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עמוד בית
Thu, 23.05.24

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May 2024
Oshrit Hoffer PhD, Moriya Cohen BS, Maya Gerstein MD, Vered Shkalim Zemer MD, Yael Richenberg MD, Shay Nathanson MD, Herman Avner Cohen MD

Background: Group A Streptococcus (GAS) is the predominant bacterial pathogen of pharyngitis in children. However, distinguishing GAS from viral pharyngitis is sometimes difficult. Unnecessary antibiotic use contributes to unwanted side effects, such as allergic reactions and diarrhea. It also may increase antibiotic resistance. 

Objectives: To evaluate the effect of a machine learning algorithm on the clinical evaluation of bacterial pharyngitis in children.

Methods: We assessed 54 children aged 2–17 years who presented to a primary healthcare clinic with a sore throat and fever over 38°C from 1 November 2021 to 30 April 2022. All children were tested with a streptococcal rapid antigen detection test (RADT). If negative, a throat culture was performed. Children with a positive RADT or throat culture were considered GAS-positive and treated antibiotically for 10 days, as per guidelines. Children with negative RADT tests throat cultures were considered positive for viral pharyngitis. The children were allocated into two groups: Group A streptococcal pharyngitis (GAS-P) (n=36) and viral pharyngitis (n=18). All patients underwent a McIsaac score evaluation. A linear support vector machine algorithm was used for classification.

Results: The machine learning algorithm resulted in a positive predictive value of 80.6 % (27 of 36) for GAS-P infection. The false discovery rates for GAS-P infection were 19.4 % (7 of 36).

Conclusions: Applying the machine-learning strategy resulted in a high positive predictive value for the detection of streptococcal pharyngitis and can contribute as a medical decision aid in the diagnosis and treatment of GAS-P.

July 2023
Maayan Diti Machnes MD, Herman Avner Cohen MD, Maya Gerstein MD, Yiska Loewenberg Weisband MD, Moriya Cohen MD, Moshe Hoshen PhD, Vered Shkalim Zemer MD

Background: Group A Streptococcus (GAS), the predominant bacterial pathogen of pharyngitis, is sometimes difficult to distinguish clinically from viral pharyngitis. Despite the high prevalence of viral pharyngitis in children, antibiotic treatment is common.

Objective: To investigate the effectiveness of an antibiotic stewardship program (ASP) on antibiotic prescription in children with GAS pharyngitis (GAS-P) at a large pediatric community clinic.

Methods: Antibiotic prescription data were collected from October 2016 to March 2017 (pre-intervention period) and from October 2017 to March 2018 (post-intervention period). The intervention was a one-day seminar for primary care pediatricians on the diagnosis and treatment of GAS-P in children according to national guidelines.

Results: The overall prevalence of testing differed between the two time periods. There was a decrease in children who did not undergo any testing (from 68% to 63%), an increase in streptococcal rapid antigen detection testing (28% to 32%), and a slight increase in throat cultures (3% to 4%) (p = 0.02). There was no change in the types of antibiotics prescribed before and after the intervention (p = 0.152).

Conclusions: The ASP resulted in a slight reduction in the percentage of children who did not undergo laboratory testing for GAS-P and a slight reduction in the percentage of children who received antibiotic treatment. The ASP did not reduce the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics and macrolides.

May 2022
Herman Avner Cohen MD, Maya Gerstein MD, Vered Shkalim Zemer MD, Sophia Heiman MD, Yael Richenberg MD, Eyal Jacobson MD, and Oren Berkowitz PhD PA-C

Background: On 18 March 2020, the Israeli Health Ministry issued lockdown orders to mitigate the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Objectives: To assess the association of lockdown orders on telemedicine practice and the effect of social distancing on infectious diseases in a primary care community pediatric clinic as well as the rate of referrals to emergency departments (ED) and trends of hospitalization.

Methods: Investigators performed a retrospective secondary data analysis that screened for visits in a large pediatric center from 1 January to 31 May 2020. Total visits were compared from January to December 2020 during the same period in 2019. Visits were coded during the first lockdown as being via telemedicine or in-person, and whether they resulted in ED referral or hospitalization. Month-to-month comparisons were performed as well as percent change from the previous year.

Results: There was a sharp decline of in-person visits (24%) and an increase in telemedicine consultations (76%) during the first lockdown (p < 0.001). When the lockdown restrictions were eased, there was a rebound of 50% in-person visits (p < 0.05). There was a profound decrease of visits for common infectious diseases during the lockdown period. Substantial decreases were noted for overall visits, ED referrals, and hospitalizations in 2020 compared to 2019.

Conclusions: COVID-19 had a major impact on primary care clinics, resulting in fewer patient-doctor encounters, fewer overall visits, fewer ED referrals, and fewer hospitalizations

November 2007
J. Meyerovitch, R. Goldman, H. Avner-Cohen, F. Antebi and M. Sherf

Background: The prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents in the western world has increased dramatically.

Objective: To assess the efficiency of routine childhood obesity screening by primary physicians in the pediatric population in Israel and the utilization of health services by overweight children.

Methods: The electronic medical records of children aged 60–83 months registered in 39 pediatric primary care centers between January 2001 and October 2004 (n=21,799) were reviewed. Those in whom height and weight were documented during a clinic visit (index visit) were classified as overweight, at risk of overweight, and normal weight by body mass index percentiles. The number of visits to the pediatrician, laboratory tests and health care costs 12 months after the index visit were calculated.

Results: Anthropomorphic measurements were performed in 1556 of the 15,364 children (10.1%) who visited the clinic during the study period. Of these, 398 (25.6%) were overweight, 185 (11.9%) were at risk of overweight, and 973 (62.5%) were normal weight. Children in the first two groups visited the clinic slightly more often than the third group, but the differences was not statistically significant (P = 0.12), and had significantly more laboratory tests than the rest of the children visiting the clinics (P = 0.053). Health care costs were 6.6% higher for the overweight than the normal-weight children.

Conclusions: Electronic medical records are a useful tool for population-based health care assessments. Current screening for obesity in children during routine care in Israel is insufficient and additional education of community pediatricians in diagnosis and intervention is urgently needed.

 
 

May 2005
D. Ben-Amitai, A. Metzker and H.A. Cohen
 Background: Mastocytosis is a heterogeneous group of diseases characterized by the abnormal infiltration of mast cells in the skin and, sometimes, other organs. Some patients may experience symptoms related to mast cell mediator release.

Objective: To analyze the clinical features of cutaneous mastocytosis in a large series of children.

Methods: We conducted a file review of all children clinically diagnosed with cutaneous mastocytosis in our department over the last 20 years. We evaluated gender, age at onset, character and distribution of the lesions, associated symptoms, and course of the disease.

Results: Altogether, 180 patients with cutaneous mastocytosis were identified. The male to female ratio was 1.5:1. About one-third of patients had a mastocytoma, which was present at birth in over 40% and appeared during the first year of life in most of the remainder. Urticaria pigmentosa was noted in 65% of the patients, presenting at birth in 20% and during the first year in most of the remainder. The majority of lesions was distributed over the trunk and limbs. Different kinds of associated symptoms were noted. Prognosis, in general, was good. Only 11% of the cases, all urticaria pigmentosa, were familial.

Conclusions: Most cases of pediatric mastocytosis are sporadic and appear during the first 2 years of life, especially on the trunk. Urticaria pigmentosa is the most frequent variant. The prognosis of pediatric mastocytosis, in general, is good. 

June 2002
E. Michael Sarrell, MD, Avigdor Mandelberg, MD, Herman Avner Cohen, MD and Ernesto Kahan, MD, MPH

Background: Primary care physicians' adherence to accepted asthma guidelines is necessary for the proper care of asthma patients.

Objectives: To investigate the compliance of primary care physicians with clinical guidelines for asthma treatment and their participation in related educational programs, and to evaluate the influence of their employment status.

Methods: A questionnaire was administered to a random sample of 1,000 primary care practitioners (pediatricians and family physicians) in Israel.

Results: The response rate was 64%. Of the physicians who participated, 473 (75%) had read and consulted the guidelines but only 192 (29%) had participated in an educational program on asthma management in the last 12 months. The younger the responding physician (fewer years in practice), the more likely his/her attendance in such a program (P<0.0001). After consulting the guidelines 189 physicians (40%) had modified their treatment strategies. Significantly more self-employed than salaried physicians had read the guidelines and participated in educational programs; physicians who were both self-employed and salaried fell somewhere between these groups. This trend was not influenced by years in practice.

Conclusions: All primary care physicians should update their knowledge more often. The publication of guidelines on asthma must be followed by their proper dissemination and utilization. Our study suggests that major efforts should be directed at the population of employed physicians.

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