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עמוד בית
Mon, 15.04.24

Search results


April 2022
Magdi Zoubi MD, Rivka Sheinin MD, Howard Amital MD MHA, and Naim Mahroum MD

Heart rate disorders and in particular sinus arrhythmias are known to accompany viral infections. Sinus tachycardia is prevalent in the presence of increased body temperature and respiratory rate. However, bradycardia has also been described for centuries to complicate viral illnesses

Michal Bromberg MD MPH, Lital Keinan-Boker MD PhD, Lea Gur-Arie MPH, Hanna Sefty MSc, Michal Mandelboim PhD, Rita Dichtiar MPH, Zalman Kaufman MSc, and Aharona Glatman-Freedman MD MPH

Background: Guidelines for pandemic preparedness emphasize the role of sentinel and syndromic surveillance in monitoring pandemic spread.

Objectives: To examine advantages and obstacles of utilizing a sentinel influenza surveillance system to monitor community severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) activity based on Israel's experience from mid-March to mid-May 2020.

Methods: Several modifications were applied to the influenza surveillance system. The clinical component relied mainly on pneumonia and upper respiratory infection (URI) consultations with primary care physicians as well as visits to emergency departments (ED) due to pneumonia. The virological data were based on nasopharyngeal swabs obtained from symptomatic patients who visited outpatient clinics.

Results: By week 12 of the pandemic, the crude and age-specific primary physician consultation rates due to URI and pneumonia declined below the expected level, reaching nadir that lasted from week 15 until week 20. Similarly, ED visits due to pneumonia were significantly lower than expected from weeks 14 and 15 to week 20. The virological surveillance started on week 13 with 6/253 of the swabs (2.3%) positive for SARS-CoV-2. There was a peak of 13/225 positive swabs on week 145.8%. During weeks 17–20, none of the swabs (47–97 per week) were positive for SARS-CoV-2. This trend was similar to national data.

Conclusions: The virological component of the surveillance system showed the SARS-CoV-2 community spread, but had low sensitivity when virus activity was low. The clinical component, however, had no yield. Sentinel surveillance can assist in monitoring future novel pandemics and should be augmented in revised preparedness plans.

February 2022
Assaf Shelef MD MHA, Sagit Dahan RN MA, Shira Weizman MD, and Esther Bloemhof Bris MA

Background: Risk factors for severe coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) infection include old age, chronic illness, and neurological conditions. In contrast, high vitamin D levels are known to augment immune activity and to reduce the severity of viral infections. Recently, a possible association between the likelihood of COVID-19 infection, COVID-19 severity, and vitamin D blood levels was reported.

Objective: To assess the possible association between vitamin D long-term supplementation and COVID-19 symptomatic severity and complications of COVID-19 infection in elderly psychiatric inpatients, a high at-risk group.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective case series study. Data of 14 elderly COVID-19 positive inpatients, presenting with dementia or schizophrenia and other medical conditions were extracted from medical records. All patients maintained a 800 IU daily dose of vitamin D prior to the infection.

Results: Most of the inpatients were asymptomatic or presented very few symptoms. No need for intensive care unit intervention or deaths were reported. Cognitive functioning of the patients remained unchanged.

Conclusions: Pre-existing vitamin D supplementation may reinforce immunity and reduce COVID-19 severity in elderly psychiatric inpatients.

Yoav Bichovsky MD, Amit Frenkel MD MHA, Evgeni Brotfain MD, Leonid Koyfman MD, Limor Besser MD, Natan Arotsker MD, Abraham Borer MD, and Moti Klein MD
January 2022
Brice Nguedia Vofo MD, Ana Navarrete MD, Jaime Levy MD, and Itay Chowers MD

Background: In response to the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, routine clinical visits to the ophthalmic emergency department (OED) were deferred, while emergency cases continued to be seen.

Objectives: To assess the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for ophthalmic emergencies.

Methods: A retrospective chart analysis of patients who presented to the OED during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic was conducted. The proportions of traumatic, non-traumatic-urgent, and non-traumatic-non-urgent presentations in 2020 were compared to those of the same time period in 2019. Duration of chief complains and best-corrected visual acuity were also assessed.

Results: There were 144 OED visits in 2020 compared to 327 OED visits during the same 3-week-period in 2019. Lower mean age of OED patients was present in 2020. Logarithmic expression (LogMAR) best corrected visual acuity (BVCA) was similar in both years. In 2020 there was a reduction in traumatic, non-traumatic-urgent, and non-traumatic-non-urgent cases compared to 2019 (15.4% reduction, P = 0.038; 57.6% reduction, P = 0.002; 74.6% reduction, P = 0.005, respectively). There was a higher proportion of same-day presentations at commencement of symptoms in 2020 compared with 2019 (52.8% vs. 38.8%, respectively P = 0.006).

Conclusions: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of OED visits at a tertiary hospital dropped by more than half. Although the drop in visits was mostly due to decrease in non-traumatic-non-urgent cases, there was also decrease in non-traumatic-urgent presentations with possible important visual consequences. Additional studies should elucidate what happened to these patients

December 2021
Galit Hirsh-Yechezkel PhD, Angela Chetrit MHA, Sivan Ben Avraham MSc, Abed Agbarya MD, Alexander Yakobson MD, Noam Asna MD, Gil Bar-Sela MD, Irit Ben-Aharon MD PhD, Noa Efrat Ben-Baruch MD, Raanan Berger MD PhD, Ronen Brenner MD, Maya Gottfried MD, Shani Paluch-Shimon MBBS MSc, Raphael Pfeffer MD, Aron Popovtzer MD, Larisa Ryvo MD, Valeriya Semenisty MD, Ayelet Shai MD PhD, Katerina Shulman MD, Jamal Zidan MD, and Ido Wolf MD

Background: The increased susceptibility of cancer patients to coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) infections and complications calls for special precautions while treating cancer patients during COVID-19 pandemics. Thus, oncology departments have had to implement a wide array of prevention measures.

Objectives: To address issues associated with cancer care during the COVID-19 pandemic and to assess the implementation of measures aimed at containment of COVID-19 diffusion while allowing continuation of quality cancer care.

Methods: A national survey among oncology departments in Israel was conducted between 12 April 2020 and 14 April 2020. Eighteen heads of hospital-based oncology departments completed a self-report questionnaire regarding their institute's preparedness for treatment of cancer patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Results: In this national survey, prevention measures against COVID-19 spread were taken prior to patients' arrival and at arrival or while staying in the departments. Most participants (78–89%) reported using a quick triage of patients and caregivers prior to their entrance to the oncology units, limiting the entrance of caregivers, and reducing unnecessary visits to the clinic. Switching to oral therapies rather than intravenous ones when possible was considered by 82% and shortage in personal protective equipment was reported by five (28%) heads of oncology departments. Some differences between large and small/medium sized medical centers were observed regarding issues related to COVID-19 containment measures and changes in treatment.

Conclusions: Oncology departments in Israel were able to prepare and adapt their services to guidelines and requirements related to the COVID-19 pandemic with little harm to their treatment capacity

November 2021
Guy Feldman MD, Yoram A. Weil MD, Ram Mosheiff MD, Amit Davidson MD, Nimrod Rozen MD PhD, and Guy Rubin MD

Background: Toward the end of 2019, the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic began to create turmoil for global health organizations. The illness, caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), spreads by droplets and fomites and can rapidly lead to life-threatening lung disease, especially for the old and those with health co-morbidities. Treating orthopedic patients, who presented with COVID-19 while avoiding nosocomial transmission, became of paramount importance.

Objectives: To present relevant methods for pandemic control and hospital accommodation with emphasis on orthopedic surgery.

Methods: We searched search PubMed and Google Scholar electronic databases using the following keywords: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, screening tools, personal protective equipment, and surgery triage.

Results: We included 25 records in our analysis. The recommendations from these records were divided into the following categories: COVID-19 disease, managing orthopedic surgery in the COVID-19 era, general institution precautions, triage of orthopedic surgeries, preoperative assessment, surgical room setting, personal protection equipment, anesthesia, orthopedic surgery technical precautions, and department stay and rehabilitation.

Conclusions: Special accommodations tailored for each medical facility, based on disease burden and available resources can improve patient and staff safety and reduce elective surgery cancellations. This article will assist orthopedic surgeons during the COVID-19 medical crisis, and possibly for future pandemics

Edward Kim MPH, Elliot Goodman MD, Gilbert Sebbag MD, Ohana Gil MD, Alan Jotkowitz MD, and Benjamin H. Taragin MD

Background: Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) impacted medical education and led to the significant modification or suspension of clinical clerkships and rotations.

Objectives: To describe a revised surgery clerkship curriculum, in which we divided in-person clinical teaching into smaller groups of students and adopted online-based learning to foster student and patient safety while upholding program standards.

Methods: The third-year surgery core clerkship of a 4-year international English-language program at the Medical School for International Health at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel, was adapted by dividing students into smaller capsules for in-person learning and incorporating online learning tools. Specifically, students were divided evenly throughout three surgical departments, each of which followed a different clinical schedule.

Results: National Board of Medical Examiners clerkship scores of third-year medical students who were returning to in-person clinical clerkships after transitioning from 8 weeks of online-based learning showed no significant difference from the previous 2 years.

Conclusions: To manage with the restrictions caused by COVID-19 pandemic, we designed an alternative approach to a traditional surgical clerkship that minimized the risk of exposure and used online learning tools to navigate scheduling challenges. This curriculum enabled students to complete their clinical rotation objectives and outcomes while maintaining program standards. Furthermore, this approach provided a number of benefits, which medical schools should consider adopting the model into practice even in a post-pandemic setting

October 2021
Anat Ekka Zohar PhD, Jennifer Kertes MPH, Erica Cohen-Iunger MPH MD, Ilya Novikov PhD, Naama Shamir Stein MA, Sharon Hermoni Alon MD, and Miri Mizrahi Reuveni MD

Background: Israel has experienced three waves of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) infection since late February 2020, with lockdown and other measures employed to contain infection rates. In cooperation with the Israel Ministry of Health, serological testing was conducted by all four health maintenance organizations (HMO) in order to estimate national infection rates and the proportion of previously undetected disease.

Objectives: To estimate the proportion of the population that was seropositive, identify factors associated with seropositive outcome, and approximate the proportion of residents that were asymptomatic.

Methods: Seroconversion rates (IgG) were measured in a representative sample of over 17,000 members of Maccabi Healthcare Services. Direct standardization was used to estimate the seropositive rates for COVID-19 infection for members of the HMO. Rates were adjusted for sensitivity and specificity of the testing products used. In addition to blood sampling, respondents were asked to complete a digital survey regarding potential exposures and symptoms experienced.

Results: It was estimated that 1.9% of the adult HMO population was seropositive 4 months after the first infected person was identified in the country. Seroconversion was associated with travel abroad and exposure to infected individuals. Loss of smell and taste, fever, cough, and fatigue are associated with infection. Of those found to be seropositive for COVID-19, 160 (59%) had a prior negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or no PCR test at all.

Conclusions: Adult seropositive rates of infection were low relative to other countries. The findings suggest that early initiatives to limit infection entry and spread were effective

Shay Brikman MD, Guy Dori MD PhD, Carmel Kasher MD, Anna Yanovskay MD, Merav Strauss PhD, Raul Colodner PhD, Naiel Bisharat MD, and Bibiana Chazan MD

Background: Patients with severe coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) are susceptible to superimposed infections.

Objectives: To describe COVID-19 patients who presented with complications due to Candida bloodstream co-infection (candidemia) and their outcome in a single center in northern Israel (Emek Medical Center) during the second outbreak of COVID-19 in Israel (15 June 2020 to 20 September 2020).

Methods: A retrospective study of COVID-19 patients presenting with candidemia was conducted, including clinical and laboratory data. The incidence of candidemia among hospitalized COVID-19 patients was compared to a historical cohort of non-COVID-19 controls.

Results: Three COVID-19 patients complicated with candidemia were documented. All three patients died shortly after the detection of candidemia. Three different Candida sp. were isolated from the blood cultures: C. albicans, C. parapsilosis, and C. glabrata. The incidence of candidemia among COVID-19 patients was 0.679 episodes per 1000 hospital days.

Conclusions: Our small sample suggests a much higher incidence of candidemia among COVID-19 patients compared to a historical cohort of non-COVID-19 controls. All clinicians treating COVID-19 patients in GICU should be aware of this complication

Leonid P. Churilov MD PhD, Darja Kanduc PhD, and Varvara A. Ryabkova MD
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