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עמוד בית
Sat, 20.07.24

Search results

June 2024
Elias Nasrallah MD, Hussein Zaitoon MD, Marina Zeltser MD, Ran Steinberg MD, Ran Miron MD, Hanna Farah MD, Ranaa Damouni-Shalabi MD, Imad Kassis MD, Halima Dabaja-Younis MD MPH

Background: Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PSA) is an infectious pathogen associated with acute appendicitis; however, it is not consistently addressed by empirical antibiotic therapy, despite potential complications.

Objectives: To investigate the incidence, predictors, and outcomes of PSA-associated acute appendicitis in children.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis involving pediatric patients who underwent acute appendicitis surgery and had positive peritoneal cultures. Clinical, microbiological, and intraoperative data were extracted from medical records.

Results: Among 2523 children with acute appendicitis, 798 (31.6%) underwent peritoneal cultures, revealing 338 positive cases (42.3%), with PSA detected in 77 cases (22.8%). Children with PSA were three times more likely to exhibit high intraoperative grading ≥ 3 (93.4% vs. 76.8%, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.2–8.3, P = 0.023) and nearly four times more likely to have polymicrobial cultures (88.3% vs. 62.1%, 95%CI 1.8–8.0, P < 0.001) than those without PSA in peritoneal cultures. Duration of symptoms did not predict PSA isolation (P = 0.827). Patients with PSA had longer median hospital stays (8 days, interquartile range [IQR] 7–10) than those with other pathogens (7 days, IQR 5–9) (P = 0.004). Antibiotic treatment duration, intensive care unit admission rates, readmission, and mortality were similar between the two groups (P = 0.893, 0.197, 0.760, and 0.761, respectively).

Conclusions: PSA is a common pathogen in children diagnosed with acute appendicitis and positive peritoneal cultures. The likelihood of isolating PSA increases with high-grade intraoperative assessment and in the presence of multiple pathogens in peritoneal cultures, suggests antipseudomonal treatment.

Yuval Avidan MD, Amir Aker MD, Vsevolod Tabachnikov MD

Late arrival ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) is defined as a patient-related delay > 12 hours. It is estimated to represent a significant portion of STEMI patients. As reflected by society guidelines, this group of patients impose great therapeutic challenge, namely due to controversy in the literature regarding optimal care, together with major adverse clinical outcomes [1]. In addition to a possible myocardial infarction (MI), mechanical complications include ventricular septal defect (VSD), left ventricular (LV) free wall, or papillary muscle rupture. Prompt diagnosis and intervention are crucial to improve outcomes as post-infarction ventricular septal defect (PIVSD) carries a high mortality rate. We describe the successful management of a large VSD complicated by cardiogenic shock in a latecomer STEMI patient with complex coronary artery disease (CAD).

May 2024
David Koren MD, Leonid Sternik MD, Liza Grosman-Rimon PhD, Amihay Shinfeld MD

Echinococcus infections of the liver and lungs are well-known, but cardiac echinococcus is rare, requiring further understanding. A 19-year-old male presented with chest pain, shortness of breath and palpitations. Changes in an electrocardiogram, increased troponin, and a computed tomography (CT) scan revealed a cardiac cyst at the left ventricle’s posterior lateral wall. Medical management included albendazole and praziquantel for 2 weeks followed by surgical cyst removal.

Clinical presentation of cardiac involvement of echinococcus granulosis is variable, requiring high clinical suspicion. Cardiac CT scan and echocardiography provided sufficient information for the diagnosis. The treatment included surgical removal of the cyst and albendazole administration.

Hydatid cyst is a rare zoonotic disease caused by the parasite Echinococcus granulosus [1]. The incidence in endemic areas is about 1–200 cases per 100,000 in population [2].

The liver (60–70% of cases) and lungs (20–30%) are the most common locations of hydatid cysts, with rare cardiac involvement of only 0.05% to 2% of all cases [3], with the left ventricle most frequently involved (60%) [2,4].

Elena Korytnikova MD, Maayan Elnir Katz MD, Itzhak Gabizon MD, Tamar Eshkoli MD

Phosphoglucomutase 1 (PGM1) deficiency is a rare genetic disorder that affects glycogen metabolism and manifests as a multisystem disease. Most patients present with oropharyngeal malformations, cardiomyopathies, elevated liver enzymes, and hypoglycemia. Treatment with D-galactose has been shown to improve symptoms. Our patient presented with PGM1 deficiency. She conceived spontaneously. Throughout her pregnancies, our patient was monitored by a multidisciplinary team of cardiologists, endocrinologists, and physicians with experience in high-risk pregnancy. She delivered twice by cesarean section. Our case highlights the importance of a multidisciplinary approach and individualized management of prenatal and postpartum care of a patient with a PGM1 deficiency. To the best of our knowledge, there have been no reports about a PGM1-deficient patient who conceived and delivered.

Tomer Boldes MD, Benny Nageris MD, Firas Kassem MD, Ameen Biadsee MD

Intranasal corticosteroids (INCS) are frequently prescribed for allergic rhinitis but can also be used for other indications, such as sinusitis and nasal congestion. INCS are considered effective in controlling nasal symptoms with a similar safety profile among the different INCS formulations. In this review, we presented all available INCS formulations marketed in Israel while emphasizing the differences among them with a practical approach for medical providers in selecting a specific INCS agent. We conducted a literature review using PubMed, Medline, and Google Scholar to identify articles related to INCS, triamcinolone acetonide, fluticasone propionate, and fluticasone furoate. Currently, five brands of INCS are available in Israel. While they all have similar efficacy in treating nasal symptoms, only fluticasone furoate consistently demonstrated a reduction in ocular symptoms compared to placebo. Other differences included sensory attributes, recommended regimens, approved age for use, and cost. When selecting INCS agent, a personalized approach is advised. Factors such as age, co-morbidities, concurrent medications, pregnancy, and patient preferences should be considered.

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.

Batia Kaplan PhD, Rivka Goldis MSc, Tamar Ziv PhD, Amir Dori MD PhD, Hila Magen MD, Amos J Simon PhD, Alexander Volkov MD, Elad Maor MD PhD, Michael Arad MD

Background: Cardiac amyloidosis (CA) is characterized by the extracellular deposition of misfolded protein in the heart. Precise identification of the amyloid type is often challenging, but critical, since the treatment and prognosis depend on the disease form and the type of deposited amyloid. Coexistence of clinical conditions such as old age, monoclonal gammopathy, chronic inflammation, or peripheral neuropathy in a patient with cardiomyopathy creates a differential diagnosis between the major types of CA: amyloidosis light chains (AL), amyloidosis transthyretin (ATTR) and amyloidosis A (AA).

Objectives: To demonstrate the utility of the Western blotting (WB)-based amyloid typing method in patients diagnosed with cardiac amyloidosis where the type of amyloid was not obvious based on the clinical context.

Methods: Congo red positive endomyocardial biopsy specimens were studied in patients where the type of amyloid was uncertain. Amyloid proteins were extracted and identified by WB. Mass spectrometry (MS) of the electrophoretically resolved protein-in-gel bands was used for confirmation of WB data.

Results: WB analysis allowed differentiation between AL, AA, and ATTR in cardiac biopsies based on specific immunoreactivity of the electrophoretically separated proteins and their characteristic molecular weight. The obtained results were confirmed by MS.

Conclusions: WB-based amyloid typing method is cheaper and more readily available than the complex and expensive gold standard techniques such as MS analysis or immunoelectron microscopy. Notably, it is more sensitive and specific than the commonly used immunohistochemical techniques and may provide an accessible diagnostic service to patients with amyloidosis in Israel.

February 2024
Idit Tessler MD PhD MPH, Amit Wolfovitz MD, Nir Livneh MD, Nir A. Gecel MD, Vera Sorin MD, Yiftach Barash MD, Eli Konen MD, Eyal Klang MD

Background: Advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) have led to the development of language models such as ChatGPT. These models have the potential to transform healthcare and medical research. However, understanding their applications and limitations is essential.

Objectives: To present a view of ChatGPT research and to critically assess ChatGPT's role in medical writing and clinical environments.

Methods: We performed a literature review via the PubMed search engine from 20 November 2022, to 23 April 2023. The search terms included ChatGPT, OpenAI, and large language models. We included studies that focused on ChatGPT, explored its use or implications in medicine, and were original research articles. The selected studies were analyzed considering study design, NLP tasks, main findings, and limitations.

Results: Our study included 27 articles that examined ChatGPT's performance in various tasks and medical fields. These studies covered knowledge assessment, writing, and analysis tasks. While ChatGPT was found to be useful in tasks such as generating research ideas, aiding clinical reasoning, and streamlining workflows, limitations were also identified. These limitations included inaccuracies, inconsistencies, fictitious information, and limited knowledge, highlighting the need for further improvements.

Conclusions: The review underscores ChatGPT's potential in various medical applications. Yet, it also points to limitations that require careful human oversight and responsible use to improve patient care, education, and decision-making.

Natalie Nathan MD, Michael Saring MD, Noam Savion-Gaiger MD, Kira Radinsky PhD, Alma Peri MD

A rise in the incidence of chronic health conditions, notably heart failure, is expected due to demographic shifts. Such an increase places an onerous burden on healthcare infrastructures, with recurring hospital admissions and heightened mortality rates being prominent factors. Efficient chronic disease management hinges on regular ambulatory care and preemptive action. The application of intelligent computational models is showing promise as a key resource in the ongoing management of chronic diseases, particularly in forecasting disease trajectory and informing timely interventions. In this review, we explored a pioneering intelligent computational model by Diagnostic Robotics, an Israeli start-up company. This model uses data sourced from insurance claims to forecast the progression of heart failure. The goal of the model is to identify individuals at increased risk for heart failure, thus enabling interventions to be initiated early, mitigating the risk of disease worsening, and relieving the pressure on healthcare facilities, which will result in economic efficiencies.

Vera Sorin MD, Eyal Klang MD

Large language models have revolutionized natural language processing. The emergence phenomenon is observed in these models and has the potential to revolutionize data processing and management. In this review, we discuss the concept of emergence in artificial intelligence, give detailed examples, and elaborate on the risks and limitations of large language models. The review exposes physicians to large language models, their advantages, and the inherent opportunities. We also describe the limitations and dangers, as these models are expected to impact medicine soon.

December 2023
Niv Soffair MD, Eran Shostak MD, Ovadia Dagan MD, Orit Manor-Shulman MD, Yael Feinstein MD, Gabriel Amir MD, Georgy Frenkel MD, Amichai Rotstein MD, Merav Dvir-Orgad MD, Einat Birk MD, Joanne Yacobovich MD, Ofer Schiller MD

Background: Ventricular assist devices (VADs) play a critical and increasing role in treating end-stage heart failure in pediatric patients. A growing number of patients are supported by VADs as a bridge to heart transplantation. Experience with VADs in the pediatric population is limited, and experience in Israel has not been published.

Objectives: To describe this life-saving technology and our experience with VAD implantation in children with heart failure, including characteristics and outcomes.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective chart review of all patients who underwent VAD implantation at Schneider Children's Medical Center from 2018 to 2023.

Results: We analyzed results of 15 children who underwent VAD implantation. The youngest was 2.5 years old and weighed 11 kg at implantation. In eight patients, HeartMate 3, a continuous-flow device, was implanted. Seven patients received Berlin Heart, a pulsatile-flow device. Three children required biventricular support; 11 underwent heart transplants after a median duration of 169 days. Two patients died due to complications while awaiting a transplant; two were still on VAD support at the time of submission of this article. Successful VAD support was achieved in 86.6% of patients. In the last 5 years,79%  of our heart transplant patients received VAD support prior to transplant.

Conclusions: Circulatory assist devices are an excellent bridge to transplantation for pediatric patients reaching end-stage heart failure. VADs should be carefully selected, and implantation techniques tailored to patient's weight and diagnosis at a centralized pediatric cardiac transplantation center. Israeli healthcare providers should be cognizant of this therapeutic alternative.

November 2023
Gassan Moady MD, Moanis Serhan MD, Shaul Atar MD, Alexander Shturman MD

Background: The continuity equation (CE) used for evaluating aortic stenosis (AS) is based on values obtained from transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) with the assumption that the left ventricular outflow tract (LVOT) has a circular shape. Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) may be used for accurate measurement of the LVOT cross-sectional area (CSA). Previous studies have focused on fusion from TEE for LVOT-CSA measurement and TTE for velocity time integrals (VTI) calculations.

Objectives: To assess aortic valve area (AVA) using parameters obtained exclusively from TEE as an alternative approach.

Methods: Thirty patients with equivocal AS based on TTE were evaluated using TEE for further assessment.

Results: The mean pressure gradient across the aortic valve (AV) was 38 ± 5.9 and 37.9 ± 7.6 mmHg in TTE and TEE, respectively, P = 0.42. LVOT-CSA was larger in TEE (3.6 ± 0.3 vs. 3.4 ± 0.3 cm2, P = 0.049). VTI over the AVA was similar (98.54 ± 22.8 and 99.52 ± 24.52 cm in TTE and TEE, respectively, P = 0.608), while VTI across the LVOT was higher when measured by TTE (24.06 ± 5.8 vs. 22.03 ± 4.3 cm, P < 0.009). Using the CE, AVA was 0.82 ± 0.3 vs. 0.83 ± 0.17 cm2 in TEE vs. TTE, respectively, P = 0.608. Definitive grading was achieved in all patients (26 patients defined with severe AS and 4 with moderate).

Conclusions: In equivocal cases of AS, full assessment using TEE may be a reliable modality for decision making.

October 2023
Dror Dicker MD, Orly Tamir PhD MSc MHA, Gabriella Lieberman-Segal MD, Roy Eldor MD PhD, Moran Accos-Carmel RD MAN, Tatyana Kolobov PhD, Avraham Karasik MD

Background: In 2019, 1 mg subcutaneous semaglutide was registered for the treatment of diabetes in Israel. Recognition of its effect on weight has led to its use as a treatment for obesity.

Objectives: To explore physicians’ pre-therapy considerations, therapy practices, and attitudes regarding subcutaneous semaglutide for weight loss.

Methods: A 22-item questionnaire was disseminated to physicians who prescribed semaglutide 1-mg for weight loss using an authorized off-label path.

Results: In total, 127 physicians completed the questionnaire. As for pretreatment requirements, in the absence of diabetes, 30% requested a minimal body mass index of 30 kg/m2. Additional requirements were documented lifestyle-change effort (67%) and prior weight loss medication use (13%). Half of the physicians regarded calorie restriction, and 23% considered physical activity as necessary for weight loss while on therapy. As for dose, most physicians (78%) started with a 0.25-mg weekly injection, 57% doubled the dose monthly, and all others recommended doubling when side effects subsided. Regarding weight loss goal, 43% of the physicians set a personal goal with each patient while 26% limited the goal to 10% of initial weight. Fewer than 50% of physicians discussed treatment duration with their patients, and 52% of patients discontinued therapy in the first 3 months. The main reasons for discontinuation were price, lack of effect, and fear of long-term side effects.

Conclusions: The diverse approaches regarding off-label use of semaglutide for weight reduction highlight the necessity to guide physicians and standardize treatment regimen.

Nidal Siag MD, Ran Moshkovsky MD, Nili Golan MD, Lee Nussbaum MD, Asaf Bar MD, Einat Malik Gadot PhD, Idit Maharshak MD PhD

Background: In recent years, major progress has been made in treating the wet form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) with anti-vascular endothelial growth factors, which reportedly stabilize and improve vision.

Objectives: To examine the effect of dietary supplementation, as recommended by the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2), on the number of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor injections administered to patients with wet AMD.

Methods: A retrospective study was conducted with 57 participants (27 participants in the study group and 30 in the control group) receiving injections of anti-vascular endothelial growth factors. The study group received dietary supplements for at least one year before the treatment was initiated, while the control group did not. Primary outcome was the number of injections a patient received over a 3-year period. Secondary outcomes were central macular thickness and visual acuity.

Results: The average number of injections per patient after 3 years was 21.89 ± 7.85 in the study group and 26.00 ± 5.62 in the control group (P = 0.083). Final visual acuities were 0.45 ± 0.45 and 0.8 ± 0.73 (P = 0.09), and final central macular thicknesses were 288.26 ± 55.38 and 313.12 ± 107.36 (P = 0.38) in the study and control groups, respectively.

Conclusions: The average number of injections after 3 years was lower in the study group, but this difference did not reach statistical significance. No statistically significant difference was found in final visual acuity or central macular thickness between the groups.

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