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October 2023
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.

Susana Mikhail Mustafa MD, Raneen Abu Shqara MD, Maya Frank Wolf MD, Oleg Shnaider MD, Sari Nahir Biderman RN MA, Limor Sharabi MA, Lior Lowenstein MD

Background: The French AmbUlatory Cesarean Section (FAUCS) technique was introduced to the Galilee Medical Center in September 2021. FAUCS was performed electively for interested women who meet the criteria.

Objectives: To evaluate the learning curve of senior surgeons performing FAUCS, the procedure short-term outcomes, and complications.

Methods: This retrospective study included 50 consecutive women who underwent FAUCS from September 2021 until March 2022 at our facility. Preoperative, intraoperative, postoperative, and demographic data were retrieved from patient electronic charts.

Results: The mean duration of surgery was 53.26 ± 11.62 minutes. This time decreased as the surgical team's experience increased: from a mean 58.26 ± 12.25 minutes for the first 15 procedures to a mean 51.17 ± 9.73 minutes for subsequent procedures. The mean visual analogue scale score for 24 hours was 1.08 ± 0.84 (on a 10-point scale). The rate of neonatal cord pH < 7.2 was 6%, and there were 11.3% cases of vacuum assisted fetal extraction. In total, 44% of the women were able to mobilize and urinate spontaneously by 4–6 hours. Complications included bladder injury (n=1), endometritis (n=1), and incisional hematoma (n=1). Overall, the maternal satisfaction rate was high; 94% of the women would recommend FAUCS to others.

Conclusions: FAUCS is a feasible procedure with a high satisfaction rate. Following the first 15 procedures performed by one surgical team, the operative time decreased considerably. Further randomized controlled studies are needed to compare this procedure to regular cesarean section and evaluate neonatal outcomes.

Keren Zloto MD, Eyal Krispin MD, Anat Shmueli MD, Eran Hadar MD, Lina Salman MD MSc

Background: The administration of antenatal corticosteroids (ACS) is standard practice for management of threatened preterm birth. Its benefit, especially in small for gestational age (SGA) late preterm, is unclear.

Objectives: To evaluate the impact of ACS on perinatal outcome of late preterm SGA neonates.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of all women carrying a singleton gestation who had late preterm delivery (34–36 gestational weeks) of SGA neonates at a single tertiary university-affiliated medical center (July 2012–December 2017). Exclusion criteria included termination of pregnancy, intrauterine fetal death, and birth weight ≥ 10th percentile. Outcomes were compared between ACS and non-ACS treatment prior to delivery. Neonatal composite outcome included neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admission, respiratory distress syndrome, mechanical ventilation, and transient tachypnea.

Results: Overall, 228 women met inclusion criteria; 102 (44.7%) received ACS and 126 did not (55.3%). Median birth weight among the non-ACS group was significantly higher (1896.0 vs. 1755.5 grams P < 0.001). Rates of NICU and jaundice requiring phototherapy were higher among the ACS group (53.92% vs. 31.74%, P = 0.01; 12.74% vs. 5.55%, P = 0.05, respectively). Composite neonatal outcome was significantly higher among the ACS group (53.92% vs. 32.53%, odds ratio [OR] 2.42, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.41–4.15, P = 0.01). After adjustment for potential confounders, this association remained significant (OR 2.15, 95%CI 1.23–3.78, P = 0.007).

Conclusions: ACS given during pregnancy did not improve respiratory outcome for SGA late preterm neonates. ACS may be associated with a worse outcome.

Yaniv Steinfeld MD, Omri Besor MD, Yaniv Yonai MD, Yaron Berkovich MD, Elad Apt MD, Nadav Rinott , Yaniv Keren MD

Background: Websites serve as a source of medical information for a large part of the public, some claim to be a substitute for a physician’s consultation. Many patients meet a physician after conducting internet research. Medical staff are concerned that internet sources of information are unreliable and may lead to erroneous decisions by patients.

Objectives: To examine the reliability of web-based sources of information (through the Google™ search engine) regarding five common orthopedic complaints and injuries.

Method: We performed a search of five common orthopedic complaints and injuries using the Google search engine. The reliability of web-based information was measured by the DISCERN tool, which is a valid and verified tool for examining the reliability of medical information sources to the public. The reliability of 47 websites was examined by two orthopedic surgeons and two senior residents.

Results: The overall average score given to the sites was 2.8, on a scale of 1 to 5. We found that the higher the site appeared in the search results, the higher the quality of its information. Commercial sites scored higher than general internet information sources.

Conclusions: The internet network is a very broad source of information. For those who lack scientific education and training it is not easy to distinguish between reliable and unreliable or biased sources. The trend of searching for medical information and self-healing is increasing. We must strengthen the network with reliable sources by creating official scientific position papers by medical teams and promoting them online.

Moran Drucker Iarovich MD, Sara Apter MD, Eli Konen MD MHA, Yael Inbar MD, Marrianne Michal Amitai MD, Eyal Klang MD

Background: Computed tomography (CT) is the main diagnostic modality for detecting pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

Objectives: To assess the frequency of missed pancreatic adenocarcinoma on CT scans according to different CT protocols.

Methods: The medical records of consecutive pancreatic adenocarcinoma patients were retrospectively collected (12/2011–12/2015). Patients with abdominal CT scans performed up to a year prior to cancer diagnosis were included. Two radiologists registered the presence of radiological signs of missed cancers. The frequency of missed cancers was compared between portal and pancreatic/triphasic CT protocols.

Results: Overall, 180 CT scans of pancreatic adenocarcinoma patients performed prior to cancer diagnosis were retrieved; 126/180 (70.0%) were conducted using pancreatic/triphasic protocols and 54/180 (30.0%) used portal protocols. The overall frequency of missed cancers was 6/180 (3.3%) in our study population. The frequency of missed cancers was higher with the portal CT protocols compared to the pancreatic/triphasic protocols: 5/54 (9.3%) vs. 1/126 (0.8%), P = 0.01. CT signs of missed cancers included small hypodense lesions, peri-pancreatic fat stranding, and dilated pancreatic duct with a cut-off sign.

Conclusions: The frequency of missed pancreatic adenocarcinoma is higher on portal CT protocols. Physicians should consider the cancer miss rate on different CT protocols.

Rotem Gindelskhi Sagiv MD, Vicktoria Vishnevskia-Dai MD

Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome (KTS) is a rare congenital complex vascular multisystem disorder characterized by bony and soft-tissue hypertrophy. It is famous for its hallmarks like port-wine stains and varicose veins. The syndrome is sporadic, although rare familial cases have been reported [1]. The most common ophthalmological alterations encountered in KTS are conjunctival telangiectasia, anterior chamber malformation, raised episcleral venous pressure with associated glaucoma, and choroidal hemangiomas [2].

The purpose of this report is to raise awareness of KTS and its diverse scale of expressions as well as complications. This study was conducted in accordance with the ethical standards set by the Declaration of Helsinki. The patient gave signed informed consent.

Gilad Rotem MD, Amir Arami MD, Iana Leineman MD, Alon Covo MD

Psoriatic arthritis can present with significant hand and wrist deformity and dysfunction [1]. The development of newer biological therapies has resulted in higher rates of remission [2]. However, surgical intervention is still indicated in pain, disability, and severe deformation cases. The management of patients with rheumatic diseases has a controversial history, characterized by rheumatologists and hand surgeons debating the efficacy of surgical interventions. Some surgeons attribute the controversial results to “too little and too late” referral of patients from rheumatologists [3]. While the availability of new and more effective medication has changed the indications and postponed surgical intervention, it is important to remember that surgery is often more effective when used preventively in the early stages than when forced to salvage. In the following case, we present a patient with psoriatic arthritis who presented with advanced-stage debilitating hand deformity and was treated surgically.

Wakar Garra MD, Yair Levy MD

Nocardia species are gram-positive aerobic bacteria, usually acquired by inhalation or traumatic percutaneous inoculation [1,2]. It is a rare opportunistic infection that mainly occurs in immunocompromised hosts, patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), organ transplant recipients, and long-term corticosteroid treated patients [1,2]. It is associated with high morbidity and mortality rates. The increased use of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors has been accompanied by increased risk of different opportunistic infections including reactivation of tuberculosis, viral hepatitis B and C, listeria, fungal and bacterial infections [3,4]. To date, there are scarce case reports regarding nocardial infection with anti-TNF, particularly during the first 6 months of treatment.

We present a case of nocardial tenosynovitis of the hand in a patient with psoriatic arthropathy who was followed in our rheumatology clinic in Meir medical center in Israel after treatment with an anti TNF therapy.

Milena Tocut MD, David Linton MD, Gisele Zandman-Goddard MD

Patients with severe ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke may require invasive mechanical ventilation due to loss of consciousness and increased risk for aspiration pneumonia secondary to new onset dysphagia. Ventilation may also confer airway protection until the patient stabilizes [1]. Mechanically intubated stroke patients who are admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) have a poor prognosis and a 40–80 % mortality rate [2]. Proceeding to tracheostomy is mandatory in stroke patients to ease the procedure of respiratory weaning and extubation [1]. In the stroke ICU, between 15% and 35% of the mechanically intubated patients cannot proceed to tracheostomy due to weaning and extubation failure [3].

George Shallufi MD, Suhair Hanna MD, Asaad Khoury MD, Tarek Saadi MD, Anat Ilivitzki MD, Michal Gur MD, Lea Bentur MD, Ronen Bar-Yoseph MD

Common variable immunodeficiency (CVID) is a heterogeneous primary immune deficiency disorder characterized mainly by defective B lymphocyte differentiation, leading to hypogammaglobinemia and defective antibody production. It is often combined with cellular immune defects. A minority of patients present during childhood and adolescence. Infections are most often sinopulmonary but can affect any system. The noninfectious complications include progressive lung disease, autoimmunity, gastrointestinal inflammatory disease, liver disease, granulomatous disease, lymphoid hyperplasia and infiltrative disease, and the development of lymphoma and other cancers. In addition to recurrent infections and bronchiectasis, patients may develop chronic interstitial lung disease, granulomatous lung disease, lymphoma, and pulmonary hypertension.

Rachel Shemesh MD, Tal Serlin MD, Moroz Iris MD, Vicktoria Vishnevskia-Dai MD

Uveal melanoma (UM) affects approximately six individuals per million per year in the United States, with similar rates in Mediterranean countries. Although it appears to have a low prevalence, it is the most common primary intraocular malignancy in adults. Clinically, it presents in most patients as a painless loss or distortion of vision, although it may also be accidentally discovered at routine ophthalmic examination. Associated risk factors include fair skin tone, light eye color, presence of a choroidal nevus, oculodermal melanocytosis (nevus of ota), dysplastic nevus syndrome, and germline BRCA-associated protein 1 mutations (BAP1 mutations) [1].

Samuel N. Heyman MD, Yuri Gorelik MD, Mogher Khamaisi MD PhD, Zaid Abassi PhD

Recent studies using propensity score matching have clearly indicated that contrast nephropathy following computed tomography occurs in hospitalized patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (eGFR < 30 ml/min/1.73 m2) and that this iatrogenic complication is likely underestimated because of concomitant renal functional recovery, unrelated to the imaging procedure. These findings should be considered regarding contrast-enhanced studies in such patients.

September 2023
Alaa Atamna MD, Evgeny Berkov MD, Genady Drozdinsky MD, Tzippy Shochat MD, Haim Ben Zvi MD, Noa Eliakim-Raz MD, Jihad Bishara MD, Avishay Elis MD

Background: Influenza and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are respiratory diseases with similar modes of transmission. In December 2021, influenza re-emerged after it had been undetected since March 2020 and the Omicron variant replaced the Delta variant. Data directly comparing the two diseases are scarce.

Objectives: To compare the outcomes of patients with both the Omicron variant and influenza during 2021–2022.

Methods: We performed a retrospective study conducted in Beilinson hospital, Israel, from December 2021 to January 2022. We included all hospitalized patients with either laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 or influenza. The primary outcome was 30-day mortality.

Results: We identified 167 patients diagnosed with Omicron and 221 diagnosed with Influenza A. The median age was 71 years for Omicron and 65 years for influenza. Patients with Omicron had a significantly higher Charlson Comorbidity Index score (4 vs. 3, P < 0.001). Patients with Omicron developed more respiratory failure that needed mechanical ventilation (7% vs. 2%, P = 0.05) and vasopressors (14% vs. 2%, P < 0.001) than patients with influenza. In a multivariate model, 30-day mortality was lower in patients diagnosed with influenza than in patients diagnosed with Omicron (19/221 [9%] vs. 44/167 [26%], hazard ratio 0.45, 95% confidence interval 0.25–0.81).

Conclusions: Patients diagnosed with Omicron had higher mortality than patients diagnosed with seasonal influenza. This finding could be due to differences in co-morbidities, the virus pathogenicity, and host responses to infection.

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