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עמוד בית
Fri, 01.03.24

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February 2024
David J. Ozeri MD, Adiel Cohen MD, Noa Bacharach MD, Offir Ukashi MD, Amit Oppenheim MD

Background: Completing internal medicine specialty training in Israel involves passing the Israel National Internal Medicine Exam (Shlav Aleph), a challenging multiple-choice test. multiple-choice test. Chat generative pre-trained transformer (ChatGPT) 3.5, a language model, is increasingly used for exam preparation.

Objectives: To assess the ability of ChatGPT 3.5 to pass the Israel National Internal Medicine Exam in Hebrew.

Methods: Using the 2023 Shlav Aleph exam questions, ChatGPT received prompts in Hebrew. Textual questions were analyzed after the appeal, comparing its answers to the official key.

Results: ChatGPT 3.5 correctly answered 36.6% of the 133 analyzed questions, with consistent performance across topics, except for challenges in nephrology and biostatistics.

Conclusions: While ChatGPT 3.5 has excelled in English medical exams, its performance in the Hebrew Shlav Aleph was suboptimal. Factors include limited training data in Hebrew, translation complexities, and unique language structures. Further investigation is essential for its effective adaptation to Hebrew medical exam preparation.

October 2023
Rotem Tal-Ben Ishay MD MPH, Kobi Faierstein MD, Haim Mayan MD, Noya Shilo MD

Background: At the beginning of 2020, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic presented a new burden on healthcare systems.

Objectives: To evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the outcome of non-COVID patients in Israel.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective observational cohort study at a tertiary medical center in Israel. From December 2018 until June 2022, 6796 patients were hospitalized in the internal medicine wards. Patients were grouped based on their admission date: admitted during COVID waves (waves group), admitted between waves (interim group), and admitted during the same months in the previous year (former-year group).

Results: Mortality during hospitalization and 30-day mortality were higher in the waves group compared to the interim and former-year groups (41.4% vs. 30.5% and 24%, 19.4% vs. 17.9% and 12.9%, P < 0.001). In addition, 1-year mortality was higher in the interim group than in the waves and former-year group (39.1 % vs. 32.5% and 33.4%, P = 0.002). There were significant differences in the readmissions, both at 1 year and total number. The waves group had higher rates of mechanical ventilation and noradrenaline administration during hospitalization. Moreover, the waves group exhibited higher troponin levels, lower hemoglobin levels, and more abnormalities in liver and kidney function.

Conclusions: Hospitalized non-COVID patients experienced worse outcomes during the peaks of the pandemic compared to the nadirs and the preceding year, perhaps due to the limited availability of resources. These results underscore the importance of preparing for large-scale threats and implementing effective resource allocation policies.

January 2023
Maya Yakir MD, Adi Brom MD, Amitai Segev MD, Gad Segal MD

Background: The prognosis of long-term clinical outcomes for each patient is of utmost importance.

Objectives: To evaluate the association between rates of family attendance during rounds and long-term outcomes.

Methods: We conducted a historic cohort study.

Results: We followed 200 consecutive patients for a median of 19 months. Within the group of patients that had family members present in > 75% of rounds, the 30-day re-hospitalization rate was tenfold higher (P = 0.017). The overall prognosis (including median survival length) of patients who had the highest rates of family attendance (> 75%) was significantly worse compared to patients who had lower rates (P = 0.028). High rates of family attendance were found to correlate with other established risk factors for long-term mortality, including advanced age (r = 0.231, P = 0.001) and in-hospital delirium.

Conclusions: High family attendance during physician rounds in an internal medicine department is associated with worse patient prognosis.

November 2022
Howard Amital MD MHA and Avishay Elis MD

Internal medicine is no doubt one of the main pillars of modern medicine. For years it has been considered to be the basis and foundation of medical education and proper clinical service. During the recent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, internal medicine departments were recognized worldwide, and clearly in Israel, to be the true Corona Warriors that provided medical care to patients as well as support and comfort to families. Around the globe, the public applauded and appreciated the bravery of our medical staff, who without hesitation and under direct personal danger provided the best medical care possible despite the hardships of the time. The high personal price and even the heavy cost of staff member lives lost in offering medical care to the pubic did not stop our quest for ongoing medical research.

Regev Landau MD, Ana Belkin MD, Sapir Kon-Kfir MD, Nira Koren-Morag PhD, Avishay Grupper MD, David Shimunov MD, Ben-Ami Sela PhD, Ehud Grossman MD, Gadi Shlomai MD, Avshalom Leibowitz MD

Background: Most dyspneic patients in internal medicine departments have co-morbidities that interfere with the clinical diagnosis. The role of brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) levels is well-established in the acute setting but not in hospitalized patients.

Objectives: To evaluate the additive value of BNP tests in patients with dyspnea admitted to medical wards who did not respond to initial treatment.

Methods: We searched the records of patients who were hospitalized in the department of internal medicine D at Sheba Medical Center during 2012 and were tested for BNP in the ward. Data collected included co-morbidity, medical treatments, diagnosis at presentation and discharge, lab results including BNP, re-hospitalization, and mortality at one year following hospitalization.

Results: BNP results were found for 169 patients. BNP was taken 1.7 ± 2.7 days after hospitalization. According to BNP levels, dividing the patients into tertiles revealed three equally distributed groups with a distinctive character. The higher tertile was associated with higher rates of cardiac co-morbidities, including heart failure, but not chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Higher BNP levels were related to one-year re-hospitalization and mortality. In addition, higher BNP levels were associated with higher rates of in-admission diagnosis change.

Conclusions: BNP levels during hospitalization in internal medicine wards are significantly related to cardiac illness, the existence of heart failure, and patient prognosis. Thus, BNP can be a useful tool in managing dyspneic patients in this setting.

July 2021
Nadav Yehoshua Schacham MD, Arkady Schwarzman MD, Adi Brom MD, Mayan Gilboa MD, Asnat Groutz MD, and Dan Justo MD

Background: Screening for asymptomatic urinary retention (AUR) in older adult men at hospital admission to the internal medicine department has never been studied.

Objectives: To assess the incidence of AUR in older adult men at hospital admission, its risk factors, and its outcome.

Methods: The study comprised 111 older adult men aged ≥ 75 years who were admitted to three internal medicine departments. All men underwent post-void residual (PVR) urine volume measurement on the morning following admission by using a portable ultrasound bladder scan. AUR was defined as a PVR urine volume of ≥ 200 ml without symptoms. Men with AUR had a follow-up phone call concerning symptoms and urinary catheter status30 days following hospitalization.

Results: Seven (6.3%) men had AUR. Relative to the 104 men without AUR, they had significantly higher prevalence of severe dependency (6/7 vs. 33/104, 85.7% vs. 31.7%, (P = 0.007), cognitive impairment (5/7 vs. 19/104, 71.4% vs. 18.3%, P = 0.005), and use of anticholinergic agents (4/7 vs. 19/104, 57.1% vs. 18.3%, P = 0.033). A urinary catheter was inserted in one man (14.3%), but it was removed later during hospitalization. No symptoms were reported and no urinary catheter was inserted following hospitalization in men with AUR.

Conclusions: AUR in older adult men at hospital admission is uncommon and has a favorable outcome. Hence, screening for AUR in all older adult men at admission is not recommended, but it may be considered in severely dependent older adult men with cognitive impairment who use anticholinergic agents

May 2020
Edward Itelman MD, Yishay Wasserstrum MD, Amitai Segev MD, Chen Avaky MD, Liat Negru MD, Dor Cohen MD, Natia Turpashvili MD, Sapir Anani MD, Eyal Zilber MD, Nir Lasman MD, Ahlam Athamna MD, Omer Segal MD, Tom Halevy MD, Yehuda Sabiner MD, Yair Donin MD, Lital Abraham MD, Elisheva Berdugo MD, Adi Zarka MD, Dahlia Greidinger MD, Muhamad Agbaria MD, Noor Kitany MD, Eldad Katorza MD, Gilat Shenhav-Saltzman MD and Gad Segal MD

Background: In February 2020, the World Health Organisation designated the name COVID-19 for a clinical condition caused by a virus identified as a cause for a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China. The virus subsequently spread worldwide, causing havoc to medical systems and paralyzing global economies. The first COVID-19 patient in Israel was diagnosed on 27 February 2020.

Objectives: To present our findings and experiences as the first and largest center for COVID-19 patients in Israel.

Methods: The current analysis included all COVID-19 patients treated in Sheba Medical Center from February 2020 to April 2020. Clinical, laboratory, and epidemiological data gathered during their hospitalization are presented.

Results: Our 162 patient cohort included mostly adult (mean age of 52 ± 20 years) males (65%). Patients classified as severe COVID-19 were significantly older and had higher prevalence of arterial hypertension and diabetes. They also had significantly higher white blood cell counts, absolute neutrophil counts, and lactate dehydrogenase. Low folic acid blood levels were more common amongst severe patients (18.2 vs. 12.9 vs. 9.8, P = 0.014). The rate of immune compromised patients (12%) in our cohort was also higher than in the general population. The rate of deterioration from moderate to severe disease was high: 9% necessitated non-invasive oxygenation and 15% were intubated and mechanically ventilated. The mortality rate was 3.1%.

Conclusions: COVID-19 patients present a challenge for healthcare professionals and the whole medical system. We hope our findings will assist other providers and institutions in their care for these patients.

Gad Segal MD, Dror Mevorach MD, Avishay Elis MD and Dror Dicker MD and COVID-19 Task Force on behalf of the Israeli Society of Internal Medicine
October 2019
Galina Goltzman MD, Sivan Perl MD, Lior Cohen Mendel MD, Eyal Avivi MD and Micha J Rapoport MD

Background: C-reactive protein (CRP) blood level is associated with clinical outcomes of several diseases. However, the independent predictive role of CRP in the heterogeneous population of patients admitted to internal medicine wards is not known. 

Objectives: To determine whether single CRP levels at admission independently predicts clinical outcome and flow of patients in general medicine wards.

Methods: This study comprised 275 patients (50.5% female) with a mean age of 68.25 ± 17.0 years, hospitalized with acute disease in a general internal medicine ward. The association between admission CRP levels and clinical outcomes including mortality, the need for mechanical ventilation, duration of hospitalization, and re-admission within 6 months was determined.

Results: A significant association was found between CRP increments of 80 mg/L and risk for the major clinical outcomes measured. The mortality odds ratio (OR) was 1.89 (95% confidence interval (95%CI, 1.37–2.61, P < 0.001), mechanical ventilation OR 1.67 (95%CI, 1.10–2.34, P = 0.006), re-admission within 6 months OR 2.29 (95%CI, 1.66–3.15 P < 0.001), and prolonged hospitalization >7 days OR 2.09 (95%CI, 1.59–2.74, P < 0.001). Lower increments of10 mg/L in CRP levels were associated with these outcomes although with lower ORs. Using a stepwise regression model for admission CRP levels resulted in area under the receiver operating characteristics curves between 0.70 and 0.76 for these outcomes.

Conclusions: A single admission CRP blood level is independently associated with major parameters of clinical outcomes in acute care patients hospitalized in internal medicine wards.

November 2018
Shlomit Koren MD, Michael Yoshpa MD, Ronit Koren MD, Dror Cantrell MD and Micha J. Rapoport MD

Background: Basal-bolus (BB) insulin treatment is increasingly used in poorly controlled diabetes patients during hospitalization and is commonly recommended at discharge; however, the extent of adherence with this recommendation is unknown.

Objectives: To determine short-term adherence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) patients discharged from internal medicine wards with recommendation for BB insulin treatment.

Methods: Prescription (primary physician adherence) and purchase (patient adherence) of long-acting and short-acting insulins during the first month following discharge from internal medicine wards was determined in 153 T2DM patients. Adherence was defined as full if prescription/purchase of both basal (long-acting) and bolus (short-acting) insulin was completed, and as partial if only one kind of insulin (basal or bolus) was prescribed/purchased. Association between demographic and clinical parameters and adherence was determined.

Results: Full adherence with discharge instructions was higher for primary physicians than for patients )79.1% vs. 69.3%, respectively, P = 0.0182). Pre-hospitalization hemoglobin A1C was significantly associated with adherence by both patients and primary physicians (full-adherence group 9.04% ± 2.04%; no-adherence group 7.51% ± 1.35%, P = 0.002). Age was negatively associated with adherence of both primary physicians and patients; however, this association did not reach statistical significance. Patients with certain background diseases such as atrial fibrillation, coronary heart disease, and chronic heart failure had significantly worse adherence (P < 0.05). When the sole cause of admission was diabetes, full adherence (100%) of both primary physicians and patients was found.

Conclusions: Short-term adherence with discharge recommendation for BB insulin treatment is associated with pre-hospitalization patient characteristics.

May 2017
Shlomit Koren MD, Shani Zilberman-Itskovich MD, Ronit Koren MD, Keren Doenyas-Barak MD and Ahuva Golik MD

Background: Concerns about metformin-associated lactic acidosis (MALA) prohibit the use of metformin in a large subset of diabetic patients, mostly in patients with chronic kidney disease. Increasing evidence suggests that the current safety regulations may be overly restrictive.

Objectives: To examine the association between chronic metformin treatment and lactate level in acute illness on the first day of admission to an internal medicine ward.

Methods: We compared diabetic and non-diabetic hospitalized patients treated or not treated with metformin in different sets of kidney function.

Results: A total of 140 patients participated in the study, 54 diabetic patients on chronic metformin treatment, 33 diabetic patients without metformin and 53 patients with no diabetes. Most participants were admitted for conditions that prohibit metformin use, such as heart failure, hypoxia and sepsis. Average lactate level was significantly higher in the diabetes + metformin group compared to the diabetes non-metformin group. Metformin treatment was not associated with higher than normal lactate level (hyperlactatemia) or low pH. No patient was hospitalized for lactic acidosis as the main diagnosis.

Conclusions: Chronic metformin treatment mildly increases lactate level, but does not induce hyperlactatemia or lactic acidosis in acute illness on the first day of admission to an internal medicine ward. These data support the expansion of metformin use.

June 2015
Idit F. Liberty MD, Naim Abu Freha MD, Yael Baumfeld MD, Shlomi Codish MD MPH, Fransisc Schlaeffer MD and Victor Novack MD PhD

Abstract

Background: The impact of admission glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) on hospital outcome is controversial.

Objectives: To evaluate the association between admission glucose and HbA1c levels and mortality 1 year after hospitalization in the internal medicine ward.

Methods: HbA1c level of consecutive patients was measured during the first 24 hours of admission to the internal medicine ward and divided at the cutoff point of 6.5%. Three groups of patients were prospectively identified: patients with preexisting diabetes mellitus (DM), patients with glucose > 140 mg/dl (hyperglycemia) on admission and no known diabetes (H), and patients without diabetes or hyperglycemia (NDM). The primary end-point was 1 year all-cause mortality.

Results: A total of 1024 patients were enrolled, 592 (57.8%) belonged to the DM group, 119 (11.6%) to the H group and 313 (30.6%) to the NDM group. At 1 year, death occurred in 70 (11.9%) in the DM group, 12 (10.0%) in the H group and 15 (4.8%) in the NDM group (P = 0.002). Elevated admission glucose levels did not influence outcome in any of the groups. HbA1c levels were similar for survivors and non-survivors (P = 0.60). Within-group multivariate analysis adjusted for comorbidities and age showed that in the H group HbA1C levels of 6.5% or above were associated with increased mortality risk [hazard ratio (HR) 8.25, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.93–35.21). In the DM group, HbA1c levels below 6.5% were associated with increased mortality risk (HR = 2.05, 95%CI 1.25–3.36).

Conclusions: Glucose levels upon admission did not affect mortality. However, HbA1c levels below 6.5% had opposite effects on 1 year mortality in diabetes patients and patients with hyperglycemia.

July 2014
Aharon Erez MD, Omri Shental MD, Joseph Z. Tchebiner MD, Michal Laufer-Perl MD, Asaf Wasserman MD, Tal Sella MD and Hanan Guzner-Gur MD

Background: Serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) is elevated in various diseases. 

Objectives: To analyze serum LDH as a distinguishing clinical biomarker and as a predictor of in-hospital outcome in admitted medical patients.

Methods: We analyzed a cohort of all 158 patients with very high isolated LDH (LDH ≥ 800 IU/ml – without concomitant elevations of alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase) – admitted to our internal medicine department during a 3 year period. Epidemiologic and clinical data, as well as the final diagnosis and outcome were recorded and compared with those of a cohort of all 188 consecutive control patients.

Results: Very high isolated LDH was a distinguishing biomarker for the presence of cancer (27% vs. 4% in the LDH group and controls respectively, P < 0.0001), liver metastases (14% vs. 3%, P < 0.0001), hematologic malignancies (5% vs. 0%, P = 0.00019), and infection (57% vs. 28%, P < 0.0001). Very high isolated LDH was a marker for a severe prognosis, associated with more admission days (9.3 vs. 4.1, P < 0.0001), significantly more in-hospital major complications, and a high mortality rate (26.6% vs. 4.3%, P < 0.0001). Finally, very high isolated LDH was found in a multivariate regression analysis to be an independent predictor of mortality.

Conclusions: The presence of very high isolated LDH warrants thorough investigation for the presence of severe underlying disease, mostly metastatic cancer, hematologic malignancies and infection. Moreover, it is a marker for major in-hospital complications and is an independent predictor of mortality in admitted medical patients. 

August 2013
G. Segal, I. Alperson, Y. Levo and R. Hershkovitz
 Background: Predicting mortality is important in treatment planning and professional duty towards patients and their families.

Objectives: To evaluate the predictive value regarding patients' survival once the diagnosis of “general deterioration” replaces an ICD-9 diagnosis upon re-admission.

Methods: In a retrospective cohort case-control study, we screened the records of patients re-admitted at least three times during the past 2 years. For each patient's death during the third hospitalization, we matched (for age and gender) a patient who survived the third hospitalization. We evaluated 14 parameters potentially accountable for increased risk of mortality, e.g., length of stay at each admission, interval to re-admission, etc. We applied a multifactorial analysis using logistic regression to predict the risk of mortality during the third hospitalization as potentially affected by the aforementioned parameters.

Results: The study included 81 study patients and 81 controls. Of the 14 parameters potentially explaining an increased risk of mortality during the third hospitalization, several were found to be statistically significant. The most significant was the diagnostic switch from a specific ICD-9 diagnosis on first admission to the non-specific diagnosis of “general deterioration” at the second hospitalization. In such cases, the risk of death during the third hospitalization was increased by 5300% (odds ratio = 54, P = 0.008). The increased risk of mortality was not restricted to patients with malignancy as their background diagnosis.

Conclusions: At re-admission, a switch from disease-specific diagnosis to the obscure diagnosis “general deterioration” increases the subsequent risk of mortality.

 

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