Lege Artis Medicinae

[Innovations in the treatment of asthma]


JULY 01, 2020

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2020;30(06-07)



Further articles in this publication

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Avoiding unlimited energy drink consumption is a matter of our heart]


[Energy drinks have been gaining unbroken popularity, especially among youngsters and children since they were introduced to the market. Manufacturers promise to improve performance and stamina with consuming the products, classified as non-alcoholic soft drinks. In addition to the vitamins and plant extracts, they contain a significant amount of caffeine and other stimulants (taurine, guarana). Among the active ingredients, caffeine has an outstanding effect and thereby a danger, since its overconsumption – in addition to milder he­mo­dynamic changes – can cause severe cardio­vascular consequences, cardiac arrhythmias, ion channel diseases, increased blood coagulation, myocardial infarction or reduced cerebral blood flow in susceptible consumers. Many case studies have also reported serious cardiovascular attacks among young chronic energy drink consumers. Health impairments of excessive and long-term consumption of energy drinks have been studied increasingly, however there is limited and contradictory evidence on the safety of consumption and the effectiveness of performance enhancement. ]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Treatment of hypercholesterolemia in the elderly]

BARNA István

[The percentage of population aged ≥65 years is mounting worldwide, among them those over 75 years is also growing. Athe­ro­scle­rosis is one of the most important and common disorder in the elderly responsible primarily for premature death and cognitive declining and impaired quality of life. Adequate lipid lowering therapy can decrease the risk of cardiovascular events – the main cause behind mortality – can extend life expectancy and improve the quality of life of patients. Effect of dietary treatment on cardiovascular risk reduction is as beneficial as in the younger populations. Regular physical activity reduces the risk of cardiovascular and overall mortality by 26% in males and 20% in females aged ≥65 years. If the medical history is negative for vascu­lar disorders, statin administration as a primary prevention is indicated for patients 65>years. In the population aged 75≥years individual benefit/risk assessment is needed before statin administration. Larger risk reduction can be achieved between 65-75 years than in subjects over 75 years. Concerning secondary prevention, statin treatment is of pre-eminent significance, and its administration is evidence-based in the elderly. For achieving the lipid goals, combined therapy with statin and ezetimibe is recommended in the primary as well as secondary cardiovascular prevention. ]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[The significance of the identification of SARS-CoV-2 virus and the possible errors of the sampling method]


[The COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 virus while emerging suddenly and spreading throughout the globe challenged seriously also the modern medicine. Diag­nostic methods recognising viral infections of the upper airways developed essentially in the last 20 years, and it was specifically progressing during the SARS and MERS epidemics thus facilitating the recognition and identifica­tion of infections by influenza, RS- and adenoviruses as well. Nevertheless the present novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) also de­mon­strated that the relatively simple procedures of naso- and oropharyngeal sampling are fallible too. Thus they may have a relatively high risk of false-negative outcomes. However the correct sampling prior the RT-PCR tests provides reliable diagnosis by high sensitivity and specificity. Thus improving the quality of sampling and avoiding failures by correct training and education of the personnel make more reliable the detection of viral infection or indicate recovery after the infection. Finally, this is a key issue while overcoming the present pan­demic.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Sarcopenia – muscle loss – pathomechanism, clinical presentation and metabolic comorbidities]


[Sarcopenia, or the age-related involution of muscle strength and muscle mass, is a serious public health concern, due to the growing number of elderly population caused by nowadays demographic changes i.e. prolonged life expectancy. By ageing, the muscle tissue is shrinking gradually, leading to the loss of muscle strength and masses. This condition is called sarcopenia. Sar­co­penia is the simultaneous decrease of muscle mass, muscle strength and functional independence. In parallel the physical performance deteriorates (weakness, slowness and poor physical balancing). Fatigue, el­derly behaviour and weight loss are the consequences of these accumulating deficits, which associate with cognitive decline and result in increasing social isolation. The primary form of sarcopenia is the decrease of the energy production of muscle cells and then the death of muscle cells. Se­con­dary, endocrine dysfunctions, diseases of the nervous system, decreased physical activity, malnutrition or malabsorption, chronic infection accelerate the process and aggravate the patient’s condition. Complex genetic, biochemical and endocrine mechanisms take part in the development of sarcopenia. This involution is due to the impaired balance of restoring and depleting processes of muscles. A questionnaire and algorithm have been developed to recognize, screen and diagnose the risks of sarcopenic condition; these separate the sarcopenic and non-sarcopenic patients with specific cut-off values. Sar­co­penia can be diagnosed based on walking speed, decreased handgrip strength and measured or calculated muscle mass in persons over 65. Sarcopenia can be considered as a phenomenon of “physiological” aging, however, it becomes a disease when diagnostic cut-offs are exceeded and the patient experiences functional disability and declining quality of life. Prevention and treatment of sarcopenia and reducing the risk of falling are based on regular active resistance and coordination exercises. Options for pharmaceutical treatments are limited since despite of identified molecular targets there are no convincingly effective innovative therapy on the horizon. Nevertheless, there are some weak evidence for efficacy of the application of amino acids stimulating muscle cell differentiation, such as leucine or the analogue of beta-hydoxy-methylbutyrate beside exercise therapy.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Suicide endangering elderly people: risk factors, prevention and care]

BARACZKA Krisztina

[According to the data of the Hungarian Central Statistical Office (HCSO), the Hungarian citizens aged over 65 represented in 2001 11.8%, 2011 13.2% and 2019 19.3% of the total population. Providing services for aging (>60 years), aged (>75 years), very old (>90 years) and Matusalem (>100 years) individuals burdens heavily the health system and the socio-economic sector. Maintaining these people’s physical and mental health and self-perceived well-being is a pre-eminently important task. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) statistics based on data providing countries, the number of suicides committed in the population aged 60-79 has risen approximately by 21% between 1987 and 2006. The suicide rate in Hungary has decreased steadily and significantly since 1980 (4809 in 1980, 1656 in 2018, i.e. a decrease of 66%). Thus since 2018, Hungary is not among the top three countries in Europe and the top 15 in the world. However, the number of completed suicides and suicide attempts remains high and shows rising tendency in the elderly. Preventing suicide, exploring the risk factors and caring patients after attempted suicide we need to analyse thoroughly and disseminate widely the results of the recent researches. In this study, we re­viewed international and domestic literature data to find answers primarily to prevention issues. ]

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Clinical Neuroscience

Fluoxetine use is associated with improved survival of patients with COVID-19 pneumonia: A retrospective case-control study

NÉMETH Klára Zsófia, SZÛCS Anna , VITRAI József , JUHÁSZ Dóra , NÉMETH Pál János , HOLLÓ András

We aimed to investigate the association between fluoxetine use and the survival of hospitalised coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pneumonia patients. This retrospective case-control study used data extracted from the medical records of adult patients hospitalised with moderate or severe COVID-19 pneumonia at the Uzsoki Teaching Hospital of the Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary between 17 March and 22 April 2021. As a part of standard medical treatment, patients received anti-COVID-19 therapies as favipiravir, remdesivir, baricitinib or a combination of these drugs; and 110 of them received 20 mg fluoxetine capsules once daily as an adjuvant medication. Multivariable logistic regression was used to evaluate the association between fluoxetine use and mortality. For excluding a fluoxetine-selection bias potentially influencing our results, we compared baseline prognostic markers in the two groups treated versus not treated with fluoxetine. Out of the 269 participants, 205 (76.2%) survived and 64 (23.8%) died between days 2 and 28 after hospitalisation. Greater age (OR [95% CI] 1.08 [1.05–1.11], p<0.001), radiographic severity based on chest X-ray (OR [95% CI] 2.03 [1.27–3.25], p=0.003) and higher score of shortened National Early Warning Score (sNEWS) (OR [95% CI] 1.20 [1.01-1.43], p=0.04) were associated with higher mortality. Fluoxetine use was associated with an important (70%) decrease of mortality (OR [95% CI] 0.33 [0.16–0.68], p=0.002) compared to the non-fluoxetine group. Age, gender, LDH, CRP, and D-dimer levels, sNEWS, Chest X-ray score did not show statistical difference between the fluoxetine and non-fluoxetine groups supporting the reliability of our finding. Provisional to confirmation in randomised controlled studies, fluoxetine may be a potent treatment increasing the survival for COVID-19 pneumonia.

Clinical Neuroscience

Evaluation of the effectiveness of transforaminal epidural steroid injection in far lateral lumbar disc herniations

EVRAN Sevket, KATAR Salim

Far lateral lumbar disc herniations (FLDH) consist approximately 0.7-12% of all lumbar disc herniations. Compared to the more common central and paramedian lumbar disc herniations, they cause more severe and persistent radicular pain due to direct compression of the nerve root and dorsal root ganglion. In patients who do not respond to conservative treatments such as medical treatment and physical therapy, and have not developed neurological deficits, it is difficult to decide on surgical treatment because of the nerve root damage and spinal instability risk due to disruption of facet joint integrity. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the effect of transforaminal epidural steroid injection (TFESI) on the improvement of both pain control and functional capacity in patients with FLDH. A total of 37 patients who had radicular pain caused by far lateral disc herniation which is visible in their lumbar magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, had no neurological deficit and did not respond to conservative treatment, were included the study. TFESI was applied to patients by preganglionic approach. Pre-treatment Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores of the patients were compared with the 3rd week, 3rd month and 6th month scores after the procedure. The mean initial VAS score was 8.63 ± 0.55, while it was 3.84 ± 1.66, 5.09 ± 0.85, 4.56 ± 1.66 at the 3rd week, 3rd month and 6th month controls, respectively. This decrease in the VAS score was found statistically significant (p = 0.001). ODI score with baseline mean value of 52.38 ± 6.84 was found to be 18.56 ± 4.95 at the 3rd week, 37.41 ± 14.1 at the 3rd month and 34.88 ± 14.33 at the 6th month. This downtrend of pa­tient’s ODI scores was found statistically significant (p = 0.001). This study has demonstrated that TFESI is an effective method for gaining increased functional capacity and pain control in the treatment of patients who are not suitable for surgical treatment with radicular complaints due to far lateral lumbar disc hernia.

Clinical Neuroscience

Comparison of direct costs of percutaneous full-endoscopic interlaminar lumbar discectomy and microdiscectomy: Results from Turkey

ÜNSAL Ünlü Ülkün, ŞENTÜRK Salim

Microdiscectomy (MD) is a stan­dard technique for the surgical treatment of lumbar disc herniation (LDH). Uniportal percutaneous full-endoscopic in­terlaminar lumbar discectomy (PELD) is another surgical op­tion that has become popular owing to reports of shorter hos­pitalization and earlier functional recovery. There are very few articles analyzing the total costs of these two techniques. The purpose of this study was to compare total hospital costs among microdiscectomy (MD) and uniportal percutaneous full-endoscopic interlaminar lumbar discectomy (PELD). Forty patients aged between 22-70 years who underwent PELD or MD with different anesthesia techniques were divided into four groups: (i) PELD-local anesthesia (PELD-Local) (n=10), (ii) PELD-general anesthesia (PELD-General) (n=10), (iii) MD-spinal anesthesia (MD-Spinal) (n=10), (iv) MD-general anesthesia (MD-General) (n=10). Health care costs were defined as the sum of direct costs. Data were then analyzed based on anesthetic modality to produce a direct cost evaluation. Direct costs were compared statistically between MD and PELD groups. The sum of total costs was $1,249.50 in the PELD-Local group, $1,741.50 in the PELD-General group, $2,015.60 in the MD-Spinal group, and $2,348.70 in the MD-General group. The sum of total costs was higher in the MD-Spinal and MD-General groups than in the PELD-Local and PELD-General groups. The costs of surgical operation, surgical equipment, anesthesia (anesthetist’s costs), hospital stay, anesthetic drugs and materials, laboratory wor­kup, nur­sing care, and postoperative me­dication diffe­red significantly among the two main groups (PELD-MD) (p<0.01). This study demonstrated that PELD is less costly than MD.

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Diagnosis and treatment of microvascular coronary heart disease. Specialities of conditions in Hungary]


[Invasive investigations show that in two-thirds of patients the myocardial ischaemia persists without obstructive coronary disease and any other heart conditions (INOCA). The underlying cause may be microvascular dysfunction (CMD) with consecutive microvascular coronary disease (MVD) and microvascular or epicardial vasospastic angina (MVA). The modern practice of clinical cardiology while using the developed non-invasive cardiac imaging permits exact measuring of the coronary flow with its characteristic indices. All of these improve the diagnosing of CMD-induced myocardial ischemia and provide opportunity to determine primary MVD cases. Since the recognition and treatment of MVD is significantly underrep­resented in the Hungarian medical care, the primary stable microvascular angina (MVA) is described in detail below with its modern invasive and non-invasive differential diagnosis and treatment, concerning especially its frequency provoked by high blood pressure and female coronary heart diseases. There are highlighted all recommended diagnostic procedures available under domestic conditions.]

Clinical Neuroscience

Cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine for the treatment of Alzheimer and non-Alzheimer dementias


In aging societies, the morbidity and mortality of dementia is increasing at a significant rate, thereby imposing burden on healthcare, economy and the society as well. Patients’ and caregivers’ quality of life and life expectancy are greatly determined by the early diagnosis and the initiation of available symptomatic treatments. Cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine have been the cornerstones of Alzheimer’s therapy for approximately two decades and over the years, more and more experience has been gained on their use in non-Alzheimer’s dementias too. The aim of our work was to provide a comprehensive summary about the use of cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine for the treatment of Alzheimer’s and non-Alzheimers’s dementias.