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עמוד בית
Tue, 19.01.21

December 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
David Ovadya MD, Keren Bachar MD, Michael Peled MD, Maya Skudowitz MD, and Arie Wollner MD

Background: Patients diagnosed with coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) who deteriorate to respiratory failure and require mechanical ventilation may later need to be weaned from the ventilator and undergo a rehabilitation process. The rate of weaning COVID-19 patients from mechanical ventilation is unknown.

Objective: To present our experience with ventilator weaning of COVID-19 patients in a dedicated facility.

Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted of 18 patients hospitalized in a COVID-19 dedicated ventilator weaning unit.

Results: Eighteen patients were hospitalized in the dedicated unit between 6 April and 19 May 2020. Of these, 88% (16/18) were weaned and underwent decannulation, while two patients deteriorated and were re-admitted to the intensive care unit. The average number of days spent in our department was 12. There was no statistically significant correlation between patient characteristics and time to weaning from ventilation or with the time to decannulation.

Conclusions: Despite the high mortality of COVID-19 patients who require mechanical ventilation, most of the patients in our cohort were weaned in a relatively short period of time. Further large-scale studies are necessary to assess the cost effectiveness of dedicated COVID-19 departments for ventilator weaning.

Tiberiu R. Shulimzon MD, Shir Giladi BSc, and Meital Zilberman PhD

Background: Chronic lung diseases, especially emphysema and pulmonary fibrosis, are the third leading cause of mortality worldwide. Their treatment includes symptom alleviation, slowing of the disease progression, and ultimately organ transplant. Regenerative medicine represents an attractive alternative.

Objectives: To develop a dual approach to lung therapy by engineering a platform dedicated to both remodeling pulmonary architecture (bronchoscopic lung volume reduction) and regeneration of lost respiratory tissue (scaffold).

Methods: The authors developed a hydrogel scaffold based on the natural polymers gelatin and alginate. The unique physical properties allow its injection through long catheters that pass through the working channel of a bronchoscope. The scaffold might reach the diseased area; thus, serving a dual purpose: remodeling the lung architecture as a lung volume reduction material and developing a platform for tissue regeneration to allow for cell or organoid implant.

Results: The authors’ novel hydrogel scaffold can be injected through long catheters, exhibiting the physical and mechanical properties necessary for the dual treatment objectives. Its biocompatibility was analyzed on human fibroblasts and mouse mesenchymal cells. Cells injected with the scaffold through long narrow catheters exhibited at least 70% viability up to 7 days.

Conclusions: The catheter-injectable gelatin-alginate hydrogel represents a new concept, which combines tissue engineering with minimal invasive procedure. It is an inexpensive and convenient to use alternative to other types of suggested scaffolds for lung tissue engineering. This novel concept may be used for additional clinical applications in regenerative medicine.

Moshe Shai Amor, Dror Rosengarten, Dorit Shitenberg, Barak Pertzov, Yael Shostak, and Mordechai Reuven Kramer

Background: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) has poor prognosis. Anti-fibrotic treatment has been shown to slow disease progression. Lung transplantation (LTx) offers a survival benefit. The 5-year survival after LTx in IPF is between 40 and 50%

Objectives: To evaluate which IPF patients have better prognosis following LTx.

Methods: A retrospective study was conducted with all IPF patients who had undergone LTx in the Rabin Medical Center between 2010 and 2018. We collected data on pre-evaluation of pulmonary function tests, echocardiographic and right heart catherization, and anti-fibrotic treatments. The Kaplan-Meier method was used for survival analysis.

Results: Among148 patients who underwent LTx, 58 were double LTx (DLT) and 90 single LTx (SLT). Mean age was 58.07 ± 9.78 years; 104 males and 44 females. DLT patients had significantly lower survival rates than SLT in the short and medium term after LTx. Patients with saturation above 80% after the 6-minute walk test (6MWT) had higher survival rates. Patients over 65 years of age had a lower survival rates. Those with pulmonary hypertension (PHT) above 30 mmHg had a poorer prognosis with lower survival rates.

Conclusions: IPF patients with higher mean PHT, older age (> 65 years), and desaturation following 6MWT had lower survival rates following LTx. DLT may decrease survival rate compared to SLT just for the short and medium period of time after LTx. These results may lead to better selection of IPF patient candidates for LTx. Additional studies are warranted for choosing which patients will have better prognosis after LTx.

Daniel Erez MD, Lilach Israeli-Shani MD, Gali Epstein Shochet PhD, Daniel A. King MD, Mahmood Abu-akel MD, Zamir Dovrish MD, and David Shitrit MD

Background: Primary spontaneous pneumothorax (PSP) tends to occur in young adults without underlying lung diseases and is usually followed by limited symptoms, while secondary spontaneous pneumothorax (SSP) is a complication of a pre-existing lung disease. Surprisingly, for such common conditions, there is a considerable inconsistency regarding management guidelines.

Objectives: To evaluate the risk factors for spontaneous pneumothoraxes and to summarize outcomes and complications based on our clinical experience.

Methods: This retrospective study group was comprised of 250 consecutive patients older than 18 years of age who were diagnosed with spontaneous pneumothorax and hospitalized at the Meir Medical Center (2004–2017). Data on demographic characteristics, indicating symptoms, chest X-rays, and chest computed tomography (CT) results were collected. Our experience and outcomes were then compared to a large multicenter study.

Results: Most of the patients were male (85%) and past or current smokers; 69% presented with PSP, while the rest were SSP. No occupational relation was noted. About 55% of the cases presented with a moderate or large pneumothorax (over 1/3 hemithorax). Most patients (56%) required chest tube drainage and 20% undergone surgery. Nearly 10% presented with a recurrent pneumothorax with the mean time to recurrence being 11 ± 20 days. Although the length of hospital stay of patients that underwent surgery was the longest (P < 0.001) for both PSP and SSP, the recurrence rate was actually reduced, suggesting some benefit for the surgical treatment option.

Conclusions: Our experience showed that the traditional approach to the PSP treatment should be further considered, as previously suggested.

Michael J. Segel MD, Dafna Somech RN BA, Irene M. Lang MD, and Amit Segev MD

Background: Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) is a rare, distinct pulmonary vascular disease caused by chronic obstruction of major pulmonary arteries, which can be cured by pulmonary endarterectomy. However, many CTEPH patients are not surgical candidates. Balloon pulmonary angioplasty (BPA) is an emerging technique used to treat inoperable CTEPH.

Objectives: To describe the first Israeli experience with BPA for inoperable CTEPH.

Methods: In 2017 we established a BPA program at our institution. We reviewed the outcomes to date of BPA in our center.

Results: Forty-seven BPA procedures were performed in five patients with inoperable CTEPH (4–17 procedures/patient). Mean pulmonary artery pressure improved in all patients (median decrease 17 mmHg, range 10–26 mmHg). Pulmonary vascular resistance also improved (median decrease 11 Woods Units/m2, range 8–16 Woods Units/m2). Cardiac output increased in 4 of 5 patients and decreased in one. Functional capacity improved from New York Heart Association (NYHA) III to II in four patients; one patient was NYHA II at baseline without change after BPA. Six-minute walking distance improved by a median of 97 meters. (range 21–197 meters). Hemodynamic and functional improvements were sustained at follow-up 5–11 months after the last BPA procedure. BPA enabled 2 of 3 patients treated with parenteral prostanoids to be switched to oral therapy. There were no major complications.

Conclusions: We successfully established BPA as a treatment for inoperable CTEPH in our center. BPA resulted in hemodynamic and clinical improvements that were sustained over time.

Boaz Tiran MD, Tal Perluk MD, Eyal Kleinhendler MD, Avi Man MD, Irina Fomin MD, and Yehuda Schwarz MD

Background: Benign tracheal stenosis has emerged as a therapeutic challenge for physicians involved in the care of survivors of critical care units. Although the traditional mainstay of open surgical reconstructive treatment is still considered the gold standard, endoscopic therapies such as laser re-canalization, balloon dilation, or stenting are commonly practiced in invasive bronchology. Recurrent obstructing granulomas pose a challenge for bronchoscopists. Mitomycin C (MyC) is a cytotoxic agent that is isolated from Streptomyces caespitosus and acts by inhibiting DNA and RNA synthesis through alkylation and cross-linkages. Topical MyC is commonly used in indirect laryngoscopies for the treatment of granulation tissue in the trachea by using saturated pledgets.

Objectives: To describe fiberoptic bronchoscopic submucosal injection of MyC as a treatment for recurrent bening tracheal stenosis.

Methods: The authors report their successful experience with submucosal intralesional injection of MyC in the management of recurrent obstructing granulomas/stenosis using the flexible fiberoptic bronchoscope in a series of 10 patients between 2005 and 2019.

Results: The results suggest that intralesional injection of MyC using the flexible bronchoscope after the endoscopic treatment of the stenotic lesion may reduce the rate of subsequent formation of granulation tissue and scarring without side effects.

Conclusions: The efficacy of MyC injection should be studied prospectively.

Rottem Kuint MD, Polina Cohen Goichman MD, Ahuva Mizrachi MD, Raphael Breuer MD, Avraham Abutbul MD, Neville Berkman MBBCh FRCP, and Zvi Gregorio Fridlender MD

Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease(COPD) is a common and debilitating condition, often accompanied by other co-morbidities. The Hadassah Medical Center’smulti-disciplinary approach in treating COPD patients in a one-stop shopfor COPD patients is the first of its kind in Israel. It includes pulmonary physicians, a nurse coordinator, dietitian, psychotherapist, physiotherapist, and a smoking cessation program.

Objectives: To characterize efficacy of such a program in COPD patients

Methods: Demographic and clinical data from patients referred to the Hadassah COPD center, including co-morbidities, baseline symptoms (using the CAT questioner), spirometry results, 6-minute walking distance (6MWD) test and current treatment were collected and compared to the same data after 6–12 months of treatment.

Results: Some 154 patients were evaluated; mean age 64 years; 67% male; 53% current smokers. Only 74% received chronic treatment for COPD. Average body mass index was 28, CAT score 21.3, and mean FEV1 was 1.38 liters (53% of predicted).The mean exacerbation rate during the year prior to referral was 1.72 with a 1.07 annual admission rate. Following treatment, a small increase was noted in FEV1 to 1.47 liters, 54.4% of predicted; improvement in CAT scores to 16.5 with improvement seen in 70% of patients, and a 42 meter increase in the 6MWD (from 344 to 386 meters) with some improvement of effort capacity in 77% of patients. The rate of smokers decreased to 21%, and 97% of patients received medical treatment for COPD.

Conclusions: Multidisciplinary approach is feasible and efficacious in patients with COPD.

Amir Bar-Shai MD, Rafael Y. Brzezinski BMedSc, Ahsen Al Qaied MD, Philip Tsenter MD, Svetlana Kolontaevsky MD, and Anna Breslavsky MD

Background: Lung percutaneous needle biopsy (PNB) is routinely used to diagnose lung cancer. The most prevalent complications of PNB are pneumothorax and bleeding. Differences in characteristics of medical procedures between rural and urban hospitals are well known.

Objectives: To compare characteristics of patients and lesions between two hospitals and to evaluate whether lung PNB complications differ in rural vs. urban settings.

Methods: The authors examined case records of 561 patients who underwent lung biopsy at two different medical centers in Israel: Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (urban) and Barzilai Medical Center (rural). To evaluate the complication rates, the authors analyzed findings from chest X-ray performed 2 hours after biopsy and computed tomography (CT) images at the site of biopsy.

Results: The study comprised 180 patients who underwent lung biopsy at Barzilai and 454 at Sourasky. The rate of pneumothorax did not differ between centers (12% at Barzilai and 19% at Sourasky, P = 0.08). Distance from pleura was positively correlated to pneumothorax occurrence in both centers; however, neither lesion size nor lesion locus was found to be a risk factor for pneumothorax. Mild bleeding at the biopsy site occurred equally at Barzilai and Sourasky (32% vs. 36%, P = 0.3, respectively). Furthermore, immediate CT post-biopsy at Barzilai showed 95% negative predictive value, showing that a CT scan performed immediately after lung biopsy cannot replace the routine follow-up chest X-ray in predicting iatrogenic pneumothorax.

Conclusions: CT-guided percutaneous lung biopsies are comparable between rural and urban hospitals regarding procedure characteristics and complication rates.

Daphna Vilozni PhD, Adi Dagan MD, Ifat Sarouk MD, Bat-El Bar-Aluma MD, Moshe Ashkenazi MD, Yael Bezalel MD, and Ori Efrati MD

Background: The single-breath diffusing capacity of the lungs (DLCOSB) test measures the extent to which carbon monoxide (CO) passes from the lung air sacs into the blood. The accessible alveolar volume (VASB) is measured by inert gas during a 10-second period. The single-breath transfer coefficient of the lung for carbon monoxide (KCOSB) is the DLCOSB divided by VASB. Cystic fibrosis (CF) disease comprises progressive airway obstruction with bronchiectasis and parenchyma fibrosis. Yet, the KCOSB appears insignificant in the assessment of pulmonary function in CF.

Objectives: To challenge the precision of normal KCOSB in CF.

Methods: The authors collected pulmonary function tests (PFT) data from 74 confirmed CF patients (mean age 26 ± 10 years) with various levels of pulmonary disease severity. Tests included spirometry, DLCOBP, and body plethysmography (BP). Anatomical dead space was calculated by deducting anatomical dead space from total lung capacity TLC(BP) to establish alveolar volume (VABP) and to determine KCOBP. We also included individual data of arterial pCO2 blood-gas level.  

Results: KCOSB values were normal or higher in most patients, regardless of patient FEV1 value (R2 = 0.2204; P < 0.02). In contrast, the measurements of KCOBP were low corresponding with low FEV1 values, and negatively correlated with the elevation of trapped air and pCO2 levels (R2 = 0.1383; P = 0.0133, P > 0.05, respectively).

Conclusions: The 10- second perfusion time of the inert gas during DLCOSB represent the communicative alveolar volume in CF patients with advanced pulmonary disease. The findings justify the use of DLCOSB with the deterioration of FEV1 and elevation of pCO2 levels.

Oren Elyah MD and Sumit Chatterji MD FRCP

Background: Our 1600-bed teaching hospital opened the first physician-led specialist pleural service in Israel in November 2016. Thoracentesis is one of the frequently performed procedures in clinic.

Objectives: To review the incidence of thoracentesis-related symptoms, complications, and risk factors in a specialist pleural clinic.

Methods: Prospective analysis was conducted of 658 ultrasound-assisted thoracenteses between November 2016 and November 2019. Data were collected on patient demographics, clinical characteristics, procedural aspects, symptoms, complications, and additional interventions required.

Results: Of the procedures, 24% were accompanied by a reported symptom of any intensity or duration. Cough and chest discomfort were noted in 56.4% and 52% of these cases, respectively. Large-volume drainage was associated with symptoms (P = 0.002). Ultrasound-estimated effusion volume before drainage predicted pain (P = 0.001) and pneumothorax (P = 0.021). Of 8 cases of pneumothorax, 6 were due to non-expandable lung. Two patients were hospitalized (0.3%), and one required a chest drain.

Conclusions: Symptoms are a common feature of thoracentesis even when performed by experienced operators in ideal settings. Complications, however, are rare when the procedure is performed with bedside ultrasound and attention is paid to patient-reported symptoms and volume drained. Specialist pleural clinics provide a good model for a standardized approach to safe performance of this common procedure.

Rashed Shkeiri MD, Sonia Schneer MD, Amir Avarmovich MD, and Yochai Adir MD

Background: Transbronchial cryobiopsy (TBC) has recently emerged for the assessment of diffuse parenchymal lung disease (DPLD) as a less invasive procedure than surgical lung biopsy. The diagnostic usefulness and safety of TBC is still controversial.

Objectives: To evaluate the safety and diagnostic yield of TBC in a peripheral community medical center.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the charts of all patients with DPLD who underwent TBC from January 2015 to January 2020.

Results: The study comprised 97 patients. Three samples were taken from each patient with an average diameter of 0.59 cm. The histologic diagnostic yield was 54% (52 of 97 procedures). The most frequent histopathologic diagnoses were usual interstitial pneumonia in 13 patients (13%). Bleeding was observed in 19 cases (19%) and only one patient (1%) had severe bleeding. Pneumothorax developed in seven patients (7%) and one patient (1%) suffered from Interstitial lung disease exacerbation.

Conclusions: TBC was found to be safe; however, the diagnostic yield was rather low compared to other studies, which emphasizes the need for interstitial lung disease centers with expert in this field.

Michael Peled MD, Jair Bar MD, Liat Avni MD, Sumit Chatterji MD, Dafna Somech MD, Addie Dvir MD, Lior Soussan-Gutman MD, and Amir Onn MD

Background: Guidelines recommend testing for multiple biomarkers in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) tumors. Blood-based liquid biopsy analyzing cell-free DNA (cfDNA) could be used in addition to tumor biopsy genotyping, especially if tissue/time are limiting.

Objectives: To investigate the clinical utility of early cfDNA analysis (Guardant360® CDx) in treatment-naïve NSCLC patients.

Methods: A prospective cohort of treatment-naïve patients with metastatic NSCLC who underwent tumor and cfDNA analysis between 12/2018 and 2/2019 were included.

Results: Ten patients were included: 6 males, median age 70.5 years (range 48–87), 8 prior smokers. Liquid biopsy was sent when cancer cells were detected in the biopsy specimen. Median time from diagnosis to receiving the report on the last biomarker from the tumor biopsy was 20 days (range 9–34); median time from blood draw to receiving the cfDNA findings was 9 days (range 7–12). The median difference between the cfDNA and the tumor analysis reports was 20 days (range 9–28). Actionable biomarkers were identified in four patients by both the biopsy analysis and the cfDNA analysis (2cases with EGFR mutations, one with ROS1 fusion, and one with EML4-ALK fusion for whom the biopsy analysis also identified an EGFR mutation not detected in the cfDNA analysis). Overall, eight patients received treatment (2 died before treatment initiation). Three patients received biomarker-based treatment (1 osimertinib, 1 alectinib, and 1 crizotinib).

Conclusions: These findings suggest that cfDNA analysis should be ordered by the pulmonologists early in the evaluation of patients with NSCLC, which might complement the tumor biopsy.

Jair Bar MD PhD, Marina Perelman MD, Damien Urban MD, Maya Gottfried MD, Mor Moskovitz MD, Hovav Nechushtan MD PhD, Julia Dudnik MD, Alona Zer MD, Elizabeth Dudnik MD, Ofer Merimsky MD, Amir Onn MD, Barbara Silverman MD

Background: Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related death.

Objectives: To identify changing patterns of lung cancer and its histologic subtypes among different population groups in Israel over a 25 year period.

Methods: Primary lung cancers, all types and all stages, diagnosed during 1990–2014 were recorded in the Israel National Cancer Registry database. Demographic information was retrieved from the National Population Register. Age-standardized rates for the different subgroups were calculated for each year. Joinpoint software was used to analyze trends in incidence.

Results: We identified 42,672 lung cancer cases. The most common histology was adenocarcinoma (34%), followed by squamous cell carcinoma (19%), large cell/not-otherwise-specified (19%), other histologies (15%), and small cell lung cancer (11%). The adenocarcinoma incidence rose from 25.7% to 48.2% during the examined period. Large cell/not-otherwise-specified incidence peaked around 2005–2006 and declined after. Lung cancer incidence increased significantly for the population overall and specifically in Arab females, followed by Jewish females and by Arab males. Adenocarcinoma and small cell lung cancer increased in Jewish females and in Arab males. A younger age of diagnosis was seen in Arab compared to Jewish patients.

Conclusions: Jewish females and Arab males and females living in Israel demonstrated a constant increase in lung cancer incidence, mostly in adenocarcinoma and small cell lung cancer incidence. In addition, a younger age of diagnosis in Arabs was noted. Smoking reduction interventions and screening should be implemented in those populations.

Nader Abdel-Rahman MD and Gabriel Izbicki MD

For most passengers, even those with respiratory disease, air travel is safe and comfortable. Some travelers may experience hypoxia at sea level but may not need supplemental oxygen during air travel in a hypobaric hypoxic environment. For some individuals compensatory pulmonary mechanisms may be inadequate, causing profound hypoxia. In addition, venous thromboembolism/pulmonary emboli may occur, especially during long haul flights. With adequate screening, patients at risk can be identified, therapeutic solutions can be proposed for the flight, and most can travel can continue safely with supplemental oxygen and other preventive measures.

Rachel Shemesh BSc, Guy J. Ben Simon MD, Lev Bedrin MD, and Arkadi Yakirevitch MD
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