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עמוד בית
Wed, 15.07.20

March 2005

Original articles
M.A. Abdul-Ghani, M. Sabbah, B. Muati, N. Dakwar, H. Kashkosh, O. Minuchin, P. Vardi, I. Raz, for the Israeli Diabetes Research Group
 Background: Increased insulin resistance, which is associated with obesity, is believed to underlie the development of metabolic syndrome. It is also known to increase the risk for the development of glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes. Both conditions are recognized as causing a high rate of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.

Objectives: To assess the prevalence of metabolic syndrome and different glucose intolerance states in healthy, overweight Arab individuals attending a primary healthcare clinic in Israel.

Methods: We randomly recruited 95 subjects attending a primary healthcare clinic who were healthy, overweight (body mass index >27) and above the age of 40. Medical and family history was obtained and anthropometric parameters measured. Blood chemistry and oral glucose tolerance test were performed after overnight fasting.

Results: Twenty-seven percent of the subjects tested had undiagnosed type 2 diabetes according to WHO criteria, 42% had impaired fasting glucose and/or impaired glucose tolerance and only 31% had a normal OGTT[1]. Metabolic syndrome was found in 48% according to criteria of the U.S. National Cholesterol Education Program, with direct correlation of this condition with BMI[2] and insulin resistance calculated by homeostasis model assessment. Subjects with metabolic syndrome had a higher risk for abnormality in glucose metabolism, and the more metabolic syndrome components the subject had the higher was the risk for abnormal glucose metabolism. Metabolic syndrome predicted the result of OGTT with 0.67 sensitivity and 0.78 specificity. When combined with IFG[3], sensitivity was 0.83 and specificity 0.86 for predicting the OGTT result.

Conclusions: According to our initial evaluation approximately 70% of the overweight Arab population in Israel has either metabolic syndrome or abnormal glucose metabolism, indicating that they are at high risk to develop type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. This population is likely to benefit from an intervention program.


[1] OGTT = oral glucose tolerance test

[2] BMI = body mass index

[3] IFG = impaired fasting glucose

R. Reuveny, I. Ben-Dov, M. Gaides and N. Reichert
Background: One mechanism that may limit training effect in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is the ventilatory limitation and associated dyspnea. 

Objectives: To minimize ventilatory limitation during training of patients with severe COPD[1] by applying bi-level positive pressure ventilation during training in order to augment training intensity (and effect).

Methods: The study group comprised 19 patients (18 males, 1 female) with a mean age of 64 ± 9 years. Mean forced expiratory volume in 1 second was 32 ± 4% of predicted, and all were ventilatory-limited (exercise breathing reserve 3 ± 9 L/min, normal >15 L/min). The patients were randomized: 9 were assigned to training with BiPAP[2] and 10 to standard training. All were trained on a treadmill for 2 months, twice a week, 45 minutes each time, at maximal tolerated load. Incremental maximal unsupported exercise test was performed before and at the end of the training period.

Results: BiPAP resulted in an increment of 94 ± 53% in training speed during these 2 months, as compared to 41 ± 19% increment in the control group (P < 0.005). Training with BiPAP yielded an average increase in maximal oxygen uptake of 23 ± 16% (P < 0.005), anaerobic threshold of 11 ± 12% (P < 0.05) and peak O2 pulse of 20 ± 19% (P < 0.05), while peak exercise lactate concentration was not higher after training. Interestingly, in the BiPAP group, peak exercise ventilation was also 17 ± 20% higher after training (P < 0.05). Furthermore, contrary to our expectation, at any given work rate, ventilation (and tidal volume) in the BiPAP group was higher in the post-training test as compared to the pre-training test, and the end tidal partial pressure of CO2 at 55 watts was lower, 40 ± 4 and 38 ± 4 mmHg respectively (P < 0.05). No improvement in exercise capacity was observed after this short training period in the control group.

Conclusion: Pressure-supported ventilation during training is feasible in patients with severe COPD and it augments the training effect. The improved exercise tolerance was associated with higher ventilatory response and therefore lower PETCO2[3] at equal work rates after training.


[1] COPD = chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

[2] BiPAP = bi-level positive pressure ventilation

[3] PETCO2 = end tidal partial pressure of CO2

Z. Samra, O. Ofer and H. Shmuely
 Background: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is a major nosocomial pathogen worldwide. Vancomycin is the traditional drug of choice, but decreasing susceptibility to vancomycin and other glycopeptides has been reported since 1996.

Objectives: To test the in vitro activity of linezolid (oxazolidinone) and other antimicrobial agents against MRSA[1] isolates recovered from hospitalized patients.

Methods: We tested 150 MRSA isolates recovered from hospitalized patients. The minimal inhibitory concentration of vancomycin, teicoplanin, pristinamycin (quinupristin-dalforistin), and linezolid was determined by the Etest method. Susceptibility to other antibiotics was tested by the disk diffusion method.

Results: All isolates were sensitive to vancomycin, teicoplanin, pristinamycin, and linezolid. The MIC90 was 2.0 mg/ml for vancomycin and teicoplanin (range 0.5–2.0 mg/ml and 0.125–2.0 mg/ml, respectively), and 0.5 mg/ml for pristinamycin and linezolid (range 0.125–0.75 mg/ml and 0.125–0.5 mg/m, respectively). Of the other antibiotics, fusidic acid showed the best in vitro activity, with 96.7% susceptibility, associated with trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (85.8%) and minocycline (84%). Penicillin was associated with the lowest susceptibility (1.3%), associated with ofloxacin (3%) and erythromycin (14%). An increase in the minimal inhibitory concentration value of vancomycin was associated with a significant decrease in resistance to TMP-SMZ[2] (P < 0.01) and an apparent increase in resistance to other antibiotics.

Conclusion: The excellent in vitro activity of linezolid and its reported in vivo effectiveness renders it an important therapeutic alternative to vancomycin in the treatment of MRSA infection.


[1] MRSA = methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus

[2] TMP-SMX = trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole

O. Goldstick and P. Jakobi
 Background: The incidence of perinatal, early-onset Group B streptococcal sepsis is very low in Israel and there are no local guidelines for prevention of the disease.

Objectives: To determine to what extent the current Centers for Disease Control guidelines are practiced in Israel, the reasons for their adoption or rejection, and the need for local official guidelines.

Methods: A telephone questionnaire was conducted of all 27 delivery units in Israel. Answers were obtained from 26, either from the clinical director or the senior obstetrician in charge at the time of the interview.

Results: Only in 2 of the 26 delivery units (8%) are the CDC[1] guidelines adhered to exactly; in 6 units they are deliberately rejected, and in 8 units they are not practiced, although they are allegedly implemented. Thus, the CDC guidelines are not practiced in 14 delivery units (54%). Medico-legal consideration is the sole or major reason for adopting these guidelines in 80% (16/20) of the delivery units where they are seemingly implemented. In the majority of these units (18/20) there is readiness to abandon current practice, should local guidelines differ from those of the CDC, provided that local guidelines are issued by an authoritative source.

Conclusion: CDC guidelines are either deliberately rejected or incorrectly practiced in most Israeli delivery units. The medico-legal argument is one of the main reasons for practicing these guidelines. Since the CDC guidelines probably do not apply in Israel, official local guidelines are urgently needed.


[1] CDC = Centers for  Disease Control

Z. Feldbrin, M. Singer, O. Keynan, V. Rzetelny and D. Hendel
Background: Coccygectomy is an uncommon procedure that many surgeons are reluctant to perform due to its proximity to the anus and the risk of rectal perforation and infection.

Objectives: To evaluate the diagnostic accuracy and outcome of coccygectomy.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the operative results in nine patients (seven females and two males) who underwent coccygectomy for coccygodynia in the last 5 years following conservative treatment failure.

Results: The outcome of the procedure was excellent in five patients, good in one patient and poor in two patients.

Conclusions: It is mandatory to perform bone scanning in every patient with coccygodynia and before coccygectomy in order to rule out the presence of malignancy. Coccygectomy is recommended for patients with isolated coccygodynia.

D. Antonelli, S. Atar, N.A. Freedberg and T. Rosenfeld
Background: Torsade de pointes is rarely associated with chronic amiodarone treatment, despite the effect of amiodarone on QT interval prolongation.

Objective: To identify risk factors and associated conditions that may cause TdP[1] in patients on chronic amiodarone treatment.

Methods: We reviewed the data of six consecutive patients on chronic amiodarone treatment who were admitted to the intensive cardiac care unit due to syncope and TdP.

Results: The patients’ median age was 73.5 years, and five were women. Concomitantly, loratadine was given to two patients and trazodone to one patient. Associated and attributing conditions to the development of TdP were hypokalemia in three patients, drug-induced bradycardia in one and reduced left ventricular function in four.

Conclusions: TdP associated with chronic amiodarone treatment may occur when amiodarone is co-administered with drugs that may potentially prolong QT interval. Additional risk factors for amiodarone-associated TdP include female gender, hypokalemia, reduced left ventricular function and bradycardia.


[1] TdP = torsade de pointes

J. Cohen, D. Starobin, G. Papirov, M. Shapiro, E. Grozovsky, M.R. Kramer and P. Singer
Background: While increasing numbers of patients require prolonged mechanical ventilation, resources for weaning are either limited (ICU beds) or inadequate (general wards).

Objectives: To report on our initial experience over a 7 month period with an eight-bed mechanical ventilation weaning unit.

Methods: Sixty-nine patients requiring MV[1] for >10 days were admitted to the unit (nurse:patient ratio 1:4). Data collected included reason for MV, duration of hospital stay, and MVWU[2] course. Outcome results (successful weaning and mortality) were compared to those in historic controls (patients ventilated in the general wards over a 4 month period prior to the MVWU; n = 100).

Results: The mean age of the patients was 68 ± 16.6 years and hospital stay prior to MVWU admission 28.6 ± 24.2 days (range 10–72). The main reasons for MV included acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (31%) and recent pneumonia (28%). Mean MVWU stay was 13.5 ± 15.7 days (range 1–72 days). Thirty-four patients (49%) underwent tracheostomy. Fourteen patients required admission to the ICU[3] due to deterioration in their status. Twenty-nine patients (42%) were successfully weaned and discharged to the wards. A further 20 patients were transferred to the chronic ventilation unit of a regional geriatric rehabilitation hospital, where 5 were subsequently weaned and 15 required prolonged ventilation. Compared to controls (matched for age and reason for mechanical ventilation), more MVWU patients underwent successful weaning (49% vs. 12%, P < 0.001) and their mortality rate (n = 12) was significantly lower (17% vs. 88%, P < 0.001).

Conclusion: The higher level of care possible in a MVWU may result in a significantly improved rate of weaning and lower mortality. The assessment of long-term outcome in patients discharged to pulmonary rehabilitation centers requires further investigation.


[1] MV = mechanical ventilation

[2] MVWU = mechanical ventilation weaning unit

[3] ICU = intensive care unit

M. Ben-Haim, M. Carmiel, N. Lubezky, R. Keidar, P. Katz, A. Blachar, A. Nomrod, P. Sorkine, R. Oren, J.M. Klausner and R. Nakache
Background: Adult-to-adult living donor liver transplantation is becoming an alternative to cadaveric transplantation in urgent and elective settings. Donor selection crucially affects donor safety and recipient outcome.

Objective: To present our algorithm of urgent and elective donor selection.

Methods: Urgent selection is expeditious and protocol‑based. Elective selection permits a comprehensive process. Both include medical, psychosocial and surgical-anatomic evaluations. Liver volumes and vascular anatomy are evaluated with computerized tomographic angiography. Informed consent is obtained after painstaking explanations. Independent institutional committees review and approve all cases.

Results: Between July 2003 and June 2004 we evaluated 43 potential live donors for 12 potential recipients (fulminant hepatic failure, n=5; chronic end-stage liver disease, n=6); primary graft non-function, n=1). Thirty-three candidates (76%) were excluded due to blood type incompatibility (n=14, 42%), incompatible anatomy (n=8, 24%) – including problematic volume distribution (n=2) or vascular anatomy (n=6) – psychosocial issues (n=4, 12%), or medical co-morbidity (n=7, 22%). Five recipients (FHF[1], n=4; chronic ESLD[2], n=1) were successfully transplanted from living donors. In the acute setting, two patients (FHF, PGNF[3]) died in the absence of an appropriate donor (cadaveric or living donor). In the elective group, one patient died of unexpected variceal bleeding and one received a cadaveric graft just before the planned living donor transplantation was performed. One candidate was transplanted overseas and two cases are scheduled. The ratio of compatibility for donation was 34% (10/29) for blood type-compatible candidates.

Conclusions: Donor selection for living donor liver transplantation is a complex, labor-intensive multidisciplinary process. Most exclusions are due to blood type incompatibility or anatomic details. Psychosocial aspects of these donations warrant special attention.


[1] FHF = fulminant hepatic failure

[2] ESLD = chronic end-stage liver disease

[3] PGNF = primary graft non-function

E. Zimlichman, D. Mandel, F.B. Mimouni, S. Vinker, I. Kochba, Y. Kreiss and A. Lahad
Background: The health system of the medical corps of the Israel Defense Force is based primarily upon primary healthcare. In recent years, health management organizations have considered the primary care physician responsible for assessing the overall health needs of the patient and, accordingly, introduced the term “gatekeeper.”

Objectives: To describe and analyze how PCPs[1] in the IDF[2] view their roles as primary care providers and to characterize how they perceive the quality of the medical care that they provide.

Methods: We conducted a survey using a questionnaire that was mailed or faxed to a representative sample of PCPs. The questionnaire included demographic background, professional background, statements on self-perception issues, and ranking of roles as a PCP in the IDF.

Results: Statements concerning commitment to the patient were ranked higher than statements concerning commitment to the military organization. Most physicians perceive the quality of the medical care service that they provide as high; they also stated that they do not receive adequate continuous medical education.

Conclusions: Our survey shows that PCPs in the IDF, like civilian family physicians, perceive their primary obligation as serving the needs of their patients but are yet to take on the full role of “gatekeepers” in the IDF’s healthcare system. We conclude that the Medical Corps should implement appropriate steps to ensure that PCPs are prepared to take on a more prominent role as “gatekeepers” and providers of high quality primary medical care.


[1] PCP = primary care physician

[2] IDF = Israel Defense Force

I. Layish, A. Krivoy, E. Rotman, A. Finkelstein, Z. Tashma and Y. Yehezkelli
 Nerve agent poisoning is characterized by the rapid progression of toxic signs, including hypersecretions, tremor, convulsions and profound brain damage. In the political arena of today's world, the threat of nerve agent use against military troops has prompted armies to search for prophylactic protection. The two main strategies for prophylaxis include biological scavengers that can bind or cleave nerve agents before they react with AChE, and antidotes as prophylactic treatment. Pyridostigmine is the current pretreatment for nerve agent poisoning and is in use by most of the armed forces in Western countries. However, since pyridostigmine barely crosses the blood-brain barrier it provides no protection against nerve agent-induced central injury. Pyridostigmine is ineffective when administered without post-exposure treatment adjuncts. Therefore, other directions for prophylactic treatment should be explored. These include combinations of carbamates (reversible acetylcholinesterase inhibitors) and central anticholinergics or NMDA receptor antagonists, benzodiazepines or partial agonists for benzodiazepine receptor, and other central AChE[1] inhibitors approved for Alzheimer's disease. The transdermal route is an alternative way for delivering the prophylactic agent. Administration of prophylaxis can be extended also for civilian use during wartime.


[1] AChE = acetylcholinesterase
A.L. Alkalay, H.B. Sarnat, L. Flores-Sarnat and C.F. Simmons
Profound neonatal hypoglycemia is one of the leading causes of brain injury. Hypoglycemic encephalopathy is caused by lack of glucose availability to brain cells. Although sharing a similar pathogenesis with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, hypoglycemic brain insult has distinctive metabolic, brain imaging, electroencephalographic, and histopathologic findings.

Case Communication
R. Percik, J. Serr, G. Segal, S. Stienlauf, H. Trau, B. Shalmon, A. Shimoni and Y. Sidi
Z. Habot-Wilner, J. Moisseiev, H. Bin and B. Rubinovitch
M. Leitman, E. Peleg, R. Krakover, E. Sucher, S. Rosenblath, R. Zaidentstein and Z. Vered
S. Eylon, R. Wishnitzer and M. Liebergall
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