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עמוד בית
Mon, 02.08.21

June 2021


Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Elchanan Parnasa MD, Amram Kupietzky MD, Maya Korem MD, and Murad Daana MD
Ariel Zilberlicht MD, Dan Abramov MD, Nir Kugelman MD, Ofer Lavie MD, Yossef Elias CPA, and Yoram Abramov MD

Background: The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease that presents an urgent challenge to global health and economy.

Objectives: To assess the effects of population median age and mean ambient temperature on the COVID-19 global pandemic burden.

Methods: We used databases from open access public domains to record population median age, mean ambient temperature, and the numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths on days 14 and 28 from the pandemic outbreak for each country in the world. We then calculated the correlation between these parameters.

Results: The analysis included 202 countries. A univariate analysis showed that population median age significantly correlated with the cumulative number of cases and deaths, while mean ambient temperature showed a significant inverse correlation with the cumulative number of deaths on days 14 and 28 from the epidemic outbreak. After a multivariate logistic regression analysis only population median age retained its statistically significant correlation.

Conclusions: Country population median age significantly correlated with COVID-19 pandemic burden while mean ambient temperature shows a significant inverse correlation only in univariate analysis. Countries with older populations encountered a heavier burden from the COVID-19 pandemic. This information may be valuable for health systems in planning strategies for combating this global health hazard.

Amram Kupietzky MD, Elchanan Parnasa MD, Matan Fischer MD, Rottem Kuint MD, and Murad Daana MD
Original Articles
Fabiola Atzeni MD PhD, Elisabetta Gerratana MD, Sara Bongiovanni MD, Rossella Talotta MD PhD, Gianfranco Miceli MD, Fausto Salaffi MD PhD, and Piercarlo Sarzi-Puttini MD

Background: There is a lack of real-life clinical data for biosimilar etanercept, an anti-TNF blocking fusion protein. We describe the comparable efficacy and safety of originator and biosimilar etanercept in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients in a real-life clinical setting. Our data confirm that a biosimilar etanercept can be safely used as first-line treatment as well as in patients switched from a previous originator compound.

Objectives: To compare the efficacy and safety of originator and biosimilar etanercept in a cohort of RA patients attending two Italian hospitals.

Methods: The study involved 81 consecutive adult RA patients treated for at least 6 months with originator or biosimilar etanercept and considered their clinical and laboratory data, concomitant medications, and adverse events at baseline, and after 3 and 6 months of treatment.

Results: Group 1 included 51 patients taking originator etanercept; group 2 included 30 taking biosimilar etanercept, including 19 who had been switched from the reference product. Despite a significant baseline difference in clinical disease activity, one-way analysis of variance showed that the two groups were clinically comparable after 6 months of treatment, and the same was true when only those receiving etanercept as first-line biological treatment were considered. Nine patients discontinued the treatment due to inefficacy or adverse events, which were never serious and were only reported in group 1.

Conclusions: The efficacy and safety profiles of originator and biosimilar etanercept are comparable in RA patients in a real-life clinical setting. Further studies are needed to confirm these preliminary findings

Omer Gendelman MD, Yuval Kuntzman MD, Ora Shovman MD, Pnina Langevitz MD, Avishai M. Tsur MD MHA, Daniel Erez MD, Yair Levy MD, and Howard Amital MD MHA

Background: Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) is a rare small vessel vasculitis. It usually involves the respiratory tract and kidney. Rarely, tumor-resembling inflammatory changes ensue.

Objectives: To report three unique cases of GPA presenting with tumor-like lesions in various organs.

Methods: We presented three cases of GPA. Case 1 presented with typical upper respiratory symptoms of GPA and a mediastinal mass. Case 2 presented with low back pain, a large retroperitoneal mass, and nodular skin lesions. Case 3 presented with epigastric pain and a paravertebral inflammatory mass.

Results: The patients were treated successfully with rituximab.

Conclusions: Clinicians should be aware of this presentation of granulomatosis with polyangiitis, which is known as Tumefaction Wegener’s granulomatosis

Avishay Elis MD, Robert Klempfner MD, Chen Gurevitz MD, Ela Gilady MD, and Ilan Goldenberg MD

Background: Real-world information regarding the use of direct oral anticoagulants therapy and the outcome in patients with renal dysfunction is limited.

Objectives: To evaluate the clinical characteristics and outcomes of patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) and severe renal dysfunction who are treated with apixaban.

Methods: A sub-analysis was conducted within a multicenter prospective cohort study. The study included consecutive eligible apixaban- or warfarin-treated patients with non-valvular AF and renal impairment (estimated glomerular filtration rate [eGFR] modification of diet in renal disease [MDRD] < 60 ml/min/BSA) were registered. All patients were prospectively followed for clinical events and over a mean period of 1 year. Our sub-analysis included the patients with 15 < eGFR MDRD < 30 ml/min/BSA. The primary outcomes at 1 year were recorded. They included mortality, stroke or systemic embolism, major bleeding, and myocardial infarction as well as their composite occurrence.

Results: The sub-analysis included 155 warfarin-treated patients and 97 apixaban-treated ones. All had 15 < eGFR MDRD < 30 ml/min/BSA. When comparing outcomes for propensity matched groups (n=76 per group) of patients treated by reduced dose apixaban or warfarin, the rates of the 1-year composite endpoint as well as mortality alone were higher among the warfarin group (30 [39.5%] vs. 14 [18.4%], P = 0.007 and 28 [36.8%] vs.12 [15.8%], P = 0.006), respectively. There was no significant difference in the rates of stroke, systemic embolism, or major bleeding.

Conclusions: Apixaban might be a reasonable alternative to warfarin in patients with severe renal impairment.

Zvi Shimoni MD, Vendi Danilov MD, Shoshana Hadar MD, and Paul Froom MD

Background: Recommendations for a head computed tomography (CT) scan in elderly patients without a loss of consciousness after a traumatic brain injury and without neurological findings on admission and who are not taking oral anticoagulant therapy, are discordant.

Objectives: To determine variables associated with intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) and the need for neurosurgery in elderly patients after low velocity head trauma

Methods: In a regional hospital, we retrospectively selected 206 consecutive patients aged ≥ 65 years with head CT scans ordered in the emergency department because of low velocity head trauma. Outcome variables were an ICH and neurological surgery. Independent variables included age, sex, disability, neurological findings, facial fractures, mental status, headache, head sutures, loss of consciousness, and anticoagulation therapy.

Results: Fourteen patients presented with ICH (6.8%, 3.8–11.1%) and three (1.5%, 0.3–4.2%) with a neurosurgical procedure. One patient with a coma (0.5, 0.0–2.7) died 2 hours after presentation. All patients who required surgery or died had neurological findings. Reducing head CT scans by 97.1% (93.8–98.9%) would not have missed any patient with possible surgical utility. Twelve of the 14 patients (85.7%) with an ICH had neurological findings, post-trauma loss of consciousness or a facial fracture were not present in 83.5% (95% confidence interval 77.7–88.3) of the cohort.

Conclusions: None of our patients with neurological findings required neurosurgery. Careful palpation of the facial bones to identify facial fractures might aid in the decision whether to perform a head CT scan.

Yana Kakzanov MD, Ziv Sevilya PhD, Mordehay Vaturi MD, Alexander Goldman MD, and Eli I. Lev MD

Background: Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) is a common clinical entity, with a mechanism that appears to involve endothelial dysfunction of the cardiac microcirculation. Endothelial progenitor cells (EPC) are bone marrow derived cells that are able to differentiate into functional endothelial cells and participate in endothelial surface repair.

Objectives: To compare the level and function of EPCs in patients with HFpEF compared with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) and control subjects.

Methods: We enrolled 21 patients with HFpEF (LVEF ≥ 50%, age 74.5 ± 9.9 years, 43% men, 48% diabetes), 20 patients with HFrEF (LVEF < 40%, age 70 ± 11.5 years, 90% men, 60% diabetes), and 11 control subjects with cardiovascular risk factors (age 53.3 ± 6.1years, 90% men, 64% diabetes). Circulating EPC levels were evaluated by expression of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR-2), CD34, and CD133 by flow-cytometry. EPCs colony forming units (CFUs) were quantified after 7 days in culture.

Results: The proportion of cells that co-expressed VEGFR-2 and CD34 or VEGFR-2 and CD133 was similar among the HFpEF and HFrEF groups, and significantly lower than in the control group. The number of EPC-CFUs was also similar among the two heart failure groups and significantly lower than the control group.

Conclusions: Patients with HFpEF, like HFrEF, have significant reduction in EPC level and function.

Concept in Medicine
Naim Mahroum MD, Magdi Zoubi MD, Abdulla Watad MD, Howard Amital MD MHA, Josef Haik MD MPH, and Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaACR

Surgical interventions in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc), in particular plastic procedures, might cause undesired consequences. Notably, liposuction seems to possess greater risk as adipose tissue has been shown to play an important role in treating wounds and ulcers in patients with SSc. While anticentromere antibodies were found to be correlated with vasculopathy in SSc, patients with SSc and anticentromere antibodies might be more vulnerable to surgical wound complications following liposuction. A 46-year-old female patient, who had been diagnosed with SSc at the age of 31 years, had antinuclear as well as anticentromere antibodies. She underwent abdominoplasty with liposuction and developed severe skin necrosis of the abdomen following the procedure and at the site of liposuction. The correlation with anticentromere and the role of liposuction in skin necrosis in SSc are presented.

Editorial
Paula David MD, Arad Dotan, Naim Mahroum MD, and Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaACR
Case communications
David Hovel MD, Bernardo Melamud MD, and Eran Israeli MD
Dante Antonelli MD, Alexander Feldman MD, Nahum Adam Freedberg MD, and Yoav Turgeman MD
Katerina Shulman MD, Olga Kazarin MD, Elias Tannous MSc, and Orit Sofer MD
Aviya R. Jacobs MSc, Noam Ben-Yosef MD, Yariv Tiram MD, Elchanan Juravel MD, Akiva Nachshon MD, Anat Scheiman Elazary MD, Auryan Szalat MD, Eran Zimran MD, and Mordechai Muszkat MD
Milena Tocut MD, Ziv Rozman MD, Hagai Dekel MD, and Arie Soroksky MD
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