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עמוד בית
Wed, 06.12.23

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November 2023
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.

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].

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.

Ljudmila Stojanovich PhD, Natasa Stanisavljevic PhD, Aleksandra Djokovic PhD, Milomir Milanovic PHD, Jovica Saponjski PhD, Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaACR

Background: Data are scarce on the immunogenicity of coronavirus disease 2019 vaccines in patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases (ARD).

Objectives: To measure the immunoglobulin G (IgG) response after severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) immunization and to evaluate clinical characteristics associated with seropositivity.

Methods: Samples were collected after the second and third doses of the three different types of vaccines in ARD patients. Seroconversion rates and IgG antibody S1/S2 titers were measured.

Results: The type of ARD diagnosis and previous treatment had no significant impact on the serum IgG antibody levels measured after the second (P = 0.489 and P = 0.330, respectively) and boost dose (P = 0.441 and P = 0.446, respectively). What made a significant difference regarding serum IgG antibody levels after the second dose was the type of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. The difference was highly statistically significant for all vaccine types (P = 0.001 with the highest odds ratio for the mRNA vaccine). After the boost with the mRNA vaccine, all patients achieved a high level of serum IgG antibody levels (t = 10.31, P = 0.001). No ARD patients experienced serious post-vaccinal reactions. Eight patients developed COVID-19 before the boost dose.

Conclusions: In ARDs patients, the highest level of serum IgG antibody against S1/S2 proteins was achieved with the mRNA vaccine, irrespective of the therapy applied or the type of the disease. We recommend a booster dose with mRNA vaccine in all ARDs for the highest SARS-CoV-2 protection without serious post-vaccinal reactions observed.

Ivan Gur MD MPH MHA, Ronen Zalts MD, Monia Azzam MD, Khetam Hussein MD, Ami Neuberger MD, Eyal Fuchs MD

Background: At the beginning of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, many patients presented with acute hypoxemic respiratory failure, requiring ventilatory support. One treatment method was the addition of a reservoir mask to a high flow nasal cannula (HFNC) (dual oxygenation).

Objectives: To evaluate the clinical outcomes of combining reservoir mask on top of a high-flow nasal cannula.

Methods: A retrospective cohort of adult patients who were admitted due to COVID-19 during the first year of the pandemic to Rambam Health Care Campus. The primary endpoint was 30-day mortality. Secondary endpoints were incidence of invasive positive pressure ventilation initiation and admission to the intensive care unit (ICU). Patients who received positive pressure ventilation for reasons other than hypoxemic respiratory failure or who were transferred to another facility while still on HFNC were excluded.

Results: The final analysis included 333 patients; 166 were treated with dual oxygenation and 167 with HFNC only (controls). No significant differences in baseline characteristics were noted between the groups. The dual oxygenation group was slightly older (69.2 ± 14.8 years vs. 65.6 ± 15.5 years, P = 0.034). The 30-day mortality (24.1% vs. 36.5%, P = 0.013), rates of invasive positive pressure ventilation (47% vs. 59.3%, P = 0.024), and ICU admissions (41.6% vs. 52.7%, P = 0.042) were all significantly lower in the dual oxygenation group.

Conclusions: The addition of reservoir masks to HFNC may improve the oxygenation and overall prognosis in patients with severe hypoxemia due to COVID-19.

Nurit Yaakobi-Simhayoff MD, Sagui Gavri MD, Julius Golander MD, Azaria JJT Rein MD

Congenital cardiac tumors are rare in neonates. A rhabdomyoma, the most common neonatal cardiac tumor, tends to regress in the first year of life. Indications for intervention include hemodynamic compromise and intractable arrhythmias. To the best of our knowledge, rhabdomyoma-induced ischemia has not yet been reported. We report a case of a neonate with multiple rhabdomyomas with myocardial infarction related to compression of a coronary artery.

Doron Merims MD, Tania Boguslavsky MD

Only two approaches are currently accepted for patients with advanced dementia who are unable to eat independently or refuse to eat. One is feeding by either nasogastric tube (NGT) or percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG). The other is to avoid artificially feeding the patient to spare the prolonged suffering associated with these procedures. The second approach is generally reserved for patients with terminal malignant diseases and is less common in patients with advanced dementia, especially when their life expectancy is unknown. PEG and NGT nutrition can lead to complications such as the likelihood of patients pulling out feeding tubes due to cognitive impairment. Various studies have shown that this feeding approach can be distressing to patients and does not extend life expectancy compared to spoon-feeding [1,2].

Galit Almoznino DMD MSc MHA MPH, Maayan Sherman DMD, Doron J. Aframian DMD PhD, Yaron Haviv DMD PhD

Migraine is very common headache disorder, usually starting at a young age with a higher prevalence in females. In this narrative review, we summarize the prevalence, burden, and socio-demographic characteristics of migraineurs worldwide and specifically in Israel. We searched standard electronic bibliographic databases, including MEDLINE (via PubMed), Embase, Google Scholar, and Up to Date using combinations of search terms and reviewed the articles we found. The factors reviewed included prevalence and incidence, burden, sex differences, age distribution, cognitive function, socioeconomic status, religion, country of origin, and urban vs. rural dwelling.

Shiri Keret MD, Aniela Shouval MD, Itzhak Rosner MD, Doron Rimar MD, Michael Lurie MD, Gleb Slobodin MD

Idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIM) are a group of rare, autoimmune, systemic diseases with a large spectrum of clinical phenotypes. The diagnosis and management of myositis demand an integrated evaluation of different clinical, laboratory, and pathological findings in various organs. Recent developments in IIM research, especially in the serological testing and pathology fields, has led to a new classification and better recognition of patients with early or extra-muscular disease, with improvement in clinical care and prognosis.

August 2023
Shimrit Yaniv-Salem MD, Lianne Dym MD, Lior Nesher MD, Doron Zahger MD, Aryeh Shalev MD, Hezzy Shmueli MD

Background: Peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) is a rare but potentially devastating complication of pregnancy. Although the pathophysiology of PPCM is not fully understood, there are known risk factors for developing PPCM, which are maternal and gestation related. In the first wave of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, we witnessed an elevated incidence of PPCM among COVID-19 survivors.

Objectives: To present a single-center case series of three patients diagnosed with peripartum cardiomyopathy after recovered from COVID-19 during the index pregnancy.

Methods: In this single center case study, all patients diagnosed with PPCM at our institute during the examined time frame were included. Electronic medical records were studied.

Results: Three patients previously diagnosed with asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic COVID-19 disease during pregnancy presented with PPCM before or shortly after delivery. Patients underwent testing to rule out residual COVID-19 myocarditis, were treated pharmacologically and with wearable defibrillators as needed, and were examined in follow-up 1–9 months after delivery.

Conclusions: Residual endothelial damage due to COVID-19 disease, even if originally mild in presentation, could predispose pregnant patients to PPCM and should be considered as a risk factor when assessing patients with new onset symptoms of heart failure. Further research is needed to confirm this hypothesis and fully determine the underlying pathophysiology. These preliminary findings warrant a high index of suspicion for PPCM in COVID-19 recoverers.

Michal M. Amitai MD, Nadin Kanaan MD, Shelly Soffer MD, Lee Alper, Noa Rozendorn MD, Daniel Jacob Harrington, Uri Kopylov MD, Adi Lahat MD, Doron Yablecovitch MD, Rami Eliakim MD, Shomron Ben-Horin MD, Eyal Klang MD

Background: Jejunal disease is associated with worse prognosis in Crohn's disease. The added value of diffusion weighted imaging for evaluating jejunal inflammation related to Crohn's Disease is scarce.

Objectives: To compare diffusion weighted imaging, video capsule endoscopy, and inflammatory biomarkers in the assessment of Crohn's disease involving the jejunum.

Methods: Crohn's disease patients in clinical remission were prospectively recruited and underwent magnetic resonance (MR)-enterography and video capsule endoscopy. C-reactive protein and fecal-calprotectin levels were obtained. MR-enterography images were evaluated for restricted diffusion, and apparent diffusion coefficient values were measured. The video capsule endoscopy-based Lewis score was calculated. Associations between diffusion weighted imaging, apparent diffusion coefficient, Lewis score, and inflammatory biomarkers were evaluated.

Results: The study included 51 patients, and 27/51 (52.9%) with video capsule endoscopies showed jejunal mucosal inflammation. Sensitivity and specificity of restricted diffusion for video capsule endoscopy mucosal inflammation were 59.3% and 37.5% for the first reader, and 66.7% and 37.5% for the second reader, respectively. Diffusion weighted imaging was not statistically associated with jejunal video capsule endoscopy inflammation (P = 0.813).

Conclusions: Diffusion weighted imaging was not an effective test for evaluation of jejunal inflammation as seen by video capsule endoscopy in patients with quiescent Crohn's disease.

July 2023
Yaron Niv MD AGAF FACG, Michael Kuniavsky RN PhD, Olga Bronshtein RN MSc, Nethanel Goldschmidt MSc, Shuli Hanhart MSc, Alexander Konson RN PhD, Hannah Mahalla BSc

Background: Up to half the patients diagnosed with acute coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) presented with gastrointestinal symptoms. Gastric mucosal cells, enterocytes, and colonocytes express the viral entry receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and coreceptor transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2) and are prone to infection. Direct infection of gastrointestinal epithelial cells has been demonstrated. COVID-19 disease was first diagnosed in Israel at the end of February 2020 with 842,536 confirmed cases and 6428 deaths by the end of June 2021. In our multicenter, retrospective cohort study, we looked for gastrointestinal signs and symptoms in two periods and correlated them with mortality. Period 1 included the first and second waves and the original virus. Period 2 represented the third wave and the alpha variant.

Objectives: To reveal gastrointestinal signs and symptoms in two periods and correlate them with mortality.

Methods: From 22,302 patients hospitalized in general medical centers, we randomly selected 3582 from Period 1 and 1106 from Period 2. The study was performed before vaccinations were available.

Results: Gastrointestinal signs and symptoms, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and taste/smell loss were significantly more prevalent during Period 1. Thirty-day mortality and in-hospital mortality were significantly higher in Period 2 than in Period 1, 25.20% vs. 13.68%, and 21.17% vs. 12.87%, respectively (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Thirty-day mortality and in-hospital mortality rates were 1.84 and 1.64 times higher from 6 November 2020 to 15 January 2021, the alpha variant, and in negative correlation with gastrointestinal symptoms.

June 2023
Tal Bechor Ariel MD, Ben Ariel MD, Yuni Lahav MD, Moshe Yana BSc, Michael Ben-Acon MD, Nechama Sharon MD

Background: Infants younger than 6 months of age are not eligible for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccinations. Maternal variables during pregnancy and the postnatal period may affect the clinical and laboratory course of COVID-19 positive infants.

Objective: To assess the clinical manifestation and laboratory differences in infants with three maternal variables: breastfeeding, vaccinated, and co-illness.

Methods: We conducted a single-center retrospective cohort study of positive COVID-19 infants with three subgroups of maternal variables. The population included infants under 6 months of age hospitalized due to COVID-19. Data about clinical features, laboratory tests, and maternal information including vaccination status, breastfeeding status and maternal positive COVID-19 infection was gathered. All variables were compared among the three subgroups.

Results: Breastfed infants had shorter hospitalization period (mean 2.61 ± 1.378 days) compared to non-breastfed infants (mean 3.8 ± 1.549) (P = 0.051). COVID-19 infants of positive COVID-19 mothers had a higher absolute neutrophil count (mean 4.4 ± 3.8) compared to infants of COVID-19 negative mothers (mean 2.7 ± 2.4) (P = 0.042).

Conclusion: Breastfeeding was associated with shorter periods of hospitalization in COVID-19 positive infants. In addition, positive COVID-19 infants of mothers who were positive for COVID-19 are likely to have a higher absolute neutrophils count.

May 2023
Ilan Merdler MD MHA, Haytham Katas MD, Ariel Banai MD, Keren-Lee Rozenfeld MD, Dana Lewit MD, Itamar Loewenstein MD, Gil Bornstein MD, Shmuel Banai MD, Yacov Shacham MD

Background: Among chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients, baseline neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) may reflect the severity of renal impairment. No data exists on serial changes in serum NGAL levels in CKD patients before and after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).

Objectives: To evaluate serial serum NGAL levels relation to contrast induced acute kidney injury (CI-AKI) following PCI.

Methods: The study included 58 patients with CKD who underwent elective PCI. Plasma NGAL measurements were performed before (pre-NGAL) and 24 hours following (post-NGAL) PCI. Patients were followed for CI-AKI and changes in NGAL levels. Receiver operator characteristic identified the optimal sensitivity and specificity for pre-NGAL levels compared with post-NGAL for patients with CI-AKI.

Results: Overall CI-AKI incidence was 33%. Both pre-NGAL (172 vs. 119 ng/ml, P < 0.001) and post-NGAL (181 vs. 121 ng/ml, P < 0.001) levels were significantly higher in patients with CI-AKI, but no significant changes were detected. Pre-NGAL levels were similar to post-NGAL levels in predicting CI-AKI (area under the curve 0.753 vs. 0.745). Optimal cutoff value for pre-NGAL was 129 ng/ml (sensitivity of 73% and specificity of 72%, P < 0.001). Post-NGAL levels > 141 ng/ml were independently associated with CI-AKI (hazard ratio [HR] 4.86, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.34–17.64, P = 0.02) with a strong trend for post-NGAL levels > 129 ng/ml (HR 3.46, 95%CI 1.23–12.81, P = 0.06).

Conclusions: In high-risk patients, pre-NGAL levels may predict CI-AKI. Further studies on larger populations are needed to validate the use of NGAL measurements in CKD patients.

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