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   2018| October-December  | Volume 8 | Issue 4  
    Online since October 4, 2018

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Vitamin D deficiency in elderly: Risk factors and drugs impact on vitamin D status
Hasan Kweder, Housam Eidi
October-December 2018, 8(4):139-146
DOI:10.4103/ajm.AJM_20_18  PMID:30319955
Introduction: Vitamin D (VD) deficiency is a major public health problem worldwide. In spite of its high prevalence, particularly among elderly people, VD deficiency is still underestimated by many physicians. Increasingly, VD deficiency is associated with several known geriatric syndromes. Methods: The study sample consisted of 125 patients, aged 75 years and older, admitted to the acute geriatric unit. The plausible association between the serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] level and patient age, sex, body mass index, renal function, cholecystectomy history, and the prescribed drugs had been investigated. The Fisher's exact test was used to conduct the statistical analysis of data. Results: Surprisingly, furosemide treatment was correlated with normal 25(OH)D levels and an increased incidence of secondary hyperparathyroidism. Unlike the other four parameters mentioned above, our data showed that only the patient sex exhibited a significant association with 25(OH)D level as elderly males suffered from a serious VD deficiency as compared to elderly females. Conclusion: Old age is an independent risk factor for VD deficiency. The supplementary dose of VD should be precisely defined to achieve the optimal serum 25(OH)D level in elderly people. The definition of the normal serum 25(OH)D threshold in elderly furosemide-treated patients is worth of further studies.
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Infectious diseases in the era of refugees: Hepatitis A outbreak in Lebanon
Abdul Rahman Bizri, Jawad Fares, Umayya Musharrafieh
October-December 2018, 8(4):147-152
DOI:10.4103/ajm.AJM_130_18  PMID:30319956
Background: The Syrian crisis has altered the epidemiology of infectious diseases in countries hosting large numbers of refugees. Lebanon witnessed several outbreaks linked to the presence of significant numbers of Syrian refugees, namely, Hepatitis A virus (HAV). We explore the epidemiology of HAV in Lebanon and the impact of the Syrian war during the 2014 outbreak and suggest solutions to prevent and minimize the HAV spread amid the current socioeconomic conditions. Methods: We reviewed all HAV cases reported to the Epidemiologic Surveillance Unit at the Ministry of Public Health between January 2001 and December 2017. Demographics and distribution of Syrian refugees in Lebanon were linked to reports of new HAV cases. Results: A sharp rise in the number of reported HAV cases was observed in Lebanon in 2013, concurrent with the Syrian crisis and influx of refugees. Most cases reported in 2013 and 2014 involved Syrian refugees and their relevant areas of settlement in the Beqaa and North governorates. Conclusion: The influx of refugees strained overburdened sanitary infrastructure and overstretched existing public health services in Lebanon, which led to an increase in the incidence of reported HAV cases. The Lebanese health authorities and the international community need to intensify their efforts in surveillance and prevention of communicable diseases. Providing proper sanitation and free vaccination for affected communities are effective solutions to contain the HAV outbreak. Yet, financial constraints and the need to prioritize in the health budget put HAV-immunization at a lower priority. The Lebanese scenario could be reflective to other countries hosting sizeable numbers of refugees.
  3,046 285 2
Cost reduction associated with heparin-induced thrombocytopenia panel ordering for enoxaparin versus heparin for prophylactic and therapeutic use: A retrospective analysis in a community hospital setting
Harry Menon, Adip Pillai, Jeanine Aussenberg-Rodriguez, John Ambrose, Irini Youssef, Elizabeth A Griffiths, Omar Al Ustwani
October-December 2018, 8(4):133-138
DOI:10.4103/ajm.AJM_78_18  PMID:30319954
Background: Most hospitals still use unfractionated heparin (UFH) as the primary agent for venous thromboembolism (VTE) prophylaxis in the hospital setting due to ease of use and insignificant cost. However, the risk of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) has led some groups to favor other options for therapeutic and prophylactic anticoagulation. This is particularly relevant in light of recent data demonstrating a lower rate of HIT in patients receiving enoxaparin compared with UFH. This study examines the cost-effectiveness of enoxaparin, compared to UFH for prophylactic and therapeutic usage in hospitals. Methods: We conducted a retrospective chart review of patients who underwent HIT panel testing at the Inspira Health Network, Vineland campus (an approximately 262-bedded community hospital located in southern New Jersey that services a population of approximately 61,050) from the period of April 1, 2015 through December 31, 2016. The starting date represents the time from which enoxaparin became the primary alternative anticoagulant available at this hospital. Records of the total usage and cost of UFH and enoxaparin for the specified time period were collected from the hospital pharmacy database for evaluation, as were records of HIT panels. The information was analyzed to determine the frequency of HIT panel testing orders for patients receiving UFH versus those receiving enoxaparin. Annual cost-savings for the hospital were extrapolated using the comparative incidence of HIT panels and associated costs, including increased length of stay, hematology/oncology consultation, use of an alternative anticoagulant, critical bleeding requiring transfusion, and complications of HIT-associated thrombosis. These variables were multiplied by the incidence rate for each specified drug and usage to determine the daily cost for each drug. Results: The use of enoxaparin did not result in a significant decrease in the ordering of HIT panels in the hospital, with a relative rate ratio of 0.948 (95% confidence interval: 0.336, 2.21). When the data were stratified to examine prophylactic and therapeutic anticoagulation, there was a marked difference in the frequency of HIT testing. The rate ratio of HIT panel orders for patients receiving therapeutic enoxaparin rather than intravenous (IV) UFH was 0.118 (0.006, 0.625). These numbers were used to extrapolate the total daily cost of enoxaparin compared with IV UFH; therapeutic enoxaparin cost $30.66, while IV UFH cost $162.30. IV UFH use was associated with a higher incidence rate of HIT panel orders, and consequently a higher daily cost due to the likelihood of increased length of stay, use of alternative anticoagulation, bleeding requiring transfusion, and request for expert consultation. Conclusion: In this study, the use of enoxaparin was associated with a significant cost-saving over IV UFH when used for therapeutic anticoagulation, but this cost saving was not observed for prophylactic anticoagulation.
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Patterns of pituitary dysfunction three months or more after traumatic brain injury
Nassar Taha Yaseen, Fateh A Al-Khaqani, Abbas Ali Mansour
October-December 2018, 8(4):125-132
DOI:10.4103/ajm.AJM_2_18  PMID:30319953
Purpose: Chronic posttraumatic brain injury (TBI) pituitary dysfunction is not a newly discovered subject, it has been reported more frequently, probably due to increasing chances of exposure to its causes, mainly the road traffic accidents, sport-related injuries, falls, and injuries during wars. This study aims to estimate the frequency of pituitary dysfunction 3 months or more after head trauma and the patterns of hormonal deficiencies. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted between January 2016 and August 2017. Participants were patients having a history of moderate-to-severe TBI at least 3 months before enrolment. Pituitary function test was done for all patients to determine the frequency of pituitary dysfunction, the number of axes deficiencies, and which hormone is mostly affected. Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 23.0 was used for univariate analysis, P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: Out of the 28 patients involved in this study, 17 (61%) had pituitary dysfunction, while 11 (39%) had not. Single hormonal defect was the most prevalent abnormality in 12 (43%), and the most affected hormone was the growth hormone (GH) in 14 patients (50%), followed by gonadal axis, thyroid stimulating hormone, and finally adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), 6 (21%), 3 (11%), and 1 (4%), respectively. Conclusion: TBI pituitary dysfunction is more prevalent than was predicted in the population studied, single hormonal defect was found to be the most prevalent abnormality, being the GH is the most affected axis, and the ACTH seems to be the least.
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Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease with unusual presentation of peripheral neuropathy and ophthalmoplegia
Mais Arwani, Abhishek Purohit, Abdullah Haddad, Sandeep Rana
October-December 2018, 8(4):153-156
DOI:10.4103/ajm.AJM_77_18  PMID:30319957
Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD) is a well-described disease. It is characterized by rapidly progressive dementia, myoclonus, ataxia, pyramidal, and extrapyramidal signs. There are well-defined electroencephalogram and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings, and markers found in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The gold standard for diagnosing CJD remains brain biopsy. We present a case of a patient with a family history of biopsy-proven CJD who initially presented with symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. A month later, he developed ataxia, ophthalmoparesis, and then dysarthria. His initial workup was relatively unrevealing, showing an elevated protein in his CSF. He was thought to have Miller Fisher syndrome variant of Guillain–Barré syndrome. He neither, however, responded to plasmapheresis nor IVIG. He later started to develop progressive dementia. Repeated MRI showed restricted diffusion in the caudate and putamen, as well as in the cortex (cortical ribboning). Lumbar puncture was then found to be positive for 14-3-3 protein, total-tau protein, and real-time quaking-induced conversion assay, which are highly suggestive of CJD. We present a case of CJD with an unusual presentation resulting in misdiagnosis, prolonged workup, and potentially harmful treatment modalities. This case highlights the importance of broadening our definition of CJD to encompass more cases with unusual presentations.
  2,261 225 -
Skull osteomyelitis as a rare complication of cat scratch disease
Yaseen Rafee, B Keith English
October-December 2018, 8(4):157-159
DOI:10.4103/ajm.AJM_81_18  PMID:30319958
Bartonella henselae, the causative agent of cat scratch disease (CSD), is one of the most common causes of regional lymphadenitis in children. Other less common manifestations of B. henselae infection including fever of unknown origin, neuroretinitis, and osteomyelitis are being increasingly recognized. We describe a 3-year-old female with a recent history of typical CSD involving lymph nodes who developed osteomyelitis of the skull, a very rarely recognized complication of this infection.
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