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עמוד בית
Tue, 29.09.20

July 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Paula David MD and Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MACR

There is a high prevalence of olfaction changes, especially in the early presentation, in COVID-19 patients. The mechanisms through which the virus leads to anosmia/hyposmia is still not fully understood. However, olfaction changes could be used as an indication for testing or quarantine. Screening for infections and other diseases by recognizing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) has been previously conducted. Hence, if the coronavirus infection also results in VOCs excretion, physicians could “smell” the virus by using electronic noses. We conducted a literature review on olfaction changes and the COVID-19. Our results suggest that these changes could be used an indication for early testing, even as an isolated symptom. We propose that the electronic nose be used as a future screening tool, especially in agglomeration spaces such as airports, for screening for the COVID-19 infection

Original Articles
Yuval Bitterman MD, Evyatar Hubara MD, Amir Hadash MD, Josef Ben-Ari MD, Gail Annich MD MS FRCP and Danny Eytan MD PhD

Background: Methylene blue (MB), an inhibitor of nitric oxide synthesis and its effects is a potentially effective treatment against distributive shock states such as septic shock and vasoplegic syndrome. MB has been shown to alleviate vasoplegia and promote an increase in blood pressure. It may reduce mortality. However, in the pediatric population, there are few case reports and only one controlled study on administration of MB use for vasoplegia, sepsis, or shock in general.

Objectives: To summarize the experience of administering MB for vasoplegic shock in a tertiary care pediatric intensive care unit.

Methods: A retrospective chart review of seven pediatric cases treated with MB for vasoplegic shock was conducted. MB was administered as a bolus followed by continuous infusion. The authors measured blood pressure, vasopressor, and inotropic support. Patient outcome was monitored.

Results: The authors observed a favorable hemodynamic response with an increase in blood pressure and a reduction in vasopressor and inotropic support needed following MB administration in six patients. No side effects were observed. Three patients eventually died one to two days later, secondary to their underlying disease.

Conclusions: This case series adds to the small body of evidence in the pediatric population supporting the use of MB for distributive shock states and emphasizes the need for larger, randomized trials evaluating its role in vasoplegic shock treatment.

Ilan Merdler MD MHA, Aviram Hochstadt, Amichai Sheffy MD, Sharon Ohayon MD MHA, Itamar Loewenstein MD and Daniel Trotzky MD

Background: Emergency department (ED) overcrowding is associated with worse patient outcomes.

Objectives: To determine whether physician assistants (PAs), fairly recently integrated into the Israeli healthcare system, improve patient outcomes and ED timings.

Methods: We compared patients seen by physicians with patients seen by PAs and then by physicians between January and December 2018 using propensity matching. Patients were matched for age, gender, triage level, and decision to hospitalize. Primary endpoints included patient mortality, re-admittance. and leaving on own accord rates. Secondary endpoints were ED timing landmarks.

Results: Patients first seen by PAs were less likely to leave on their own accord (MD1 1.5%, PA 1.0%, P = 0.015), had lower rates of readmission within 48 hours (MD1 2.1%, PA 1.5%, P= 0.028), and were quicker to be seen, to have medications prescribed, and to undergo imaging without differences in timings until decisions were made or total length of stay. Patients seen by a physician with the assistance of a PA were attended to quicker (MD2 47.79 minutes, range 27.70–78.82 vs. MD + PA 30.59 minutes, range 15.77–54.85; P < 0.001) without statistically significant differences in primary outcomes. Mortality rates were similar for all comparisons.

Conclusions: Patients first seen by PAs had lower rates of re-admittance or leaving on their own accord and enjoyed shorter waiting times. Pending proper integration into healthcare teams, PAs can further improve outcomes in EDs and patient satisfaction.

Fulvia Ceccarelli MD PhD, Enrica Cipriano MD, Francesco Natalucci MD, Carlo Perricone MD PhD, Giulio Olivieri MD, Valeria Orefice MD, Francesca Morello MD, Cristiano Alessandri MD, Francesca R. Spinelli MD PhD and Fabrizio Conti MD

Background: Belimumab was the first biological drug approved for the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients. Phase II/III randomized controlled trials and real-life studies identified patients with musculoskeletal involvement as best responders.

Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of belimumab in SLE-related joint involvement.

Methods: The cohort comprised SLE patients receiving belimumab for musculoskeletal indications. Belimumab was intravenously administrated according to protocols; all the patients were evaluated at baseline (T0) and after 3 (T1), 6 (T2), and 12 (T3) months. We assessed joint activity by disease activity score 28, simple disease activity index (SDAI), clinical disease activity index (CDAI), and swollen tender ratio. Each patient underwent musculoskeletal ultrasound of 34 joints to assess synovial effusion synovial hypertrophy, and power Doppler; by using a semi-quantitative scale (0–3) we obtained the total inflammatory score (0–216).

Results: We evaluated 20 patients (males/females 1/19, median age 45 years [interquartile range (IQR) 12], median disease duration 144 months [IQR 144]). CDAI and SDAI significantly decreased at T1 (P = 0.02 and P = 0.01 respectively) and this improvement was maintained at the following time-points (CDAI: T2 P = 0.008, T3 P = 0.004; SDAI: T2 P = 0.006, T3 P = 0.01). A significant reduction of median ultrasound score was identified at T1 (T0 20.5 [IQR 13.5] vs. T1 7.5 [IQR 4.7], P < 0.001), and maintained at T2 (7.0 [IQR 5], P < 0.0001), and T3 (7.0 [IQR 9.0], P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Belimumab induces a sustained improvement of ultrasound-detected inflammatory status at the articular level.

Gilad Karavani MD, Adi Reuveni Salzman MD, Eliana Ein-Mor PhD, Uri Pinchas Dior MD and Shay Porat MD PhD

Background: While the ratio of male to female births (sex-ratio at birth [SRB]) in humans is remarkably stable on the population level, there are many families with multiple same-sex offspring.

Objectives: To identify a putative sub-population with skewed SRB and explore potential factors affecting the SRB.

Methods: A retrospective cohort study including 66,054 families with up to nine same-sex offspring evaluated between 2003 and 2015 at Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center. Outcome measures were observed prevalence and SRB of families with up to nine same-sex offspring in a single family. Analyses included the effect of parity, month and year of delivery, inter-delivery interval, and presence of a sequence of previous same-sex offspring on the SRB.

Results: The study comprised 193,411 live-born babies with SRB of 1.057 in favor of males. The proportion of SRB in families with up to nine same-sex offspring did not differ from the calculated presumed proportion. Furthermore, none of the tested factors (parity, month and year of delivery, inter-delivery interval, and the sequence of previous same-sex offspring) were significantly associated with SRB.

Conclusions: SRB was not associated with any of the tested demographic characteristics. We could not identify a skew in SRB even in families with up to nine consecutive same sex offspring. This finding suggests that in the majority of the population the chance of a male or female fetus in each pregnancy remains similar in every pregnancy, regardless of any of the tested variables.

Michael Goldenshluger MD, Yaara Gutman MD, Aviad Katz MD, Gal Schtrechman MSc, Gal Westrich MD, Aviram Nissan MD and Lior Segev MD

Background: Transanal minimally invasive surgery (TAMIS) is a single port access platform used for full thickness local excision of rectal lesions. It is an appealing alternative to a radical resection of rectum that often can cause a significant bowel dysfunction described as low anterior resection syndrome (LARS). LARS is evaluated using a validated score. Functional outcomes of patients undergoing TAMIS has not yet been evaluated using the LARS score.

Objectives: To evaluate long-term bowel function in patients who underwent TAMIS.

Methods: In this case series, all patients who underwent TAMIS in a single tertiary institute between 2011 and 2017 were retrospectively reviewed. We evaluated bowel function using the LARS score questionnaire through telephone interviews.

Results: The study consisted of 23 patients, average age of 67 ± 6.98 year; 72% were male. The median follow-up from the time of surgery was 5 years. Six patients (26.08%) had malignant type lesions. The average height of the lesion from the anal verge was 7.4 cm. The average size of the specimen was 4 cm. The total LARS score revealed that 17 patients (73.91%) had no definitive LAR syndrome following the surgery. Four patients (17.39%) fit the description of minor LARS and only two (8.69%) presented with major LARS.

Conclusions: TAMIS provides relatively good long-term functional outcomes in terms of bowel function. Further randomized studies with larger cohorts are still needed to better evaluate the outcomes.

Michal Levmore-Tamir MD, Giora Weiser MD, Elihay Berliner MD, Matityahu Erlichman MD, Carmit Avnon Ziv MD, Floris Levy-Khademi MD

Background: Stress hyperglycemia (SH) is a common finding in patients in pediatric emergency departments (PED) and has been related to increased morbidity and mortality.

Objectives: To assess the incidence of SH among children visiting the PED. To identify which diseases predispose patients to SH and whether they indicate a worse outcome.

Methods: Data were collected retrospectively from the medical records of all children aged 0–18 years who visited the PED during the years 2010–2014 and who had a glucose level of ≥ 150 mg/dl. Data collected included age, gender, weight, blood glucose level, presence or absence of a pre-existing or a new diagnosis of diabetes mellitus, and previous treatment with medications affecting blood glucose levels or with intravenous fluids containing dextrose. Data were collected regarding hospitalization, duration of hospitalization, discharge diagnosis, and survival status.

Results: The study population included 1245 children with SH, which comprised 2.6% of all patients whose blood glucose level was measured in the PED during the study period. The mean age of children with SH was 49 months; 709 (56.9%) were male. The mean blood glucose level was 184 mg/dl. The rate of hospitalization was 57.8%. The mean duration of hospital stay was 5.6 days and mortality rate was 0.96%. The majority were diagnosed with a respiratory illness.

Conclusions: SH is a common phenomenon among children evaluated in the PED and is associated with a high incidence of hospitalization. It may serve as an additional clinical indicator of disease severity.

Yaron Rudnicki MD, Ian White MD, Barak Benjamin MD, Lauren Lahav MD, Baruch Shpitz MD and Shmuel Avital MD

Background: Following an intestinal anastomotic leak, stoma creation may be the safest approach. However, this method may be challenging and cause significant morbidity. In selected cases, a T drain approach can be beneficial and a stoma can be avoided.

Objectives: To present one group's experience with a T drain approach for anastomotic leaks.

Methods: Data on patients who underwent emergent re-laparotomy following gastrointestinal anastomotic leaks were retrieved retrospectively and assessed with a new intra-operative leak severity score.

Results: Of 1684 gastrointestinal surgeries performed from 2014 to 2018, 41 (2.4%) cases of anastomotic leaks were taken for re-laparotomy. Cases included different sites and etiologies. Twelve patients were treated with a T-tube drain inserted through the leak site, 18 had a stoma taken out, 6 re-anastomosis, 4 were treated with an Endosponge, and one primary repair with a proximal ileostomy was conducted. T drain approach was successful in 11 of 12 patients (92%) with full recovery. One patient did not improve and underwent reoperation with resection and re-anastomosis. A severity score of anastomotic integrity is provided to help surgeons in decision making.

Conclusions: A T drain approach can be an optimal solution in selected cases following an intestinal anastomotic leak. When the leak is limited, the remaining anastomosis is intact and the abdominal environment allows it, a T drain can be used and a stoma can be avoided.

Osnat Itzhaki Ben Zadok MD MSc, Daniel Murninkas MD, Zaza Iakobishvili MD PhD, Henri Jino MD, Esther Yohananov RN, Shlomo Birkenfeld MD and David Hasdai MD

Background: Heart failure (HF) patients with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) are frequently treated with sub-optimal doses of angiotensin converting enzyme-inhibitors (ACE-Is), angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), and beta blockers (BBs).

Objectives: To determine factors associated with attaining upper-range doses in patients with HFrEF.

Methods: We examined treatment in patients with left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) ≤ 40% in a community-based, dedicated heart-failure clinic. Upper-range doses were defined as ≥ 75% of target recommended doses by heart failure society guidelines.

Results: The majority of the 215 patients were men (82%); median age at presentation 73 years (interquartile range [IQR] 65–78) and LVEF of 30% (IQR 25–35%). Following the up-titration program, 41% and 35% of patients achieved upper-range doses of ACE-Is/ARBs and BBs, respectively. Higher body mass index (BMI) was the only parameter found to be associated with achieving upper-range doses of ACE-I/ARBs (odds ratio [OR] 1.13, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.05–1.22, P = 0.001). More patients achieved this target as BMI increased, with a sharp decline in the highest obesity category (BMI ≥ 40 m2/kg). Attaining upper-range doses of BBs was associated with pre-existing diabetes mellitus (DM) (OR 2.6, 95%CI 1.34–5.19, P = 0.005); women were associated with attaining lower BBs doses (OR 0.34, 95%CI 0.13–0.90, P = 0.031).

Conclusions: Achieving upper-range doses of ACE-Is/ARBs and BBs in HFrEF outpatients in a treatment up-titration program were associated with greater BMI and DM, respectively. These findings may serve as benchmarks for up-titration programs.

Maytal Ben-Yosef, Galia Tanai, Dan Buskila MD, Daniela Amital MD MHA and Howard Amital MD MHA

Fibromyalgia is a common pain syndrome treated by physicians of many disciplines and presents with many co-morbidities. We reviewed the complexities in assessing disabilities in fibromyalgia patients and the complex interrelationships between patients, their working places, and  the medical community regarding preserving productivity. Flexibility is essential to keep the patients functional and productive. Job loss is costly to both society and patients and joint measures are needed to prevent unemployment.

Case communications
Milena Tocut MD, Hanan Vaknine MD, Paulina Potachenko MD, Sorin Elias MD and Gisele Zandman-Goddard MD
Attila Kovács, Anita Cserenyecz, Beáta Baksay, Éva Kemény and Zoltán Szekanecz
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