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עמוד בית
Sun, 25.02.24

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December 2023
Dana Brin MD, Vera Sorin MD, Noam Tau MD, Matan Kraus MD, Tom Sonin MD, Yiftach Barash MD, Evgeni Druskin MD, Eyal Klang MD, Christine Dan-Lantsman MD, Daniel Raskin MD, Elena Bekker MD, Shai Shrot MD, Amit Gutkind PhD, Olga Shouchat MD, Edith M. Marom MD, Michal M. Amitai MD

In this study, we analyzed computed tomography (CT) radiological findings from trauma treated at a single hospital in the aftermath of the terror attack in Israel on 7 October 2023. The study includes images from 34 consecutive patients, consisting of 33 males and 1 female, ranging in age from 19 to 68 years. The majority of these patients underwent both chest-abdominal-pelvic (76%) and head and neck CT scans (64.7%). Key findings highlight a high incidence of head and neck injuries (55.9%), chest trauma (44.1%), and various injuries such as soft tissue lacerations (100%), fractures particularly skull fractures at 32.4%, and brain hemorrhages (23.5%). The limitations of this study include its single-center scope and the focus on stable patients, which may bias the representation of injury types. This case series provides critical insights into the radiological impacts of large-scale terror events, emphasizing the importance of comprehensive preparedness and research in the field of mass-casualty incident response.

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.

May 2023
Hagit Hemi RN, Olga Morelli MD, Mordehay Vaturi MD, Ran Kornowski MD, Alexander Sagie MD, Yaron Shapira MD, Shmuel Schwartzenberg MD

Background: Cancellation of transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) tests leads to inefficient use of echocardiography laboratory (echo lab) time and wastes resources.

Objectives: To identify the causes of same-day TEE cancellations in hospitalized patients, to formulate a TEE order screening protocol, and to evaluate its efficacy at implementation.

Methods: We performed a prospective analysis of inpatients referred to a single tertiary hospital echo lab for TEE study by inpatient wards. A comprehensive screening protocol emphasizing active participation of all links directly involved in the chain of inpatient TEE referral was developed and implemented. Comparison of pre- and post-implementation of the new screening protocol on two consecutive periods of 6 months on TEE cancellation rates out of total ordered TEEs stratified by cause categories was performed.

Results: In total, 304 inpatient TEE procedures were ordered during the initial observation period; 54(17.8%) were canceled on the same day. The most common cancellation reasons were equally respiratory distress and patient not in fasted state (20.4% of total cancellations and 3.6% of all scheduled TEEs for each cause). Following implementation of the new screening process, total TEEs ordered (192) and cancelled (16) dropped significantly. A decrease in the rate of each cancellation category was observed, with statistical significance achieved for the overall cancellation rate (8.3% vs. 17.8%, P = 0.003), but not for the individual cancellation categories in split analysis.

Conclusions: A concerted effort to implement a comprehensive screening questionnaire significantly reduced same-day cancellations of scheduled TEEs.

December 2022
Perl Sivan MD, Natif Noam MD, Shpirer Isaac MD, Shihab Murad MD, Fox Benjamin BM BS

Background: Severe asthma affects up to 20,000 citizens of Israel. Novel biological therapies, which individually have been proven to reduce asthma morbidity in clinical trials, have become available in recent years. Comparative data among different drugs are scarce.

Objectives: To describe and compare the clinical outcomes of biological therapies in severe asthma patients treated at Shamir Medical Center.

Methods: We conducted a cohort study based on a review of cases treated with monoclonal antibodies for severe asthma at our center. Data were extracted for demographics, eosinophil count, lung function (FEV1), exacerbation rate, and median dose of oral prednisone. Between-drug comparison was conducted by repeated measures ANOVA.

Results: The cohort included 62 patients receiving biological therapy. All biologic drugs were found to reduce exacerbation rate [F(1, 2) = 40.4, P < 0.0001] and prednisone use [F(1, 4) = 16, P < 0.001] significantly. ANOVA revealed no difference of efficacy endpoints between the different drugs. Eosinophil count was significantly reduced post-biologic treatment in the anti-interleukin-5 agents (P < 0.001) but not under treatment with omalizumab and dupilumab.

Conclusions: All of the biological therapies were effective for improving clinical outcomes. None of the agents was clearly superior to any other. These data emphasize the need for severe asthma patients to be seen by pulmonary medicine specialists and offered, where appropriate, biological therapies.

June 2022
Ruti Berger PhD and Yossi Weiss PhD MPH

Background: Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) is a form of international private business self-regulation that aims to contribute to society from a philanthropic, activist, or charitable nature by engaging in or supporting volunteering or ethically oriented practices. The major benefit of ESG is having the organization’s workers recruited for the goal of making the world a better place. There is a growing understanding regarding the extent of the environmental impacts of health services. Therefore, the interest in measuring and reporting the sustainability of health system performance is becoming crucial. As population aging and growth in healthcare demand are two of the main challenges of the current and mainly future health services, performance, and quality measurement as well as sustainability metrices are relevant more than ever.

Objectives: To review the ESG activities at Assuta Medical Centers (AMC) that helped the organization earn the Maala Index Platinum + grade in 2021.

Methods: We reviewed the ESG elements that were implemented at AMC.

Results: AMC entered an ESG process in November 2019 and earned Platinum and Platinum+ grades from the Maala Index in 2020 and 2021, respectively. AMC won the Workforce Diversity prize for having many employees over 60 years of age. AMC activities are detailed as a case study for other health organizations in Israel and worldwide.

Conclusions: A big leading health organization can spearhead sustainable development goals model in Israel and worldwide.

December 2020
Rashed Shkeiri MD, Sonia Schneer MD, Amir Avarmovich MD, and Yochai Adir MD

Background: Transbronchial cryobiopsy (TBC) has recently emerged for the assessment of diffuse parenchymal lung disease (DPLD) as a less invasive procedure than surgical lung biopsy. The diagnostic usefulness and safety of TBC is still controversial.

Objectives: To evaluate the safety and diagnostic yield of TBC in a peripheral community medical center.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the charts of all patients with DPLD who underwent TBC from January 2015 to January 2020.

Results: The study comprised 97 patients. Three samples were taken from each patient with an average diameter of 0.59 cm. The histologic diagnostic yield was 54% (52 of 97 procedures). The most frequent histopathologic diagnoses were usual interstitial pneumonia in 13 patients (13%). Bleeding was observed in 19 cases (19%) and only one patient (1%) had severe bleeding. Pneumothorax developed in seven patients (7%) and one patient (1%) suffered from Interstitial lung disease exacerbation.

Conclusions: TBC was found to be safe; however, the diagnostic yield was rather low compared to other studies, which emphasizes the need for interstitial lung disease centers with expert in this field.

August 2020
Yuval Levy MD MHA, Yael Frenkel Nir MD, Avinoah Ironi MD, Hindy Englard RN MSc, Gili Regev-Yochay MD, Galia Rahav MD, Arnon Afek MD and Ehud Grossman MD

Background: Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, is a tertiary hospital located in the center of Israel. It is the largest hospital in Israel and was the first to face coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) patients in the country at the beginning of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic.

Objectives: To describe our experience with the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on our triage method in the emergency department (ED). Our goal was to keep the main hospitalization buildings clean of infection by separating COVID-19 positive patients from COVID-19 negative patients.

Methods: We divided our ED into two separate sections: a regular non-COVID-19 ED and an advanced biological ED. We created clear protocols of triage for suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients. We reviewed the data of patients admitted to our ED during the month of March and analyzed the results of our triage method in separating COVID-19 positive from negative patients.

Results: During the month of March 2020, 7957 patients were referred to our ED. Among them 2004 were referred to the biological ED and 5953 were referred to the regular ED. Of the 2004 patients referred to the biological ED, 1641 (81.8%) were sampled for SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction of whom 143 (8.7%) were positive. Only two COVID-19 positive patients unintentionally entered the main clean hospital, making our triage almost full proof.

Conclusions: Our triage method was successful in separating COVID-19 positive from negative patients and maintained the regular hospital clean of COVID-19 allowing treatment continuation of regular non-COVID-19 patients.

July 2020
Ilan Merdler MD MHA, Aviram Hochstadt, Amichai Sheffy MD, Sharon Ohayon MD MHA, Itamar Loewenstein MD and Daniel Trotzky MD

Background: Emergency department (ED) overcrowding is associated with worse patient outcomes.

Objectives: To determine whether physician assistants (PAs), fairly recently integrated into the Israeli healthcare system, improve patient outcomes and ED timings.

Methods: We compared patients seen by physicians with patients seen by PAs and then by physicians between January and December 2018 using propensity matching. Patients were matched for age, gender, triage level, and decision to hospitalize. Primary endpoints included patient mortality, re-admittance. and leaving on own accord rates. Secondary endpoints were ED timing landmarks.

Results: Patients first seen by PAs were less likely to leave on their own accord (MD1 1.5%, PA 1.0%, P = 0.015), had lower rates of readmission within 48 hours (MD1 2.1%, PA 1.5%, P= 0.028), and were quicker to be seen, to have medications prescribed, and to undergo imaging without differences in timings until decisions were made or total length of stay. Patients seen by a physician with the assistance of a PA were attended to quicker (MD2 47.79 minutes, range 27.70–78.82 vs. MD + PA 30.59 minutes, range 15.77–54.85; P < 0.001) without statistically significant differences in primary outcomes. Mortality rates were similar for all comparisons.

Conclusions: Patients first seen by PAs had lower rates of re-admittance or leaving on their own accord and enjoyed shorter waiting times. Pending proper integration into healthcare teams, PAs can further improve outcomes in EDs and patient satisfaction.

October 2019
Royi Barnea PhD, Lina Voronenko BSc, Lin Zu PhD, Iris Reychav PhD and Yossi Weiss PhD MPH

Background: Surgery is a core activity in hospitals. Operating rooms have some of the most important and vital functions in medical centers. The operating rooms and their staff are a valuable infrastructure resource and their availability and preparedness affect human life and quality of care.

Objectives: To prepare operational suggestions for improving operating room utilization by mapping current working processes in the operating rooms of a large private medical center.

Methods: Data on 23,585 surgeries performed at our medical center between August 2016 and March 2017 were analyzed by various parameters including utilization, capacity, working hours, and surgery delays.

Results: Average operating room utilization was 79%, while 21% was considered lost operating room time. The two major factors that influenced the lost operating room time were the time intervals between planned usage blocks and the partial utilization of operating room time. We calculated that each percent of utilized operating room time translates into 440 surgeries annually, resulting in a potential annual increase in income.

Conclusions: Increasing operating room utilization would result in an improvement of operating room availability and an increased number of procedures. Our analysis shows that operating room utilization in the private healthcare system is efficient compared to the public healthcare system in Israel. Therefore the private healthcare system should be treated as a contributing factor to help lower surgery waiting times and release bottlenecks, rather than being perceived as contributing to inequality.

March 2019
Eyal Zimlichman MD MSc, Arnon Afek MD MHA, Charles N. Kahn MPH and Yitshak Kreiss MD MPA MHA
December 2018
Dvir Shalem, Asaf Shemer, Ora Shovman MD, Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MACR and Shaye Kivity MD

Background: Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is an autoimmune disease of the peripheral nervous system with a typical presentation of acute paralysis and hyporeflexia. Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) and plasma exchange (PLEX) are treatments that have proven to expedite recuperation and recovery of motor function.

Objectives: To describe our experience at one tertiary medical center treating GBS with IVIG and to compare the efficacy of IVIG as the sole treatment versus combined therapy of IVIG and plasma exchange.

Methods: We reviewed the records of all patients diagnosed with GBS and treated with IVIG at the Sheba Medical Center from 2007 to 2015 and collected data on patient demographics, disease onset and presentation, and treatments delivered. The motor disability grading scale (MDGS) was used to evaluate the motor function of each patient through the various stages of the disease and following therapy.

Results: MDGS improvement from admission until discharge was statistically significant (P < 0.001), as was the regainment of motor functions at 3 and 12 months follow-up compared to the status during the nadir of the disease. The effectiveness of second-line treatment with IVIG following PLEX failure and vice versa was not statistically significant (P > 0.15).

Conclusions: The majority of patients included in this study experienced a significant and rapid improvement of GBS following treatment with IVIG. Combined therapy of PLEX and IVIG was not proven to be effective in patients who encountered a failure of the first-line treatment.

July 2016
Meir Kestenbaum MD, Daphne Robakis MD, Blair Ford MD, Roy N. Alcalay MD MSc and Elan D. Louis MD MSc

Background: Only a minority of patients with essential tremor (ET) and Parkinson’s disease (PD) undergo deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery. Data on patient selection factors are useful.

Objectives: To compare the clinical characteristics of ET and PD patients who underwent DBS surgery with those of patients who had not undergone surgery.

Methods: We abstracted data from the electronic medical records of 121 PD and 34 ET patients who underwent DBS surgery at Columbia University Medical Center during the period 2009–2014. We compared this group with 100 randomly selected PD and 100 randomly selected ET patients at the Center who had not undergone DBS surgery. 

Results: Among other differences, age of onset in PD patients who had undergone surgery was younger than in those who did not: 14.9% vs. 3.0% with onset before age 40 (P = 0.003). They had also tried nearly double the number of medications (3.9 ± 1.7 vs. 2.3 ± 1.5, P < 0.001). Interestingly, there was no difference in the proportion of patients with tremor (81.0% vs. 88.0%, P = 0.16). Medical co-morbidities (heart and lungs) were less common in the PD patients who underwent DBS surgery. In the ET group, tremor causing impairment in activities of daily living occurred in all surgical patients compared to 73.0% of non-surgical patients (P < 0.001). The former had tried nearly double the number of medications compared to the latter (3.2 ± 1.7 vs. 1.3 ± 1.3, P < 0.001).

Conclusions: These data add to our understanding of the numerous clinical factors associated with patient referral to DBS surgery. 


November 2015
June 2015
Jochanan Benbassat MD

This paper summarizes the difficulties that may emerge when the same care-provider attends to private and public patients within the same or different clinical settings. First, I argue that blurring the boundaries between public and private care may start a slippery slope leading to “black” under-the-table payments for preferential patient care. Second, I question whether public hospitals that allow their doctors to attend to private patients provide an appropriate learning environment for medical students and residents. Finally, I propose a way to both maintain the advantages of private care and avoid its negative consequences: complete separation between the public and the private health care systems.


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