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עמוד בית
Fri, 14.06.24

June 2006

R. Rosenberg, S. Vinker, J. Yaphe and S. Nakar
 Background: Maintaining a death register and holding staff discussions about patients who died can aid the physician in audit and research, which will lead to improved care of the terminally ill and the bereaved and to the development of prevention strategies. These issues are important for students and residents as well.

Objectives: To review the value of mortality-case discussions in primary care clinics, particularly teaching clinics.

Methods: The clinic death register, instituted in 1998, includes age, gender, cause of death, place of death, relevant illnesses, and support provided to the patient before the death. In the half-yearly sessions, the data are reviewed, and individual cases that had an emotional impact on the staff, or information that can bring about changes in future care are discussed by the clinic staff and trainees.

Results: In our clinic 233 deaths occurred during a 6 year period (1998–2003). The crude all-cause mortality rate was 7.1/1000. The median age was 80 years old. Neoplastic causes were slightly more frequent than cardiovascular causes of death. Only 15% died at home; 20% lived alone and 70% lived with a spouse or family members before the death. Topics discussed in the mortality review meetings include identifying pre-suicidal patients, when to hospitalize the sick elderly, dealing with the anger of bereaved families, and ensuring proper home care for terminal patients.

Conclusions: We recommend keeping a death register and conducting mortality review sessions in order to improve the quality of care, emotional support of the staff, and training students and residents about the complex issues surrounding the death of patients.

Original Articles
M.A. Abdul-Ghani, G. Nawaf, G. Fawaz, B. Itzhak, O. Minuchin and P. Vardi
 Background: Microvascular complications of diabetes contribute significantly to the disease morbidity. The metabolic syndrome is very common among subjects with diabetes and is a very important risk factor for macrovascular complications. However, its contribution to the microvascular complication has not been assessed.

Objectives: To assess the risk of microvascular complications associated with the metabolic syndrome in diabetes subjects.

Methods: The study group comprised 415 diabetic subjects attending a primary care clinic. The prevalence of microvascular complications was compared between 270 diabetic subjects with metabolic syndrome (NCEP-III criteria) and 145 diabetic patients without.

Results: We found that as a group, diabetic subjects with metabolic syndrome had significantly higher frequency of microvascular-related complications than diabetic subjects without the syndrome (46.6% and 26.8% respectively, P = 0.0005). These include microalbuminuria (41.5% vs. 23.9%, P = 0.013), neuropathy (10.4% vs. 7.5%, P = 0.38), retinopathy (9.6% vs. 4.1%, P = 0.046) and leg ulcers (7.9% vs. 2.8%, P = 0.044). After adjustment for age, gender, glycemic control, disease duration, lipid profile and blood pressure, metabolic syndrome was associated with a significantly higher risk of microvascular complications: odds ratio (95% confidence interval) for nephropathy 2.27 (1.53–3.34), neuropathy 1.77 (0.79–4.0), retinopathy 3.42 (1.2–9.87), and leg ulcers 3.57 (1.08–11.95).

Conclusions: In addition to hyperglycemia and disease duration, the metabolic syndrome is a significant risk factor for the development of microvascular complications in diabetic subjects.

H. Desatnik, Z. Habot-Wilner, A. Alhalel, I. Moroz, J. Glovinsky and J Moisseiev
 Background: The major cause of visual impairment in diabetic patients is macular edema. The failure of laser photocoagulation in a large subgroup of patients with clinically significant diabetic macular edema has prompted interest in other treatment methods.

Objectives: To evaluate the long-term efficacy and safety of an intravitreal injection of triamcinolone acetonide for clinically significant diabetic macular edema.

Methods: In a retrospective case series 31 diabetic patients with persistent, recurrent or diffuse clinically significant diabetic macular edema received a single 4 mg (0.1 ml) intravitreal triamcinolone acetonide injection and were followed for at least 6 months. The main outcome measures evaluated were classified as primary: visual acuity and central macular thickness, and secondary: intraocular pressure and cataract progression. Statistical analyses included Student’s t-test, chi-square test and the McNamar test.

Results: Best visual acuity results were observed 2.6 ± 2.4 months post-injection. At that time the mean foveal thickness had decreased by 37% from a baseline of 455 ± 100 to 288 ± 99 µ (P < 0.001) and the mean visual acuity improved from 6/42 to 6/23 (P < 0.001). Final mean visual acuity after an average of 10 ± 1.8 months follow-up (range 6–13 months) was identical to the baseline, although mean foveal thickness was still significantly lower than the initial thickness (368 ± 166 vs. 455 ± 100 µ, P < 0.01). Statistical analysis did not identify any pre-injection prognostic factors for improved visual acuity. The only complications that occurred were elevated intraocular pressure in 42% of patients and cataract progression in 21%. There was no endophthalmitis.

Conclusions: Intravitreal injection of triamcinolone acetonide for clinically significant diabetic macular edema is effective in reducing foveal thickness and improving visual acuity in the short term. Longer follow-up revealed that visual acuity returned to pre-injection values, even though a modest decrease in the foveal thickness persisted. Further studies are needed to evaluate the long-term efficacy in conjunction with laser photocoagulation treatment.

A. Ballin, A. Osdachi, A. Klivitsky, I. Dalal and M. Lishner
Background: Community-acquired bronchopneumonia in children is frequently accompanied by extreme leukocytosis, whereas in adults with the same diagnosis a high leukocyte count is uncommon. Data regarding differences in the serum levels of inflammatory cytokines between children and adults are limited.

Objectives: To compare leukocyte counts and blood levels of various inflammatory cytokines in children and adults diagnosed with community-acquired bronchopneumonia.

Methods: We prospectively evaluated all pediatric and adult patients admitted for bronchopneumonia based on clinical and chest X-ray findings.. Blood was drawn for complete blood count and serum concentration of the following cytokines: granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, interleukins-6, 8 and 10, interferon-gamma, tumor necrosis factor, as well as matrix metalloproteinase-9 and intercellular adhesion molecule-1.

Results: There were 31 children and 32 adults. The patients in both groups had similar parameters of infection severity. None of them required admission to the Intensive Care Unit. Mean (± SD) leukocyte counts in the pediatric and adult groups were 21,018/mm (± 10,420) and 12,628/mm (± 6735) respectively (P = 0.02). Age was inversely correlated with leukocytes in the pediatric group (P = 0.0001). A significant inverse correslation was also found between age and platelet counts. Although cuytokine levels in both groups were not significantly different, age was

Conclusions: The immune response in community-aquired bronchopneumonia is, at least partly, age-dependent.

A. Glick, Y. Michowitz, G. Keren and J. George
 Background: Cardiac resynchronization therapy is a modality with proven morbidity and mortality benefit in advanced systolic heart failure. Nevertheless, not all patients respond favorably to CRT[1]. Natriuretic peptides and inflammatory markers are elevated in congestive heart failure and reflect disease severity.

Objectives: To test whether an early change in neurohormonal and inflammatory markers after implantation can predict the clinical response to CRT.

Methods: The study group included 32 patients with advanced symptomatic systolic heart failure and a prolonged QRS complex and who were assigned to undergo CRT. Baseline plasma levels of B-type natriuretic peptide and high sensitivity C-reactive protein were determined in the peripheral venous blood and coronary sinus. Post-implantation levels were determined 2 weeks post-procedure in the PVB[2]. Baseline levels and their change in 2 weeks were correlated with all-cause mortality and hospitalization for congestive heart failure.

Results: At baseline, coronary sinus levels of BNP[3] but not hsCRP[4] were significanly elevated compared to the PVB. Compared to baseline levels, BNP and hsCRP decreased significantly within 2 weeks after the implantation (BNP mean difference 229.1 ± 102.5 pg/ml, 95% confidence interval 24.2–434, P < 0.0001; hsCRP mean difference 5.2 ± 2.4 mg/dl, 95% CI[5] 0.3–10.1, P = 0.001). During a mean follow-up of 17.7 ± 8.2 months 6 patients died (18.7%) and 12 (37.5%) were hospitalized due to exacerbation of CHF[6]. Baseline New York Heart Association and CS[7] BNP levels predicted CHF-related hospitalizations. HsCRP levels or their change over 2 weeks did not predict all-cause mortality or hospitalizations.

Conclusions: BNP levels in the CS and peripheral venous blood during biventricular implantation and 2 weeks afterwards predict cilinical response and may guide patient management.


[1] CRT = cardiac resynchronization therapy

[2] PVB = peripheral venous blood

[3] BNP = B-type natriuretic peptide

[4] hs-CRP = high sensitivity C-reactive protein

[5] CI = confidence interval

[6] CHF = congestive heart failure

[7] CS = coronary sinus

D. Prais, Y. Raviv, D. Shitrit, A. Yellin, G. Sahar, D. Bendayan, Y. Yahav, O. Efrati, N. Reichart, H. Blau, I. Bakal, G. Buchman, M. Saute, B. Vidne and M.R. Kramer
 Background: Lung transplantation is a well-established therapeutic option for end-stage lung disease in cystic fibrosis. Although it confers a clear survival advantage, outcome differs among centers according to local experience, patient selection, transplantation procedure, and postoperative care.

Objectives: To evaluate the national Israeli experience with lung transplantation in patients with CF[1].

Methods: We reviewed the medical charts of all CF patients who underwent lung transplantation between January 1996 and June 2005 at the two Israeli centers that performed this procedure.

Results: Eighteen transplantations were performed in 17 patients. Mean patient age at transplantation was 25.3 ± 9.1 years, and mean duration of follow-up in survivors (n=14) was 37.2 months (range 1–113 months). The actuarial survival rate was 88% at 1 year and 74% at 5 years. Pulmonary function, expressed as percent of predicted normal forced expiratory volume in 1 sec, improved from 22.4 ± 8.1% to 76 ± 16.8% at one year after transplantation. Bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome was diagnosed in 5 patients (29%), of whom 2 died and 2 are currently candidates for retransplantation. Median time to onset of BOS[2] was 34.2 months (range 17–64 months).

Conclusion: In Israel, the early and intermediate-term results of lung transplantation for cystic fibrosis are encouraging. BOS remains a major complication that threatens long-term outcome.


[1] CF = cystic fibrosis

[2] BOS = bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome

A. Ekka-Zohar, Y. Zitser-Gurevich, M. Mandel, I. Weiss-Salz, S. Nir, E. Mor, R. Nakash, H. Merhav, R. Bruck and E. Simchen
Background: There is a dearth of organs for liver transplantation in Israel. Enhancing our understanding of factors affecting graft survival in this country could help optimize the results of the transplant operation.

Objectives: To report 3 years national experience with orthotopic liver transplantation, and to evaluate patient and perioperative risk factors that could affect 1 year graft survival.

Methods: The study related to all 124 isolated adult liver transplantations performed in Israel between October 1997 and October 2000. Data were abstracted from the medical records. One-year graft survival was described using the Kaplan-Meier survival curve and three multivariate logistic regression models were performed: one with preoperative case-mix factors alone, and the other two with the addition of donor and operative factors respectively.

Results: Of the 124 liver transplantations performed, 32 failed (25.8%). The 1 year survival was lower than rates reported from both the United States and Europe, but the difference was not significant. Of the preoperative risk factors, recipient age ≥ 60 years, critical condition prior to surgery, high serum bilirubin and serum hemoglobin ≤ 10 g/dl were independently associated with graft failure, adjusting for all the other factors that entered the logistic regression equation. Extending the model to include donor and operative factors raised the C-statistic from 0.79 to 0.87. Donor age ≥ 40, cold ischemic time > 10 hours and a prolonged operation (> 10 hours) were the additional predictors for graft survival. A MELD score of over 18 was associated with a sixfold increased risk for graft failure (odds ratio = 6.5, P = 0.001).

Conclusions: Graft survival in Israel is slightly lower than that reported from the U.S. and Europe. Adding donor and operative factors to recipient characteristics significantly increased our understanding of 1 year survival of liver grafts.

S. Eilat-Tsanani, A. Merom, S. Romano, A. Reshef, I. Lavi and H. Tabenkin
 Background: Postpartum depression is a well-known phenomenon that occurs in about 10% of births and affects the quality of life of the mother as well as the family. As in other cases of depression, under-diagnosis of PPD[1] may keep patients from getting proper care and increase their physical and emotional distress.

Objectives: To identify patients with PPD and to describe their consultation patterns with primary care physicians for themselves and their babies.

Methods: Using a telephone survey and the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale questionnaire we identified PPD in a sample of women who gave birth in HaEmek Medical Center. We also assessed the extent to which the women consulted with family physicians, gynecologists and/or pediatricians.

Results: The survey included 574 women, of whom 9.9% were diagnosed with PPD. There was a higher rate of PPD among Arab compared to Jewish women, among women with a prior history of depression, among women whose pregnancy was unplanned, among those who described the course of pregnancy as “difficult,” and among women who described their general health as “not good.” Women with PPD consulted more with family physicians and pediatricians. The reasons for the consultations are physical and emotional. There were cases of somatization manifested directly by the mother or indirectly through the baby.

Conclusions: Women with PPD have higher consultation rates than those without. By asking a few simple questions it is possible to identify a significant proportion of women with PPD.


[1] PPD = postpartum depression

Stem Cell Research
I. Meivar-Levy and S. Ferber
Recent advances in pancreatic islet transplantation emphasize the potential of this approach for the long-term control of blood glucose levels as treatment of diabetes. To overcome the organ shortage for cell replacement therapy, efforts are being invested in generating new and abundant sources of insulin-producing cells from embryonic or adult stem cells. We review recent evidence documenting the surprising capacity of the mature liver to serve as a potential source of tissue for generating functional endocrine pancreas. The process of liver-to-pancreas developmental redirection is induced by ectopic expression of pancreatic transcription and differentiation factors. This approach may allow the diabetic patient to be the donor of his or her own therapeutic tissue, thus alleviating both the need for allotransplantations and the subsequent immune suppression.


Clinicopathologic Conference
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