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October 2020
Arik Toren MD, Sharon Alpern MD, Michal Berkenstadt MD, Omer Bar-Yosef MD, Elon Pras MD and Eldad Katorza MD MSC MBA

Background: Fetal ventriculomegaly is one of the more common fetal anomalies detected during prenatal screening.

Objectives: To assess the rate of genetic aberrations as the cause for ventriculomegaly in these fetuses.

Methods: A historic cohort study was conducted on 164 fetuses with sonographic diagnosis of ventriculomegaly. All cases were analyzed for karyotype and 41 cases were further analyzed by chromosomal microarray (CMA). The study group was subdivided by laterality, severity, and whether the ventriculomegaly was an isolated finding or not. Subgroups were compared and the study group was compared to a control group of 209 fetuses.

Results: Karyotype aberrations were more common among fetuses with ventriculomegaly (6.6%) compared to controls (0%, P < 0.001). CMA aberrations were more common in the non-isolated ventriculomegaly cases (24.1%) compared to controls (6.2%, P = 0.031). The rate of genetic aberrations was not associated with the degree of dilatation or laterality.

Conclusions: It is equivocal whether CMA testing should be conducted on every amniotic fluid sample taken from fetuses with isolated ventriculomegaly. However, if more anomalies are detected during an anatomical survey, CMA analysis should be conducted to decrease oversights of genetic diagnoses.

August 2020
Raanan Meyer MD, Gabriel Levin MD, Natav Hendin BSc and Eldad Katorza MD

Background: Channeling medical resources for coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) management can potentially endanger routine healthcare practices. As a preventive measure, a department of obstetrics and gynecology in Israel constructed a separate, designated complex for its COVID-19-exposed patients.

Objectives: To evaluate the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic infection control measures on obstetric care in the obstetrical emergency department and delivery unit.

Methods: The authors collected data retrospectively from February 2020 to March 2020 and compared it to data of a parallel period in 2019.

Results: From 1 February 2020 to 28 March 2020, 3897 women were referred to the emergency department (ED), compared to 4067 the previous year. Mean duration of treatment until decision and referral indications did not differ between 2020 and 2019 (207 vs. 220 minutes, P = 0.26; urgent referrals 58.8% vs. 59.2%, P = 0.83). A per-week comparison showed a significant reduction in ED referrals only in the last week of the period (337 [2020] vs. 515 [2019], P < 0.001). The proportion of women admitted to the delivery unit in active labor was significantly higher in the last three weeks (39.1% vs. 28.2%, P = 0.005). During February and March 2020, 1666 women delivered, compared to 1654 during February and March 2019. The proportion of types and modes of delivery did not differ. In a per-week comparison, the number of deliveries did not differ (mean 208 vs. 206, P = 0.88).

Conclusions: With timely preparation and proper management, negative impact of COVID-19 can be reduced in obstetrical emergency departments.

May 2020
Edward Itelman MD, Yishay Wasserstrum MD, Amitai Segev MD, Chen Avaky MD, Liat Negru MD, Dor Cohen MD, Natia Turpashvili MD, Sapir Anani MD, Eyal Zilber MD, Nir Lasman MD, Ahlam Athamna MD, Omer Segal MD, Tom Halevy MD, Yehuda Sabiner MD, Yair Donin MD, Lital Abraham MD, Elisheva Berdugo MD, Adi Zarka MD, Dahlia Greidinger MD, Muhamad Agbaria MD, Noor Kitany MD, Eldad Katorza MD, Gilat Shenhav-Saltzman MD and Gad Segal MD

Background: In February 2020, the World Health Organisation designated the name COVID-19 for a clinical condition caused by a virus identified as a cause for a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China. The virus subsequently spread worldwide, causing havoc to medical systems and paralyzing global economies. The first COVID-19 patient in Israel was diagnosed on 27 February 2020.

Objectives: To present our findings and experiences as the first and largest center for COVID-19 patients in Israel.

Methods: The current analysis included all COVID-19 patients treated in Sheba Medical Center from February 2020 to April 2020. Clinical, laboratory, and epidemiological data gathered during their hospitalization are presented.

Results: Our 162 patient cohort included mostly adult (mean age of 52 ± 20 years) males (65%). Patients classified as severe COVID-19 were significantly older and had higher prevalence of arterial hypertension and diabetes. They also had significantly higher white blood cell counts, absolute neutrophil counts, and lactate dehydrogenase. Low folic acid blood levels were more common amongst severe patients (18.2 vs. 12.9 vs. 9.8, P = 0.014). The rate of immune compromised patients (12%) in our cohort was also higher than in the general population. The rate of deterioration from moderate to severe disease was high: 9% necessitated non-invasive oxygenation and 15% were intubated and mechanically ventilated. The mortality rate was 3.1%.

Conclusions: COVID-19 patients present a challenge for healthcare professionals and the whole medical system. We hope our findings will assist other providers and institutions in their care for these patients.

January 2020
Alina Weissmann-Brenner MD, Anna Mitlin MD, Chen Hoffman MD, Reuven Achiron MD, Yishai Salem MD and Eldad Katorza MD

Background: Congenital heart defects (CHD) may be associated with neurodevelopmental abnormalities mainly due to brain hypoperfusion. This defect is attributed to the major cardiac operations these children underwent, but also to hemodynamic instability during fetal life. Advances in imaging techniques have identified changes in brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)in children with CHD.

Objectives: To examine the correlation between CHD and brain injury using fetal brain MRI.

Methods: We evaluated 46 fetuses diagnosed with CHD who underwent brain MRI. CHD was classified according to in situs anomalies, 4 chamber view (4CV), outflow tracts, arches, and veins as well as cyanotic or complex CHD. We compared MRI results of different classes of CHD and CHD fetuses to a control group of 113 healthy brain MRI examinations.

Results: No significant differences were found in brain pathologies among different classifications of CHD. The anteroposterior percentile of the vermis was significantly smaller in fetuses with abnormal 4CV. A significantly higher biparietal diameter was found in fetuses with abnormal arches. A significantly smaller transcerebellar diameter was found in fetuses with abnormal veins. Compared to the control group, significant differences were found in overall brain pathology in cortex abnormalities and in extra axial findings in the study group. Significantly higher rates of overall brain pathologies, ventricle pathologies, cortex pathologies, and biometrical parameters were found in the cyanotic group compared to the complex group and to the control group.

Conclusions: Fetuses with CHD demonstrate findings in brain MRI that suggest an in utero pathogenesis of the neurological and cognitive anomalies found during child development.

October 2016
Michal M. Amitai MD, Eldad Katorza MD, Larisa Guranda MD, Sara Apter MD, Orith Portnoy MD, Yael Inbar MD, Eli Konen MD, Eyal Klang MD and Yael Eshet MD

Background: Pregnant women with acute abdominal pain pose a diagnostic challenge. Delay in diagnosis may result in significant risk to the fetus. The preferred diagnostic modality is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), since ultrasonography is often inconclusive, and computed tomography (CT) would expose the fetus to ionizing radiation

Objectives: To describe the process in setting up an around-the-clock MRI service for diagnosing appendicitis in pregnant women and to evaluate the contribution of abdominal MR in the diagnosis of acute appendicitis.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective study of consecutive pregnant women presenting with acute abdominal pain over a 6 year period who underwent MRI studies. A workflow that involved a multidisciplinary team was developed. A modified MRI protocol adapted to pregnancy was formulated. Data regarding patients' characteristics, imaging reports and outcome were collected retrospectively. 

Results: 49 pregnant women with suspected appendicitis were enrolled. Physical examination was followed by ultrasound: when positive, the patients were referred for MR scan or surgery treatment; when the ultrasound was inconclusive, MR scan was performed. In 88% of women appendicitis was ruled out and surgery was prevented. MRI diagnosed all cases with acute appendicitis and one case was inconclusive. The overall statistical performance of the study shows a negative predictive value of 100% (95%CI 91.9–100%) and positive predictive value of 83.3% (95%CI 35.9–99.6%).

Conclusions: Creation of an around-the-clock imaging service using abdominal MRI with the establishment of a workflow chart using a dedicated MR protocol is feasible. It provides a safe way to rule out appendicitis and to avoid futile surgery in pregnant women.

October 2008
I. B. Botser, R. Beigel, E. Katorza and A. Ganel
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