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עמוד בית
Tue, 21.05.24

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January 2024
Maya Schwartz-Lifshitz MD, Stav Bloch Priel MD, Noam Matalon MD, Yehonathan Hochberg MD, Dana Basel MD, Doron Gothelf MD

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused significant global turmoil, including changes in social and societal conduct such as lockdowns, social isolation, and extensive regulations. These changes can be major sources of stress. The first wave of the pandemic (April–May 2020) was a time of global uncertainty. We evaluated symptom severity among 29 Israeli children and adolescents with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Our previous study found that most of these participants did not experience an exacerbation of symptoms.

Objective: To re-evaluate the OCD symptoms of 18 participants from the original group of 29 children and adolescents during three time points: before the pandemic, during the first wave, and 2 years later.

Methods: Obsessive-compulsive symptoms (OCS) were assessed using the Clinical Global Impression Scale (CGI), a functional questionnaire, and the Obsessive-Compulsive Inventory-child version (OCI-CV).

Results: OCS in patients did not change significantly during the three time points. Participants reported minimal changes in their general functioning 2 years after the outbreak of COVID-19 and showed minimal change in OCI-CV scale scores.

Conclusions: Our results indicated clinical stability of OCD symptoms among most of the participants.

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.

March 2023
Nimrod Sachs MD, Lotem Goldberg MD, Yoel Levinsky MD, Yotam Dizitzer MD, Yoav Vardi MD, Irit Krause MD, Oded Scheuerman MD, Gilat Livni MD, Efraim Bilavsky MD, Havatzelet Bilavsky-Yarden MD

Background: During coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, less isolation of common winter viruses was reported in the southern hemisphere.

Objectives: To evaluate annual trends in respiratory disease-related admissions in a large Israeli hospital during and before the pandemic.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of medical records from November 2020 to January 2021 (winter season) was conducted and compared to the same period in two previous years. Data included number of admissions, epidemiological and clinical presentation, and isolation of respiratory pathogens.

Results: There were 1488 respiratory hospitalizations (58% males): 632 in 2018–2019, 701 in 2019–2020, and 155 in 2020–2021. Daily admissions decreased significantly from a median value of 6 (interquartile range [IQR] 4–9) and 7 per day (IQR 6–10) for 2018–2019 and 2019–2020, respectively, to only 1 per day (IQR 1–3) in 2020–2021 (P-value < 0.001). The incidence of all respiratory viruses decreased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, with no hospitalizations due to influenza and only one with respiratory syncytial virus. There was also a significant decline in respiratory viral and bacterial co-infections during the pandemic (P-value < 0.001).

Conclusions: There was a significant decline in pediatric respiratory admission rates during the COVID-19 pandemic. Possible etiologies include epidemiological factors such as mask wearing and social distancing, in addition to biological factors such as viral interference. A herd protection effect of adults and older children wearing masks may also have had an impact.

Ariel Tessone MD, Moti Harats MD

Background: In late 2019, a new strain of coronavirus (coronavirus disease 2019 [COVID-19]) spread rapidly throughout the world. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported a pandemic-related surge in the demand for aesthetic surgery compared to the same popularity of procedures prior to the pandemic.

Objectives: To determine whether this phenomenon also occurred in Israel.

Methods: We collected data from three leading private medical centers in Tel Aviv. Data were compared for the years 2019 and 2020 by surgical procedure. Number of orthopedic, gynecologic, and hand procedures served as control data.

Results: We present a detailed pandemic-related timeline relevant to aesthetic surgery in Israel. Overall, the demand for aesthetic surgery increased, with a marked trend toward body contouring procedures.

Conclusions: The Israeli aesthetic surgery market was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a post-closure surge. The popularity and number of procedures are unique to the Israeli market.

September 2022
Gil A. Geva MD, Maya Nitecki MD, Itay Ketko MSc, Itay Toledo BSc, Sagi A. Shpitzer MD, Avi Benov MD MHA, Noam Fink MD, and Ariel Furer MD MBA

Background: To mitigate the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), national guidelines, in accordance with international health authorities, mandated 14 days of quarantine for every close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 patient. Although health benefits are obvious, consequences are profound, especially for organizations required to maintain operational preparedness.

Objectives: To present the Israel Defense Force (IDF) experience with outbreaks regarding quarantined individuals. To weigh the consequences of quarantined individuals needed for workforce and operation.

Methods: All positive COVID-19 cases in the IDF, as measured by a positive rRT-PCR test result, between 29 February and 18 May 2020 were evaluated. Numbers of positive individuals, quarantined individuals, and confirmatory exams conducted were collected. We compared the events in four units with the largest outbreaks and assessed the impact of confirmed cases, tests conducted, and workforce loss due to quarantine.

Results: Of the 187 soldiers who tested positive for COVID-19, source of infection was traced to 140 soldiers (75%). Almost no medical treatment was delivered, and hospitalization was rare. We found a median of 15.2% (interquartile range 5.3–34) for decline in unit workforce due to quarantine measures. Maximum reduction reached 47% of the workforce in one unit.

Conclusions: Despite a relatively small number of confirmed cases, units underwent a substantial change in mode of operation due to the toll of quarantined individuals. In certain populations and organizations, perhaps a more liberal application of isolation and contact tracing is suitable due to the heavy economic burden and consequences in term of operational readiness.

May 2022
Issac Levy MD, Dolev Dollberg MD, Ron Berant MD, and Ronit Friling MD

Background: Data on how the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) affected consultations in ophthalmic departments are sparse.

Objectives: To examine the epidemiology of ophthalmic consultations in a large pediatric emergency medicine department (PED) during the first nationwide COVID-19 lockdown in Israel.

Methods: The database of a tertiary pediatric medical center was retrospectively reviewed for patients aged < 18 years who attended the PED from 17 March to 30 April 2020 (first COVID-19 lockdown) and the corresponding period in 2019. Background, clinical, and disease-related data were collected from the medical charts and compared between groups.

Results: The study included 757 PED visits. There were no significant differences in demographics between the groups. The 2020 period was characterized by a decrease in PED visits (by 52%), increase in arrivals during late afternoon and evening (P = 0.013), decrease in visits of older children (age 5–10 year), and proportional increase in younger children (age 1–5 years) (P = 0.011). The most common diagnoses overall and during each period was trauma followed by conjunctivitis and eyelid inflammation. The mechanisms of trauma differed (P = 0.002), with an increase in sharp trauma and decrease in blunt trauma in 2020 (P < 0.001 for both). In 2020, 95% of traumatic events occurred in the home compared to 54% in 2019 (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Parents need to learn appropriate preventive and treatment measures to prevent serious and long-term ophthalmic injury while minimizing their exposure to the COVID-19. PEDs and ophthalmic pediatric clinics should consider increasing use of telemedicine and the availability of more senior physicians as consultants during such times.

Jordan Lachnish MD, Amit Zabatani MD, and Ran Thein MD

Background: The influence of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused countries worldwide to implement lockdowns. Elective surgeries were temporarily suspended, with surgeries being performed only for emergent/urgent medical conditions such as hip fractures where early surgical intervention has shown decreased rates of morbidity/mortality.

Objectives: To assess the indirect influence of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdown on hip fracture patients, considering factors such as time to surgery, early postoperative complications, and ambulation status.

Methods: A comparative retrospective study was conducted on consecutive patients presenting to our emergency department (ED) with hip fractures that were treated surgically (N=29) during a 1-month period during the government lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The treatments were compared to consecutive patients who presented with hip fractures and were treated surgically (N=44) during the same timeframe in the previous year (control). Comparisons were made using t-test, ANOVA test, Fisher's exact test, and chi-square test.

Results: The COVID-19 group was operated on sooner (20.34 vs. 34.87 hours), had fewer early postoperative complications (10.3% vs. 31.8%), had better ambulatory status at discharge, and experienced a shorter hospital stay (5.93 vs. 8.13 days) with more patients being discharged home (72.4% vs. 22.7%).

Conclusions: Patients presenting with hip fractures to our ED during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown indirectly benefited from this situation by undergoing earlier surgical treatment, thus experiencing fewer early postoperative complications, faster ambulation, and sooner discharge.

 

Olga Vera-Lastra MD, Erik Cimé-Aké MD, Alberto Ordinola Navarro MD, Joel Eduardo Morales-Gutiérrez MD, Orestes de Jesús Cobos-Quevedo MD, Jorge Hurtado-Díaz MD, María Lucero Espinoza-Sánchez MD, Ana Lilia Peralta-Amaro MD, María Pilar Cruz-Domínguez MD, Gabriela Medina MD, Antonio Fraga-Mouret MD, Jesus Sepulveda-Delgado MD, and Luis J. Jara MD

Background: Patients with autoimmune disease (AID) and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) could have higher mortality due to the co-morbidity and the use of immunosuppressive therapy.

Objectives: To analyze the risk factors and outcomes of patients with AID and COVID-19 versus a control group.

Methods: A prospective cohort study included patients with and without AID and COVID-19. Patients were paired by age and sex. Clinical, biochemical, immunological treatments, and outcomes (days of hospital stay, invasive mechanical ventilation [IMV], oxygen at discharge, and death) were collected.

Results: We included 226 COVID-19 patients: 113 with AID (51.15 ± 14.3 years) and 113 controls (53.45 ± 13.3 years). The most frequent AIDs were Rheumatoid arthritis (26.5%), systemic lupus erythematosus (21%), and systemic sclerosis (14%). AID patients had lower lactate dehydrogenas, C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, IMV (P = 0.027), and oxygen levels at discharge (P ≤ 0.0001) and lower death rates (P ≤ 0.0001). Oxygen saturation (SaO2) ≤ 88% at hospitalization provided risk for IMV (RR [relative risk] 3.83, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.1–13.6, P = 0.038). Higher creatinine and LDH levels were associated with death in the AID group. SaO2 ≤ 88% and CO-RADS ≥ 4 were risk factors for in-hospital mortality (RR 4.90, 95%CI 1.8–13.0, P = 0.001 and RR 7.60, 95%CI 1.4–39.7, P = 0.016, respectively). Anticoagulant therapy was protective (RR 0.36, 95%CI 0.1–0.9, P = 0.041)

Conclusions: Patients with AID had better outcomes with COVID-19 than controls. Anticoagulation was associated with a lower death in patients with AID.

Nomy Dikman PhD, Rola Khamisy-Farah MD, Raymond Farah MD, Jumana Essa-Hadad PhD, Nataly Lipavski, and Izhar Ben Shlomo MD
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 2022
Brice Nguedia Vofo MD, Ana Navarrete MD, Jaime Levy MD, and Itay Chowers MD

Background: In response to the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, routine clinical visits to the ophthalmic emergency department (OED) were deferred, while emergency cases continued to be seen.

Objectives: To assess the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for ophthalmic emergencies.

Methods: A retrospective chart analysis of patients who presented to the OED during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic was conducted. The proportions of traumatic, non-traumatic-urgent, and non-traumatic-non-urgent presentations in 2020 were compared to those of the same time period in 2019. Duration of chief complains and best-corrected visual acuity were also assessed.

Results: There were 144 OED visits in 2020 compared to 327 OED visits during the same 3-week-period in 2019. Lower mean age of OED patients was present in 2020. Logarithmic expression (LogMAR) best corrected visual acuity (BVCA) was similar in both years. In 2020 there was a reduction in traumatic, non-traumatic-urgent, and non-traumatic-non-urgent cases compared to 2019 (15.4% reduction, P = 0.038; 57.6% reduction, P = 0.002; 74.6% reduction, P = 0.005, respectively). There was a higher proportion of same-day presentations at commencement of symptoms in 2020 compared with 2019 (52.8% vs. 38.8%, respectively P = 0.006).

Conclusions: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of OED visits at a tertiary hospital dropped by more than half. Although the drop in visits was mostly due to decrease in non-traumatic-non-urgent cases, there was also decrease in non-traumatic-urgent presentations with possible important visual consequences. Additional studies should elucidate what happened to these patients

December 2021
Galit Hirsh-Yechezkel PhD, Angela Chetrit MHA, Sivan Ben Avraham MSc, Abed Agbarya MD, Alexander Yakobson MD, Noam Asna MD, Gil Bar-Sela MD, Irit Ben-Aharon MD PhD, Noa Efrat Ben-Baruch MD, Raanan Berger MD PhD, Ronen Brenner MD, Maya Gottfried MD, Shani Paluch-Shimon MBBS MSc, Raphael Pfeffer MD, Aron Popovtzer MD, Larisa Ryvo MD, Valeriya Semenisty MD, Ayelet Shai MD PhD, Katerina Shulman MD, Jamal Zidan MD, and Ido Wolf MD

Background: The increased susceptibility of cancer patients to coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) infections and complications calls for special precautions while treating cancer patients during COVID-19 pandemics. Thus, oncology departments have had to implement a wide array of prevention measures.

Objectives: To address issues associated with cancer care during the COVID-19 pandemic and to assess the implementation of measures aimed at containment of COVID-19 diffusion while allowing continuation of quality cancer care.

Methods: A national survey among oncology departments in Israel was conducted between 12 April 2020 and 14 April 2020. Eighteen heads of hospital-based oncology departments completed a self-report questionnaire regarding their institute's preparedness for treatment of cancer patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Results: In this national survey, prevention measures against COVID-19 spread were taken prior to patients' arrival and at arrival or while staying in the departments. Most participants (78–89%) reported using a quick triage of patients and caregivers prior to their entrance to the oncology units, limiting the entrance of caregivers, and reducing unnecessary visits to the clinic. Switching to oral therapies rather than intravenous ones when possible was considered by 82% and shortage in personal protective equipment was reported by five (28%) heads of oncology departments. Some differences between large and small/medium sized medical centers were observed regarding issues related to COVID-19 containment measures and changes in treatment.

Conclusions: Oncology departments in Israel were able to prepare and adapt their services to guidelines and requirements related to the COVID-19 pandemic with little harm to their treatment capacity

November 2021
Guy Feldman MD, Yoram A. Weil MD, Ram Mosheiff MD, Amit Davidson MD, Nimrod Rozen MD PhD, and Guy Rubin MD

Background: Toward the end of 2019, the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic began to create turmoil for global health organizations. The illness, caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), spreads by droplets and fomites and can rapidly lead to life-threatening lung disease, especially for the old and those with health co-morbidities. Treating orthopedic patients, who presented with COVID-19 while avoiding nosocomial transmission, became of paramount importance.

Objectives: To present relevant methods for pandemic control and hospital accommodation with emphasis on orthopedic surgery.

Methods: We searched search PubMed and Google Scholar electronic databases using the following keywords: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, screening tools, personal protective equipment, and surgery triage.

Results: We included 25 records in our analysis. The recommendations from these records were divided into the following categories: COVID-19 disease, managing orthopedic surgery in the COVID-19 era, general institution precautions, triage of orthopedic surgeries, preoperative assessment, surgical room setting, personal protection equipment, anesthesia, orthopedic surgery technical precautions, and department stay and rehabilitation.

Conclusions: Special accommodations tailored for each medical facility, based on disease burden and available resources can improve patient and staff safety and reduce elective surgery cancellations. This article will assist orthopedic surgeons during the COVID-19 medical crisis, and possibly for future pandemics

Edward Kim MPH, Elliot Goodman MD, Gilbert Sebbag MD, Ohana Gil MD, Alan Jotkowitz MD, and Benjamin H. Taragin MD

Background: Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) impacted medical education and led to the significant modification or suspension of clinical clerkships and rotations.

Objectives: To describe a revised surgery clerkship curriculum, in which we divided in-person clinical teaching into smaller groups of students and adopted online-based learning to foster student and patient safety while upholding program standards.

Methods: The third-year surgery core clerkship of a 4-year international English-language program at the Medical School for International Health at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel, was adapted by dividing students into smaller capsules for in-person learning and incorporating online learning tools. Specifically, students were divided evenly throughout three surgical departments, each of which followed a different clinical schedule.

Results: National Board of Medical Examiners clerkship scores of third-year medical students who were returning to in-person clinical clerkships after transitioning from 8 weeks of online-based learning showed no significant difference from the previous 2 years.

Conclusions: To manage with the restrictions caused by COVID-19 pandemic, we designed an alternative approach to a traditional surgical clerkship that minimized the risk of exposure and used online learning tools to navigate scheduling challenges. This curriculum enabled students to complete their clinical rotation objectives and outcomes while maintaining program standards. Furthermore, this approach provided a number of benefits, which medical schools should consider adopting the model into practice even in a post-pandemic setting

August 2021
Shai Shemesh MD, Alex Bebin MD, Nadav Niego MD, and Tal Frenkel Rutenberg MD

Background: Hip fractures in elderly patients are a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Variability in length of hospital stay (LOS) was evident in this population. The coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic led to prompt discharge of effected patients in order to reduce contagion risk. LOS and discharge destination in COVID-19 negative patients has not been studied.

Objectives: To evaluate the LOS and discharge destination during the COVID-19 outbreak and compare it with a similar cohort in preceding years.

Methods: A retrospective study was conducted comparing a total of 182 consecutive fragility hip fracture patients operated on during the first COVID-19 outbreak to patients operated on in 2 preceding years. Data regarding demographic, co-morbidities, surgical management, hospitalization, as well as surgical and medical complications were retrieved from electronic charts.

Results: During the pandemic 67 fragility hip fracture patients were admitted (COVID group); 55 and 60 patients were admitted during the same time periods in 2017 and 2018, respectively (control groups). All groups were of similar age and gender. Patients in the COVID group had significantly shorter LOS (7.2 ± 3.3 vs. 8.9 ± 4.9 days, P = 0.008) and waiting time for a rehabilitation facility (7.2 ± 3.1 vs. 9.3 ± 4.9 days, P = 0.003), but greater prevalence of delirium (17.9% vs. 7% of patients, P = 0.028). In hospital mortality did not differ among groups.

Conclusions: LOS and time to rehabilitation were significantly shorter in the COVID group. Delirium was more common in this group, possibly due to negative effects of social distancing.

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