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עמוד בית
Thu, 02.02.23

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January 2023
Amir Dagan MD, Elsa Sebag MD

A 64-year-old male, with antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitis was being treated with methotrexate and low dose prednisone. He arrived at the clinic with bluish discoloration of the toes. Inflammatory markers and urine were normal. No history of chilblains or Raynoud's phenomena was noted. He recovered recently from mild coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). A diagnosis of COVID toes (COVID digits) was made [Figure 1].

November 2022
Maamoun Basheer PhD MD, Elias Saad MD, Faris Milhem MD, Dmitry Budman MD, Nimer Assy MD

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) affects different people in different ways. Most infected people develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalization. This case report presents a patient who had difficulty eradicating the corona virus due to being treated with rituximab, which depletes B lymphocytes and therefore disables the production of neutralizing antibodies. The regen-COV-2 antibody cocktail consists of two monoclonal antibodies, casirivimab and imdevimab. This cocktail successfully helped the patient's immune system eradicate the virus without auto specific severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antibody production. In vitro studies confirm that eradication of the intact the virus. This case report emphases the importance of providing external antiviral antibodies regularly, like the regen-COV-2 antibody cocktail, as post- and even pre- SARS-CoV-2 infection prophylaxis in patients treated with rituximab.

July 2022
Ori Wand MD, David Dahan MD, Naveh Tov PhD, Gali Epstein Shochet PhD, Daniel A. King MD, and David Shitrit MD
João Gouveia MD, Carolina Barros MD, Mónica Caldeira MD, Caldeira Ferreira MD, and Rafael Freitas MD
Magdi Zoubi MD, Ashraf Hejly MD, Howard Amital MD MHA, and Naim Mahroum MD
May 2022
Carmel Kasher MD, Orit Rozenberg PhD, Anna Yanovskay MD, Hana Kahanov-Edelstein, and Bibiana Chazan MD

Background: Healthcare workers (HCWs) have close interaction with confirmed or suspected coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients. Infection rates reported among HCWs is between 3% and 17%, and asymptomatic HCWs are a potential source of nosocomial transmission to vulnerable patients and colleagues. Universal mask use and good supply of personal protective equipment was implemented early at our institution.

Objectives: To determine the rate of infection by the serologic status of HCWs during first three COVID-19 waves, based on occupation and risk of exposure, compared to Israeli general population.

Methods: We conducted a prospective cohort study at Emek Medical Center from April 2020 to April 2021. A total of 101 HCWs volunteered to be followed at six time points by a serology test and a questionnaire.

Results: A total of 101 HCWs completed six serologic tests. All participants were seronegative at the four initial tests. The cumulative seropositivity rate for COVID-19 in HCWs was 9.9% (10/101). Only three seropositive HCWs (2.97%) were hospital-acquired.

Conclusions: Seroprevalence and seroconversion dynamics of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in 101 HCWs during COVID-19 outbreaks at Emek Medical Center were similar to the epidemiological curve of positive polymerase chain reaction results of the Israeli population, as published by the Israeli Ministry of Health, at each time point. Universal mask use and infection control measures may have contributed to a low hospital infection rate.

Olga Vera-Lastra MD, Erik Cimé-Aké MD, Alberto Ordinola Navarro MD, Joel Eduardo Morales-Gutiérrez MD, Orestes de Jesús Cobos-Quevedo MD, Jorge Hurtado-Díaz MD, María Lucero Espinoza-Sánchez MD, Ana Lilia Peralta-Amaro MD, María Pilar Cruz-Domínguez MD, Gabriela Medina MD, Antonio Fraga-Mouret MD, Jesus Sepulveda-Delgado MD, and Luis J. Jara MD

Background: Patients with autoimmune disease (AID) and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) could have higher mortality due to the co-morbidity and the use of immunosuppressive therapy.

Objectives: To analyze the risk factors and outcomes of patients with AID and COVID-19 versus a control group.

Methods: A prospective cohort study included patients with and without AID and COVID-19. Patients were paired by age and sex. Clinical, biochemical, immunological treatments, and outcomes (days of hospital stay, invasive mechanical ventilation [IMV], oxygen at discharge, and death) were collected.

Results: We included 226 COVID-19 patients: 113 with AID (51.15 ± 14.3 years) and 113 controls (53.45 ± 13.3 years). The most frequent AIDs were Rheumatoid arthritis (26.5%), systemic lupus erythematosus (21%), and systemic sclerosis (14%). AID patients had lower lactate dehydrogenas, C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, IMV (P = 0.027), and oxygen levels at discharge (P ≤ 0.0001) and lower death rates (P ≤ 0.0001). Oxygen saturation (SaO2) ≤ 88% at hospitalization provided risk for IMV (RR [relative risk] 3.83, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.1–13.6, P = 0.038). Higher creatinine and LDH levels were associated with death in the AID group. SaO2 ≤ 88% and CO-RADS ≥ 4 were risk factors for in-hospital mortality (RR 4.90, 95%CI 1.8–13.0, P = 0.001 and RR 7.60, 95%CI 1.4–39.7, P = 0.016, respectively). Anticoagulant therapy was protective (RR 0.36, 95%CI 0.1–0.9, P = 0.041)

Conclusions: Patients with AID had better outcomes with COVID-19 than controls. Anticoagulation was associated with a lower death in patients with AID.

Moria Mahanaimy MD MPH, Uriah Finkel MA, Noam Barda MD PhD, Eytan Roitman MD, Ran Balicer MD PhD MPH, Adi Berliner Senderey MSc MPH, and Becca Feldman ScD

Background: The association between use of renin-angiotensin-aldosterone (RAAS) inhibitors and both SARS-CoV-2 infection and the development of severe COVID-19 has been presented in the recent medical literature with inconsistent results.

Objectives: To assess the association between RAAS inhibitor use and two outcomes: infection with SARS-CoV-2 (Model 1) and severe COVID-19 among those infected (Model 2).

Methods: We accessed used electronic health records of individuals from Israel who were receiving anti-hypertensive medications for this retrospective study. For Model 1 we used a case-control design. For Model 2 we used a cohort design. In both models, inverse probability weighting adjusted for identified confounders as part of doubly robust outcome regression.

Results: We tested 38,554 individuals for SARS-CoV-2 who had hypertension and were being treated with medication; 691 had a positive test result. Among those with a positive test, 119 developed severe illness. There was no association between RAAS inhibitor use and a positive test. Use of RAAS inhibitors was associated with a decreased risk for severe COVID-19 (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 0.47, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 0.29–0.77) compared with users of non-RAAS anti-hypertensive medication. The association remained significant when use of angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors (adjusted OR 0.46, 95%CI 0.27–0.77) and angiotensin II receptor blockers (adjusted OR 0.39, 95%CI 0.16–0.95) were analyzed separately.

Conclusions: Among individuals with hypertension using RAAS inhibitors, we found a lower risk of severe disease compared to those using non-RAAS anti-hypertensive medications. This finding suggests that RAAS inhibitors may have a protective effect on COVID-19 severity among individuals with medically treated hypertension.

Nomy Levin-Iaina MD, Avital Angel-Korman MD, Adi Leiba MD MHA, Esther Peres MD, Gabriel Bryk PhD, Vladimir Rapoport MD, Zeev Katzir MD, Yoram Yagil MD, and Tal Brosh-Nissimov MD MHA

Background: The reduced immune response of maintenance hemodialysis patients to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines is a major concern.

Objectives: To analyze the late (6 months after full vaccination) antibody response and compare it to early post-vaccination titer.

Methods: We conducted a multicenter prospective study of 13 hemodialysis units in Israel.

Results: We demonstrated that the low titers observed among ESRD patients 2–3 months after vaccination with the Comirnaty vaccine (median 63.8 AU/ml) declined to critically lower values 6 months after full vaccination. (Mediananti S antibodies, 31 AU/ml). Seropositivity significantly declined among hemodialysis patients from 89% to 74% (P < 0.0001), although it did not significantly change among controls.

Conclusions: We recommend all patients on hemodialysis receive a booster COVID-19 vaccine 6 months after the second dose.

 

Raymond Farah MD, Alaa Sawaed MD, and Kasem Shalata MD
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
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

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