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עמוד בית
Thu, 07.12.23

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November 2023
Nitsa Nacasch MD, Netta Shoenfeld MSW, Ilanit Wul BA, Michael Polliack MD, Mark Weiser MD

On Saturday, 7 October 2023, the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah, our entire country woke to a reality of the worst terror attacks it has ever known, despite its long history of wars and terror. These horrific attacks included killing and burning babies, children, women, men, and the elderly; raping women; beheading babies; destroying settlements; and kidnapping more than 240 civilians and soldiers. The severe traumatic events created different circles of those exposed to trauma. In each group, the intensity of the trauma was different and had different characteristics.

Ibrahim Zvidi MD, Ram Dickman MD, Doron Boltin MBBS

Background: Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) prevalence varies according to both geographical region and ethnicity. The interplay between these two factors has been poorly studied.

Objectives: To determine the positivity rate of H. pylori infection among Jewish and Arab patients who live in a mixed urban center in Israel.

Methods: Between November 2009 and September 2014, dyspeptic patients referred to a gastroenterology clinic in Lod, Israel, were enrolled in a prospective study. For each patient, clinical and epidemiological data were collected and a noninvasive or endoscopy-based test for H. pylori was performed.

Results: A total of 429 consecutive patients (322 Jewish and 107 Arabs), mean age 45 years (range 15–91 years) were included; 130 males. Overall positivity for H. pylori was 42.4% (182/429). The positivity rate of H. pylori was 38.8% for Jews (125/322) and 53.2% for Arabs (57/107) in Lod (P < 0.01). When immigrants were excluded, the difference in H. pylori positivity did not reach statistical significance (45.0% [77/171] vs. 53.2% [57/107], P = 0.217, in Jews and Arabs, respectively).

Conclusions: H. pylori infection was more common in Arabs that Jews in the mixed city of Lod, Israel. This finding may suggest that non-environmental factors were responsible for the observed difference in H. pylori positivity.

Ibrahim Osman MD, Alaa Atamna MD, Avishay Elis MD

Background: Low-risk venous thromboembolism (VTE) patients are advised to be discharged from the emergency department (ED) on direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) treatment. There is no data on whether this recommendation is followed in Israel.

Objectives: To characterize newly diagnosed VTE patients who were discharged from the ED, their anticoagulation treatment at the ED, the recommended discharge protocol, and patient adherence.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study, which included all newly diagnosed VTE patients who were discharged from the ED. Collected data included demographic and clinical background; anticoagulation treatment at the ED, recommended discharge protocol and its subsequent adherence, patient subsequent, recommended hematological evaluation, and adverse events.

Results: The study group included 443 patients, 89% with deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Approximately three-quarters were treated with anticoagulants in the ED, 98% with enoxaparin. At discharge, anticoagulants were recommended for all; 49% continued enoxaparin, 47% DOACs, and 4% warfarin. After 4 weeks, 67% were treated with DOACs, 22% with enoxaparin, 5% with warfarin. Approximately 6% discontinued all treatment. After 12 weeks, 90% of the patients who were taking DOACs adhered to the protocol, whereas only 70% and 50% among the enoxaparin and warfarin users, respectively, did. Only 56% were referred for hematological evaluation. The 12-week rate of adverse reactions was approximately 2%. The use of DOACs and the recommendation for further hematological evaluation increased over time.

Conclusions: Clinician training regarding discharge of VTE patients from the ED should continue.

Amit Frenkel MD MHA, Ran Abuhasira MD PhD, Lior Fisher Med.Sc, Yoav Bichovsky MD, Alexander Zlotnik MD PhD, Victor Novack MD PhD, Moti Klein MD MPH

Background: Younger patient age and relatively good prognosis have been described as factors that may increase caregiver motivation in treating patients with septic shock in the intensive care unit (ICU).

Objectives: To examine whether clinical teams tended to achieve unnecessarily higher map arterial pressure (MAP) values in younger patients.

Methods: We conducted a population-based retrospective cohort study of patients presenting with septic shock who were treated with noradrenaline and hospitalized in a general ICU between 2006 and 2018. The patients were classified into four age groups: 18-45 (n=129), 46-60 (n=96), 61-75 (n=157), and older than 75 years (n=173). Adjusted linear mixed models and locally weighted scatterplot smoothing (LOWESS) curves were used to assess associations and potential non-linear relationships, respectively, of age group with MAP and noradrenaline dosage.

Results: The cohort included 555 patients. An inverse relation was observed between average MAP value and age. Among patients aged 18–45 years, the average MAP was 4.7 mmHg higher (95% confidence interval 3.4–5.9) than among patients aged > 75 years (P-value <0.001) after adjustment for sex, death in the intensive care unit, and Sequential Organ Failure Assessment scores.

Conclusions: Among patients with septic shock, the titration of noradrenaline by staff led to a higher average MAP for younger patients. Although the MAP target is equal for all age groups, staff may administer noradrenaline treatment according to a higher target of MAP due to attitudes toward patients of different ages, despite any evidence that such practice is beneficial.

Gassan Moady MD, Moanis Serhan MD, Shaul Atar MD, Alexander Shturman MD

Background: The continuity equation (CE) used for evaluating aortic stenosis (AS) is based on values obtained from transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) with the assumption that the left ventricular outflow tract (LVOT) has a circular shape. Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) may be used for accurate measurement of the LVOT cross-sectional area (CSA). Previous studies have focused on fusion from TEE for LVOT-CSA measurement and TTE for velocity time integrals (VTI) calculations.

Objectives: To assess aortic valve area (AVA) using parameters obtained exclusively from TEE as an alternative approach.

Methods: Thirty patients with equivocal AS based on TTE were evaluated using TEE for further assessment.

Results: The mean pressure gradient across the aortic valve (AV) was 38 ± 5.9 and 37.9 ± 7.6 mmHg in TTE and TEE, respectively, P = 0.42. LVOT-CSA was larger in TEE (3.6 ± 0.3 vs. 3.4 ± 0.3 cm2, P = 0.049). VTI over the AVA was similar (98.54 ± 22.8 and 99.52 ± 24.52 cm in TTE and TEE, respectively, P = 0.608), while VTI across the LVOT was higher when measured by TTE (24.06 ± 5.8 vs. 22.03 ± 4.3 cm, P < 0.009). Using the CE, AVA was 0.82 ± 0.3 vs. 0.83 ± 0.17 cm2 in TEE vs. TTE, respectively, P = 0.608. Definitive grading was achieved in all patients (26 patients defined with severe AS and 4 with moderate).

Conclusions: In equivocal cases of AS, full assessment using TEE may be a reliable modality for decision making.

Lior Benjamin Pilas MD, Orit Gur BSc, Gidon Berger MD

Background: In the past decade, numerous new imaging and laboratory tests have been implemented that significantly contribute to improved medical diagnostic capabilities. However, inappropriate utilization, which occurs on a large scale, has significant ramifications for both patient care and health systems.

Objectives: To assess the impact of a novel clinical decision support system (CDSS) applied to our electronic medical records on abdominal ultrasonography utilization pattern.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study comparing patterns of abdominal ultrasound utilization in cases of liver enzyme elevation, with and without CDSS, between February and May in 2017 (before CDSS implementation) and during the same months in 2018 (after CDSS implementation). The following parameters were collected: number of tests ordered according to the guidelines, tests with a diagnostic value, and order forms completed with any data or a diagnostic question. The comparison was conducted using chi-square test.

Results: Of 152 abdominal ultrasound tests, 72 were ordered in the pre-implementation period and 80 in the post-implementation period. The system failed to reach statistical significance regarding the rates of ordered tests according to the guidelines and/or tests with a diagnostic value. However, the use of the CDSS had a statistically significant impact regarding completing the order form with data, including a specific diagnostic question.

Conclusions: The effect of the system on the efficiency of test utilization was partial. However, our findings strongly suggested that CDSS has the potential to promote proper usage of complementary technologies.

Jonathan Eisenberger BSc, Shmuel Somer BSc, Eilon Ram MD, Eyal Nachum MD, Jonathan Frogal MD, Shany Levin MA, Jacob Lavee MD, Leonid Sternik MD, Jeffrey Morgan MD

Background: Unfractionated heparin is the preferred anticoagulant used during open heart surgeries, including left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantation. In cases in which patients are heparin-induced thrombocytopenia positive (HIT+), the accepted practice has been to substitute heparin with bivalirudin. This practice may be associated with significant bleeding and adverse outcomes.

Objectives: To review our experience with HIT+ patients who were heparin-induced thrombocytopenia with thrombosis negative (HITT-) and who underwent HeartMate 3 LVAD implantation using heparin intraoperatively rather than bivalirudin.

Methods: From 2016 to 2022, 144 adult patients were implanted with HeartMate 3 LVAD at our center. Among them, 7 were detected as HIT+ but HITT- and therefore were prescribed intraoperatively with heparin and treated pre- and postoperatively with bivalirudin. We reviewed the preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative characteristics as well as short-term mortality and the complication rates of these HIT+ patients.

Results: The median age of our cohort was 56 years (51–60), 71% were male (n=5), all were INTERMACS Level 1, and most were bridged to transplant (n=6, 86%). The 30-day mortality rate post-implantation was 0%. The average 24-hour chest drain postoperative output was 1502.86 ± 931.34 ml. There were no intraoperative pump thromboses, perioperative thromboses, cerebrovascular accidents, or gastrointestinal bleeding within the first 24 hours postoperative. One patient required a revision due to bleeding.

Conclusions: Intraoperative unfractionated heparin may be administered to patients who are HIT+ and HITT- while undergoing LVAD implantation. However, further investigation is required.

Erez Magiel MD, Christopher J. Klein MD, Shahar Shelly MD

In the acute settings of generalized myasthenia gravis (MG) treatment options include plasma exchange (PLEX), intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), and pyridostigmines. A thymoma is associated with the disease in up to 20% of cases [1,2].

In cases where a thymoma is detected, surgical treatment to remove the tumor is recommended in certain age groups. At present, there are no clear guidelines regarding the optimal time to perform thymectomy after diagnosis of acute crisis or from the last treatment to thymectomy. Treatment is at the clinician's discretion.

Anat Milman MD PhD, Bernard Belhassen MD, Eyal Nof MD, Israel Barbash MD, Amit Segev MD, Roy Beinart MD

A 42-year-old healthy man collapsed suddenly in the street while walking. The patient received 2 minutes of basic life support until an automatic external defibrillator was brought and detected ventricular fibrillation (VF), which was successfully terminated by a single shock. The patient regained consciousness and was transferred to the hospital.

The patient’s physical examination was normal with no neurologic deficit. Blood pressure was 147/102 mmHg. Brain computed tomography showed normal findings. The first troponin I measurement within 1 hour of the event was in the normal range (19.6 ng/L, normal < 20 ng/L) and rose to 99.9 ng/L after 3 hours.

Andrei Braester MD, Celia Suriu MD, Luiza Akria MD, Moran Zarfati MD, Najib Dally, Masad Barhoum MD

Cognitive impairment due to different types of anemia is well-known. We reviewed the links between different types of anemia and the mechanism of cognition impairment as well as the direct involvement of micronutrients such as iron, vitamin B12, folic acid, and copper on cognitive function. Anemia can lead to cognitive impairment, yet the current health policy usually requires patient involvement in the treatment decision-making. Therefore, can an anemic patient be a partner to shared decision-making concerning the recommended treatment?

George M. Weisz MD FRACS BA MA, Marina-Portia Anthony MBBS BSc (Med) MPH FRANZCR, Michael Huang MB BS FRCR FRANZCR

There are numerous experimental studies on the effect of immune modulation on the skeleton but few clinical ones.

In this letter, we supplement the previous information on enhanced bone healing. A new branch of medicine, osteoimmunology, describes fracture healing as an active immune system process evolving in a cascade of repairs.

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.

Maxim Ioshpa MD

Status epilepticus (SE) is a neurological emergency requiring immediate evaluation and management to prevent significant morbidity or mortality. Previously, status epilepticus was defined as a seizure with a duration equal to or greater than 30 minutes or a series of seizures in which the patient does not regain normal mental status between seizures. The Neurocritical Care Society guidelines from 2012 revised the definition to a seizure with 5 minutes or more of continuous clinical and/or electrographic seizure activity or recurrent seizure activity without recovery between seizures.

Status epilepticus may be convulsive, non-convulsive, focal motor, or myoclonic, and any can become refractory. Convulsive status epilepticus consists of generalized tonic-clonic movements and mental status impairment. Non-convulsive status epilepticus is defined as seizure activity identified on an electroencephalogram with no accompanying tonic-clonic movements. Focal motor status epilepticus involves the refractory motor activity of a limb or a group of muscles on one side of the body with or without loss of consciousness. Refractory status epilepticus refers to continuing seizures (convulsive or non-convulsive) despite appropriate antiepileptic drugs [1].

Dror Dicker MD, Orly Tamir PhD MSc MHA, Gabriella Lieberman-Segal MD, Roy Eldor MD PhD, Moran Accos-Carmel RD MAN, Tatyana Kolobov PhD, Avraham Karasik MD

Background: In 2019, 1 mg subcutaneous semaglutide was registered for the treatment of diabetes in Israel. Recognition of its effect on weight has led to its use as a treatment for obesity.

Objectives: To explore physicians’ pre-therapy considerations, therapy practices, and attitudes regarding subcutaneous semaglutide for weight loss.

Methods: A 22-item questionnaire was disseminated to physicians who prescribed semaglutide 1-mg for weight loss using an authorized off-label path.

Results: In total, 127 physicians completed the questionnaire. As for pretreatment requirements, in the absence of diabetes, 30% requested a minimal body mass index of 30 kg/m2. Additional requirements were documented lifestyle-change effort (67%) and prior weight loss medication use (13%). Half of the physicians regarded calorie restriction, and 23% considered physical activity as necessary for weight loss while on therapy. As for dose, most physicians (78%) started with a 0.25-mg weekly injection, 57% doubled the dose monthly, and all others recommended doubling when side effects subsided. Regarding weight loss goal, 43% of the physicians set a personal goal with each patient while 26% limited the goal to 10% of initial weight. Fewer than 50% of physicians discussed treatment duration with their patients, and 52% of patients discontinued therapy in the first 3 months. The main reasons for discontinuation were price, lack of effect, and fear of long-term side effects.

Conclusions: The diverse approaches regarding off-label use of semaglutide for weight reduction highlight the necessity to guide physicians and standardize treatment regimen.

Nidal Siag MD, Ran Moshkovsky MD, Nili Golan MD, Lee Nussbaum MD, Asaf Bar MD, Einat Malik Gadot PhD, Idit Maharshak MD PhD

Background: In recent years, major progress has been made in treating the wet form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) with anti-vascular endothelial growth factors, which reportedly stabilize and improve vision.

Objectives: To examine the effect of dietary supplementation, as recommended by the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2), on the number of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor injections administered to patients with wet AMD.

Methods: A retrospective study was conducted with 57 participants (27 participants in the study group and 30 in the control group) receiving injections of anti-vascular endothelial growth factors. The study group received dietary supplements for at least one year before the treatment was initiated, while the control group did not. Primary outcome was the number of injections a patient received over a 3-year period. Secondary outcomes were central macular thickness and visual acuity.

Results: The average number of injections per patient after 3 years was 21.89 ± 7.85 in the study group and 26.00 ± 5.62 in the control group (P = 0.083). Final visual acuities were 0.45 ± 0.45 and 0.8 ± 0.73 (P = 0.09), and final central macular thicknesses were 288.26 ± 55.38 and 313.12 ± 107.36 (P = 0.38) in the study and control groups, respectively.

Conclusions: The average number of injections after 3 years was lower in the study group, but this difference did not reach statistical significance. No statistically significant difference was found in final visual acuity or central macular thickness between the groups.

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