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עמוד בית
Sun, 18.04.21

March 2021


Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Varvara A. Ryabkova, Leonid P. Churilov MD, and Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MACR
Antonio Antico MD, Maria Piera Panozzo PhD, Maira Zoppelletto PhD, Valentina Di Giacomo PhD, Francesca Merola PhD, and Nicola Bizzaro MD
Gassan Moady MD MPH and Shaul Atar MD

Background: Takotsubo syndrome (TTS) is a non-ischemic cardiomyopathy characterized by an acute reversible left ventricular dysfunction with typical apical ballooning, usually with subsequent complete spontaneous recovery. TTS may be triggered by several physical and emotional stressors. The name Covidsubo was recently adopted to describe this emerging entity. TTS during quarantine may be a reasonable outcome of the overwhelming stress and fear of this pandemic. However, according to the current literature, conflicting results have been reported regarding the incidence of this syndrome during the first wave of the pandemic, and further studies are needed. High index of suspicion is needed to identify patients during the next waves of the pandemic, particularly given the need for minimizing imaging modalities and contact with the patients.

Objectives: To describe two cases of TTS triggered by quarantine during the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Methods: Two patients (age 81 years and 70 years) were admitted to our medical center with severe chest pain with normal blood pressure and heart rate.

Results: TTS should always be in the differential diagnosis in patients presenting with chest pain suspected to be from coronary origin. Based on the typical clinical, echocardiographic, and angiographic findings, we assumed TTS.

Conclusions: The only prominent stressor in the two cases in this article was the stress accompanying quarantine.

Laura A. Montiel-Cervantes DSc, Gabriela Medina MSc, María Pilar Cruz-Domínguez DSc, Sonia-Mayra Pérez-Tapia DSc, María C. Jiménez-Martínez DSc, Hugo-Iván Arrieta-Oliva DSc, Gregorio Carballo-Uicab DSc, Laura López-Pelcastre MD, and Rosa Camacho-Sandoval DSc

Background: Immune cell counts in blood in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection may be useful prognostic biomarkers of disease severity, mortality, and response to treatment.

Objectives: To analyze sub-populations of lymphocytes at hospital admission in survivors and deceased from severe pneumonia due to coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19).

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of healthcare workers confirmed with SARS-CoV-2 in convalescents (control group) and healthy controls (HC) diagnosed with severe COVID-19. Serum samples were taken at hospital admission and after recovery. Serum samples ≥ 25 days after onset of symptoms were analyzed for lymphocyte subpopulations through flow cytometry. Descriptive statistics, Kruskall-Wallis test, receiver operating characteristic curve, calculation of sensitivity, specificity, predictive values, and Kaplan-Meier analysis were performed.

Results: We included 337 patients: 120 HC, 127 convalescents, and 90 severe COVID-19 disease patients (50 survivors, 40 deceased). For T cells, total lymphocytes ≥ 800/μL, CD3+ ≥ 400/μL, CD4+ ≥ 180/μL, CD8+ ≥ 150/μL, B cells CD19+ ≥ 80/μL, and NK ≥ 34/μL subsets were associated with survival in severe COVID-19 disease patients. All subtypes of lymphocytes had higher concentrations in survivors than deceased, but similar between HC and convalescents. Leukocytes ≥ 10.150/μL or neutrophils ≥ 10,000/μL were associated with increased mortality. The neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) ≥ 8.5 increased the probability of death in severe COVID-19 (odds ratio 11.68).

Conclusions: Total lymphocytes; NLR; and levels of CD3+, CD4+, CD8+, and NK cells are useful as biomarkers of survival or mortality in severe COVID-19 disease and commonly reach normal levels in convalescents.

Focus
George M. Weisz MD FRACS BA MA and Andrew Gal BSc (Med) MBBS FRCPA

Germany was a scientifically advanced country in the 19th and early 20th centuries, particularly in medicine, with a major interest in research and the treatment of tuberculosis. From 1933 until 1945, Nazi Germany perverted scientific research through criminal experimentations on captured prisoners of war and on "subhumans" by scientifically untrained, but politically driven, staff. This article exposes a series of failed experiments on tuberculosis in adults, experiments without scientific validity. Nonetheless, Dr. Kurt Heißmeyer repeated the experiment on Jewish children, who were murdered for the sake of personal academic ambition. It is now 75 years since liberation and the murdered children must be remembered. This observational review raises questions of medical and ethical values

Original Articles
Gideon Eshel, Gerhard Baader, and Eran Kozer

Background: In April 1937 it was forbidden for German Jewish students to sit for examinations. However, a few Jewish medical students were able to continue studying at Berlin University. The order to expel all Jewish students from German Universities was published on the morning after Kristallnacht (November 1938) and was strictly imposed.

Objectives: To identity the last Jewish medical students who managed, in spite of the severe restrictions, to continue their study and apply for the examinations in Berlin from summer 1937 through 1938.

Methods: Reviews of the dissertations written in the medical faculty of Berlin during 1937–1938 identified the Jewish students. We presented their demographic and academic characteristics.

Results: Sixteen Jewish students were identified: six Germans, six Americans, and four Eastern Europeans. Their average age was 18.7 ± 1.0 years, 22.5 ± 2.0 years, and 20.8 ± 2.5 years, respectively. The last Jewish student took the exams in July 1938 and submitted a thesis one month later. One German student was half Jewish. Five gained the rights to take the examinations as foreign students by renouncing their German citizenship. They were the main group affected by the government’s restrictions. The American and the Eastern European students were more protected by law.

Conclusions: Each of those groups had different academic careers. The Americans were the last Jewish students allowed to study in Germany. It seems that they were less aware of the national socialist atmosphere in the medical faculty in Berlin during 1937–1938.

David Zahler MD, Ilan Merdler MD, Keren-Lee Rozenfeld MD, Gil Shenberg MD, Assi Milwidsky MD, Shlomo Berliner MD, Shmuel Banai MD, Yaron Arbel MD, and Yacov Shacham MD

Background: Elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) was shown to be associated with an increased risk for new-onset atrial fibrillation (AF) in ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients undergoing primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI); however, the optimal time frame to measure CRP for risk stratification is not known.

Objectives: To evaluate the relation between the change in CRP over time (CRP velocity [CRPv]) and new-onset AF among STEMI patients treated with primary PCI.

Methods: We included 801 STEMI patients who underwent PCI between 2007 and 2017 and had their CRP measured with a wide range assay (wr-CRP) at least twice during the 24 hours after admission. CRPv was defined as the change in wr-CRP concentration (mg/l) divided by the change in time (in hours) between the two measurements. Patient medical records were reviewed for occurrence of new-onset AF.

Results: New onset AF occurred in 45 patients (6%). Patients with new onset AF had significantly higher median CRPv (1.27 vs. 0.43 mg/l/h, P = 0.002). New-onset AF during hospitalization occurred in 3.4%, 4.5 %, and 9.1% of patients in the first, second and third CRPv tertiles, respectively (P for trend = 0.006). In a multivariable logistic regression, adjusting for clinical variables the odds ratios for new onset AF was 1.93 (95% confidence interval 1.0–3.59, P = 0.04) for patients in the third CRPv tertile.

Conclusion: CRPv might be an independent and rapidly measurable biomarker for new-onset AF following primary PCI in STEMI patients.

Moran Slavin MD, Shmuel Avital MD, Yael Einbinder MD, Barak Benjamin MD, and Roye Inbar MD

Background: Peritoneal dialysis (PD) is a treatment option for patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and cardiorenal syndrome (CRS).

Objectives: To evaluate the outcome of this patient population.

Methods: A retrospective study was conducted of patients who underwent an open or laparoscopic insertion of a PD catheter at our institution between 2009 and 2017. Data included demographics, peri-operative parameters, and long-term outcome. Patient and technique survival curves are presented, including subgroup analysis by method of catheter insertion and techniques for infection prevention.

Results: The study population included 95 men and 42 women, aged 65.7 ± 12.4 years. Mean follow-up was 34.6 ± 27.3 months. Open insertion was performed in 113 cases, while 24 underwent laparoscopic insertion. There was no difference in technique survival between these groups (P = 0.943). Removal of the catheter was required in 66% of patients. Median technique survival was 12.1 months. Two-year technique survival was 37% and 5-year technique survival was 12%. The leading cause for catheter removal was infection (69%). Application of measures for prevention of infections were significantly associated with prolonged technique survival (P = 0.001). Technique survival after 2 years was 38% with the application of a single measure and 57% with the application of two measures (P = 0.001). CRS patients (n=24) had a significantly lower overall survival rate (2-year survival 20% vs. 74%, P = 0.001).

Conclusions: The method of catheter insertion has no effect on technique survival. Prevention of infections is the most significant factor for improving the technique survival rates.

Monica Goldberg-Murow MD, Zvi Steiner MD, Yaniv Lakovsky MD, Elena Dlugy MD, Arthur Baazov MD, Enrique Freud MD, and Inbal Samuk MD

Background: Pancreatic trauma is uncommon in pediatric patients and presents diagnostic and therapeutic challenges. While non-operative management (NOM) of minor pancreatic injuries is well accepted, the management of major pancreatic injuries remains controversial.

Objectives: To evaluate management strategies for major blunt pancreatic injury in children.

Methods: Data were retrospectively collected for all children treated for grade III or higher pancreatic injury due to blunt abdominal trauma from 1992 to 2015 at two medical centers. Data included demographics, mechanism of injury, laboratory and imaging studies, management strategy, clinical course, operative findings, and outcome.

Results: The cohort included seven boys and four girls aged 4–15 years old (median 9). Six patients had associated abdominal (mainly liver, n=3) injuries. The main mechanism of injury was bicycle (handlebar) trauma (n=6). Five patients had grade III injury and six had grade IV. The highest mean amylase level was recorded at 48 hours after injury (1418 U/L). Management strategies included conservative (n=5) and operative treatment (n=6): distal (n=3) and central (n=1) pancreatectomy, drainage only (n=2) based on the computed tomography findings and patient hemodynamic stability. Pseudocyst developed in all NOM patients (n=5) and two OM cases, and one patient developed a pancreatic fistula. There were no differences in average length of hospital stay.

Conclusions: NOM of high-grade blunt pancreatic injury in children may pose a higher risk of pseudocyst formation than OM, with a similar hospitalization time. However, pseudocyst is a relatively benign complication with a high rate of spontaneous resolution with no need for surgical intervention.

Reviews
Yaron Niv MD AGAF FACG

Hospitalization of ulcerative colitis patients is needed in severe exacerbation of the disease or for managing complications. In this systematic review and meta-analysis the prevalence of hospitalization in ulcerative colitis and possible predictive factors are discussed. A systematic literature search of English language publications that were published before 31 December 2019 was conducted. Retrospective cohort studies describing hospitalizations of UC patients were included. Meta-analysis was performed by using comprehensive meta-analysis software. Pooled odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95%CIs) were calculated for the number of patients hospitalized. Seven studies and 15 datasets were found that fulfilled the inclusion criteria. In total, the studies included 2067 patients from six countries. The event rates for the number of patients hospitalized in a follow-up duration of 42,320 patient-years and for the number of patients underwent operation in a follow-up of 24,650 patient-years were 0.065 (95%CI 0.063–0.068) and 0.019 (95%CI 0.017–0.021), respectively. More studies during the era of biologics need to be performed to identify the factors predictive of hospitalization and surgery with UC. Prevention of inflammation and UC complications may prevent hospitalization and the need for surgical treatment

Case communications
Lisa Kaly MD, Igor Bilder MD, Michael Rozenbaum MD, Nina Boulman MD, Doron Rimar MD, Abid Awisat MD, Itzhak Rosner MD, Haya Hussein MD, Amal Silawy MD, Tamar Gaspar MD, and Gleb Slobodin MD
Ariel Kenig MD, Ofer Perzon MD, Yuval Tal MD PhD, Sigal Sviri MD, Avi Abutbul MD, Marc Romain MD, Efrat Orenbuch-Harroch MD, Naama Elefant MD, and Aviv Talmon MD
Liran Shechtman MD, Karney Lahad MD, and Ilan Ben-Zvi MD
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