.5 years (mean 5.1 ± 0.7 years), and 50 preschool children, age matched and from a similar residential area, served as the control group. Assessment included a simple one-item visual analog scale of anxiety about hospitalization. This was assessed individually one day prior to the intervention and again a week after the intervention in both groups

Results: While baseline levels of anxiety were not different between groups [t(89) = .4, NS], children in the “Teddy Bear Hospital” group reported significantly lower levels of anxiety than the control group at follow-up

Conclusions: Our results indicate that by initiating a controlled pain-free encounter with the medical environment in the form of a “Teddy Bear Hospital,” we can reduce children’s anxiety about hospitalization.

A. Brautbar, A. Abrahamov, I. Hadas-Halpern, D. Elstein and A. Zimran

Background: With regard to ethnic predilections for Gaucher disease, the most common storage disorder, Ashkenazi Jews are at risk for the non-neuronopathic form (type I), Norbottnian Swedes are at risk for the sub-acute neuronopathic form (type III), and perhaps Arabs are at risk for the very rare cardiac variant of the sub-acute neuronopathic form (type IIIc) for which there is a relatively tight genotype-phenotype correlation. Type II, the acute infantile form, being the rarest form, has not been associated with any ethnic predilection.

Objectives: To examine whether Arab ethnicity influences the Gaucher phenotype.

Methods: We reviewed the records of all Arab patients in a referral clinic of 586 patients in Israel.

Results: There were 46 patients (7.8%) of Arab ethnicity: 23 (50%) had type I disease, 16 (34.8%) had type IIIc disease, 4 (8.7%) had type IIIb disease, and 3 (6.5%) had type II disease. Type IIIc disease was characterized by genotype-phenotype correlation with homozygosity for the D409H (1342C) mutation. All five Bedouin patients (10.9%) had the R48W (C259T) mutation on at least one allele.

Conclusions: For all genotypes, disease severity among Arab patients was relatively similar to that reported among other Caucasian patients. Apparently Arab ethnicity does not impact phenotypic expression in Gaucher disease in a unique manner. The predilection for type IIIc may be a result of consanguinity.

M. Shuvy, J. E. Arbelle, A. Grosbard and A. Katz

Background: Heart rate variability is a sensitive marker of cardiac sympathetic activity.

Objectives: To determine whether long-term hyperthyroidism induced by thyroxine suppressive therapy affects HRV[1].

Methods: Nineteen patients treated with suppressive doses of thyroxin for thyroid cancer and 19 age-matched controls were enrolled. Thyroid function tests and 1 minute HRV were performed on all subjects and the results were compared between the groups. The 1 minute HRV was analyzed during deep breathing and defined as the difference in beats/minute between the shortest and the longest heart rate interval measured by eletrocardiographic recording during six cycles of deep breathing.

Results:  One minute HRV during deep breathing was significantly lower among thyroxine-treated patients compared to healthy controls (25.6 ± 10.5 vs. 34.3 ± 12.6 beats/min, P < 0.05). There were no significant differences in mean, maximal and minimal heart rate between the groups

Conclusions: Thyroxine therapy administered for epithelial thyroid cancer resulted in subclinical hyperthyroidism and significantly decreased HRV due to autonomic dysfunction rather than basic elevated heart rate.

[1] HRV = heart rate variability

I. Grotto, S. Zarka, R. D. Balicer, M. Sherf, and J. Meyerovitch

Background: In view of the rising prevalence of obesity, the identification of young adult populations at risk is important for the formulation of intervention and prevention programs.

Objectives: To assess demographic and behavioral factors associated with an increase in body mass index in young healthy adults and to identify the incidence of overweight/obesity in this population.

Methods: Data on anthropometric measures, demographic characteristics, and health behaviors were collected retrospectively for a representative sample of young Israeli adults (11,391 men, 11,280 women) on their release from military service (age 20–22 years) between 1989 and 2003. The incidence of overweight (BMI[1] < 25-< 30 kg/m2), incidence of obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2), and increase in BMI during military service were calculated.

Results: The average increase in BMI during military service was 1.11 kg/m2 in males and 1.08 kg/m2 in females. A greater increase was positively associated with low paternal education and smoking cessation, and negatively associated with high physical activity. Twelve percent of subjects with a normal BMI on recruitment became overweight, and 21.7% of overweight subjects became obese. On multivariate logistic regression analysis, a higher incidence of overweight was associated with low education level (in both the subject and his or her father) in both genders, and non-use of oral contraceptives and low level of physical activity in females.

Conclusions: BMI appears to increase significantly during early adulthood. Intervention programs should be targeted specifically at subjects with low education or who started smoking before age 18, and physical activity (especially among females) should be encouraged.

[1] BMI = body mass index

A. Shalom, H. Eran, M. Westreich and T. Friedman

Background: Negative-pressure therapy for the closure of wounds, a technique to accelerate secondary wound healing, is clinically available as the V.A.C.™ system (KCI Inc, San Antonio, TX, USA). Budgetary considerations in our institution precluded widespread use of the expensive V.A.C.™ system in routine cases.

Objectives: To develop a less expensive comparably effective dressing, based on the same principles.

Methods: We used our “homemade” system to treat 15 patients with appropriate complex wounds. Their hospital charts were reviewed and assessed retrospectively. Cost analysis was performed comparing our dressing with the V.A.C.™ system.

Results: Our homemade negative-pressure wound treatment system obtained results similar to what one could expect with the V.A.C.™ System in all parameters. Complications encountered were few and minor. Cost per day using our negative-pressure system for a 10 cm² wound is about US$1, as compared to US$22, utilizing the V.A.C.™ System.

Conclusions: Our homemade negative-pressure system proved to be a good cost-effective treatment for wound closure in hospitalized patients, yielding results comparable to those of the more expensive V.A.C.™ system.

Y. Linhart, Z. Amitai, M. Lewis, S. Katser, A. Sheffer and T. Shohat

Background: Food-borne pharyngitis outbreaks causing substantial morbidity have been documented.

Objectives: To investigate an outbreak of food-borne Streptococcus beta hemolyticus group A pharyngitis among employees of a high-tech company.

Methods: We received a report on an unusually high rate of morbidity among employees of a company in September 2003. The Tel Aviv District Health Office conducted an epidemiological investigation of the outbreak.

Results: Among the 278 people who attended a company party, 83 people became ill. The overall attack rate was 29.8%. Information was available on 174 of 193 employees and family members who attended the party and worked in the Tel Aviv district. Forty-six of them became ill (attack rate 26.4%). The secondary attack rate was 3.8%. Most cases developed symptoms 24–48 hours following the event. Seven cases had throat cultures positive for Streptococcus beta hemolyticus group A. Three items were significantly associated with becoming sick: spring chicken (odds ratio 2.26, 95% confidence interval 1.11–4.63, P = 0.02), vegetable salad (OR[1] 2.88 95%CI[2] 1.40–5.94, P = 0.003) and corn (OR 7.73, 95%CI 3.18–18.80, P < 0.001). Eating corn remained significantly associated with pharyngitis after controlling for other food items consumed.

Conclusions: We describe the epidemiological investigation of a large food-borne outbreak of Streptococcus beta hemolyticus group A pharyngitis most probably transmitted by corn. No previous publication has implicated corn. Food handlers and the public should be aware that they can transmit diseases to others.. Physicians should be aware that streptococcal pharyngitis could be a food-borne disease and that outbreaks in a non-confined setting may be easily missed.


[1] OR = odds ratio

[2] CI = confidence interval

J. Lachter, T. Leska-Aharoni, D. Warum and R. Eliakim

Background: The frequency of colorectal cancer screening tests in Israel is poor, and is much lower than in the United States. This low rate has been attributed to health system failures as well as to barriers on the part of both physicians and patients.

Objectives: To further identify particular health system failures, physician and patient-based barriers, and the effectiveness of public lectures in improving the frequency of performance of CRC[1] screening tests.

Methods: Public lectures on colorectal cancer prevention were held. A gastroenterologist presented the lectures, which were followed immediately by a questionnaire and 4 months later by a telephone call.

Results: Of the 80% of attendees who had never undergone any CRC screening test, only 18% reported family physician recommendations for such tests. Eighty-four percent reported willingness to undergo fecal occult blood testing and 52% to undergo colonoscopy; 62% replied that they should undergo some CRC screening test and 90% believed that these tests save lives. Of the women, 47% expressed preference for a female gastroenterologist. Follow-up showed that 34% proceeded to undergo some CRC screening test: 60% chose colonoscopy and 40% FOBT[2].

Conclusions: Public lectures are effective at improving compliance with the CRC screening test. Physicians should recommend these tests to appropriate individuals. Same-gender gastroenterologists should be considered for individuals uneasy about someone from the opposite gender performing the test. Assessing the various health-promotion efforts can direct us in implementing finite resources to greatest effect. Local cancer institutes and societies may be supportive in disseminating screening information in this way.

[1] CRC = colorectal cancer

[2] FOBT = fecal occult blood testing

R. Kornowski, G. N. Bachar, D. Dvir, S. Fuchs and E. Atar

Background: Cardiac computed tomography angiography is a relatively new imaging modality to detect coronary atherosclerosis.

Objectives: To explore the diagnostic value of CTA[1] in assessing coronary artery disease among asymptomatic patients.

Methods: In this retrospective single-centered analysis, 622 consecutive patients underwent CTA of coronary arteries between November 2004 and May 2006 at the Mor Institute for Cardiovascular Imaging in Bnei Brak, Israel. All patients were asymptomatic but had at least one risk factor for atherosclerotic CAD[2]. The initial 244 patients were examined with the 16-slice Brilliance CT scanner (Philips, Cleveland, OH, USA), and in the remaining 378 patients the 64-slice scanner (GE Healthcare, The Netherlands) with dedicated cardiac reconstruction software and electrocardiography triggering was used. Scanning was performed in the cranio-caudal direction. Images reconstructed in different phases of the cardiac cycle using a retrospective ECG-gated reconstruction algorithm were transferred to a dedicated workstation for review by experienced CT radiologists and cardiologists.

Results: Of 622 patients, 52 (8.4%) had severe obstructive atherosclerosis (suspected ≥ 75% stenosis) according to CTA interpretation. Invasive coronary angiography was performed in 48 patients while 4 patients had no further procedure. A non-significant CAD (e.g., diameter stenosis < 70%) was identified in 6 of 48 patients (12%) by selective coronary angiography. Forty-two patients showed severe CAD with at least one lesion of ≥ 70% stenosis. Percutaneous coronary intervention was performed in 35 patients and coronary artery bypass grafting surgery in the other 4 patients. Angioplasty procedures were successful in all 35 patients and stents were utilized in all cases without complications. No further complications occurred among the study cohort undergoing either PCI[3] or surgery. The 6 month survival rate in these patients was 100%.

Conclusions: Non-invasive coronary CTA appears to be a reliable technique, with reasonably high accuracy, to detect obstructive atherosclerosis in asymptomatic high risk patients for atherosclerotic CAD.

[1] CTA = computed tomography angiography

[2] CAD = coronary artery disease

[3] PCI = percutaneous coronary intervention

Issues In Rheumatology and Autoimmunity
J. F. Swart and N. M. Wulffraat

Raynaud's phenomenon, fatigue and pain (myalgia and arthralgia) are important presenting symptoms of pediatric-onset mixed connective tissue disease. The difficulty is that many adolescent girls complain of pain along with fatigue without evidence for serious disease. However, in patients with Raynaud's phenomenon one should search for evidence of connective tissue diseases. Capillaroscopy could be helpful since capillary changes of the SD-type significantly correlate with future development of scleroderma spectrum disorders. Symptoms of MCTD[1] change in most patients during the disease course: in general the inflammatory features that are also seen in systemic lupus erythematosus and juvenile dermatomyositis have the tendency to disappear over years, but Raynaud's phenomenon is persistent and scleroderma symptoms become progressively prominent. Long-lasting remission occurs only in a minority of patients, while the majority has mild disease activity. Mortality in children with MCTD is lower than in adults. Since a change of symptoms is in the nature of the disease a thorough and frequent evaluation of children with (probable) MCTD is important to detect organ involvement which, if present, should be treated at an early (pre-symptomatic) stage. We present a diagnostic workup scheme for children and adolescents with propable MCTD.

[1] MCTD = mixed connective tissue disease

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