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עמוד בית
Thu, 22.02.24

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April 2023
Avshalom Oziri MD, Michael Schnapper MD, Adi Ovadia MD, Shirli Abiri MD, Gila Meirson MD, Ilona Brantz RN, Osnat Blass Oziri, Diana Tasher MD, Avigdor Mandelberg MD, Ilan Dalal MD

Background: The global refugee crises have raised concerns among medical communities worldwide; nonetheless, access to healthcare has rarely been studied even though refugees are a medically high-risk group.

Objectives: To compare pediatric department admission rates from the pediatric emergency department (PED) of refugees and Israelis.

Methods: We compared data from refugee and Israeli children admitted to the pediatric department at Wolfson Medical Center in Israel between 2013–2017.

Results: A total of 104,244 patients (aged 0–18 years) came to the PED. Admission rate to the pediatric department for refugees was 695/2541 (27%) compared to 11,858/101,703 (11.7%) Israeli patients (P < 0.001). Hospital stay for patients 0–2-years of age was 3.22 ± 4.80 days for refugees vs. 2.78 ± 3.17 for Israelis (P < 0.03). Re-admission rate within 7 days was 1.3% for refugees and 2.6% for Israelis (P < 0.05). Dermatological diseases (e.g., impetigo and cellulitis) were more frequent in refugees (23.30% vs. 13.15%, P < 0.01); however, acute gastroenteritis and respiratory diagnoses were more common in Israelis (18.52% vs. 11.72%, P < 0.05 and 14.84% vs. 6.26%, P < 0.01, respectively). Neurological diseases (e.g., febrile convulsions) were also more frequent in Israelis (7.7% vs. 3%, P < 0.05). Very significantly, 23% of refugees had no healthcare coverage, while only 0.2% of the Israelis had none (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: We found significant morbidity in refugees compared to the local Israeli pediatric population, highlighting the need for different approaches for each population.

April 2022
Michal Bromberg MD MPH, Lital Keinan-Boker MD PhD, Lea Gur-Arie MPH, Hanna Sefty MSc, Michal Mandelboim PhD, Rita Dichtiar MPH, Zalman Kaufman MSc, and Aharona Glatman-Freedman MD MPH

Background: Guidelines for pandemic preparedness emphasize the role of sentinel and syndromic surveillance in monitoring pandemic spread.

Objectives: To examine advantages and obstacles of utilizing a sentinel influenza surveillance system to monitor community severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) activity based on Israel's experience from mid-March to mid-May 2020.

Methods: Several modifications were applied to the influenza surveillance system. The clinical component relied mainly on pneumonia and upper respiratory infection (URI) consultations with primary care physicians as well as visits to emergency departments (ED) due to pneumonia. The virological data were based on nasopharyngeal swabs obtained from symptomatic patients who visited outpatient clinics.

Results: By week 12 of the pandemic, the crude and age-specific primary physician consultation rates due to URI and pneumonia declined below the expected level, reaching nadir that lasted from week 15 until week 20. Similarly, ED visits due to pneumonia were significantly lower than expected from weeks 14 and 15 to week 20. The virological surveillance started on week 13 with 6/253 of the swabs (2.3%) positive for SARS-CoV-2. There was a peak of 13/225 positive swabs on week 145.8%. During weeks 17–20, none of the swabs (47–97 per week) were positive for SARS-CoV-2. This trend was similar to national data.

Conclusions: The virological component of the surveillance system showed the SARS-CoV-2 community spread, but had low sensitivity when virus activity was low. The clinical component, however, had no yield. Sentinel surveillance can assist in monitoring future novel pandemics and should be augmented in revised preparedness plans.

January 2021
Mathilda Mandel MD, Michael Gurevich PhD, Michal Mandelboim PhD, Howard Amital MD, and Anat Achiron MD PhD

Background: During the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic outbreak our blood bank developed protocols to guarantee accurate blood components to COVID-19 patients.

Objectives: To provide convalescent whole blood donor screening strategies for patients recovering from COVID-19.

Methods: We recruited COVID-19 recovering patients who met our defined inclusion criteria for whole blood donation. All blood units were screened for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNA by real time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and SARS-COV-2 immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies against the S1 domain.

Results: We screened 180 blood units from patients recovering from COVID-19. All results were negative for SARS-CoV-2 RNA and 87.2% were positive for SARS-COV-2 IgG antibodies in the plasma.

Conclusions: Blood component units from recovering COVID-19 patients are safe. Plasma units with positive IgG antibodies could serve as an efficient passive immunization for COVID-19 patients. Moreover, in the face of increased transfusion demand for treatment of anemia and coagulation dysfunction in critical ill COVID-19 patients, red blood cells units and random platelets units from convalescent donors can be safely transfused.

December 2017
Nili Elior MD, Diana Tasher MD, Elli Somekh MD, Michal Stein MD, Orna Schwartz Harari MA and Avigdor Mandelberg MD

Background: Nebulized hypertonic saline (HS) treatment is unavailable to large populations worldwide.

Objectives: To determine the bacterial contamination and electrolyte concentrations in homemade (HM-HS) vs. pharmacy made (PM-HS).

Methods: We conducted three double-blind consecutive trials: 50 boiled-water homemade 3%-HS (B-HM-HS) bottles and 50 PM-HS. The bottles were cultured after 48 hours. Electrolyte concentrations were measured in 10 bottles (5 per group). Forty bottles (20 per group) were distributed to volunteers for simulation of realistic treatment by drawing 4 ml HS three times daily. From each bottle, 4 ml samples were cultured after 1, 5, and 7 days. Volunteers prepared 108 bottles containing 3%-HS, sterilizing them using a microwave oven (1100–1850W). These bottles were cultured 24 hours, 48 hours, and 1 month after preparation.

Results: Contamination rates of B-HM-HS and PM-HS after 48 hours were 56% and 14%, respectively (P = 0.008). Electrolyte concentrations were similar: 3.7% ± 0.4 and 3.5% ± 0.3, respectively (P = NS). Following a single day of simulation B-HM-HS bottles were significantly more contaminated than PM-HS bottles: 75% vs. 20%, respectively (P < 0.01). By day 7, 85% of PM-HS bottles and 100% of B-HM-HS bottles were contaminated (P = 0.23). All 108 microwave-oven prepared bottles (MICRO-HS) were sterile, which was significantly better than the contamination rate of B-HM-HS and PM-HS (P < 0.001). Calculated risk for a consecutive MICRO-HS to be infected was negligible.

Conclusion: Microwave preparation provides sterile HS with adequate electrolyte concentrations, and is a cheap, fast, and widely available method to prepare HS.


June 2017
Hadar Moran-Lev MD, Dror Mandel MD, Yosef Weisman MD, Amit Ovental and Ronit Lubetzky MD

Background: Israel is a country with a sunny climate; however, vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency are common findings in certain populations whose exposure to sunlight is limited. Medical residency is known for long indoor working hours, thus theoretically limiting the opportunities for sun exposure.

Objectives: To evaluate whether the vitamin D status among residents in a single medical center in Tel Aviv is below the normal range.

Methods: Forty-six residents (28 females, 18 males, average age 33.9 ± 2.8 years) in three residency programs (internal medicine, general surgery/obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics) were recruited. Demographic data, personal lifestyle, physical activity details and sun exposure duration were obtained by a questionnaire. Serum levels for 25(OH)D were analyzed by a radioimmunoassay.

Results: The mean serum 25(OH)D concentration was 29.8 ± 5.8 ng/ml. According to Institute of Medicine definitions, none of the residents were vitamin D deficient and only two residents (4%) were vitamin D insufficient (15 ng/ml each). The level of 25(OH)D was similar among the various medical specialties. The 25(OH)D levels correlated with the duration of sun exposure and the number of offspring (regression analysis: R2 = 9.2%, P < 0.04 and R2 = 8.9%, P < 0.04, respectively), but not with nutritional data, blood chemistry, or extent of physical activity. 

Conclusions: Most of the residents maintained normal or near normal 25(OH)D levels, indicating that the residency program itself did not pose a significant risk for vitamin D deficiency. 


January 2016
Etty Daniel-Spiegel MD, Micha Mandel PhD, Daniel Nevo MA, Avraham Ben-Chetrit MD, Ori Shen MD, Eliezer Shalev MD and Simcha Yagel MD

Background: Selection of appropriate reference charts for fetal biometry is mandatory to ensure an accurate diagnosis. Most hospitals and clinics in Israel use growth curves from the United States. Charts developed in different populations do not perform well in the Israeli population.

Objectives: To construct new reference charts for fetal biparietal diameter (BPD), head circumference (HC), abdominal circumference (AC) and femur length (FL), using a large sample of fetuses examined at 14–42 weeks gestational age in a medical center and a community ultrasound unit located in two different regions of Israel. 

Methods: Data from the medical center and the community clinic were pooled. The mean and standard error of each measure for each week was calculated. Based on these, reference charts were calculated using quantiles of the normal distribution. The performance of the reference charts was assessed by comparing the new values to empirical quantiles.

Results: Biometric measurements were obtained for 79,328 fetuses. Growth charts were established based on these measurements. The overall performance of the curves was very good, with only a few exceptions among the higher quantiles in the third trimester in the medical center subsample.

Conclusions: We present new local reference charts for fetal biometry, derived from a large and minimally selected Israeli population. We suggest using these new charts in routine daily obstetric practice.


December 2013
Nir Samuel, Anat K. Politansky, Ron Hoffman, Shlomit Itzkovich and Hanna Mandel
July 2012
R. Marom, R. Lubetzky, F.B. Mimouni, H. Bassan, L. Ben Sira, I. Berger, S. Dollberg and D. Mandel

Background: Infants with severe intraventricular-periventricular hemorrhage (IVH) have higher absolute nucleated red blood cell counts (aNRBC) at birth (a marker of intrauterine hypoxia) than controls. Periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) is known to be associated with prenatal and postnatal events. Whether PVL is also linked to intrauterine hypoxia is unknown.

Objectives: To test the hypothesis that infants with PVL have higher aNRBC counts at birth than controls.

Methods: We studied 14 very low birth weight infants with PVL and compared them with 14 pair-matched controls without PVL. Head ultrasound scans were performed in all infants on days 3–5 and 21–25 of life. Paired tests, Fisher exact tests and stepwise logistic regression were performed for analysis.

Results: Groups were similar for gestational age (GA), birth weight (BW), prolonged rupture of membranes (PROM), Apgar scores, IVH, and aNRBC counts. PVL correlated significantly with low partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) and IVH (P < 0.01). In logistic regression, when GA, gender, PROM, antenatal steroid therapy, 1 (or 5) minute Apgar scores, IVH grade, nosocomial sepsis, patent ductus arteriosus, necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), need for pressors, aNRBC counts and lowest pCO2 were used as independent variables, pCO2 (P = 0.002), IVH grade (P = 0.001), GA (P = 0.038), NEC (P = 0.061) and use of dopamine (P = 0.010) remained in the analysis (total R2 = 68.2%).

Conclusions: In contrast to severe IVH, aNRBC counts do not predict the development of PVL.

January 2012
Ronit Lubetzky, MD, Galit Zaidenberg-Israeli, MD, Francis B. Mimouni, MD, Shaul Dollberg, MD, Eyal Shimoni, PhD, Yael Ungar, PhD and Dror Mandel, MD

Background: Human milk produced during prolonged lactation (> 1 year) is extraordinarily rich in fat and has a higher energy content than human milk produced during short lactation.

Objectives: To estimate the fatty acid (FA) profile of human milk and to test the hypothesis that the proportion of C12 and C14 (two dietary saturated FA known to most promote hypercholesterolemia) in human milk during prolonged lactation is similar to that in short lactation.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of 30 mothers of term infants lactating for more than 1 year as compared with 25 mothers of full-term infants who lactated for 2–6 months. Milk was collected by manual expression in mid-breastfeeding.

Results: The two groups did not differ in maternal height, weight, body mass index, diet, infant birth weight and gestational age, but mothers in the prolonged lactation group were significantly older. There was a significant correlation between lactation duration and C12 or C14. The percentage of all FA combined (except for C12 and C14) decreased significantly over time. In contrast, C12:0 and C14:0 combined increased significantly during lactation (R2 = 10.0%, P < 0.03).

Conclusions: Women who lactated for more than 1 year had higher C12 and C14 FA percentages in their milk than women who lactated for 2–6 months.

January 2011
Y. Landau, I. Berger, R. Marom, D. Mandel, L. Ben Sira, A. Fattal-Valevski, T. Peylan, L. Levi, S. Dolberg and H. Bassan

Background: Major advances in the treatment of perinatal asphyxial–hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy followed the translation of hypothermia animal studies into successful randomized controlled clinical trials that substantially influenced the current standard of care.

Objectives: To present our preliminary experience with the first cases of clinical application of therapeutic hypothermia for PA-HIE[1] in what we believe is the first report on non-experimental hypothermia for PA-HIE from Israel.

Methods: We reviewed the medical records, imaging scans, electroencephalograms and outcome data of the six identified asphyxiated newborns who were managed with hypothermia in our services in 2008–2009.

Results: All asphyxiated newborns required resuscitation and were encephalopathic. Systemic hypothermia (33.5ºC) was begun at a median age of 4.2 hours of life (range 2.5–6 hours) and continued for 3 days. All six infants showed a significantly depressed amplitude integrated electroencephalography background, and five had electrographic seizures. One infant died (16%) after 3.5 days. Major complications included fat necrosis and hypercalcemia (n=1), pneumothorax (n=1), and meconium aspiration syndrome (n=2). None of the infants developed major bleeding. Neurodevelopmental follow-up of the five surviving infants at median age 7.2 months (4.1–18.5 months) revealed developmental delays (Battelle screening), with their motor scores ranging from -1 to +1 standard deviation (Bayley scale). None developed feeding problems, oculomotor abnormalities, spasticity or seizures.

Conclusions: Our preliminary experience with this novel modality in a large Tel Aviv neonatal service is consistent with the clinical findings of published trials.

[1] PA-HIE = perinatal asphyxial–hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy

September 2010
G. Twig, A. Lahad, I. Kochba, V. Ezra, D. Mandel, A. Shina, Y. Kreiss and E. Zimlichman

Background: A survey conducted among Israel Defense Force primary care physicians in 2001 revealed that they consider patients' needs more than they do organizational needs and that the education PCPs[1] currently receive is inadequate. In 2003 the medical corps initiated a multi-format continuous medical education program aimed at improving skills in primary care medicine.

Objectives: To measure and analyze the effect of the tailored-made CME[2] program on PCPs’ self-perception 3 years after its implementation and correlate it to clinical performance.

Methods: In 2006 a questionnaire was delivered to a representative sample of PCPs in the IDF[3]. The questionnaire included items on demographic and professional background, statements on self-perception issues, and ranking of roles. We compared the follow-up survey (2006) to the results of the original study (2001) and correlated the survey results with clinical performance as measured through objective indicators.

Results: In the 2006 follow-up survey PCPs scored higher on questions dealing with their perception of themselves as case managers (3.8 compared to 4.0 on the 2001 survey on a 5 point scale, P = 0.046), perceived quality of care and education (3.5 vs. 3.8, P = 0.06), and on questions dealing with organizational commitment (3.5 vs. 3.8, P=0.01). PCPs received higher scores on clinical indicators in the later study (odds ratio 2.05, P < 0.001).

Conclusions: PCPs in the IDF perceive themselves more as case managers as compared to the 2001 survey. A tailor-made CME program may have contributed to the improvement in skills and quality of care.

[1] PCP = primary care physician

[2] CME = continuous medical education

[3] IDF = Israel Defense Forces

June 2006
A. Ekka-Zohar, Y. Zitser-Gurevich, M. Mandel, I. Weiss-Salz, S. Nir, E. Mor, R. Nakash, H. Merhav, R. Bruck and E. Simchen
Background: There is a dearth of organs for liver transplantation in Israel. Enhancing our understanding of factors affecting graft survival in this country could help optimize the results of the transplant operation.

Objectives: To report 3 years national experience with orthotopic liver transplantation, and to evaluate patient and perioperative risk factors that could affect 1 year graft survival.

Methods: The study related to all 124 isolated adult liver transplantations performed in Israel between October 1997 and October 2000. Data were abstracted from the medical records. One-year graft survival was described using the Kaplan-Meier survival curve and three multivariate logistic regression models were performed: one with preoperative case-mix factors alone, and the other two with the addition of donor and operative factors respectively.

Results: Of the 124 liver transplantations performed, 32 failed (25.8%). The 1 year survival was lower than rates reported from both the United States and Europe, but the difference was not significant. Of the preoperative risk factors, recipient age ≥ 60 years, critical condition prior to surgery, high serum bilirubin and serum hemoglobin ≤ 10 g/dl were independently associated with graft failure, adjusting for all the other factors that entered the logistic regression equation. Extending the model to include donor and operative factors raised the C-statistic from 0.79 to 0.87. Donor age ≥ 40, cold ischemic time > 10 hours and a prolonged operation (> 10 hours) were the additional predictors for graft survival. A MELD score of over 18 was associated with a sixfold increased risk for graft failure (odds ratio = 6.5, P = 0.001).

Conclusions: Graft survival in Israel is slightly lower than that reported from the U.S. and Europe. Adding donor and operative factors to recipient characteristics significantly increased our understanding of 1 year survival of liver grafts.

March 2006
G. Tal, K. Cesar, A. Oron, S. Houri, A. Ballin and A. Mandelberg

Background: We recently published preliminary evidence on the effectiveness of hypertonic saline in infants with viral bronchiolitis.

Objective: To further establish the efficacy of nebulized hypertonic saline in these infants

Methods: In a continuing, second-year randomized, double-blind controlled trial, an additional 41 infants (age 2.6 ± 1 months) hospitalized with viral bronchiolitis were recruited during the winter of 2001–2002. The infants received inhalation of 1.5 mg epinephrine dissolved either in 4 ml normal (0.9%) saline (Group I, n=20) or 4 ml hypertonic (3%) saline (Group II, n=22). The therapy was repeated three times daily until discharge. Pooling our 2 years of experience (2000–2002), a total of 93 hospitalized infants with viral bronchiolitis were recruited; 45 were assigned to Group I and 48 to Group II.

Results: The clinical scores at baseline were 7.6 ± 0.7 for Group I vs. 7.4 ± 1.3 for Group II (P = NS). However, the clinical scores at days 1 and 2 after inhalation differed significantly between the two groups, invariably favoring Group II: 7 ± 1 vs. 6.25 ± 1.1 (P < 0.05), 6.45 ± 1 vs. 5.35 ± 1.35 (P < 0.05), respectively. Adding aerosolized 3% saline to 1.5 mg epinephrine reduced the hospitalization stay from 3.5 ± 1.7 days in Group I to 2.6 ± 1.4 in Group II (P < 0.05). The pooled data of both years revealed that adding 3% saline to the inhalation mixture decreased hospitalization stay from 3.6 ± 1.6 to 2.8 ± 1.3 days (P < 0.05).
Conclusions: This second-year experience and our 2 year pooled data analysis strengthen the evidence that the combination of 3% saline/1.5 mg epinephrine benefits hospitalized infants with viral bronchiolitis

March 2005
E. Zimlichman, D. Mandel, F.B. Mimouni, S. Vinker, I. Kochba, Y. Kreiss and A. Lahad
Background: The health system of the medical corps of the Israel Defense Force is based primarily upon primary healthcare. In recent years, health management organizations have considered the primary care physician responsible for assessing the overall health needs of the patient and, accordingly, introduced the term “gatekeeper.”

Objectives: To describe and analyze how PCPs[1] in the IDF[2] view their roles as primary care providers and to characterize how they perceive the quality of the medical care that they provide.

Methods: We conducted a survey using a questionnaire that was mailed or faxed to a representative sample of PCPs. The questionnaire included demographic background, professional background, statements on self-perception issues, and ranking of roles as a PCP in the IDF.

Results: Statements concerning commitment to the patient were ranked higher than statements concerning commitment to the military organization. Most physicians perceive the quality of the medical care service that they provide as high; they also stated that they do not receive adequate continuous medical education.

Conclusions: Our survey shows that PCPs in the IDF, like civilian family physicians, perceive their primary obligation as serving the needs of their patients but are yet to take on the full role of “gatekeepers” in the IDF’s healthcare system. We conclude that the Medical Corps should implement appropriate steps to ensure that PCPs are prepared to take on a more prominent role as “gatekeepers” and providers of high quality primary medical care.


[1] PCP = primary care physician

[2] IDF = Israel Defense Force

September 2004
E. Zimlichman, D. Mandel, F.B. Mimouni, R. Wartenfeld, M. Huerta, I. Grotto and Y. Kreiss

Background: Oral contraceptive users are at increased risk for both arterial and venous thrombosis, some of which can be fatal. Studies are consistent with the existence of a synergism between cigarette smoking and OC[1] use in the pathogenesis of myocardial infarction in young women.

Objectives: To study the relationship between OC use, cigarette smoking and other cardiovascular risk factors among young women.

Methods: A systematic sample of military personnel, upon discharge from service in the Israel Defense Forces, was asked to complete a research questionnaire. Body weight and height were measured and body mass index computed.

Results: Overall, 16,258 questionnaires were collected and analyzed during this 20 year study. There was a gradual, significant increase in OC use until the mid-1980s, from approximately 45% to 60% (P < 0.001), followed by steady rates of 58–64% since then. In contrast, the rates of smoking decreased significantly in the mid-1980s, from approximately 42% to a nadir of 22% in 1991. Since then, the rate of smoking has increased slowly but steadily, to reach a level of 35% in 1999. The OC users were more often of western (Ashkenazi) origin and came from families with more education and fewer siblings. They were more often smokers than non-OC users, and started smoking at a younger age. They had significantly lower BMI[2] than non-users. OC use was nearly identical in groups with or without multiple cardiovascular risk factors (smoking, obesity, family history).

Conclusions: Smoking and OC use are strongly associated. Other cardiovascular risk factors (smoking, obesity, family history) do not prevent OC users from smoking or smokers to use OC. We suggest that primary care physicians discourage smoking among adolescent females who wish to start using OC. A thorough medical history should be obtained to recognize all risk factors for cardiovascular disease and to provide for appropriate contraception counseling.

[1] OC = oral contraceptives

[2] BMI = body mass index

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