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עמוד בית
Fri, 31.03.23

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September 2022
Gil A. Geva MD, Maya Nitecki MD, Itay Ketko MSc, Itay Toledo BSc, Sagi A. Shpitzer MD, Avi Benov MD MHA, Noam Fink MD, and Ariel Furer MD MBA

Background: To mitigate the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), national guidelines, in accordance with international health authorities, mandated 14 days of quarantine for every close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 patient. Although health benefits are obvious, consequences are profound, especially for organizations required to maintain operational preparedness.

Objectives: To present the Israel Defense Force (IDF) experience with outbreaks regarding quarantined individuals. To weigh the consequences of quarantined individuals needed for workforce and operation.

Methods: All positive COVID-19 cases in the IDF, as measured by a positive rRT-PCR test result, between 29 February and 18 May 2020 were evaluated. Numbers of positive individuals, quarantined individuals, and confirmatory exams conducted were collected. We compared the events in four units with the largest outbreaks and assessed the impact of confirmed cases, tests conducted, and workforce loss due to quarantine.

Results: Of the 187 soldiers who tested positive for COVID-19, source of infection was traced to 140 soldiers (75%). Almost no medical treatment was delivered, and hospitalization was rare. We found a median of 15.2% (interquartile range 5.3–34) for decline in unit workforce due to quarantine measures. Maximum reduction reached 47% of the workforce in one unit.

Conclusions: Despite a relatively small number of confirmed cases, units underwent a substantial change in mode of operation due to the toll of quarantined individuals. In certain populations and organizations, perhaps a more liberal application of isolation and contact tracing is suitable due to the heavy economic burden and consequences in term of operational readiness.

Omri Shental MD MHA, Ilan Y. Mitchnik MD, Edward Barayev MD MHA, Lior Solomon MD, Liron Gershovitz MD, Shaul Gelikas MD MBA, Avi Benov MD MHA, and Yuval Ran MD MHA MPA

Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) led to two nationwide lockdowns in Israel, reducing both supply and demand for medical services in the Israel Defense Force (IDF). IDF soldiers serve on bases within Israel, and most of them return home at the end of the day, similar to other armies in the world.

Objectives: To analyze the health services provided by the IDF with regard to policy changes during lockdowns.

Methods: We compared medical encounters between different services provided by the IDF Medical Corps. We related them to specific time periods: pre-first lockdown, first lockdown (and corresponding timeframes of the previous 3 years), between lockdowns, second lockdown, and post-second lockdown.

Results: Compared to past periods, we found a similar reduction of 27–30% in primary care medical encounter rates during the two lockdowns: 42–43% in sick days and 50–54% in referrals to the emergency department. Referral rates to all specialist medical encounters and elective surgeries decreased significantly during the first lockdown period and increased 1.2–3.5 times during the second lockdown.

Conclusions: A continuance of the shift to telehealth is required to withstand a future lockdown, with a full supply of secondary medical services attuned to core medical issues relevant for combat personnel. A liberal sick leave policy is required to eliminate unnecessary in-person visits, thus reducing the risk of infection.

July 2022
Abdulrahman Elsalti MD, Abdulkarim Alwani MD, Isa Seida MD, Mahmoud Alrais MD, Ravend Seida MD, Sevval Nil Esirgun MD, Tunahan Abali MD, Zeynep Kiyak MD, and Naim Mahroum MD
Carla Caffarelli MD PhD, Paolo Cameli MD, Miriana D’Alessandro MD, Elena Bargagli MD, Bruno Fredian MD, and Stefano Gonnelli MD

Background: Some studies have shown that patients who are hospitalized with severe COVID-19 also have low levels of vitamin D. It is known that vitamin D can reduce the risk of infections and down regulate the immune/inflammatory reaction.

Objectives: To investigate the association between vitamin D status and lymphocyte subpopulations in hospitalized pneumonia COVID-19 patients.

Methods: In 33 positive severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) patients with radiologic evidence of interstitial pneumonia and in 16 healthy control subjects matched for age, sex, and seasonality lymphocyte subpopulations and vitamin D levels were evaluated.

Results: The majority of patients with COVID-19 pneumonia (70.8%) presented vitamin D deficiency. The percentages of neutrophils presented a negative correlation (r = -0.74; P < 0.001), whereas the percentages of lymphocytes presented a positive correlation (r = 0.43; P < 0.01) with 25(OH)D. Moreover, vitamin D levels were positively correlated with CD3+ (r = 0.37, P < 0.05), CD4+ (r = 0.41, P < 0.05), CD8+ (r = 0.32, P < 0.07), and CD19+ (r = 0.38, P < 0.05).

Conclusions: This preliminary study confirms the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in patients with COVID-19 pneumonia and that vitamin D deficiency is associated with a reduction of lymphocyte subsets and altered T-lymphocyte activation. This finding may contribute to clarify the mechanisms by which vitamin D influences the course and outcome of COVID-19 pneumonia.

Ori Wand MD, David Dahan MD, Naveh Tov PhD, Gali Epstein Shochet PhD, Daniel A. King MD, and David Shitrit MD
Magdi Zoubi MD, Ashraf Hejly MD, Howard Amital MD MHA, and Naim Mahroum MD
May 2022
Jordan Lachnish MD, Amit Zabatani MD, and Ran Thein MD

Background: The influence of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused countries worldwide to implement lockdowns. Elective surgeries were temporarily suspended, with surgeries being performed only for emergent/urgent medical conditions such as hip fractures where early surgical intervention has shown decreased rates of morbidity/mortality.

Objectives: To assess the indirect influence of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdown on hip fracture patients, considering factors such as time to surgery, early postoperative complications, and ambulation status.

Methods: A comparative retrospective study was conducted on consecutive patients presenting to our emergency department (ED) with hip fractures that were treated surgically (N=29) during a 1-month period during the government lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The treatments were compared to consecutive patients who presented with hip fractures and were treated surgically (N=44) during the same timeframe in the previous year (control). Comparisons were made using t-test, ANOVA test, Fisher's exact test, and chi-square test.

Results: The COVID-19 group was operated on sooner (20.34 vs. 34.87 hours), had fewer early postoperative complications (10.3% vs. 31.8%), had better ambulatory status at discharge, and experienced a shorter hospital stay (5.93 vs. 8.13 days) with more patients being discharged home (72.4% vs. 22.7%).

Conclusions: Patients presenting with hip fractures to our ED during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown indirectly benefited from this situation by undergoing earlier surgical treatment, thus experiencing fewer early postoperative complications, faster ambulation, and sooner discharge.


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.

Yehuda Hershkovitz MD, Oded Zmora MD, Hilli Nativ MD, Itamar Ashkenazi MD, Jonathan Hammerschlag MD, and Igor Jeroukhimov MD

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has had a significant impact on healthcare systems worldwide. The fear of seeking medical attention to avoid the possibility of being infected may have altered the course of some diseases.

Objectives: To describe our experience with the management of patients with acute cholecystitis during the pandemic at our medical center.

Methods: We compared patients treated for acute cholecystitis between 1 March and 31 August 2020 (Group I) to patients admitted with the same diagnosis during the same months in 2019 (Group II). We evaluated demographics, presenting symptoms, laboratory and imaging findings at presentation, the disease's clinical course, management, and outcome.

Results: Group I consisted of 101 patients and group II included 94 patients. No differences were noted for age (66 years, IQR 48–78 vs. 66 years, IQR 47–76; P = 0.50) and sex (57.4% vs. 51.1% females; P = 0.39) between the two groups. The delay between symptom onset and hospital admission was longer for Group I patients (3 days, IQR 2–7 vs. 2 days, IQR 1–3; P = 0.002). Moderate to severe disease was more commonly encountered in Group I (59.4% vs. 37.2%, P = 0.003). Group I patients more often failed conservative management (36% vs. 6%, P = 0.001) and had a higher conversion rate to open surgery (15.4% vs. 0%, P = 0.025).

Conclusions: Patients presenting with acute cholecystitis during the COVID-19 pandemic more often presented late to the emergency department and more showed adverse outcomes

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.


Arthur E. Frankel MD, Dennis Wylie PhD, Bjoern Peters PhD, Daniel Marrama BS, and Chul Ahn PhD

Background: Secondary immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a rare but serious complication of the pandemic. Diagnostic criteria include clinical and laboratory findings. Early treatment is often effective, but rare severe bleeding and death can occur. An autoimmune mechanism is likely.

Objectives: To determine a role for molecular mimicry in producing disease.

Methods: Hexapeptide and heptapeptide matches between severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and platelet N-glycosylated proteins and other human proteins were assessed.

Results: Shared viral and platelet glycoprotein peptides were found. Copy frequency of these peptides in the human proteome was low for many of the candidate molecular mimics.

Conclusions: The data support a contribution of molecular mimicry in COVID-19 ITP autoimmunity and offer avenues for in vitro diagnostic assay development. The continuation of the pandemic necessitates additional understanding of COVID-19 ITP as well as studies on diagnosis and mitigation.


Moshe Ashkenazi MD MBA, Eyal Zimlichman MD, Noa Zamstein PhD, Galia Rahav MD, Reut Kassif Lerner MD, Yael Haviv MD, and Itai M. Pessach MD PhD MPH

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic resulted in repeated surges of patients, sometimes challenging triage protocols and appropriate control of patient flow. Available models, such as the National Early Warning Score (NEWS), have shown significant limitations. Still, they are used by some centers to triage COVID-19 patients due to the lack of better tools.

Objectives: To establish a practical and automated triage tool based on readily available clinical data to rapidly determine a distinction between patients who are prone to respiratory failure.

Methods: The electronic medical records of COVID-19 patients admitted to the Sheba Medical Center March–April 2020 were analyzed. Population data extraction and exploration were conducted using a MDClone (Israel) big data platform. Patients were divided into three groups: non-intubated, intubated within 24 hours, and intubated after 24 hours. The NEWS and our model where applied to all three groups and a best fit prediction model for the prediction of respiratory failure was established.

Results: The cohort included 385 patients, 42 of whom were eventually intubated, 15 within 24 hours or less. The NEWS score was significantly lower for the non-intubated patients compared to the two other groups. Our improved model, which included NEWS elements combined with other clinical data elements, showed significantly better performance. The model's receiver operating characteristic curve had area under curve (AUC) of 0.92 with of sensitivity 0.81, specificity 0.89, and negative predictive value (NPV) 98.4% compared to AUC of 0.63 with NEWS. As patients deteriorate and require further support with supplemental O2, the need for re-triage emerges. Our model was able to identify those patients on supplementary O2 prone to respiratory failure with an AUC of 0.86 sensitivity 0.95, and specificity 0.7 NPV 98.9%, whereas NEWS had an AUC of 0.76. For both groups positive predictive value was approximately 35%.

Conclusions: Our model, based on readily available and simple clinical parameters, showed an excellent ability to predict negative outcome among patients with COVID-19 and therefore might be used as an initial screening tool for patient triage in emergency departments and other COVID-19 specific areas of the hospital.

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