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עמוד בית
Sat, 22.06.24

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November 2020
Eyal Aviran MD, Shachar Laks MD FACS, Haggai Benvenisti MD, Saed Khalilieh MD, Dan Assaf MD, Nimrod Aviran MD, David Hazzan MD, Yoram Klein MD, Amir Cohen MD, Mordechai Gutman MD, Aviram Nissan MD, and Lior Segev MD

Background: As part of the effort to control the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) outbreak, strict emergency measures, including prolonged national curfews, have been imposed. Even in countries where healthcare systems still functioned, patients avoided visiting emergency departments (EDs) because of fears of exposure to COVID-19.

Objective: To describe the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on admissions of surgical patients from the ED and characteristics of urgent operations performed.

Methods: A prospective registry study comparing all patients admitted for acute surgical and trauma care between 15 March and 14 April 2020 (COVID-19) with patients admitted in the parallel time a year previously (control) was conducted.

Results: The combined cohort included 606 patients. There were 25% fewer admissions during the COVID-19 period (P < 0.0001). The COVID-19 cohort had a longer time interval from onset of symptoms (P < 0.001) and presented in a worse clinical condition as expressed by accelerated heart rate (P = 0.023), leukocyte count disturbances (P = 0.005), higher creatinine, and CRP levels (P < 0.001) compared with the control cohort. More COVID-19 patients required urgent surgery (P = 0.03) and length of ED stay was longer (P = 0.003).

Conclusions: During the COVID-19 epidemic, fewer patients presented to the ED requiring acute surgical care. Those who did, often did so in a delayed fashion and in worse clinical condition. More patients required urgent surgical interventions compared to the control period. Governments and healthcare systems should emphasize to the public not to delay seeking medical attention, even in times of crises

September 2020
Naftali Justman MD, Gilad Shahak MD, Ola Gutzeit MD, Dikla Ben Zvi MD, Yuval Ginsberg MD, Ido Solt MD, Dana Vitner MD, Ron Beloosesky MD, Zeev Weiner MD and Yaniv Zipori MD

Background: The World Health Organization classified coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) as a pandemic and recommends strict restrictions regarding most aspects of daily activities.

Objectives: To evaluate whether the pandemic has changed the prenatal care and pregnancy outcome in pregnant women without COVID-19.

Methods: The authors conducted a cross-sectional study to describe changes in outpatient clinic visits and to compare the rates of cesarean and instrumental deliveries between two periods of time: March–April 2020 (during the COVID-19 outbreak) with March–April of the preceding year, 2019.

Results: During the COVID-19 outbreak, visits to obstetric triage, gynecologic triage, high-risk clinic, and ultrasound units decreased by 36.4%, 34.7%, 32.8%, and 18.1%, respectively. The medical center experienced a 17.8% drop in the total number of births (610 births) compared with March and April 2019 (742 births). During the outbreak women were more likely to be nulliparous (33.3% vs. 27.6%, P = 0.02) and present with hypertensive disorders during pregnancy (7.5% vs. 4%, P = 0.005) or gestational diabetes (13% vs. 10%, P = 0.03). More epidural analgesia was used (83.1% vs. 77.1%, P = 0.006). There were more operative vaginal deliveries during the outbreak (16.7% vs. 6.8%, P = 0.01). All other maternal and neonatal outcomes were comparable between the two periods.

Conclusions: The medical facility experienced a major decline in all aspects of the routine obstetrics activities during the time of the pandemic. The higher rate of operative vaginal deliveries among nulliparous may be associated with the pandemic effect on the rate of high-risk patients

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.

Eli Jaffe PhD, Roman Sonkin B.EMS, Evan Avraham Alpert MD, Avi Magid PhD and Haim Y. Knobler MD

Background: The potential excess flow of patients into emergency departments and community clinics for testing and examination during a pandemic poses a major issue. These additional patients may lead to the risk of viral transmission to other patients and medical teams. To contain the spread of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19), the Israeli Ministry of Health initiated a plan spearheaded by Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel’s national emergency medical services (EMS) organization.

Objectives: To describe outbreak containment actions initiated by MDA, including a COVID-19 tele-triage center and home testing by paramedics.

Methods: Retrospective analysis was conducted of de-identified data from the call management and command and control systems during the first period of the COVID-19 outbreak in Israel (23 February 2020–15 March 2020).

Results: During the study period, the total number of calls to the dispatch centers was 477,321 with a daily average of 21,696, compared to 6000–6500 during routine times. The total number of COVID-19 related calls was 334,230 (daily average 15,194). There were 28,454 calls (8.51% of all COVID-19 related calls, average 1293/day) transferred to the COVID-19 call center. Of the COVID-19 call center inquiries, 8390 resulted in the dispatch of a dedicated vehicle, including a paramedic wearing personal protective equipment, to collect samples for testing (daily average 381).

Conclusions: Maximizing EMS during a pandemic using phone triage, in addition to dispatching paramedics to perform home testing, may significantly distance infected patients from the public and health care system. These steps can further minimize the spread of disease.

Yoram Sandhaus MD, Talma Kushnir PhD and Shai Ashkenazi MD

Background: Social distancing, implemented to decrease the spread of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19), forced major changes in medical practices, including an abrupt transition from face-to-face to remote patient care. Pre-clinical medical studies were concomitantly switched to electronic distance learning.

Objectives: To explore potential implications of COVID-19 on future pre-clinical medical studies.

Methods: We examined responses of pre-clinical medical students to the remote electronic learning in terms of quality of and satisfaction with teaching and technical support, attendance to classes, and the desire to continue electronic learning in the post-epidemic era. A survey of responses from first-year students at the Adelson School of Medicine was conducted. To optimize the reliability of the survey, a single research assistant conducted telephone interviews with each student, using a structured questionnaire concerning aspects of participation and satisfaction with teaching and with technical components of the remote electronic learning.

Results: With 100% response rate, the students reported high satisfaction with the electronic learning regarding its quality, online interactions, instructions given, technical assistance, and availability of recording for future studies. Most of the students (68.6%) noted a preference to continue < 90% of the learning online in the post-outbreak era. A high level of overall satisfaction and a low rate of technical problems during electronic learning were significantly correlated with the desire to continue online learning (P < 0.01).

Conclusions: The high satisfaction and the positive experience with the electronic distance learning imposed by the COVID-19 epidemic implied a successful transition and might induce future changes in pre-clinical medical studies.

April 2020
Sarit Appel MD, Orit Kaidar-Person MD, Yaacov Richard Lawrence MD MBBS MA MRCP, Maoz Ben-Ayun PhD, Tamar Katzman MPH BASc, Jair Bar MD PhD, Anat Mansano BA and Zvi Symon MD
December 2016
Najwan Nasrallah MD, Yael Shachor-Meyouhas MD, Zipi Kra-Oz PhD, Tania Mashiach MA, Moran Szwarcwort-Cohen PhD, Eynat Shafran MSc and Imad Kassis MD

Background: In March 2009 the pandemic influenza A (H1N1) strain was identified. The disease initially appeared to be accompanied by complications and high mortality rates. It became an endemic virus during the influenza season in our region, along with the classical seasonal H3N2.

Objectives: To identify the burden of pandemic influenza, its effect in pediatric patients, and complicated hospitalizations, compared to seasonal influenza years after the pandemic.

Methods: A retrospective observational study was conducted at a tertiary hospital. Data were collected from the medical records of all children who were hospitalized from April 2009 to 2011 with laboratory-confirmed influenza.

Results: Of 191 patients with influenza, 100 had the 2009 pandemic influenza, 62 had seasonal influenza, and 29 had H1N1 in 2010–2011. Patients with the 2009 H1N1 were characterized by older age, more co-morbidity conditions and more symptoms including fever, cough and rhinitis on admission. No significant differences in outcomes between the groups were recorded. Of patients hospitalized with pandemic influenza in 2009, 28% had complicated hospitalizations, compared with 17.7% of patients hospitalized with seasonal influenza in 2010–11. Children with pandemic influenza received more oseltamivir (Tamiflu®) (94% vs. 19.4%, P < 0.001) and more antibiotics than the other groups.

Conclusions: The type of influenza had no effect on outcome. There were no significant differences between groups in the percentages of in-hospital mortality, admission to intensive care units, prolonged hospitalization (> 9 days), or the development of complications during hospitalization.


October 2012
R. Karplus, M. Weinberger, R. Zaidenstein, L. Goldshtein, N. Natif and G. Gayer

Background: During an influenza pandemic, clinicians need easily available clinical and laboratory criteria to distinguish influenza from similar respiratory illnesses. We compared A/H1N1/2009-polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-positive and matched PCR-negative hospitalized patients with suspected H1N1 influenza to identify factors that could assist physicians at patient admission.

Objectives: To identify factors significantly associated with A/H1N1/2009 infection.

Methods: A group of 145 patients with PCR-confirmed A/H1N1 2009 influenza admitted between 27 May 2009 and 3 December 2009 was matched with 145 PCR-negative patients by age, epidemiological week and pregnancy status. Epidemiological and clinical parameters and radiological findings on initial chest X-ray were compared between the two groups.

Results: Asthma (PCR+ 26%, PCR- 12%, P = 0.006) and military service (PCR+ 13%, PCR- 4%, P = 0.15) were associated with PCR-positive status in non-pregnant patients. At presentation, fever, cough, myalgia and fulfilling the pandemic influenza case definition were significantly more frequent in non-pregnant PCR+ patients (62/90/43/59% in PCR+ versus 38/69/30/35% in PCR-). In pregnant patients, fever and fulfilling the case definition were significantly associated with PCR-positive status. Mean leukocyte and absolute lymphocyte counts were significantly lower in both pregnant and non-pregnant PCR-positive patients. Significantly more PCR-negative non-pregnant patients (43% vs. 22% PCR+, P = 0.004) had abnormal chest X-ray (CXR) findings on presentation. In PCR-positive patients, patchy consolidation and interstitial infiltrates were the most common abnormalities.

Conclusions: Under the conditions generated by the A/H1N1/2009 pandemic, radiological findings did not distinguish reliably between influenza and other febrile respiratory illnesses. Asthma, military service, the pandemic case definition (particularly fever, cough and myalgia) and lymphopenia were associated with confirmed H1N1 infection.

October 2011
D. Shaham, N.R. Bogot, G. Aviram, L. Guralnik, S. Lieberman, L. Copel, J. Sosna, A.E. Moses, I. Grotto and D. Engelhard

An outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel swine-origin influenza virus (influenza A/H1N1 2009) that began in Mexico was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization in June 2009. The pandemic affected many countries, including Israel.

Objectives: To compare the course of chest radiographic and computed tomography findings in patients who survived and those who died following admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) or intubation due to severe laboratory-confirmed swine-origin influenza A/H1N1 2009.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the patient records (267 radiographs, 8 CTs) of 22 patients (10 males, 12 females) aged 3.5–66 years (median 34) with confirmed influenza A/H1N1 2009, admitted to the ICU and/or intubated in five major Israeli medical centers during the period July–November 2009. We recorded demographic, clinical, and imaging findings –including pattern of opacification, extent, laterality, distribution, zone of findings, and presence/absence of nodular opacities– at initial radiography and during the course of disease, and compared the findings of survivors and non-survivors. Statistical significance was calculated using the Wilcoxon (continuous variables) and Fisher's exact tests (categorical variables).

Results: The most common findings on the initial chest radiography were airspace opacities, which were multifocal in 17patients (77%) and bilateral in 16 (73%), in the lower or lower and middle lung zones in 19 patients (86%). Large airspace nodules with indistinct margins were seen in 8 patients (36%). Twelve patients survived, 10 died. Patients who died had multiple background illnesses and were significantly older than survivors (P = 0.006). Radiologic findings for the two groups were not significantly different.

Conclusion: Airspace opacities, often with nodular appearance, were the most common findings among patients with severeinfluenza A/H1N1 2009. The course of radiologic findings was similar in patients with severe influenza A/H1N1 2009 whosurvived and those who died.

October 2010
A. Shlomai, A. Nutman, T. Kotlovsky, V. Schechner, Y. Carmeli and H. Guzner-Gur

Background: A pandemic (H1N1) influenza A virus was identified in 2009.

Objectives: To investigate predictors for pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus infection among hospitalized patients with a flu-like illness and to identify parameters suggesting a severe clinical course.

Methods: We analyzed a cohort of all patients hospitalized during a 2 month period with a flu-like syndrome who were tested for pandemic (H1N1) 2009 infection. Demographic, clinical and laboratory, along with outcome parameters, were recorded and compared between pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus-positive and negative hospitalized patients.

Results: Of the 179 examined hospitalized patients suspected of having pandemic (H1N1) 2009 infection 65 (36%) were found positive. These patients tended to be younger and had significantly fewer comorbidities. In addition, they had a significantly higher frequency of fever (94%), cough (86%) and myalgia (29%). Furthermore, age < 65 years and cough were independent predictors for pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus positivity in a multivariate regression analysis. Notably, 14 of the 65 positive patients (21.5%) had acute respiratory insufficiency requiring treatment in the intensive care unit. These patients were neither older nor previously sicker than patients with non-severe disease, but were distinguished by augmented inflammatory markers, significant lymphopenia associated with disease severity, and overall mortality of 21.4%.

Conclusions: Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus-positive hospitalized patients tend to be younger and have fewer comorbidities as compared to compatible negative patients. A significant number of relatively young and previously healthy positive patients might develop severe disease associated with a robust inflammatory reaction and significant lymphopenia.

August 2010
A. Leiba, N. Dreiman, G. Weiss, B. Adini and Y. Bar-Dayan

Background: The growing numbers of H1N1 "swine influenza" cases should prompt national health systems to achieve dual preparedness: preparedness of clinicians to recognize and treat cases of human H1N1 flu, and national preparedness for an influenza pandemic. This is similar to recent contingency planning for an avian flu pandemic.

Objectives: To evaluate hospital personnel's knowledge on avian flu (zoonotic, sporadic, pandemic), comparing among nurses, residents and faculty, and between those who attended lectures or other educational modalities targeted at avian flu and those who did not.

Methods: A 14 item multiple choice questionnaire was designed to test crucial points regarding preparedness for human avian flu. The directors of 26 general hospitals were instructed by the Ministry of Health to improve knowledge of and preparedness for different avian flu scenarios, and to expect an official inspection. As part of this inspection, we distributed the questionnaires to nurses, residents and senior physicians.

Results: Altogether, 589 questionnaires were collected from the 26 hospitals. Examinees who participated in training modules (course, lecture or any training provided by the hospital) did somewhat better (scoring 78 points out of 100) than those who did not attend the training (70 points) (P < 0.05). Differences in nurses’ knowledge were even more striking: 66 points for the non-attendants compared to 79 for nurses who attended the lecture (P < 0.05).  Residents had significantly lower scores compared to nurses or senior physicians: 70 compared to 77 and 78 respectively (P < 0.05).

August 2006
Z. Kaufman, G. Aharonowitz, R. Dichtiar and M.S. Green
Background: Early clinical signs of influenza caused by a pandemic strain will presumably not differ significantly from those caused by other respiratory viruses. Similarly, early signs of diseases that may result from bioterrorism are frequently non-specific and resemble those of influenza-like illness. Since the time window for effective intervention is narrow, treatment may need to be initiated prior to a definitive diagnosis. Consequently, planning of medications, manpower and facilities should also account for those who would be treated for an unrelated acute illness.

Objectives: To estimate usual patterns of acute illness in the community as a baseline for integration into pandemic influenza and bioterrorism preparedness plans.

Methods: Between 2000 and 2003 we conducted 13 telephone surveys to estimate the usual incidence and prevalence of symptoms of acute illness in the community.

Results: On average, 910 households were included in each of the surveys, representing about 3000 people. The compliance rates for full interviews ranged from 72.3% to 86.0%. In winter, on average, about 2% of the Israeli population (individuals) suffered each day from fever of ≥ 38ºC, and about 0.8% during the other months. The prevalence of cough was higher, 9.2% in winter and 3% during summer. Daily incidence of fever ranged from about 0.4% per day in winter to about 0.2% in the fall. The prevalence and incidence of both fever and cough were highest for infants followed by children aged 1–5 years.

Conclusions: These background morbidity estimates can be used for planning the overall treatment requirements, in addition to actual cases, resulting from pandemic influenza or a bioterrorist incident.

December 2001
Paul E. Slater, MD, MPH and Alex Leventhal, MD, MPH, MPA
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