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עמוד בית
Wed, 21.10.20

September 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
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

Original Articles
Chaya Shwaartz MD, Ron Pery MD, Mordechay Cordoba MD, Mordechai Gutman MD and Danny Rosin MD

Background: The safe completion of cholecystectomy is dependent on proper identification and secure closure of the cystic duct. Effecting this closure poses a great challenge when inflammatory changes obscure the anatomy. Subtotal cholecystectomy allows for near complete removal of the gallbladder and complete evacuation of the stones while avoiding dissection in the hazardous area.

Objectives: To describe experience with laparoscopic subtotal cholecystectomy.

Methods: Subtotal cholecystectomy was performed when the critical view of safety could not be achieved. Surgical technique was similar in all cases and included opening the Hartmann’s pouch, removing stones obstructing the gallbladder outlet, and identifying the opening of the cystic duct, as well as circumferential transection of the gallbladder neck, closure of the gallbladder stump, and excision of the gallbladder fundus. Data retrieved from patient charts included demographics, pre-operative history, operative and postoperative course, and late complications. No bile duct injuries were observed in this series.

Results: A total of 53 patients underwent laparoscopic subtotal cholecystectomy (2010–2018). Ten patients were operated during the acute course of the disease and 43 electively. Acute cholecystitis was the leading cause for gallbladder removal. Cholecystostomy tube was placed in 18 patients during acute hospitalization. The gallbladder remnant was closed and a drain was placed in most patients. Of the 53 patients, 42 had an uneventful postoperative course.

Conclusions: Laparoscopic subtotal cholecystectomy is an effective surgical technique to avoid bile duct injury when the cystic duct cannot safely be identified. Subtotal cholecystectomy has acceptable morbidity and obviates the need for conversion in these difficult cases.

Ella Schwarzmann Aley-Raz MD, Gil Talmon MD, Marina Peniakov MD, Jamal Hasanein MD, Clari Felszer-Fisch MD and Scott A. Weiner MD

Background: Neonatal hypothermia (< 36°C) has been associated with both neonatal morbidity and mortality.

Objectives: To develop a multifactorial approach to reduce the incidence of neonatal hypothermia at admission to the neonatal intensive care unit.

Methods: The approach involved a detailed quality improvement (QI) plan, which included the use of occlusive wrapping and exothermic mattresses as well as higher delivery and operating room environmental temperatures. The improvement plan was implemented over a 10-month period. Retrospective comparison to the same 10-month period during the previous year assessed the effectiveness of the approach in reducing the incidence of admission hypothermia.

Results: The QI project included 189 patients. These patients were compared to 180 patients during the control period. The characteristics of the patient groups were similar and included preterm infants, who were subsequently analyzed as a subgroup. We found a significant reduction in the incidence of hypothermia, which was most profound for the subgroup of premature infants born at < 32 weeks gestation. Neonatal hyperthermia was identified as an unintended consequence of the project, and subsequently improved after initiating simple preventive measures.

Conclusions: Occlusive wrapping, exothermic mattresses, and higher delivery and operating room environmental temperature may be successful in reducing admission neonatal hypothermia

Anna Shklovsky-Kordi MD, Renana Gelernter MD, Matitiahu Berkovitch MD, Zahi Dagan MD and Eran Kozer MD

Background: Acetaminophen is the most common drug involved in pediatric poisonings, both intentionally and accidentally, and is the leading cause of acute liver failure among all age groups.

Objectives: To define the characteristics of patients admitted to a pediatric emergency department (ED) where serum acetaminophen concentrations were measured, and to determine which variables are associated with significant risk of acetaminophen toxicity.

Methods: Acetaminophen serum concentrations were measured, in a retrospective case series, of patients younger than 18 years who had been admitted to the ED at Shamir Medical Center between 1 January 2008 and 31 December 2015.

Results: During the study period 180,174 children were admitted to the ED. Acetaminophen serum concentrations were measured in 209 (0.12%) patients. Mean age was 12.4 ± 5.9 years. Elevated liver enzymes were found in 12 patients, 5 of whom had documented acute liver injury. All five were older than 11years.Two cases of acute liver injury were attributable to acetaminophen ingestion. In both cases the cause was intentional overdose. Univariate analysis showed a significant (P < 0.05) correlation between detectable acetaminophen blood level and a positive history of drug or acetaminophen ingestion, and suicide attempt. Not all children with non-severe acetaminophen poisoning had been diagnosed during the study period. A positive history of acetaminophen ingestion was associated with a 28-fold higher risk for detectable acetaminophen blood level.

Conclusions: In the absence of a positive history of acetaminophen ingestion and in young children with accidental intoxication, the risk of hepatotoxicity is relatively low.


Eilon Ram MD, Jacob Lavee MD, Leonid Sternik MD, Amit Segev MD and Yael Peled MD

Background: In 2006, the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation amended the guidelines for the upper age limit of heart transplantation (HTx) from 55 years to 70 years and older for carefully selected patients. However, the relation of age to outcomes following of HTx has not been well studied.

Objectives: To investigate the impact of recipient age on the occurrence of rejections, vasculopathy, and mortality after HTx.

Methods: Study population comprised all consecutive 291 patients who underwent HTx between 1991–2016 and were followed at our center. Patients were categorized by age tertiles: < 46 years (mean 31.4 ± 11.7, range 16–45, n=90), 46–57 years (mean 51.4 ± 3.2, range 46–56, n=92), and ≥ 57 years (mean 61.6 ± 3.4, range 57–73, n=109).

Results: Patients aged ≥ 57 years were more often males and had more pre-HTx co-morbidities including hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia, and history of smoking (P < 0.05) compared to the younger age groups. Kaplan-Meier analysis by age tertiles showed the rates of major rejections and vasculopathy at 15 years were similar among the three age groups. Mortality rates at 15 years were directly related to the age groups (39%, 52%, 62% log-rank, P = 0.01). However, the association between age and mortality was no longer statistically significant after multivariate analysis (hazard ratio 1.01, 95% confidence interval 1.00–1.03).

Conclusions: In a contemporary cohort of patients undergoing HTx, recipient age does not significantly impact the risk of major rejections, vasculopathy, and long-term mortality.



Pnina Langevitz MD, Merav Lidar MD, Itzhak Rosner MD, Joy Feld MD, Moshe Tishler MD, Howard Amital MD, Suhail Aamar MD, Ori Elkayam MD, Alexandra Balbir-Gurman MD, Mahmoud Abu-Shakra MD, Dror Mevorach MD, Oded Kimhi MD, Yair Molad MD, Ana Kuperman MD and Sharon Ehrlich MD

Background: Tocilizumab is an interleukin 6 (IL-6) receptor antagonist used treat moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Both intravenous (IV) and subcutaneous (SC) routes are approved for the treatment of adults with RA.

Objectives: To evaluate SC tocilizumab in a real-life clinical setting.

Methods: Our study was a multi-center, open-label, single-arm study. Participants were adults with a diagnosis of active RA, previously treated with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), with or without biologic agents. Participants received a weekly SC injection of tocilizumab 162 mg as monotherapy or in combination with methotrexate or DMARDs for 24 weeks. Efficacy, safety, and immunogenicity were assessed.

Results: Treatment of 100 patients over 24 weeks resulted in improvement in all efficacy parameters assessed: Clinical Disease Activity Index, Disease Activity Score using 28 joint counts and erythrocyte sedimentation rate, American College of Rheumatology response scores, Simplified Disease Activity Index, tender and swollen joint counts, and patient-reported outcomes including fatigue, global assessment of disease activity, pain, and Health Assessment Quality of Life Disease Index. Improvement was achieved as early as the second week of treatment. There were 473 adverse events (AEs)/100 patient-years (PY) and 16.66 serious AEs/100 PY. The most common AEs were neutropenia (12%), leukopenia (11%), and increased hepatic enzymes (11%). Of a total of 42 PY, the rates of serious infections and AEs leading to discontinuation were 4.8, and 11.9 events/100 PY, respectively.

Conclusions: The safety, tolerability, and efficacy profile of tocilizumab SC were comparable to those reported in other studies evaluating the IV and SC routes of administration.


Michal Laufer-Perl MD, Liat Mor MS, Assi Milwidsky MD, Matthew Derakhshesh MS, Nadav Amrami MD, Yonatan Moshkovits MS, Joshua Arnold MS, Yan Topilsky MD, Yaron Arbel MD and Zach Rozenbaum MD

Background: Progress in the treatment of breast cancer has led to substantial improvement in survival, but at the cost of increased side effects, with cardiotoxicity being the most significant one. The commonly used definition is cancer therapeutics-related cardiac dysfunction (CTRCD), defined as a left ventricular ejection fraction reduction of > 10%, to a value below 53%. Recent studies have implied that the incidence of CTRCD among patients with breast cancer is decreasing due to lower doses of anthracyclines and low association to trastuzumab and pertuzumab treatment.

Objectives: To evaluate the prevalence of CTRCD among patients with active breast cancer and to identify significant associates for its development.

Methods: Data were collected as part of the Israel Cardio-Oncology Registry, which enrolls all patients who are evaluated at the cardio-oncology clinic at our institution. Patients were divided to two groups: CTRCD and no-CTRCD.

Results: Among 103 consecutive patients, five (5%) developed CTRCD. There were no significant differences in the baseline cardiac risk factors between the groups. Significant correlations of CTRCD included treatment with trastuzumab (P = 0.001) or pertuzumab (P < 0.001), lower baseline global longitudinal strain (GLS) (P = 0.016), increased left ventricular end systolic diameter (P < 0.001), and lower e’ septal (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: CTRCD is an important concern among patients with active breast cancer, regardless of baseline risk factors, and is associated with trastuzumab and pertuzumab treatment. Early GLS evaluation may contribute to risk stratification and allow deployment of cardioprotective treatment

Arieh Riskin MD PhD, Omer Itzchaki BSc, David Bader MD MHA, Adir Iofe MD, Arina Toropine MD and Shlomit Riskin-Mashiah MD MPH

Background: The incidence of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is increasing in parallel to the worldwide obesity and type 2 diabetes pandemic. Both GDM and pre-gestational diabetes mellitus (PGDM) are associated with short- and long-term consequences in the offspring. There are few recent studies addressing outcomes of newborns born to women diagnosed with GDM and PGDM in Israel.

Objectives: To assess perinatal complications in offspring of women with GDM and PGDM.

Methods: The authors conducted a single-center retrospective case-control study of outcomes of all newborns whose mothers had been diagnosed with diabetes in pregnancy compared to randomly assigned controls born on the same date, whose mothers had no diabetes.

Results: In the study period 2015–2017, 526 mothers diagnosed with GDM or PGDM and their newborn infants were identified. The authors randomly assigned 526 control infants. The rate of women with diabetes in pregnancy was 5.0%. Mothers with GDM and PGDM had higher rates of pre-eclampsia, multiple pregnancies, and preterm deliveries. Mothers with PGDM had significantly higher rates of intrauterine fetal demise (4.3%), congenital anomalies (12.8%), and small-for-gestational-age neonates (10.6%) compared to controls (0%, 3.2%, and 4.2%, respectively, P < 0.001). The risks for preterm or cesarean delivery, large-for-gestational-age neonate, respiratory morbidity, hypoglycemia, and polycythemia were increased in offspring of mothers with diabetes, especially PGDM.

Conclusions: Despite all the advancements in prenatal care, diabetes in pregnancy, both PGDM and GDM, is still associated with significant morbidities and complications in offspring. Better preconception and inter-pregnancy care might reduce these risks

Case communications
Polina Kagan DMD MSc, Gilad Halpert PhD, Howard Amital MD MHA, Reuven Shapira DMD and Yehuda Shoenfeld MD, FRCP, MaACR
Ory Wiesel MD, Heath Walden MD, Alexa Nasti FNP and Krishan Patel MD
Religion and Medicine
Eliyakim Hershkop MD, Mordechai A Levin MD, Jonathan Nuriel MA, Sheldon I. Hershkop MD and Eyal Fruchter MD

Background: Dependence on technology and electronic media devices (EMDs) is a significant phenomenon of modern life with many people experiencing adverse symptoms during abstention. Orthodox Jews abstain from using all forms of EMDs for 25 consecutive hours every week on the Sabbath but do not appear to experience significant adverse reactions during this abstention.

Objectives: To better examine whether Sabbath observant Jews experience fewer and less severe adverse symptoms while abstaining from EMDs on the Sabbath compared to weekdays.

Methods: Ten Sabbath observant Jews abstained from using all forms of EMDs for 25 hours on a Sabbath and again on a weekday. At the end of each 25-hour period participants completed a 12-item Likert-type scale self-assessment of 1–5, once as a report of their condition at 10:00 and again after 25 hours of abstaining. The authors compared the mean results of Sabbath and weekday using Wilcoxon signed ranks test. P ≤ 0.05 was considered significant.

Results: Overall, discomfort on Sabbath was less than on weekdays. A statistically significant decrease on the Sabbath was found at both the 10:00 reporting time and after 25 hours in anxiety, restlessness, thoughts and plans of using devices, and overall difficulty to abstain. Significance was found for feelings of not knowing what to do with time (10:00) and moodiness and irritability, being drawn to devices, and cravings achieved significance (after 25 hours).

Conclusions: Sabbath observant Jews reported statistically significant less adverse reactions while abstaining from EMDs on the Sabbath compared to on a weekday.

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