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עמוד בית Mon, 19.08.19

April 2005


Focus
J. Shemer, I. Abadi-Korek and A. Seifan
 New medical technologies that offer to improve upon or completely replace existing ones are continuously appearing. These technologies are forcing healthcare policymakers to consistently evaluate new treatment options. However, this emerging medical technology has been viewed as a significant factor in increasing the cost of healthcare. The abundance of new medical alternatives, combined with scarcity of resources, has led to priority setting, rationing, and the need for further technology management and assessment. Economic evaluation of medical technologies is a system of analysis within the framework of Health Technology Assessment to formally compare the costs and consequences of alternative healthcare interventions. EEMT[1] can be used by many healthcare entities, including national policymakers, manufacturers, payers and providers, as a tool to aid in resource allocation decisions. In this paper we discuss the historical evolution and potential of EEMT, the practical limitations hindering more extensive implementation of these types of studies, current efforts at improvement, and the ethical issues influencing ongoing development. The Medical Technologies Administration of Israel's Ministry of Health is given as an example of an entity that has succeeded in practically implementing EEMT to optimize healthcare resource allocation.

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[1] EEMT = economic evaluation of medical technologies
Original Articles
O. Barkay, M. Moshkowitz and S. Reif
 Background: Approximately one‑fourth of new Crohn’s disease diagnoses are made in individuals under the age of 20 years in whom proximal Crohn’s disease tends to be more common.

Objectives: To describe the role of wireless capsule endoscopy in diagnosing isolated small intestinal Crohn’s disease in two adolescents.

Methods: Wireless capsule endoscopy was performed in two adolescents with severe protein-losing enteropathy and negative standard diagnostic workup.

Results: Wireless capsule endoscopy successfully diagnosed Crohn’s disease with uncharacteristic presentations and negative radiographic and endoscopic findings in both patients.

Conclusions: The non-invasiveness and ease in performance of capsule endoscopy on an ambulatory basis make this diagnostic modality especially advantageous for children.

L. Keinan-Boker, N. Noyman, A. Chinich, M.S. Green and D. Nitzan-Kaluski
Background: The prevalence of obesity has increased considerably in many countries in recent decades.

Objective: To describe the prevalence of overweight and obesity in the Israeli population, based on findings of the first national health and nutrition survey (MABAT).

Methods: This cross-sectional survey was carried out during 1999–2000. MABAT is based on a representative sample (n=3,246) of the general Israeli population aged 25–64 years. The current study population comprised those with complete data on measured weight and height (n=2,781). Participants were interviewed in person and had their weight and height measured by the interviewer.

Results: Over 50% of the study participants were women (n=1,410); 76% were Jews and 24% Arabs. Most participants had an education of at least 12 years (72%). Body mass index ≥30.0 was more prevalent in women compared to men (P < 0.001) in both population groups (Jews and Arabs). Obesity rates increased with age and reached 22.4% for men and 40.4% for women aged 55–64 years. Lower education was associated with higher obesity rates, with lowest rates observed for Jewish women with an academic education (13.6%) and highest rates observed for Arab women with a basic education (57.3%). Multiple logistic regression analyses showed age to be a significant risk factor in men. Age, education and origin (Arab, and the former Soviet Union for Jews) were significant risk factors for obesity in women.

Conclusions: Obesity rates in Israel are high and comparable to those in the United States. Of special concern is the subgroup of older Arab women (55–64 years), whose obesity rates reached 70%.

E. Bamberger, R. Madeb, J. Steinberg, A. Paz, I. Satinger, Z. Kra-0z, O. Natif and I. Srugo
Background: Although the current literature attributes most cases of hematospermia to an infectious agent, identification of the specific pathogens involved has been limited.

Objectives: To determine the prevalence of different pathogens in patients presenting to our sexually transmitted disease clinic with hematospermia.

Methods: Between January 1999 and January 2000, 16 patients presented to our STD[1] clinic with hematospermia after other non-infectious pathologies had been excluded by a referring physician. After obtaining informed consent, subjects completed a questionnaire addressing symptoms and sexual behavior. First void urine samples, as well as genitourinary and serum specimens were tested for Chlamydia trachomatis, Ureaplasma urealyticum and Herpes simplex virus. Standard bacterial cultures were also performed.

Results: Laboratory testing detected a pathogen in 12 of the 16 males presenting with hematospermia. The sexually transmitted pathogens detected were Herpes simplex virus in 5 patients (42%), Chlamydia trachomatis in 4 (33%), Enterococcus fecalis in 2 (17%), and Ureaplasma urealyticum in 1 (8%). In all cases in which a pathogen was identified, the appropriate antimicrobial agent was administered. Symptoms resolved for each patient following antimicrobial therapy. During a 1 year follow-up, all 12 patients remained free of disease.

Conclusions: Recent advances in microbiologic diagnostic techniques have facilitated the detection of pathogens in patients with hematospermia, thereby enhancing the efficacy of treatment.

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[1] STD = sexually transmitted disease

T. Ben-Ami, H. Gilutz, A. Porath, G. Sosna and N. Liel-Cohen
Background: Women with myocardial infarction have a less favorable prognosis than men. Many studies have indicated gender bias in the evaluation and treatment of myocardial infarction, but few data exist concerning these aspects in the management of unstable angina.


Objective: To investigate gender differences in the baseline characteristics, clinical presentation, treatment and prognosis of women with unstable angina.

Method: Data were collected prospectively as part of the Acute Coronary Syndromes Israeli Survey in 2000 at Soroka University Medical Center. In-hospital management and 2 year follow-up were monitored for 226 consecutive patients with unstable angina admitted to our medical center during February and March 2000.

Results: Women were older (71 ± 12 vs. 66 ± 12, P = 0.006), more diabetic (41.3% vs. 34.5%, not significant) and hypertensive (76.3% vs. 64.6%, P = 0.07). Women presented more often with atypical chest pain (18.8% vs. 7.5%, P = 0.038). Heparin, aspirin and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor were equally delivered, but more beta-blockers were administered to women (88.5% vs. 75.7%, P = 0.02) and more statins to men (48.1% vs. 35.4%, P = 0.07). Angiography rates were similar (17.7% vs. 19.6%). Similar management was documented during the 2 year follow-up. Re-hospitalization rates were similar (53.3% of women and 63.7% of men, NS). Men had a tendency to develop acute myocardial infarction more often (9.6% vs. 2.7%, P = 0.06) and to develop peripheral vascular disease (3.7% vs. 0%, P = 0.09), and they had a non-significant higher rate of coronary artery bypass graft (6.7% vs. 1.3%, P = 0.08). No gender difference was found in angiography (14.7% of women vs. 16.3% of men) or percutaneous intervention (13% vs. 16.7%). At 2 years there was no gender-related difference in mortality (13.3% of women vs. 16.3% of men, NS). Kaplan-Meier analysis for event-free survival after 2 years showed no gender difference in survival. Multi-regression analysis showed that gender was not a prognostic factor for survival.

Conclusions. We found no major difference in the management of men and women with unstable angina. Although men showed a tendency to suffer more major cardiac events, their 2 year prognosis was the same as for women.

J. Kogan, S. Turkot, B. Golzman and S. Oren
Background: Hemodynamic changes, including systemic vascular resistance, in cirrhotic patients during massive paracentesis have been reported, but large and small artery compliance has not yet been investigated.

Objective: To investigate hemodynamic variables, including small and large artery compliance, in cirrhotic patients during total paracentesis.

Methods: The study included 15 cirrhotic patients admitted for an episode of tense diuretic-resistant ascites. Hemodynamic variables including vascular compliance were measured using an HDI pulse wave cardiovascular profiling instrument CR-2000. The variables were measured in these patients before, immediately after and 24 hours following large volume (mean 5.6 L) paracentesis.

Results: Cardiac output increased immediately after paracentesis due to increment in stroke volume, with no change in heart rate. However, 24 hours later the cardiac output decreased to below the basal level. The fluctuation was statistically significant (P < 0.05). There was no change in large artery compliance, but small artery compliance increased after paracentesis (P < 0.05) and partially returned to the basal level after 24 hours. Systemic vascular resistance measurement showed the same pattern of change: vasodilatation occurred during paracentesis and was attenuated 24 hours later.

Conclusions: Large volume paracentesis with albumin replacement caused an accentuation of the vasodilatation (small but not large artery) already present in these patients. This may be the first sign of enhanced vasodilatation due to large volume paracentesis before the clinical expression of impaired hemodynamics and deterioration of renal function.

Y. Schlesinger, D. Reich, A.I. Eidelman, M.S. Schimmel, J. Hassanim and D. Miron
Background: The incidence of congenital cytomegalovirus in Israel has never been determined, either in general or in relation to various population subgroups. We recently proved the utility of newborn urine polymerase chain reaction as a screening tool for congenital CMV[1].

Objectives: To define the incidence of congenital CMV infection in two different subpopulations, as a model for the entire population of Israel.

Methods: Urine specimens were randomly collected from 2,000 newborns in Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, and HaEmek Medical Center, Afula (1,000 specimens each). These hospitals have many characteristic differences, presumably representing the diverse population of Israel. Urine specimens were subjected to a CMV PCR[2] reaction and positive specimens were validated by urine viral culture. Maternal seroprevalence was determined in a representative sample of the mothers in each hospital. Epidemiologic characteristics of the mothers were extracted from hospital records and compared.

Results: The population in Shaare Zedek Medical Center was mostly Jewish (95.8%) and urban (87.0%), as compared to that of HaEmek Medical Center (49.2% and 61.0%, respectively, P < 0.01). Nevertheless, CMV seroprevalence was similar: 81.5% and 85%, respectively. Ten (1.0%) and 4 (0.4%) newborns, respectively, were found to have congenital CMV infection (not significant).

Conclusions: The combined incidence of congenital CMV infection in the study population was 0.7% (95% confidence interval 0.3–1.0%). If this rate is extrapolated to the entire population of Israel, then a total of 945 cases of congenital CMV can be expected among the 135,000 annual deliveries. A nationwide screening program for congenital CMV should be considered.

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[1] CMV = cytomegalovirus

[2] PCR = polymerase chain reaction

Y. Chen, R. Colodner, B. Chazan and R. Raz
Background: Arcanobacterium haemolyticum is a well-recognized but uncommon cause of pharyngitis and skin rash in adolescents and young adults. To date no data regarding its frequency in Israel have been published.

Objective: To establish the frequency of A. haemolyticum in throat cultures in a northern Israeli population and to estimate the clinical significance of this pathogen in patients with sore throat.

Methods: We examined suspected colonies for A. haemolyticum by gram stain, catalase test and reverse CAMP test in 518 throat cultures sent to the microbiologic laboratory of HaEmek Medical Center.

Results: Of the throat cultures tested, A. haemolyticum was recovered from one patient (0.2%). In contrast, group A Streptococcus (Streptococcus pyogenes) was recovered from 135 patients (26%).

Conclusion: A. hemolyticum is an uncommon pathogen implicated in acute pharyngitis, therefore routine screening in throat swabs is not required.

H. Geva, G. Bar-Sela, Z. Dashkowsky, T. Mashiach and E. Robinson
Background: The use of complementary and alternative medicine has increased over the last decade in the western world.

Objectives: To evaluate the extent and characteristics of CAM[1] use among cancer patients in northern Israel.

Methods: Telephone interviews were conducted with 2,176 newly registered cancer patients or their family members, at least 1 year following referral.

Results: The rates of CAM use varied significantly according to demographic characteristics and chemotherapy treatment, from 3% in the basically educated elderly group up to 69% of educated Israeli-born Jews younger than 70 years receiving chemotherapy. The overall rate of CAM use was 17%. The most influential factors determining CAM use were academic or high school education, chemotherapy treatment, Israel as country of birth, and age 41–50 years. All patients used CAM in addition to conventional therapies. Less than half of them reported it to their physicians. The most frequently used treatments were various chemical, biological, botanic and homeopathy remedies. Friends and relatives were the main recommenders of CAM. Most CAM users reported that they used CAM because they believed it “strengthens the immune system,” alleviates side effects of chemotherapy, improves quality of life and helps to overcome pain and stress, and 62% of them reported subjective beneficial effects.

Conclusions: A predicting module of CAM user patients was built, which may help physicians initiate conversations with their patients on CAM use. Expanding physicians' knowledge on CAM methods will encourage them to provide additional advice, promote the use of beneficial therapies, and inform patients about potentially harmful methods.

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[1] CAM = complementary and alternative medicine

Reviews
L. Saidel-Odes and H. Shmuel Odes
 Colorectal cancer is a leading cause of cancer death in Israel. Our current understanding of the colorectal adenoma-carcinoma sequence has led to the use of screening for timely detection of polyps and cancer. Digital examination of the rectum is a test that can be performed by all doctors. Fecal occult blood testing, flexible sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy are the standard screening techniques for patients. Computerized tomography colonography is now entering this field. This review discusses the merits and uncertainties of these strategies as related to the risk of colorectal cancer in selected populations.

E. Magen, D. Elbirt and Z. Sthoeger
Highly active antiretroviral therapy has dramatically improved the quality of life and life expectancy of patients with human immunodeficiency virus. However, the prolonged use of HAART[1] leads to severe metabolic adverse events. Both HIV[2]infection and HAART can cause changes in lipid and glucose metabolism as well as elevation of blood pressure, promoting the development of atherosclerosis. Cardiovascular diseases have become a major cause of mortality among HIV-infected subjects who respond well to antiretroviral therapy. Nevertheless, a proper lifestyle and pharmacologic intervention can improve cardiovascular risk factors in the HIV-treated population and significantly reduce healthcare investments in the treatment of future cardiovascular complications in this population. In this review we summarize the current knowledge of CVD[3] prevention and treatment in HIV patients.

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[1] HAART = highly active antiretroviral therapy

[2] HIV = human immunodeficiency virus

[3] CVD = cardiovascular disease
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