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עמוד בית
Wed, 19.06.24

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May 2024
Rabea Haddad MD, Edo Birati MD, Hiba Zayyad MD, Nizar Andria MD, Eyal Nachum MD, Erez Kachel MD, Ibrahim Marai MD

Background: Cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs) are increasingly being used; thus, there is an increasing need for transvenous lead extraction (TLE).

Objectives: To summarize our experience with TLE at single referral center in northern Israel.

Methods: The study included all patients who underwent TLE at our center between 2019 and 2022, regardless of the indication.

Results: The cohort included 50 patients. The mean age was 69 ± 10.36 years; 78% were males. A total of 99 electrodes were targeted. The mean number of electrodes was 1.96 (range 1–4) per patient. The time between lead implantation and extraction ranged between 1.1 and 34 years with an average of 8.14 ± 5.71 years (median of 7.5 years). Complete lead removal was achieved in 98% of patients and in 98.99% of leads. The complete procedural success rate as well as the clinical procedural success rate was 96%. The procedural failure rate was 4% (1 patient died 2 days after the index procedure and 1 patient remained with large portion of lead). The indication for TLE was infection in 78% of the cohort group. Powered mechanical sheaths were used in 36 patients (72%), laser sheaths in 27 (54%), and a combination of laser and mechanical sheaths in 16 (32%).

Conclusions: The clinical and procedural success rates of TLE, primarily for CEID-related infection, were high. A combination of laser and mechanical sheaths was needed in one-third of patients.

Jen Barak Levitt MD, Shira Barmatz MD, Shira Fisch-Gilad MD, Yossef H. Taieb MD, Adam Dalal MD, Khashayar Afshari MD, Nazgol Haddadi MD, Dana Tzur Bitan MD, Arnon Dov Cohen MD PhD, Daniel Mimouni MD, Emmilia Hodak MD, Shany Sherman MD

Background: Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic inflammatory skin disease involving apocrine gland-bearing regions. There is an under-representation of non-Caucasians in epidemiologic studies of HS. The characteristics of HS in Israeli Arabs have not yet been studied.

Objectives: To investigate the demographic and clinical profile of HS in the Israeli Arab population.

Methods: A retrospective analysis was conducted in two cohorts of patients with HS in Israel. The patients were derived from the database of a large health management organization (n=4191, 639 Arabs; population-based) and a major tertiary medical center (n=372, 49 Arabs). Demographic and clinical data were compared between ethnic groups.

Results: The prevalence of HS in Israeli Arabs was found to be 0.5%, fivefold higher than in Jews. Arab patients were younger (35.3 vs. 40.5 years, P < 0.001) and mostly male (52% vs. 35.7%, p < 0.001), with lower rates of co-morbidities, including smoking (40.8% vs. 55.7%, p < 0.001), hyperlipidemia, and depression as well as a higher rate of dissecting cellulitis (10.2% vs. 1.9%, p = 0.008). HS was more severe in Arabs, but of shorter duration, with mainly axillary involvement (79.6% vs. 57.9%, p = 0.004). Treatment with hormones was more common in Jews, and with biologic agents in Arabs.

Conclusions: The findings suggest a different phenotype of HS in Arabs, warranting further study.

Fadi Hassan MD, Mohammad E. Naffaa MD

Since the introduction of the international study group (ISG) criteria for the diagnosis of Behçet's disease (BD) in the early 1990s by Yazici and colleagues [1] and the international criteria for BD (ICBD) by Davatchi and colleagues in 2014 [2], great progress has been achieved in the diagnosis of BD with fairly high sensitivity and specificity rates. However, a small, but very challenging and unique minority might not fulfill these criteria, at least at presentation. These patients are most challenging as they may present with life-threatening vascular or neurological manifestations. If the diagnosis BD is delayed, the risk for morbidity and even mortality might be increased. Therefore, we should aim for early diagnosis and prompt treatment.

April 2024
Limor Adler MD MPH, Or Tzadok Zehavi MD, Miriam Parizade PhD, Yair Hershkovitz MD, Menashe Meni Amran MD, Robert Hoffman MD, Tal Hakmon Aronson MD, Erela Rotlevi MD, Bar Cohen MPH, Ilan Yehoshua MD

Background: The prevalence of Group A streptococcus (GAS) carriage among adults is studied less than in children. The variability of reported carriage rates is considerably large and differs among diverse geographic areas and populations.

Objectives: To evaluate the prevalence of GAS carriage among adults in Israel.

Methods: In this prospective study, conducted in a large healthcare maintenance organization in Israel, we obtained pharyngeal cultures from adults attending the clinic without upper respiratory tract complaints or fever. Patient data included sex, age, number of children, and religious sectors.

Results: From May to December 2022, eight family physicians collected a total of 172 throat swabs (86% response rate). The median age was 37 years (range 18–65); 72.7% were females, 22.7% were ultra-Orthodox Jewish, and 69.2% had children. The prevalence of GAS carriage was 6.98%, 95% confidence interval (95%CI) 3.7%–11.9%. GAS carriers were younger (31.7 vs. 39.3 years, P = 0.046), and the majority were ultra-Orthodox Jews (58.3% vs. 20%, P = 0.006). All GAS carriers were from lower socioeconomic status. When assessing risk factors for GAS carriage using multivariate analysis, only being an ultra-Orthodox Jew was positively related to GAS carriage (adjusted odds ratio 5.6, 95%CI 1.67–18.8).

Conclusion: Being an ultra-Orthodox Jew was the single variable associated with a GAS carriage, which may be related to having many children at home and living in overcrowded areas. Primary care physicians in Israel should recognize this situation when examining patients with sore throats, mainly ultra-Orthodox Jews.

March 2024
Joseph Mendlovic MD MHA, Yuval Dadon MD MBA MPH, Francis B. Mimouni MD

Background: According to Hamas sources, many Israeli hostages in Gaza were killed by indiscriminate Israeli airstrikes, together with a large number of Palestinian citizens.

Objectives: To verify whether the estimated death rate of Israeli hostages was similar to the estimated death rate of Gaza citizens from these acts of war.

Methods: We used two estimates of hostage death rates, one obtained from Israeli intelligence sources, and one published by a Hamas spokesperson. We used the Palestinian casualty rates published by the Palestinian Ministry of Health. We compared death rates using Fisher's exact test.

Results: By 30 December 2023, the rate of Israeli hostage death was 23/238 (9.7%) according to Israeli intelligence sources, and 60/238 (25.2%) according to Hamas. Both figures are strikingly and significantly higher than the death rate among Palestinians, estimated to be 19,667/2.2 million (0.89%) by 19 December 2023 (P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Israeli airstrikes as the cause of death of Israeli hostages are implausible unless they were specifically exposed to these strikes more than Palestinian citizens.

Shiri Zarour MD, Esther Dahan MD, Dana Karol MD, Or Hanoch, Barak Cohen MD, Idit Matot MD

Background: Survivors of critical illness are at increased risk of long-term impairments, referred to as post-intensive care unit (ICU) syndrome (PICS). Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is common among ICU survivors with reported rates of up to 27%. The prevalence of PTSD among Israeli ICU survivors has not been reported to date.

Objectives: To evaluate the prevalence of new onset PTSD diagnosed in a post-ICU clinic at a tertiary center in Israel.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective, single center, cohort study. Data were collected from medical records of all patients who visited the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center post-ICU clinic between October 2017 and June 2020. New onset PTSD was defined as PTSD diagnosed by a certified board psychiatrist during the post-ICU clinic visit. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.

Results: Overall, 39 patients (mean age 51 ± 17 years, 15/39 females [38%]) attended the post-ICU clinic during the study period. They were evaluated 82 ± 57 days after hospital discharge. After excluding 7 patients due to missing proper psychiatric analysis, 32 patients remained eligible for the primary analysis. New PTSD was diagnosed in one patient (3%).

Conclusions: We found lower incidence of PTSD in our cohort when compared to existing literature. Possible explanations include different diagnostic tools and low risk factors rate. Unique national, cultural, and/or religious perspectives might have contributed to the observed low PTSD rate. Further research in larger study populations is required to establish the prevalence of PTSD among Israeli ICU survivors.

February 2024
David J. Ozeri MD, Adiel Cohen MD, Noa Bacharach MD, Offir Ukashi MD, Amit Oppenheim MD

Background: Completing internal medicine specialty training in Israel involves passing the Israel National Internal Medicine Exam (Shlav Aleph), a challenging multiple-choice test. multiple-choice test. Chat generative pre-trained transformer (ChatGPT) 3.5, a language model, is increasingly used for exam preparation.

Objectives: To assess the ability of ChatGPT 3.5 to pass the Israel National Internal Medicine Exam in Hebrew.

Methods: Using the 2023 Shlav Aleph exam questions, ChatGPT received prompts in Hebrew. Textual questions were analyzed after the appeal, comparing its answers to the official key.

Results: ChatGPT 3.5 correctly answered 36.6% of the 133 analyzed questions, with consistent performance across topics, except for challenges in nephrology and biostatistics.

Conclusions: While ChatGPT 3.5 has excelled in English medical exams, its performance in the Hebrew Shlav Aleph was suboptimal. Factors include limited training data in Hebrew, translation complexities, and unique language structures. Further investigation is essential for its effective adaptation to Hebrew medical exam preparation.

Ela Giladi MD, Roy Israel MD, Wasseem Daud MD, Chen Gurevitz MD, Alaa Atamna MD, David Pereg MD, Abid Assali MD, Avishay Elis MD

Background: The use of proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 monoclonal antibodies (PCSK9 mAbs) is emerging for lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C). However, real-world data is lacking for their use among elderly patients.

Objective: To define the characteristics of elderly patients treated with PCSK9 mAbs and to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability compared with younger patients.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of elderly patients (≥ 75 years at enrollment) treated with PCSK9 mAbs for primary and secondary cardiovascular prevention. Data were retrieved for demographic and clinical characteristics; indications for treatment; agents and dosages; concomitant lipid lowering treatment; LDL-C levels at baseline, 6, 12 months, and at the end of follow up. Data also included achieving LDL-C target levels and adverse effects.

Results: The cohort included 91 elderly patients and 92 younger patients, mean age 75.2 ± 3.76 and 58.9 ± 7.4 years (P < 0.0001). Most patients (82%, 80%) were in high/very high-risk categories. For almost all (98%, 99%), the indication was statin intolerance, with PCSK9 mAb monotherapy the most prevalent regimen. The average follow-up was 38.1 ± 20.5 and 30.9 ± 15.8 months (P = 0.0258). Within 6 months the LDL-C levels were reduced by 57% in the elderly group and by 59% in the control group (P = 0.2371). Only 53% and 57% reached their LDL-C target levels. No clinically significant side effects were documented.

Conclusion: PCSK9 mAbs have similar effects and are well tolerated among elderly patients as in younger patients.

January 2024
Israel Amirav MD

9 November 2023: Just one month after the tragic events of 7 October 2023, 240 individuals are still held hostage, ensnared by Hamas. Their medical plight is shrouded in silence. In the heart of Tel Aviv, a sea of health professionals gathers before the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) offices pleading for decisive action. Among the medical pleas for help is the haunting image of a young soldier in dire need of his inhaler [Figure 1]. Ron needs it to live. I, a pediatric pulmonologist intimately familiar with respiratory distress, captured that moment.

December 2023
Chen Kugel MD, Dana Arnheim MD, Arad Dotan BSc, Maya Furman MD, Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaACR

On 7 October 2023, a large-scale invasion by armed Hamas terrorists occurred in southern Israel. Approximately 1500 militants breached the Gaza security barrier using tractors, RPGs, and explosives. Concurrently, the terrorists utilized various means including armed vehicles, motorized paragliders, sea incursions, and a massive rocket attack launched toward Israel. On entering Israeli territory, the militants dispersed and targeted several towns, kibbutzim (collective communities), and Israel Defense Forces (IDF) military bases near Gaza. This strategy resulted in a death toll exceeded 1300 civilians and soldiers. In addition, more than 240 individuals were abducted. This attack occurred in one day. In this article, we introduce the Israeli National Institute of Forensic Medicine, which specialized in forensic analysis during mass casualty incidents, and pivotal role it played on 7 October. We present a detailed discussion on methods, challenges, and adaptations the institute took in response to the event of 7 October.

Roni Eichel MD, Felix Benninger MD, Michael Teitcher MD

Since the horrific terrorist attacks of 7 October 2023 in Israel perpetrated by the Hamas terrorist group and the ensuing Iron Swords war, there has been another war raging in prominent medical journals in the form of editorials and letters to the editor. Multiple publications filled with misinformation and propaganda have questioned Israel’s right to defend herself, have implicitly or explicitly provided justification for the terror, and have even questioned the legitimacy of Israel’s existence. Rather than serve as a source of frustration and despondency due to abandonment by our colleagues, we believe this situation should serve as a call to action. Israeli physicians cannot afford to passively cede the arena of political advocacy to parties with anti-Israel and even antisemitic bias. Doing so would be devastating to Israeli medicine and to the quality of care we deliver to our patients.

Gabriel Levin MD, Raanan Meyer MD, Yoav Brezinov MD

Background: The Gaza–Israeli conflict poses challenges for unbiased reporting due to its complexity and media bias. We explored recent scientific publications to understand scholarly discourse and potential biases surrounding this longstanding geopolitical issue.

Objectives: To conduct a descriptive bibliometric analysis of PubMed articles regarding the recent Gaza–Israeli conflict.

Methods: We reviewed 1628 publications using keywords and medical subject headings (MeSH) terms related to Gaza, Hamas, and Israel. We focused on articles written in English. A team of researchers assessed inclusion criteria, resolving disagreements through a third researcher.

Results: Among 37 publications, Lancet, BMJ, and Nature were prominent journals. Authors from 12 countries contributed, with variety of publication types (46% correspondence, 32% news). Pro-Gaza perspectives dominated (43.2%), surpassing pro-Israel (21.6%) and neutral (35.1%) viewpoints. Pro-Gaza articles exhibited higher Altmetric scores, indicating increased social media impact. Pro-Israel publications were predominantly authored by Israelis.

Conclusions: The prevalence of pro-Gaza perspectives underscores challenges in maintaining impartiality. Higher social media impact for pro-Gaza publications emphasizes the need for nuanced examination. Addressing bias is crucial for a comprehensive understanding of this complex conflict and promoting balanced reporting.

Jlal Bathish MD MPH, Yael Alshanki MD, Yves Bitton MD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common lung disease characterized by restricted airflow, changes of lung tissues, and breathing difficulties [1]. Most patients are treated at home to maintain a stable lifestyle and quality of life [2].

An important feature of COPD is exacerbation, which is an acute worsening of symptoms that can result in decreased pulmonary functions, increased risk of death, and poorer quality of life. The frequency and severity of each exacerbation results in further worsening of pulmonary function [3]. Depression in COPD patients may cause objective impairment in function and decreased adherence to therapeutic interventions [4].

Acute stress disorder is characterized by acute reaction in the first month following exposure to a traumatic event such as threatened death, serious injury, or sexual assault. Symptoms include intrusion, dissociation, negative mood avoidance, and arousal [5]. Stress on a more continuous basis can significantly debilitate a person's emotional and physical wellbeing, lead to depression and weakened immune system, and influence patients with already stressful and progressive conditions such as COPD.

We present a patient previously diagnosed with COPD who experienced an acute terror attack, which was a major and stressful event that caused severe exacerbation of the disease.

November 2023
Nitsa Nacasch MD, Netta Shoenfeld MSW, Ilanit Wul BA, Michael Polliack MD, Mark Weiser MD

On Saturday, 7 October 2023, the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah, our entire country woke to a reality of the worst terror attacks it has ever known, despite its long history of wars and terror. These horrific attacks included killing and burning babies, children, women, men, and the elderly; raping women; beheading babies; destroying settlements; and kidnapping more than 240 civilians and soldiers. The severe traumatic events created different circles of those exposed to trauma. In each group, the intensity of the trauma was different and had different characteristics.

Ibrahim Zvidi MD, Ram Dickman MD, Doron Boltin MBBS

Background: Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) prevalence varies according to both geographical region and ethnicity. The interplay between these two factors has been poorly studied.

Objectives: To determine the positivity rate of H. pylori infection among Jewish and Arab patients who live in a mixed urban center in Israel.

Methods: Between November 2009 and September 2014, dyspeptic patients referred to a gastroenterology clinic in Lod, Israel, were enrolled in a prospective study. For each patient, clinical and epidemiological data were collected and a noninvasive or endoscopy-based test for H. pylori was performed.

Results: A total of 429 consecutive patients (322 Jewish and 107 Arabs), mean age 45 years (range 15–91 years) were included; 130 males. Overall positivity for H. pylori was 42.4% (182/429). The positivity rate of H. pylori was 38.8% for Jews (125/322) and 53.2% for Arabs (57/107) in Lod (P < 0.01). When immigrants were excluded, the difference in H. pylori positivity did not reach statistical significance (45.0% [77/171] vs. 53.2% [57/107], P = 0.217, in Jews and Arabs, respectively).

Conclusions: H. pylori infection was more common in Arabs that Jews in the mixed city of Lod, Israel. This finding may suggest that non-environmental factors were responsible for the observed difference in H. pylori positivity.

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