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עמוד בית
Mon, 15.07.24

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January 2024
Maya Schwartz-Lifshitz MD, Stav Bloch Priel MD, Noam Matalon MD, Yehonathan Hochberg MD, Dana Basel MD, Doron Gothelf MD

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused significant global turmoil, including changes in social and societal conduct such as lockdowns, social isolation, and extensive regulations. These changes can be major sources of stress. The first wave of the pandemic (April–May 2020) was a time of global uncertainty. We evaluated symptom severity among 29 Israeli children and adolescents with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Our previous study found that most of these participants did not experience an exacerbation of symptoms.

Objective: To re-evaluate the OCD symptoms of 18 participants from the original group of 29 children and adolescents during three time points: before the pandemic, during the first wave, and 2 years later.

Methods: Obsessive-compulsive symptoms (OCS) were assessed using the Clinical Global Impression Scale (CGI), a functional questionnaire, and the Obsessive-Compulsive Inventory-child version (OCI-CV).

Results: OCS in patients did not change significantly during the three time points. Participants reported minimal changes in their general functioning 2 years after the outbreak of COVID-19 and showed minimal change in OCI-CV scale scores.

Conclusions: Our results indicated clinical stability of OCD symptoms among most of the participants.

Ravit Peretz-Machluf MD, Mayan Gilboa MD, Shiran Bookstein-Peretz MD, Omri Segal MD, Noam Regev MD, Raanan Meyer MD, Gili Regev-Yochay MD, Yoav Yinon MD, Shlomi Toussia-Cohen MD

Background: Pregnant women are at higher risk for severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Since the release of the BNT162b2 messenger RNA vaccine (Pfizer/BioNTech), there has been accumulated data about the three vaccine doses. However, information regarding obstetric and neonatal outcomes of pregnant women vaccinated with the third (booster) vaccine is limited and primarily retrospective.

Objectives: To evaluate the obstetric and early neonatal outcomes of pregnant women vaccinated during pregnancy with the COVID-19 booster vaccine compared to pregnant women vaccinated only by the first two doses.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of pregnant women who received the BNT162b2 vaccine during pregnancy. Obstetric and neonatal outcomes were compared between pregnant women who received only the first two doses of the vaccine to those who also received the booster dose.

Results: Overall, 139 pregnant women were vaccinated during pregnancy with the first two doses of the vaccine and 84 with the third dose. The third dose group received the vaccine earlier during their pregnancy compared to the two doses group (212 vs. 315 weeks, respectively, P < 0.001). No differences in obstetric and early neonatal outcomes between the groups were found except for lower rates of urgent cesarean delivery in the third dose group (adjusted odds ratio 0.21; 95% confidence interval 0.048–0.926, P = 0.039).

Conclusions: Compared to the first two doses of the BNT162b2 vaccine given in pregnancy, the booster vaccination is safe and not associated with an increased rate of adverse obstetric and early neonatal outcomes.

October 2023
Rotem Tal-Ben Ishay MD MPH, Kobi Faierstein MD, Haim Mayan MD, Noya Shilo MD

Background: At the beginning of 2020, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic presented a new burden on healthcare systems.

Objectives: To evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the outcome of non-COVID patients in Israel.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective observational cohort study at a tertiary medical center in Israel. From December 2018 until June 2022, 6796 patients were hospitalized in the internal medicine wards. Patients were grouped based on their admission date: admitted during COVID waves (waves group), admitted between waves (interim group), and admitted during the same months in the previous year (former-year group).

Results: Mortality during hospitalization and 30-day mortality were higher in the waves group compared to the interim and former-year groups (41.4% vs. 30.5% and 24%, 19.4% vs. 17.9% and 12.9%, P < 0.001). In addition, 1-year mortality was higher in the interim group than in the waves and former-year group (39.1 % vs. 32.5% and 33.4%, P = 0.002). There were significant differences in the readmissions, both at 1 year and total number. The waves group had higher rates of mechanical ventilation and noradrenaline administration during hospitalization. Moreover, the waves group exhibited higher troponin levels, lower hemoglobin levels, and more abnormalities in liver and kidney function.

Conclusions: Hospitalized non-COVID patients experienced worse outcomes during the peaks of the pandemic compared to the nadirs and the preceding year, perhaps due to the limited availability of resources. These results underscore the importance of preparing for large-scale threats and implementing effective resource allocation policies.

Maxim Ioshpa MD

Status epilepticus (SE) is a neurological emergency requiring immediate evaluation and management to prevent significant morbidity or mortality. Previously, status epilepticus was defined as a seizure with a duration equal to or greater than 30 minutes or a series of seizures in which the patient does not regain normal mental status between seizures. The Neurocritical Care Society guidelines from 2012 revised the definition to a seizure with 5 minutes or more of continuous clinical and/or electrographic seizure activity or recurrent seizure activity without recovery between seizures.

Status epilepticus may be convulsive, non-convulsive, focal motor, or myoclonic, and any can become refractory. Convulsive status epilepticus consists of generalized tonic-clonic movements and mental status impairment. Non-convulsive status epilepticus is defined as seizure activity identified on an electroencephalogram with no accompanying tonic-clonic movements. Focal motor status epilepticus involves the refractory motor activity of a limb or a group of muscles on one side of the body with or without loss of consciousness. Refractory status epilepticus refers to continuing seizures (convulsive or non-convulsive) despite appropriate antiepileptic drugs [1].

September 2023
Alaa Atamna MD, Evgeny Berkov MD, Genady Drozdinsky MD, Tzippy Shochat MD, Haim Ben Zvi MD, Noa Eliakim-Raz MD, Jihad Bishara MD, Avishay Elis MD

Background: Influenza and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are respiratory diseases with similar modes of transmission. In December 2021, influenza re-emerged after it had been undetected since March 2020 and the Omicron variant replaced the Delta variant. Data directly comparing the two diseases are scarce.

Objectives: To compare the outcomes of patients with both the Omicron variant and influenza during 2021–2022.

Methods: We performed a retrospective study conducted in Beilinson hospital, Israel, from December 2021 to January 2022. We included all hospitalized patients with either laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 or influenza. The primary outcome was 30-day mortality.

Results: We identified 167 patients diagnosed with Omicron and 221 diagnosed with Influenza A. The median age was 71 years for Omicron and 65 years for influenza. Patients with Omicron had a significantly higher Charlson Comorbidity Index score (4 vs. 3, P < 0.001). Patients with Omicron developed more respiratory failure that needed mechanical ventilation (7% vs. 2%, P = 0.05) and vasopressors (14% vs. 2%, P < 0.001) than patients with influenza. In a multivariate model, 30-day mortality was lower in patients diagnosed with influenza than in patients diagnosed with Omicron (19/221 [9%] vs. 44/167 [26%], hazard ratio 0.45, 95% confidence interval 0.25–0.81).

Conclusions: Patients diagnosed with Omicron had higher mortality than patients diagnosed with seasonal influenza. This finding could be due to differences in co-morbidities, the virus pathogenicity, and host responses to infection.

Ljudmila Stojanovich PhD, Natasa Stanisavljevic PhD, Aleksandra Djokovic PhD, Milomir Milanovic PHD, Jovica Saponjski PhD, Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaACR

Background: Data are scarce on the immunogenicity of coronavirus disease 2019 vaccines in patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases (ARD).

Objectives: To measure the immunoglobulin G (IgG) response after severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) immunization and to evaluate clinical characteristics associated with seropositivity.

Methods: Samples were collected after the second and third doses of the three different types of vaccines in ARD patients. Seroconversion rates and IgG antibody S1/S2 titers were measured.

Results: The type of ARD diagnosis and previous treatment had no significant impact on the serum IgG antibody levels measured after the second (P = 0.489 and P = 0.330, respectively) and boost dose (P = 0.441 and P = 0.446, respectively). What made a significant difference regarding serum IgG antibody levels after the second dose was the type of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. The difference was highly statistically significant for all vaccine types (P = 0.001 with the highest odds ratio for the mRNA vaccine). After the boost with the mRNA vaccine, all patients achieved a high level of serum IgG antibody levels (t = 10.31, P = 0.001). No ARD patients experienced serious post-vaccinal reactions. Eight patients developed COVID-19 before the boost dose.

Conclusions: In ARDs patients, the highest level of serum IgG antibody against S1/S2 proteins was achieved with the mRNA vaccine, irrespective of the therapy applied or the type of the disease. We recommend a booster dose with mRNA vaccine in all ARDs for the highest SARS-CoV-2 protection without serious post-vaccinal reactions observed.

Ivan Gur MD MPH MHA, Ronen Zalts MD, Monia Azzam MD, Khetam Hussein MD, Ami Neuberger MD, Eyal Fuchs MD

Background: At the beginning of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, many patients presented with acute hypoxemic respiratory failure, requiring ventilatory support. One treatment method was the addition of a reservoir mask to a high flow nasal cannula (HFNC) (dual oxygenation).

Objectives: To evaluate the clinical outcomes of combining reservoir mask on top of a high-flow nasal cannula.

Methods: A retrospective cohort of adult patients who were admitted due to COVID-19 during the first year of the pandemic to Rambam Health Care Campus. The primary endpoint was 30-day mortality. Secondary endpoints were incidence of invasive positive pressure ventilation initiation and admission to the intensive care unit (ICU). Patients who received positive pressure ventilation for reasons other than hypoxemic respiratory failure or who were transferred to another facility while still on HFNC were excluded.

Results: The final analysis included 333 patients; 166 were treated with dual oxygenation and 167 with HFNC only (controls). No significant differences in baseline characteristics were noted between the groups. The dual oxygenation group was slightly older (69.2 ± 14.8 years vs. 65.6 ± 15.5 years, P = 0.034). The 30-day mortality (24.1% vs. 36.5%, P = 0.013), rates of invasive positive pressure ventilation (47% vs. 59.3%, P = 0.024), and ICU admissions (41.6% vs. 52.7%, P = 0.042) were all significantly lower in the dual oxygenation group.

Conclusions: The addition of reservoir masks to HFNC may improve the oxygenation and overall prognosis in patients with severe hypoxemia due to COVID-19.

August 2023
Shimrit Yaniv-Salem MD, Lianne Dym MD, Lior Nesher MD, Doron Zahger MD, Aryeh Shalev MD, Hezzy Shmueli MD

Background: Peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) is a rare but potentially devastating complication of pregnancy. Although the pathophysiology of PPCM is not fully understood, there are known risk factors for developing PPCM, which are maternal and gestation related. In the first wave of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, we witnessed an elevated incidence of PPCM among COVID-19 survivors.

Objectives: To present a single-center case series of three patients diagnosed with peripartum cardiomyopathy after recovered from COVID-19 during the index pregnancy.

Methods: In this single center case study, all patients diagnosed with PPCM at our institute during the examined time frame were included. Electronic medical records were studied.

Results: Three patients previously diagnosed with asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic COVID-19 disease during pregnancy presented with PPCM before or shortly after delivery. Patients underwent testing to rule out residual COVID-19 myocarditis, were treated pharmacologically and with wearable defibrillators as needed, and were examined in follow-up 1–9 months after delivery.

Conclusions: Residual endothelial damage due to COVID-19 disease, even if originally mild in presentation, could predispose pregnant patients to PPCM and should be considered as a risk factor when assessing patients with new onset symptoms of heart failure. Further research is needed to confirm this hypothesis and fully determine the underlying pathophysiology. These preliminary findings warrant a high index of suspicion for PPCM in COVID-19 recoverers.

July 2023
Yaron Niv MD AGAF FACG, Michael Kuniavsky RN PhD, Olga Bronshtein RN MSc, Nethanel Goldschmidt MSc, Shuli Hanhart MSc, Alexander Konson RN PhD, Hannah Mahalla BSc

Background: Up to half the patients diagnosed with acute coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) presented with gastrointestinal symptoms. Gastric mucosal cells, enterocytes, and colonocytes express the viral entry receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and coreceptor transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2) and are prone to infection. Direct infection of gastrointestinal epithelial cells has been demonstrated. COVID-19 disease was first diagnosed in Israel at the end of February 2020 with 842,536 confirmed cases and 6428 deaths by the end of June 2021. In our multicenter, retrospective cohort study, we looked for gastrointestinal signs and symptoms in two periods and correlated them with mortality. Period 1 included the first and second waves and the original virus. Period 2 represented the third wave and the alpha variant.

Objectives: To reveal gastrointestinal signs and symptoms in two periods and correlate them with mortality.

Methods: From 22,302 patients hospitalized in general medical centers, we randomly selected 3582 from Period 1 and 1106 from Period 2. The study was performed before vaccinations were available.

Results: Gastrointestinal signs and symptoms, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and taste/smell loss were significantly more prevalent during Period 1. Thirty-day mortality and in-hospital mortality were significantly higher in Period 2 than in Period 1, 25.20% vs. 13.68%, and 21.17% vs. 12.87%, respectively (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Thirty-day mortality and in-hospital mortality rates were 1.84 and 1.64 times higher from 6 November 2020 to 15 January 2021, the alpha variant, and in negative correlation with gastrointestinal symptoms.

June 2023
Tal Bechor Ariel MD, Ben Ariel MD, Yuni Lahav MD, Moshe Yana BSc, Michael Ben-Acon MD, Nechama Sharon MD

Background: Infants younger than 6 months of age are not eligible for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccinations. Maternal variables during pregnancy and the postnatal period may affect the clinical and laboratory course of COVID-19 positive infants.

Objective: To assess the clinical manifestation and laboratory differences in infants with three maternal variables: breastfeeding, vaccinated, and co-illness.

Methods: We conducted a single-center retrospective cohort study of positive COVID-19 infants with three subgroups of maternal variables. The population included infants under 6 months of age hospitalized due to COVID-19. Data about clinical features, laboratory tests, and maternal information including vaccination status, breastfeeding status and maternal positive COVID-19 infection was gathered. All variables were compared among the three subgroups.

Results: Breastfed infants had shorter hospitalization period (mean 2.61 ± 1.378 days) compared to non-breastfed infants (mean 3.8 ± 1.549) (P = 0.051). COVID-19 infants of positive COVID-19 mothers had a higher absolute neutrophil count (mean 4.4 ± 3.8) compared to infants of COVID-19 negative mothers (mean 2.7 ± 2.4) (P = 0.042).

Conclusion: Breastfeeding was associated with shorter periods of hospitalization in COVID-19 positive infants. In addition, positive COVID-19 infants of mothers who were positive for COVID-19 are likely to have a higher absolute neutrophils count.

March 2023
Itamar Feldman MD, Ramzi Kurd MD, Gideon Nesher MD, Mohamed Zaghal MD, Gabriel S. Breuer MD

Optic neuritis is an inflammation of the optic nerve and has several causes. The hallmarks of clinical manifestation are pain on movement of the eyes and decreased vision. Typical optic neuritis is an idiopathic demyelinating condition that is often associated with multiple sclerosis, affects young women, is unilateral, and has a good prognosis.

Nimrod Sachs MD, Lotem Goldberg MD, Yoel Levinsky MD, Yotam Dizitzer MD, Yoav Vardi MD, Irit Krause MD, Oded Scheuerman MD, Gilat Livni MD, Efraim Bilavsky MD, Havatzelet Bilavsky-Yarden MD

Background: During coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, less isolation of common winter viruses was reported in the southern hemisphere.

Objectives: To evaluate annual trends in respiratory disease-related admissions in a large Israeli hospital during and before the pandemic.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of medical records from November 2020 to January 2021 (winter season) was conducted and compared to the same period in two previous years. Data included number of admissions, epidemiological and clinical presentation, and isolation of respiratory pathogens.

Results: There were 1488 respiratory hospitalizations (58% males): 632 in 2018–2019, 701 in 2019–2020, and 155 in 2020–2021. Daily admissions decreased significantly from a median value of 6 (interquartile range [IQR] 4–9) and 7 per day (IQR 6–10) for 2018–2019 and 2019–2020, respectively, to only 1 per day (IQR 1–3) in 2020–2021 (P-value < 0.001). The incidence of all respiratory viruses decreased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, with no hospitalizations due to influenza and only one with respiratory syncytial virus. There was also a significant decline in respiratory viral and bacterial co-infections during the pandemic (P-value < 0.001).

Conclusions: There was a significant decline in pediatric respiratory admission rates during the COVID-19 pandemic. Possible etiologies include epidemiological factors such as mask wearing and social distancing, in addition to biological factors such as viral interference. A herd protection effect of adults and older children wearing masks may also have had an impact.

Batya Wizman MD, Moti Haim MD, Ido Peles, Roi Westreich MD, Amjad Abu-Salman MD, Gal Tsaban MD MPH, Natalie Yasoor, Orit Barrett MD, Yuval Konstantino MD

Background: Existing cardiac disease contributes to poor outcome in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Little information exists regarding COVID-19 infection in patients with a cardiac implantable electronic device (CIED).

Objectives: To assess the association between CIEDs and severity of COVID-19 infection.

Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis including 13,000 patients > 18 years old with COVID-19 infection between January and December 2020. Patients with COVID-19 who had a permanent pacemaker or defibrillator were matched 1:4 based on age and sex followed by univariate and multivariate analyses. Baseline characteristics and clinical outcomes were assessed.

Results: Forty patients with CIED and 160 patients without CIED were included in the current analysis. Mean age was 72.6 ± 13 years, and approximately 50% were females. Majority of the patients in the study arm had a pacemaker (63%), whereas only 15 patients (37%) had a defibrillator. Patients with COVID-19 and CIED presented more often with atrial fibrillation, coronary artery disease, heart failure, hypertension, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease. They were more likely to be hospitalized in the intensive care unit (ICU) and required more ventilatory support (35% vs. 18.3%). Thirty-day mortality (22.5% vs. 13.8%) and 1-year mortality (25% vs. 15%) were higher among patients with COVID-19 and CIED.

Conclusions: Patients with COVID-19 and CIED had a significantly higher prevalence of co-morbidities that were associated with increased mortality. Although,CIED by itself was not found as an independent risk factor for morbidity and mortality, it may serve as a warning for severe illness with COVID-19.

Ariel Tessone MD, Moti Harats MD

Background: In late 2019, a new strain of coronavirus (coronavirus disease 2019 [COVID-19]) spread rapidly throughout the world. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported a pandemic-related surge in the demand for aesthetic surgery compared to the same popularity of procedures prior to the pandemic.

Objectives: To determine whether this phenomenon also occurred in Israel.

Methods: We collected data from three leading private medical centers in Tel Aviv. Data were compared for the years 2019 and 2020 by surgical procedure. Number of orthopedic, gynecologic, and hand procedures served as control data.

Results: We present a detailed pandemic-related timeline relevant to aesthetic surgery in Israel. Overall, the demand for aesthetic surgery increased, with a marked trend toward body contouring procedures.

Conclusions: The Israeli aesthetic surgery market was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a post-closure surge. The popularity and number of procedures are unique to the Israeli market.

February 2023
Dana Yelin MD MPH, Ran Levi BPT, Chinanit Babu BPT, Roi Moshe MSc, Dorit Shitenberg MD, Alaa Atamna MD, Ori Tishler MD, Tanya Babich MSc, Irit Shapira-Lichter PhD, Donna Abecasis PhD, Nira Cohen Zubary MSc, Leonard Leibovici MD, Dafna Yahav MD, Ili Margalit MD, MPH

Background: Clinical investigations of long-term effects of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are rarely translated to objective findings.

Objectives: To assess the functional capacity of individuals reported on deconditioning that hampered their return to their pre-COVID routine.

Methods: Assessment included the 6-minute walk test (6MWT) and the 30-second sit-to-stand test (30-STST). We compared the expected and observed scores using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test. Predictors of test scores were identified using linear regression models.

Results: We included 49 individuals, of whom 38 (77.6%) were recovering from mild COVID-19. Twenty-seven (55.1%) individuals had a 6MWT score lower than 80% of expected. The average 6MWT scores were 129.5 ± 121.2 meters and 12.2 ± 5.0 repeats lower than expected scores, respectively (P < 0.001 for both). The 6MWT score was 107.3 meters lower for individuals with severe COVID-19 (P = 0.013) and rose by 2.7 meters per each 1% increase in the diffusing capacity of carbon monoxide (P = 0.007). The 30-STST score was 3.0 repeats lower for individuals who reported moderate to severe myalgia (P = 0.038).

Conclusions: Individuals with long COVID who report on deconditioning exhibit significantly decreased physical capacity, even following mild acute illness. Risk factors include severe COVID-19 and impaired diffusing capacity or myalgia during recovery.

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