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עמוד בית
Sat, 02.03.24

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December 2023
Nitzan Maixner MD PhD, Yulian Weissbuch MD, Howard Amital MD MHA, Zehavit Kirshenboim MD

Metastatic spinal cord compression (MSCC) is a medical emergency requiring rapid diagnosis and intervention to avoid irreversible neurological damage [1]. While MSCC is best diagnosed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), this modality is often limited and is usually preceded by a computed tomography (CT) scan of the spine.

February 2023
Yarden Tenenbaum Weiss MD, Michael Friger PhD, Alon Haim MD, Eli Hershkovitz MD

Background: Pediatric patients with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) are commonly treated with daily multiple insulin injections or an insulin pump. They tend to have higher body mass index-standard deviation scores (BMI-SDS) than non-diabetic children.

Objectives: To identify patterns in the changes in BMI in the 3 years after T1DM diagnosis, and to discover factors that relate to excessive weight gain.

Methods: This retrospective study included clinical and laboratory data for 194 boys and girls aged 2–18 years at the time of diagnosis and at 1, 2, and 3 years after. Their BMI values were compared to non-diabetic children using BMI percentile and z-score (standard deviation) based on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) growth charts.

Results: Both males and females had low mean BMI-SDS at diagnosis (-0.4499 ± 1.38743 male, 0.3050 ± 1.29887 female) that increased after 1 year (-0.0449 ± 1.14772 male, 0.1451 ± 0.98893 female). Lower glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) at 1 year correlated with higher BMI-SDS (r = -0.215, P = 0.011). No such correlation was found in the following 2 years. The daily dose of basal insulin correlated with higher BMI-SDS at 1 year (r = 0.183, P = 0.026) and 3 years (r = 0.297, P < 0.01). No association was found between the use of an insulin pump or continuous glucose monitoring and higher BMI-SDS.

Conclusions: BMI-SDS of children with T1DM was lower than average at the time of diagnosis and rose higher than average in the 3 years following. Higher BMI-SDS was not significantly associated with sex or ethnicity. The most prominent increase happened in the first year.

January 2023
Alina Weissmann-Brenner MD, Vered Yulzari MD, Eran Kassif MD, Michal Zajicek MD

Background: Advances in examination techniques have improved routine assessment of non-gynecological structures in the pelvis.

Objectives: To describe the sonographic features of incidental urological abnormalities found during gynecological transvaginal ultrasound.

Methods: A retrospective descriptive analysis of patients who underwent gynecological ultrasound and were diagnosed with urologic findings was performed. The sonographic features of the findings including size, echogenicity, and vascularity were examined.

Results: Gynecological ultrasound diagnosed urological findings in nine women. Two had primary neoplasms of the urinary bladder, one had metastases to the urinary bladder, one had polyps in the distal ureters, four presented with calculus in the distal ureters (one of them was 19 weeks pregnant), and one showed diverticulum of the urethra. At presentation five women (56%) had urinary complaints. Two patients (22%) with abdominal pain with distal ureteral calculi had normal transabdominal ultrasound targeted to the urinary system prior to the gynecological sonography.

Conclusions: Transvaginal ultrasound is useful in the diagnosis of urological abnormalities, mainly in the urinary bladder and the distal ureters. We suggest adding transvaginal assessment for female patients with urinary complains in whom transabdominal ultrasound of urinary system was unremarkable.

December 2022
Tamir Weiss

Background: The exposure to ambient particulate matter (PM) is associated with increased morbidity and mortality from respiratory, cardiovascular, and other causes. A major contribution to this adverse effect is attributed to particles at the nanoscale range (ultrafine particles [UFP] particles < 100 nm). Most of the information about human exposure to PM has been collected by environmental monitoring of inhaled particles.

Objectives: To evaluate the use of direct measuring of UFP in the sputum as a biomarker for lung inflammation and functional impairment.

Methods: The study population included 121 patients who underwent an induced sputum (IS) test as a part of a clinical evaluation for respiratory symptoms. Cell differential count was performed, and the UFP content was measured in each IS sample. The UFP content in the sputum was compared among patients with different inflammatory phenotypes based on IS granulocytes levels: eosinophilic inflammation (EI) IS eosinophils > 2.7%, neutrophilic inflammation (NI) IS neutrophils > 65%, and mixed granulocytic inflammation (MGI) including both IS eosinophils > 2.7% and IS neutrophils > 65%. The association between the IS-UFP content and pulmonary function test (PFT) parameters was also tested.

Results: Patients with MGI had a distinct profile of particles in IS, which was characterized by the highest percentage of UFP (relative to larger particles) compared to patients with EI, NI, or normal IS cell count. Furthermore, EI and NI were found to have an interaction effect regarding the IS–UFP profile, as demonstrated by the significantly different IS–UFP profile of patients with MGI compared to the profile associated with EI and NI independently. Last, the profile of UFP in the IS samples was also correlated with patient PFT. Reduced forced mid-expiratory flow (FEF) 25–75 or FEV1 were correlated with a higher IS–UFP mean size. Reduced FEF25–75 was correlated with a lower IS–UFP concentration and percentage relative to larger particles.

Conclusions: To the best of my knowledge, this study is the first to report a distinct IS–UFP profile in patients with MGI, which suggest an interaction effect of EI and NI on the IS–UFP content. This finding may further support the consideration of MGI as a distinct inflammatory phenotype, beyond the simple combination of EI and NI independently. In addition, reduced PFT parameters were associated with a specific change in the IS–UFP profile. The results of this study may shed light on the use of IS–UFP content as a biomarker for lungs inflammation and functional impairment. Further prospective studies are needed to establish a cause and effect relationship between lungs inflammation and functional impairment to the IS–UFP content.

June 2022
Ruti Berger PhD and Yossi Weiss PhD MPH

Background: Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) is a form of international private business self-regulation that aims to contribute to society from a philanthropic, activist, or charitable nature by engaging in or supporting volunteering or ethically oriented practices. The major benefit of ESG is having the organization’s workers recruited for the goal of making the world a better place. There is a growing understanding regarding the extent of the environmental impacts of health services. Therefore, the interest in measuring and reporting the sustainability of health system performance is becoming crucial. As population aging and growth in healthcare demand are two of the main challenges of the current and mainly future health services, performance, and quality measurement as well as sustainability metrices are relevant more than ever.

Objectives: To review the ESG activities at Assuta Medical Centers (AMC) that helped the organization earn the Maala Index Platinum + grade in 2021.

Methods: We reviewed the ESG elements that were implemented at AMC.

Results: AMC entered an ESG process in November 2019 and earned Platinum and Platinum+ grades from the Maala Index in 2020 and 2021, respectively. AMC won the Workforce Diversity prize for having many employees over 60 years of age. AMC activities are detailed as a case study for other health organizations in Israel and worldwide.

Conclusions: A big leading health organization can spearhead sustainable development goals model in Israel and worldwide.

Royi Barnea PhD, Ruti Berger PhD, Yossi Weiss PhD MPH, and Joshua Shemer MD

Overuse of healthcare services is a common phenomenon defined as: “a healthcare service that is provided under circumstances in which its potential for harm exceeds the possible benefit.” It is expressed in the gap between desired services and available ones and is accompanied by high financial and human life costs. One-fifth to one-third of patients receives unnecessary, ineffective, or potentially harmful treatments or services. One of the greatest challenges to understanding overuse is the lack of definition for appropriate use. Apart from the physical and mental damage caused by overuse or improper use of medical services, this phenomenon has many implications, such as increasing waiting times for services, creating long queues, and incurring considerable financial costs as over 10% of hospital expenses are used to correct medical errors or preventable infections. Government intervention through economic arrangements such as deductibles and pre-authorization of services by the insurer are partially effective in reducing the overuse of health services. Additional solutions include ensuring safety and quality of care as well as shared decision-making.

December 2021
Yana Davidov MD, Yeruham Kleinbaum MD, Yael Inbar MD, Oranit Cohen-Ezra MD, Ella Veitsman MD, Peretz Weiss MD, Mariya Likhter MD, Tania Berdichevski MD PhD, Sima Katsherginsky BA, Avishag Hassid MA, Keren Tsaraf MA, Dana Silverberg BSc, and Ziv Ben Ari MD

Background: New direct acting antiviral agent (DAA) therapies are associated with a high sustained virological response rate (SVR) in hepatitis C virus (HCV) patients. The understanding of the impact of SVR on fibrosis stage is limited.

Objectives: To determine the effect of treatment with the DAAs on long-term liver fibrosis stages, as determined by shear-wave elastography (SWE) or FibroTest©.

Methods: Fibrosis stage was determined at baseline and at 6-month intervals after end of treatment (EOT), using two‐dimensional SWE or FibroTest©; APRI and FIB-4 scores.

Results: The study comprised 133 SVR12 patients. After a median follow-up of 15 months (range 6–33), liver fibrosis stage decreased by at least 1 stage in 75/133 patients (56%). Cirrhosis reversal was observed in 24/82 (29%). Repeated median liver stiffness SWE values in cirrhotic patients were 15.1 kPa at baseline (range 10.5–100), 13.4 kPa (range 5.5–51) at 6 months, and 11.4 kPa (range 6.1–35.8) at 12 months after EOT, P = 0.01. During the second year after EOT, no statistically significant differences in liver fibrosis stage in 12, 18, and 24 months were found. Splenomegaly was the only significant negative predictor of liver fibrosis regression during all time points of repetitive noninvasive assessment.

Conclusions: Following successful DAA treatment, the majority of our HCV patients with advanced fibrosis demonstrated significant improvement, as assessed by non-invasive methods. Advanced fibrosis stage was a negative predictor of fibrosis regression. Longer follow-up periods are required to further establish the impact of DAAs treatment in HCV patients with advanced fibrosis

Noa Avni-Zauberman MD, Barequet S Avni-Zauberma MD, Alon Weissman MD, Juliana Gildener-Leapman MD, Orit Ezra Nimni MD, Yoav Berger MD, and Ofira Zloto MD

Background: Keratoconus is a non-inflammatory disease characterized by progressive corneal steepening, which leads to decreased visual acuity secondary to high irregular astigmatism.

Objectives: To compare the one-year outcomes of accelerated vs. standard collagen crosslinking (CXL) in the treatment of keratoconus.

Methods: A database search of patients who underwent CXL from 2009 to 2017 was conducted at the cornea clinic at Sheba Medical Center. Charts of 99 adult patients (124 eyes) were reviewed. All patients were diagnosed with keratoconus. Main outcome measures were change in keratometry, uncorrected visual acuity (UCVA), and best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA).

Results: We evaluated outcomes in two groups: CXL with standard (3 mW/cm2 for 30 minutes) vs. the accelerated (9 mW/cm2 for 10 minutes) protocol. There were no significant differences between the groups with regard to BCVA, UCVA, and mean spherical equivalent (P =0.83, 0.0519, 0.181, respectively). The corneal thickness in the center and thinnest location were higher in the accelerated group than the in the standard group (P = 0.126). Complication rates did not differ between the two groups.

Conclusions: Accelerated and standard CXL are both safe and effective techniques. Accelerated CXL confers the added benefit of being a faster procedure to both patients and surgeons.

November 2021
Tal David Berger MD, Anna Gorodnichenko MD, Akiva Fradkin MD, and Batia Weiss MD

Background: Adequate dietary habits and physical activity during childhood and adolescence may promote growth and cognitive development and contribute to the prevention of chronic disease in later life. School is considered an important social environment that can promote healthy eating habits and life-style changes.

Objectives: To evaluate the effects of a school-based intervention on nutritional knowledge, eating habits, and physical activity of adolescents.

Methods: We conducted a prospective questionnaire-based study. Anonymous questionnaires were administered at the beginning of the academic year (September 2014) in one high school. During the following year, vending machines containing milk products were installed within the school facility, and students were given two informative nutrition lectures regarding proper nutrition for age, calcium requirement and importance, and physical activity. One active sports day was initiated. At the beginning of the following academic year (September 2015), the students completed the same questionnaires.

Results: The study was comprised of 330 teenagers, mean age 15.1 ± 1.39 years, 53% males. Response rate was 83.6% ± 0.4% to multiple choice questions, 60.7% ± 0.5% to multiple section tables, and 80.3% ± 0.9% to open questions. Post-intervention, respondents reported an increase in eating breakfast (57% vs. 47.5%, P = 0.02) and a decrease in purchasing food at school (61.6% vs. 54.3%, P = 0.03). No changes were observed in consumption of milk products, knowledge regarding calcium and vegetable consumption, or sports activities.

Conclusions: Short-term high school-based interventions may lead to improvements in eating habits but are not sufficient for changing nutritional knowledge and physical activity

January 2020
Alina Weissmann-Brenner MD, Anna Mitlin MD, Chen Hoffman MD, Reuven Achiron MD, Yishai Salem MD and Eldad Katorza MD

Background: Congenital heart defects (CHD) may be associated with neurodevelopmental abnormalities mainly due to brain hypoperfusion. This defect is attributed to the major cardiac operations these children underwent, but also to hemodynamic instability during fetal life. Advances in imaging techniques have identified changes in brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)in children with CHD.

Objectives: To examine the correlation between CHD and brain injury using fetal brain MRI.

Methods: We evaluated 46 fetuses diagnosed with CHD who underwent brain MRI. CHD was classified according to in situs anomalies, 4 chamber view (4CV), outflow tracts, arches, and veins as well as cyanotic or complex CHD. We compared MRI results of different classes of CHD and CHD fetuses to a control group of 113 healthy brain MRI examinations.

Results: No significant differences were found in brain pathologies among different classifications of CHD. The anteroposterior percentile of the vermis was significantly smaller in fetuses with abnormal 4CV. A significantly higher biparietal diameter was found in fetuses with abnormal arches. A significantly smaller transcerebellar diameter was found in fetuses with abnormal veins. Compared to the control group, significant differences were found in overall brain pathology in cortex abnormalities and in extra axial findings in the study group. Significantly higher rates of overall brain pathologies, ventricle pathologies, cortex pathologies, and biometrical parameters were found in the cyanotic group compared to the complex group and to the control group.

Conclusions: Fetuses with CHD demonstrate findings in brain MRI that suggest an in utero pathogenesis of the neurological and cognitive anomalies found during child development.

November 2019
Agata Schlesinger MD, Avraham Weiss MD, Olga Nenaydenko MD, Nira Koren-Morag PhD, Abraham Adunsky MD and Yichayaou Beloosesky MD, MHA

Background: Statins and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have beneficial effects on health outcomes in the general population. Their effect on survival in debilitated nursing home residents is unknown.

Objectives: To assess the relationships between statins, SSRIs, and survival of nursing home residents.

Methods: Baseline patient characteristics, including chronic medications, were recorded. The association of 5-year survival with different variables was analyzed. A sub-group analysis of survival was performed according to baseline treatment with statins and/or SSRIs.

Results: The study comprised 993 residents from 6 nursing homes. Of them, 285 were males (29%), 750 (75%) were fully dependent, and 243 (25%) were mobile demented. Mean age was 85 ± 7.6 years (range 65–108). After 5 years follow-up, the mortality rate was 81%. Analysis by sub-groups showed longer survival among older adults treated with only statins (hazard ratio [HR] for death 0.68, 95% confidence intervals [95%CI] 0.49–0.94) or only SSRIs (HR 0.6, 95%CI 0.45–0.81), with the longest survival among those taking both statins and SSRIs (HR 0.41, 95%CI 0.25–0.67) and shortest among residents not taking statins or SSRIs (P < 0.001). The survival benefit remained significant after adjusting for age and after conducting a multivariate analysis adjusted for sex, functional status, body mass index, mini-mental state examination, feeding status, arrhythmia, diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, and hemato-oncological diagnosis.

Conclusion: Treatment with statins and/or SSRIs at baseline was associated with longer survival in debilitated nursing home residents and should not be deprived from these patients, if medically indicated. 

October 2019
Royi Barnea PhD, Lina Voronenko BSc, Lin Zu PhD, Iris Reychav PhD and Yossi Weiss PhD MPH

Background: Surgery is a core activity in hospitals. Operating rooms have some of the most important and vital functions in medical centers. The operating rooms and their staff are a valuable infrastructure resource and their availability and preparedness affect human life and quality of care.

Objectives: To prepare operational suggestions for improving operating room utilization by mapping current working processes in the operating rooms of a large private medical center.

Methods: Data on 23,585 surgeries performed at our medical center between August 2016 and March 2017 were analyzed by various parameters including utilization, capacity, working hours, and surgery delays.

Results: Average operating room utilization was 79%, while 21% was considered lost operating room time. The two major factors that influenced the lost operating room time were the time intervals between planned usage blocks and the partial utilization of operating room time. We calculated that each percent of utilized operating room time translates into 440 surgeries annually, resulting in a potential annual increase in income.

Conclusions: Increasing operating room utilization would result in an improvement of operating room availability and an increased number of procedures. Our analysis shows that operating room utilization in the private healthcare system is efficient compared to the public healthcare system in Israel. Therefore the private healthcare system should be treated as a contributing factor to help lower surgery waiting times and release bottlenecks, rather than being perceived as contributing to inequality.

August 2019
Eyal Meltzer MD, Lara Weiss, Mollie Lobl, Eyal Leshem MD and Shmuel Stienlauf MD

Background: Travelers' diarrhea (TD) is frequently encountered in people traveling from high-income to low-income countries; however, its epidemiology in those traveling between high-income countries is not known.

Objectives: To evaluate the incidence of diarrhea in North American students relocating to Israel.

Methods: A retrospective cohort study involving medical students from the United States and Canada relocating to Israel was conducted. Students who relocated to Israel during 2010–2016 were contacted by email to participate in an anonymous survey. Data included demographic information as well as occurrence, timing, duration, and outcome of diarrhea after relocation.

Results: Ninety-seven students participated in the survey. Most (93.7%) students relocated from the United States or Canada. The period-prevalence of diarrhea was 69.1%. The incidence of diarrhea declined from 34.8 cases per 100 student-months during the first month after relocation to 1.3 cases per 100 student-months after 1 year. The duration of diarrhea was up to 1 week in 72.7%. Students who reported diarrhea were younger than students who did not (mean age 24.0 ± 2.2 and 28.4 ± 1.8 years, respectively, P < 0.001). No other demographic parameter was significantly associated with a higher likelihood of diarrhea.

Conclusions: A high proportion of North American medical students relocating to Israel reported diarrhea with clinical and epidemiological features similar to classic TD. Further studies are needed to elucidate the causative agents of TD in Israel.

April 2018
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