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עמוד בית
Sat, 13.04.24

Search results


February 2022
Assaf Shelef MD MHA, Sagit Dahan RN MA, Shira Weizman MD, and Esther Bloemhof Bris MA

Background: Risk factors for severe coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) infection include old age, chronic illness, and neurological conditions. In contrast, high vitamin D levels are known to augment immune activity and to reduce the severity of viral infections. Recently, a possible association between the likelihood of COVID-19 infection, COVID-19 severity, and vitamin D blood levels was reported.

Objective: To assess the possible association between vitamin D long-term supplementation and COVID-19 symptomatic severity and complications of COVID-19 infection in elderly psychiatric inpatients, a high at-risk group.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective case series study. Data of 14 elderly COVID-19 positive inpatients, presenting with dementia or schizophrenia and other medical conditions were extracted from medical records. All patients maintained a 800 IU daily dose of vitamin D prior to the infection.

Results: Most of the inpatients were asymptomatic or presented very few symptoms. No need for intensive care unit intervention or deaths were reported. Cognitive functioning of the patients remained unchanged.

Conclusions: Pre-existing vitamin D supplementation may reinforce immunity and reduce COVID-19 severity in elderly psychiatric inpatients.

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

December 2021
Galit Hirsh-Yechezkel PhD, Angela Chetrit MHA, Sivan Ben Avraham MSc, Abed Agbarya MD, Alexander Yakobson MD, Noam Asna MD, Gil Bar-Sela MD, Irit Ben-Aharon MD PhD, Noa Efrat Ben-Baruch MD, Raanan Berger MD PhD, Ronen Brenner MD, Maya Gottfried MD, Shani Paluch-Shimon MBBS MSc, Raphael Pfeffer MD, Aron Popovtzer MD, Larisa Ryvo MD, Valeriya Semenisty MD, Ayelet Shai MD PhD, Katerina Shulman MD, Jamal Zidan MD, and Ido Wolf MD

Background: The increased susceptibility of cancer patients to coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) infections and complications calls for special precautions while treating cancer patients during COVID-19 pandemics. Thus, oncology departments have had to implement a wide array of prevention measures.

Objectives: To address issues associated with cancer care during the COVID-19 pandemic and to assess the implementation of measures aimed at containment of COVID-19 diffusion while allowing continuation of quality cancer care.

Methods: A national survey among oncology departments in Israel was conducted between 12 April 2020 and 14 April 2020. Eighteen heads of hospital-based oncology departments completed a self-report questionnaire regarding their institute's preparedness for treatment of cancer patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Results: In this national survey, prevention measures against COVID-19 spread were taken prior to patients' arrival and at arrival or while staying in the departments. Most participants (78–89%) reported using a quick triage of patients and caregivers prior to their entrance to the oncology units, limiting the entrance of caregivers, and reducing unnecessary visits to the clinic. Switching to oral therapies rather than intravenous ones when possible was considered by 82% and shortage in personal protective equipment was reported by five (28%) heads of oncology departments. Some differences between large and small/medium sized medical centers were observed regarding issues related to COVID-19 containment measures and changes in treatment.

Conclusions: Oncology departments in Israel were able to prepare and adapt their services to guidelines and requirements related to the COVID-19 pandemic with little harm to their treatment capacity

November 2021
Guy Feldman MD, Yoram A. Weil MD, Ram Mosheiff MD, Amit Davidson MD, Nimrod Rozen MD PhD, and Guy Rubin MD

Background: Toward the end of 2019, the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic began to create turmoil for global health organizations. The illness, caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), spreads by droplets and fomites and can rapidly lead to life-threatening lung disease, especially for the old and those with health co-morbidities. Treating orthopedic patients, who presented with COVID-19 while avoiding nosocomial transmission, became of paramount importance.

Objectives: To present relevant methods for pandemic control and hospital accommodation with emphasis on orthopedic surgery.

Methods: We searched search PubMed and Google Scholar electronic databases using the following keywords: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, screening tools, personal protective equipment, and surgery triage.

Results: We included 25 records in our analysis. The recommendations from these records were divided into the following categories: COVID-19 disease, managing orthopedic surgery in the COVID-19 era, general institution precautions, triage of orthopedic surgeries, preoperative assessment, surgical room setting, personal protection equipment, anesthesia, orthopedic surgery technical precautions, and department stay and rehabilitation.

Conclusions: Special accommodations tailored for each medical facility, based on disease burden and available resources can improve patient and staff safety and reduce elective surgery cancellations. This article will assist orthopedic surgeons during the COVID-19 medical crisis, and possibly for future pandemics

October 2021
Anat Ekka Zohar PhD, Jennifer Kertes MPH, Erica Cohen-Iunger MPH MD, Ilya Novikov PhD, Naama Shamir Stein MA, Sharon Hermoni Alon MD, and Miri Mizrahi Reuveni MD

Background: Israel has experienced three waves of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) infection since late February 2020, with lockdown and other measures employed to contain infection rates. In cooperation with the Israel Ministry of Health, serological testing was conducted by all four health maintenance organizations (HMO) in order to estimate national infection rates and the proportion of previously undetected disease.

Objectives: To estimate the proportion of the population that was seropositive, identify factors associated with seropositive outcome, and approximate the proportion of residents that were asymptomatic.

Methods: Seroconversion rates (IgG) were measured in a representative sample of over 17,000 members of Maccabi Healthcare Services. Direct standardization was used to estimate the seropositive rates for COVID-19 infection for members of the HMO. Rates were adjusted for sensitivity and specificity of the testing products used. In addition to blood sampling, respondents were asked to complete a digital survey regarding potential exposures and symptoms experienced.

Results: It was estimated that 1.9% of the adult HMO population was seropositive 4 months after the first infected person was identified in the country. Seroconversion was associated with travel abroad and exposure to infected individuals. Loss of smell and taste, fever, cough, and fatigue are associated with infection. Of those found to be seropositive for COVID-19, 160 (59%) had a prior negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or no PCR test at all.

Conclusions: Adult seropositive rates of infection were low relative to other countries. The findings suggest that early initiatives to limit infection entry and spread were effective

Shay Brikman MD, Guy Dori MD PhD, Carmel Kasher MD, Anna Yanovskay MD, Merav Strauss PhD, Raul Colodner PhD, Naiel Bisharat MD, and Bibiana Chazan MD

Background: Patients with severe coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) are susceptible to superimposed infections.

Objectives: To describe COVID-19 patients who presented with complications due to Candida bloodstream co-infection (candidemia) and their outcome in a single center in northern Israel (Emek Medical Center) during the second outbreak of COVID-19 in Israel (15 June 2020 to 20 September 2020).

Methods: A retrospective study of COVID-19 patients presenting with candidemia was conducted, including clinical and laboratory data. The incidence of candidemia among hospitalized COVID-19 patients was compared to a historical cohort of non-COVID-19 controls.

Results: Three COVID-19 patients complicated with candidemia were documented. All three patients died shortly after the detection of candidemia. Three different Candida sp. were isolated from the blood cultures: C. albicans, C. parapsilosis, and C. glabrata. The incidence of candidemia among COVID-19 patients was 0.679 episodes per 1000 hospital days.

Conclusions: Our small sample suggests a much higher incidence of candidemia among COVID-19 patients compared to a historical cohort of non-COVID-19 controls. All clinicians treating COVID-19 patients in GICU should be aware of this complication

August 2021
Shai Shemesh MD, Alex Bebin MD, Nadav Niego MD, and Tal Frenkel Rutenberg MD

Background: Hip fractures in elderly patients are a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Variability in length of hospital stay (LOS) was evident in this population. The coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic led to prompt discharge of effected patients in order to reduce contagion risk. LOS and discharge destination in COVID-19 negative patients has not been studied.

Objectives: To evaluate the LOS and discharge destination during the COVID-19 outbreak and compare it with a similar cohort in preceding years.

Methods: A retrospective study was conducted comparing a total of 182 consecutive fragility hip fracture patients operated on during the first COVID-19 outbreak to patients operated on in 2 preceding years. Data regarding demographic, co-morbidities, surgical management, hospitalization, as well as surgical and medical complications were retrieved from electronic charts.

Results: During the pandemic 67 fragility hip fracture patients were admitted (COVID group); 55 and 60 patients were admitted during the same time periods in 2017 and 2018, respectively (control groups). All groups were of similar age and gender. Patients in the COVID group had significantly shorter LOS (7.2 ± 3.3 vs. 8.9 ± 4.9 days, P = 0.008) and waiting time for a rehabilitation facility (7.2 ± 3.1 vs. 9.3 ± 4.9 days, P = 0.003), but greater prevalence of delirium (17.9% vs. 7% of patients, P = 0.028). In hospital mortality did not differ among groups.

Conclusions: LOS and time to rehabilitation were significantly shorter in the COVID group. Delirium was more common in this group, possibly due to negative effects of social distancing.

Ilia Prosso MD, Nugzar Oren MD, Gilad Livshits MD, and Dror Lakstein MD

Background: The coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic had enormous impact on many aspects of our society, including huge medical, social, and economic challenges.

Objective: To evaluate the impact of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and the related movement restrictions on the incidence of hip fractures in different age groups.

Methods: This single center retrospective observational study included all patients over 60 years old admitted to our hospital with the diagnosis of hip fracture during March and April 2020. Exclusion criteria were periprosthetic or pathologic fractures and multitrauma. We collected the same data on all patients with hip fractures admitted during March and April of 2018 and 2019.

Results: Mean patient age increased from 81.7 to 85.0 years. Only two of 49 patients tested positive for COVID-19. The data show a decrease of 38% in fracture load, but a striking decrease of 85% and 59% among sexagenarians and septuagenarian, respectively. There was no decrease among nonagenarians. Early mortality, both at 30 days and 90 days, was twice as common during the pandemic. However, stratification by age group demonstrated that the risks of early mortality were the same as previous years. Mean waiting time for surgery decreased from 27.5 to 18.9 hours. Patient discharge to home over a rehabilitation facility increased from 9% to 17%.

Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic affected the epidemiology of hip fractures in the elderly. The incidence of fractures and age distribution were significantly different from other years. Discharge destinations were also affected. The management of hip fracture patients was not compromised.

Yaniv Steinfeld MD, Merav Ben Natan RN MBA PhD, Yaniv Yonai MD, and Yaron Berkovich MD

Background: Little is known regarding the impact of the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on the incidence of hip fractures among older adults

Objectives: To compare the characteristics of patients with a hip fracture following a fall during the COVID-19 pandemic year and during the preceding year.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of older patients who had undergone surgery for hip fracture repair in a major 495-bed hospital located in northern central Israel following a fall. Characteristics of patients who had been hospitalized in 2020 (pandemic year, n=136) and in 2019 (non-pandemic year, n=151) were compared.

Results: During the pandemic year, patients were less likely to have fallen in a nursing facility, to have had muscle or balance problems, and to have had a history of falls and fractures following a fall. Moreover, the average length of stay (LOS) in the hospital was shorter; however, the average time from the injury to hospitalization was longer. Patients were less likely to have acquired a postoperative infection or to have died. During the pandemic year, postoperative infection was only associated with prolonged LOS.

Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic may have had a positive impact on the behavior of older adults as well as on the management of hip fracture patients. However, healthcare providers should be aware of the possible reluctance to seek care during a pandemic. Moreover, further research on the impact of the change in management during COVID-19 on hip fracture survival is warranted

Nissan Amzallag MD MHA, Shai Factor MD, Ittai Shichman MD, Tomer Ben-Tov MD, and Amal Khoury MD

Background: Surgery for hip fractures within 48 hours of admission is considered standard. During the lockdown period due to the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) epidemic, our medical staff was reduced.

Objectives: To compare the demographics, treatment pathways, and outcomes of patients with hip fractures during the COVID-19 epidemic and lockdown with the standard at routine times.

Methods: A retrospective study was conducted of all patients who were treated surgically for hip fracture in a tertiary center during the COVID-19 lockdown period between 01 March and 01 June 2020 and the equivalent period in 2019. Demographic characteristics, time to surgery, surgery type, hospitalization time, discharge destination, postoperative complications, and 30- and 90-day mortality rates were collected for all patients.

Results: During the COVID-19 period, 105 patients were operated due to hip fractures compared to 136 in the equivalent period with no statistical difference in demographics. The rate of surgeries within 48 hours of admission was significantly higher in the COVID-19 period (92% vs. 76%, respectively; P = 0.0006). Mean hospitalization time was significantly shorter (10 vs. 12 days, P = 0.037) with diversion of patient discharge destinations from institutional to home rehabilitation (P < 0.001). There was a significant correlation between the COVID-19 period and lower 90-day mortality rates (P = 0.034). No statistically significant differences in postoperative complications or 30-day mortality rates were noted.

Conclusions: During the COVID-19 epidemic, despite the limited staff and the lack of therapeutic sequence, there was no impairment in the quality of treatment and a decrease in 90-day mortality was noted.

July 2021
Moshe Y. Flugelman MD, Ruth Margalit MD, Ami Aronheim PhD, Omri Barak PhD, Assaf Marom MD PhD, Katya Dolnikov MD, Eyal Braun MD, Ayelet Raz-Pasteur MD, Zaher S. Azzam MD, David Hochstein MD, Riad Haddad MD, Rachel Nave PhD, Arieh Riskin MD, Dan Waisman MD, Robert Glueck MD, Michal Mekel MD, Yael Avraham BSc, Uval Bar-Peled BSc, Ronit Kacev MA, Michal Keren BA, Amir Karban MD, and Elon Eisenberg MD

Background: The coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic forced drastic changes in all layers of life. Social distancing and lockdown drove the educational system to uncharted territories at an accelerated pace, leaving educators little time to adjust.

Objectives: To describe changes in teaching during the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: We described the steps implemented at the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology Faculty of Medicine during the initial 4 months of the COVID-19 pandemic to preserve teaching and the academic ecosystem. 

Results: Several established methodologies, such as the flipped classroom and active learning, demonstrated effectiveness. In addition, we used creative methods to teach clinical medicine during the ban on bedside teaching and modified community engagement activities to meet COVID-19 induced community needs. 

Conclusions: The challenges and the lessons learned from teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic prompted us to adjust our teaching methods and curriculum using multiple online teaching methods and promoting self-learning. It also provided invaluable insights on our pedagogy and the teaching of medicine in the future with emphasis on students and faculty being part of the changes and adjustments in curriculum and teaching methods. However, personal interactions are essential to medical school education, as are laboratories, group simulations, and bedside teaching

Avishai M. Tsur MD MHA, Amitai Ziv MD MHA, and Howard Amital MD MHA
June 2021
Elchanan Parnasa MD, Amram Kupietzky MD, Maya Korem MD, and Murad Daana MD
Ariel Zilberlicht MD, Dan Abramov MD, Nir Kugelman MD, Ofer Lavie MD, Yossef Elias CPA, and Yoram Abramov MD

Background: The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease that presents an urgent challenge to global health and economy.

Objectives: To assess the effects of population median age and mean ambient temperature on the COVID-19 global pandemic burden.

Methods: We used databases from open access public domains to record population median age, mean ambient temperature, and the numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths on days 14 and 28 from the pandemic outbreak for each country in the world. We then calculated the correlation between these parameters.

Results: The analysis included 202 countries. A univariate analysis showed that population median age significantly correlated with the cumulative number of cases and deaths, while mean ambient temperature showed a significant inverse correlation with the cumulative number of deaths on days 14 and 28 from the epidemic outbreak. After a multivariate logistic regression analysis only population median age retained its statistically significant correlation.

Conclusions: Country population median age significantly correlated with COVID-19 pandemic burden while mean ambient temperature shows a significant inverse correlation only in univariate analysis. Countries with older populations encountered a heavier burden from the COVID-19 pandemic. This information may be valuable for health systems in planning strategies for combating this global health hazard.

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