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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.

February 2023
Amir Dagan MD, Ester Rabin MD

A 65-year-old male with a medical history of diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney failure, and ulcerative colitis arrived at our facility with knee monoarthritis. The knee was tapped with 40 cc pus-like discharge [Figure 1A]. He was referred for a knee lavage with a working diagnosis of septic arthritis. The patient was afebrile, denied trauma, without neutrophilia on blood count.

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].

July 2021
Nir Stanescu MD, Keren Wood MD, Tal Greenberg MD, Marina Maklakovski MD, Avi Rubinov MD, and Amir Dagan MD
December 2020
Daphna Vilozni PhD, Adi Dagan MD, Ifat Sarouk MD, Bat-El Bar-Aluma MD, Moshe Ashkenazi MD, Yael Bezalel MD, and Ori Efrati MD

Background: The single-breath diffusing capacity of the lungs (DLCOSB) test measures the extent to which carbon monoxide (CO) passes from the lung air sacs into the blood. The accessible alveolar volume (VASB) is measured by inert gas during a 10-second period. The single-breath transfer coefficient of the lung for carbon monoxide (KCOSB) is the DLCOSB divided by VASB. Cystic fibrosis (CF) disease comprises progressive airway obstruction with bronchiectasis and parenchyma fibrosis. Yet, the KCOSB appears insignificant in the assessment of pulmonary function in CF.

Objectives: To challenge the precision of normal KCOSB in CF.

Methods: The authors collected pulmonary function tests (PFT) data from 74 confirmed CF patients (mean age 26 ± 10 years) with various levels of pulmonary disease severity. Tests included spirometry, DLCOBP, and body plethysmography (BP). Anatomical dead space was calculated by deducting anatomical dead space from total lung capacity TLC(BP) to establish alveolar volume (VABP) and to determine KCOBP. We also included individual data of arterial pCO2 blood-gas level.  

Results: KCOSB values were normal or higher in most patients, regardless of patient FEV1 value (R2 = 0.2204; P < 0.02). In contrast, the measurements of KCOBP were low corresponding with low FEV1 values, and negatively correlated with the elevation of trapped air and pCO2 levels (R2 = 0.1383; P = 0.0133, P > 0.05, respectively).

Conclusions: The 10- second perfusion time of the inert gas during DLCOSB represent the communicative alveolar volume in CF patients with advanced pulmonary disease. The findings justify the use of DLCOSB with the deterioration of FEV1 and elevation of pCO2 levels.

September 2020
Anna Shklovsky-Kordi MD, Renana Gelernter MD, Matitiahu Berkovitch MD, Zahi Dagan MD and Eran Kozer MD

Background: Acetaminophen is the most common drug involved in pediatric poisonings, both intentionally and accidentally, and is the leading cause of acute liver failure among all age groups.

Objectives: To define the characteristics of patients admitted to a pediatric emergency department (ED) where serum acetaminophen concentrations were measured, and to determine which variables are associated with significant risk of acetaminophen toxicity.

Methods: Acetaminophen serum concentrations were measured, in a retrospective case series, of patients younger than 18 years who had been admitted to the ED at Shamir Medical Center between 1 January 2008 and 31 December 2015.

Results: During the study period 180,174 children were admitted to the ED. Acetaminophen serum concentrations were measured in 209 (0.12%) patients. Mean age was 12.4 ± 5.9 years. Elevated liver enzymes were found in 12 patients, 5 of whom had documented acute liver injury. All five were older than 11years.Two cases of acute liver injury were attributable to acetaminophen ingestion. In both cases the cause was intentional overdose. Univariate analysis showed a significant (P < 0.05) correlation between detectable acetaminophen blood level and a positive history of drug or acetaminophen ingestion, and suicide attempt. Not all children with non-severe acetaminophen poisoning had been diagnosed during the study period. A positive history of acetaminophen ingestion was associated with a 28-fold higher risk for detectable acetaminophen blood level.

Conclusions: In the absence of a positive history of acetaminophen ingestion and in young children with accidental intoxication, the risk of hepatotoxicity is relatively low.

 

August 2020
Shani Dahan MD, Gad Segal MD, Itai Katz MD, Tamer Hellou MD, Michal Tietel MD, Gabriel Bryk MD, Howard Amital MD, Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaACR and Amir Dagan MD

Background: Ferritin, the cellular protein storage for iron, has emerged as a key molecule in the immune system, orchestrating the cellular defense against inflammation. At the end of 2019, the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) rapidly spread throughout China and other countries around the world, resulting in a viral pandemic.

Objectives: To evaluate the correlation between ferritin and disease severity in coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19).

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, we obtained clinical and laboratory data regarding 39 hospitalized patients with confirmed COVID-19 from two hospitals in Israel.

Results: A significant increase in ferritin levels was demonstrated in patients with moderate and severe disease, compared to patients with mild disease (P = 0.006 and 0.005, respectively). Severe patients had significantly higher levels of ferritin (2817.6 ng/ml) than non-severe patients (708.6 ng/ml) P = 0.02.

Conclusions: In this preliminary cross-sectional study, elevated ferritin levels were shown to correlate with disease severity in 39 patients from Israel with confirmed COVID-19 infection. Our results further strengthen the hypothesis that severe COVID-19 disease might be due to an underlying dysregulated hyperimmune response. In order to identify these patients early and prioritized resources, we believe that all patients with COVID-19 should be screened for hyperferritinemia.

March 2019
Ortal Fallek Boldes BSc, Shani Dahan MD, Yahel Segal MD, Dana Ben-Ami Shor MD, Robert K. Huber MD, Iris Barshack MD, Yuval Horowitz MD, Gad Segal MD and Amir Dagan MD

Background: Pericardial biopsies are rarely performed during the diagnosis and management of pericardial diseases. The circumstances and clinical profile of patients undergoing pericardial biopsies are largely uncharacterized.



Objectives: To examine the circumstances in which pericardial biopsies are obtained and to evaluate their diagnostic yield.



Methods: We studied a total of 100 cases (71% males, mean age 60.8 years, range 8.1–84.5 years) of surgically resected pericardium specimens obtained from 2000 to 2015 at Sheba Medical Center, the largest medical center in Israel. Patients were classified into groups according to four major histological etiologies: idiopathic pericarditis, constrictive pericarditis, malignant pericarditis, and post-cardiac injury syndrome (PCIS). The clinical history and course, laboratory, echocardiography, and histological results were reviewed retrospectively.



Results: Causes of pericarditis according to histological definitions included idiopathic pericarditis (29%), constrictive pericarditis (29%), PCIS (9%), and malignant pericarditis (26%). Overall sensitivity of the pericardial biopsy in patients with malignancy was 57.7%. During the study period, we found a trend toward an increased number of biopsies due to constrictive pericarditis and PCIS, along with a decrease in the number of biopsies performed in patients with malignant or idiopathic pericarditis. The diagnosis following biopsy did not change for any of the patients.



Conclusions: Our findings suggest a low diagnostic yield from pericardial biopsies, especially in malignant pericarditis. This conclusion, along with novel therapies, resulted in the infrequent use of pericardial biopsy in recent years.

March 2018
Narin N. Carmel-Neiderman MD, Idan Goren MD, Yishay Wasserstrum MD, Tal Frenkel Rutenberg MD, Irina Barbarova MD, Avigal Rapoport MD, Dor Lotan MD, Erez Ramaty MD, Naama Peltz-Sinvani MD, Adi Brom MD, Michael Kogan MD, Yulia Panina MD, Maya Rosman MD, Carmel Friedrich MD, Irina Gringauz MD, Amir Dagan MD, Iris Kliers MD, Tomer Ziv-Baran PhD and Gad Segal MD

Background: Accurate pulse oximetry reading at hospital admission is of utmost importance, mainly for patients presenting with hypoxemia. Nevertheless, there is no accepted or evidence-based protocol for such structured measuring.

Objectives: To devise and assess a structured protocol intended to increase the accuracy of pulse oximetry measurement at hospital admission.

Methods: The authors performed a prospective comparison of protocol-based pulse-oximetry measurement with non-protocol based readings in consecutive patients at hospital admission. They also calculated the relative percentage of improvement for each patient (before and after protocol implementation) as a fraction of the change in peripheral capillary oxygen saturation (SpO2) from 100%.

Results: A total of 460 patients were recruited during a 6 month period. Implementation of a structured measurement protocol significantly changed saturation values. The SpO2 values of 24.7% of all study participants increased after protocol implementation (ranging from 1% to 21% increase in SpO2 values). Among hypoxemic patients (initial SpO2 < 90%), protocol implementation had a greater impact on final SpO2 measurements, increasing their median SpO2 readings by 4% (3–8% interquartile range; P < 0.05). Among this study population, 50% of the cohort improved by 17% of their overall potential and 25% improved by 50% of their overall improvement potential. As for patients presenting with hypoxemia, the median improvement was 31% of their overall SpO2 potential.

Conclusions: Structured, protocol based pulse-oximetry may improve measurement accuracy and reliability. The authors suggest that implementation of such protocols may improve the management of hypoxemic patients.

August 2017
Amir Dagan MD, Chen Avaky MD, Michael Ehrenfeld MD and Gad Segal MD
July 2017
Amir Dagan, Naim Mahroum, Gad Segal, Shmuel Tiosano, Abdulla Watad, Doron Comaneshter, Arnon D. Cohen and Howard Amital

Background: Patients with giant cell arteritis (GCA) suffer from inflammatory diseases often treated by large amounts of corticosteroids. Whether this inflammatory burden also carries an increased risk for cardiovascular morbidity, and especially ischemic heart disease, is not clearly established.

Objectives: To clarify the linkage between GCA and ischemic heart disease. 

Methods: In a cross-sectional study, we assessed the association between GCA and ischemic heart disease, adjusting for cardiovascular risk factors, among GCA patients and matched controls using the database of the largest healthcare provider in Israel.

Results: The study group was comprised of 5659 GCA patients and 28,261 age and gender matched controls. The proportion of ischemic heart disease was higher in the GCA group (27.5% vs. 12.5% among controls, odds ratio 2.65). Diabetes mellitus, hypertension, hyperlipidemia and smoking were also found to have higher concurrency in GCA. After stratifying for those cardiovascular co-morbidities using logistic regression, GCA remained independently associated with ischemic heart disease with an odds ratio of 1.247 (1.146–1.357 P < 0.001).

Conclusions: GCA is associated with both cardiovascular risk factors and ischemic heart disease. Healthcare professionals should not overlook this aspect of the disease when managing GCA patients. 

 

December 2016
Amit Dagan MD and Ovadia Dagan MD

Background: Early surgical correction of congenital heart malformations in neonates and small infants may be complicated by acute kidney injury (AKI), which is associated with higher morbidity and mortality rates, especially in patients who require dialysis. Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is considered the best measurement of renal function which, in neonates and infants, is highly dependent on heart function. 

Objective: To determine whether measurements of creatinine clearance after open heart surgery in neonates and young infants can serve as an early indicator of surgical success or AKI.

Method: We conducted a prospective observational study in 19 neonates and small infants (body weight < 5 kg) scheduled for open heart surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass. Urine collection measurement of creatinine clearance and albumin excretion was performed before and during surgery and four times during 48 hours after surgery.

Results: Mean creatinine clearance was lowest during surgery (25.2 ± 4. ml/min/1.73 m2) and increased significantly in the first 16 hours post-surgery (45.7 ± 6.3 ml/min/1.73 m2). A similar pattern was noted for urine albumin which was highest during surgery (203 ± 31 µg/min) and lowest (93 ± 20 µg/min) 48 hours post-surgery. AKI occurred in four patients, and two patients even required dialysis. All six showed a decline in creatinine clearance and an increase in urine albumin between 8 and 16 hours post-surgery. 

Conclusions: In neonates and small infants undergoing open heart surgery, a significant improvement in creatinine clearance in the first 16 hours postoperatively is indicative of a good surgical outcome. This finding has important implications for the early evaluation and treatment of patients in the intensive care unit on the first day post-surgery.

 

October 2016
Yuval Glick MD, Erez N. Baruch MD, Avishai M. Tsur MD, Amy L. Berg MD, Dror Yifrah MBA MHA, Avraham Yitzhak MD, David Dagan MD MHA and Tarif Bader MD MHA

Background: During the past 6 years the Israel Defense Forces Medical Corps (IDF-MC) deployed three humanitarian delegation field hospitals (HDFHs) in disaster zones around the globe: Haiti (2010), the Philippines (2013), and Nepal (2015). 

Objectives: To compare the activity of these HDFHs and the characteristics of the patients they served.

Methods: This retrospective study was based on the HDFHs’ operation logs and patients medical records. The study population included both the staff who participated and the patients who were treated in any of the three HDFHs.

Results: The Philippine HDFH was a "hybrid" type, i.e., it was integrated with a local hospital. Both the Haitian and the Nepali HDFHs were the "stand-alone" type, i.e., were completely autonomic in resources and in function. The Nepali HDFH had a larger staff, departed from Israel 4 hours earlier and was active 7 hours earlier as compared to the Haitian one. In total, 5465 patients, 55% of them female, were treated in the three HDFHs. In Haiti, Nepal and the Philippines, disaster-related injuries accounted for 66%, 26% and 2% of the cases, respectively. Disaster-related injuries presented mainly in the first days of the HDFHs' activity.

Conclusions: The next HDFH should be planned to care for a significant proportion of routine medical illnesses. The IDF-MC continuous learning process will enable future HDFHs to save more lives as we "extend a helping hand" to foreign populations in crisis. 

 

June 2016
Rona Dagan BSc, Roxana Cleper MD, Miriam Davidovits MD, Levana Sinai-Trieman MD and Irit Krause MD

Background: The incidence of post-infectious glomerulonephritis (PIGN) has decreased over the last decades. As a result, recent epidemiological data from industrialized countries are scarce. 

Objectives: To evaluate patterns of PIGN in children and detect possible predictors of disease severity.

Methods: We collected clinical and laboratory data of patients with PIGN admitted to Schneider Children's Medical Center during 1994–2011. Diagnostic criteria included presence of hematuria with/without other features of nephritic syndrome along with hypocomplementemia and/or microbiological/serological evidence of streptococcal infection. Patients with other diseases (systemic lupus erythematosus, vasculitis, etc.) were excluded from the study. 

Results: A total of 125 patients with a mean age of 5.8 ± 3.3 years (range 1.5–17.6), of whom 16% were < 3 years, matched the study criteria. Presenting features included hypertension in 103 (82.4%) patients, azotemia in 87 (70.2%), fever in 49 (40%), and elevated C-reactive protein in 75 (81.5%). Isolated macrohematuria was found in 21 (16%). Full-blown nephritic syndrome was diagnosed in 51 patients (41.1%) and 28 (22.9%) had nephritic syndrome with nephrotic-range proteinuria. Depressed C3 complement levels were associated with the presence of nephritic syndrome (OR 0.73, 95%CI 0.60–0.88, P = 0.001) as well as older age (OR1.24, CI 1.08–1.43, P = 0.001). At last follow-up (mean 42 months) all examined patients (100 of 125) had normal renal function, 6 had hypertension, and 1 had proteinuria.

Conclusions: PIGN remains an important cause of glomerular disease in children and may affect very young patients. Nephrotic-range proteinuria with hypoalbuminemia seems to be more frequent than previously reported. Hypocomplementemia is associated with a more severe disease course, namely, azotemia and nephritic syndrome. 

 

April 2016
Paula R. David, Amir Dagan MD, Maartje Colaris MD, Mintsje de Boer MD, Jan W. Cohen Tervaert MD and Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaCR
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