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עמוד בית
Mon, 06.12.21

October 2021


CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)
Anat Ekka Zohar PhD, Jennifer Kertes MPH, Erica Cohen-Iunger MPH MD, Ilya Novikov PhD, Naama Shamir Stein MA, Sharon Hermoni Alon MD, and Miri Mizrahi Reuveni MD

Background: Israel has experienced three waves of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) infection since late February 2020, with lockdown and other measures employed to contain infection rates. In cooperation with the Israel Ministry of Health, serological testing was conducted by all four health maintenance organizations (HMO) in order to estimate national infection rates and the proportion of previously undetected disease.

Objectives: To estimate the proportion of the population that was seropositive, identify factors associated with seropositive outcome, and approximate the proportion of residents that were asymptomatic.

Methods: Seroconversion rates (IgG) were measured in a representative sample of over 17,000 members of Maccabi Healthcare Services. Direct standardization was used to estimate the seropositive rates for COVID-19 infection for members of the HMO. Rates were adjusted for sensitivity and specificity of the testing products used. In addition to blood sampling, respondents were asked to complete a digital survey regarding potential exposures and symptoms experienced.

Results: It was estimated that 1.9% of the adult HMO population was seropositive 4 months after the first infected person was identified in the country. Seroconversion was associated with travel abroad and exposure to infected individuals. Loss of smell and taste, fever, cough, and fatigue are associated with infection. Of those found to be seropositive for COVID-19, 160 (59%) had a prior negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or no PCR test at all.

Conclusions: Adult seropositive rates of infection were low relative to other countries. The findings suggest that early initiatives to limit infection entry and spread were effective

Shay Brikman MD, Guy Dori MD PhD, Carmel Kasher MD, Anna Yanovskay MD, Merav Strauss PhD, Raul Colodner PhD, Naiel Bisharat MD, and Bibiana Chazan MD

Background: Patients with severe coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) are susceptible to superimposed infections.

Objectives: To describe COVID-19 patients who presented with complications due to Candida bloodstream co-infection (candidemia) and their outcome in a single center in northern Israel (Emek Medical Center) during the second outbreak of COVID-19 in Israel (15 June 2020 to 20 September 2020).

Methods: A retrospective study of COVID-19 patients presenting with candidemia was conducted, including clinical and laboratory data. The incidence of candidemia among hospitalized COVID-19 patients was compared to a historical cohort of non-COVID-19 controls.

Results: Three COVID-19 patients complicated with candidemia were documented. All three patients died shortly after the detection of candidemia. Three different Candida sp. were isolated from the blood cultures: C. albicans, C. parapsilosis, and C. glabrata. The incidence of candidemia among COVID-19 patients was 0.679 episodes per 1000 hospital days.

Conclusions: Our small sample suggests a much higher incidence of candidemia among COVID-19 patients compared to a historical cohort of non-COVID-19 controls. All clinicians treating COVID-19 patients in GICU should be aware of this complication

Leonid P. Churilov MD PhD, Darja Kanduc PhD, and Varvara A. Ryabkova MD
ORIGINAL ARTICLES
Mor Cohen-Eilig MD, Noa Bar Lis MSc, Ayelet Livneh MD, and Haim Bassan MD

Background: Cystic periventricular leukomalacia (cPVL) is a strong indicator of subsequent motor and developmental impairments in premature infants. There is a paucity of publications on biomarkers of cPVL.

Objectives: To determine C-reactive protein (CRP) levels during the first week of life of preterm infants who later developed cPVL and to identify the association between CRP levels with perinatal factors.

Methods: We retrospectively included infants ≤ 32 weeks gestation and/or birth weights ≤ 1500 grams; 17 with a cranial ultrasound diagnosis of cPVL and 54 with normal ultrasounds. Serum CRP levels were measured during days 1-7 (CRP1–7d) of life and subdivided into two timing groups: days 1–3 (CRP1–3d) and days 4-7 (CRP4–7d).

Results: The cPVL group had significantly higher mean CRP4–7d levels compared to controls (12.75 ± 21.2 vs. 2.23 ± 3.1, respectively, P = 0.03), while CRP1–3d levels were similar. CRP1–7d levels were significantly correlated with maximal fraction of inspired oxygen during the first 12 hours of life (FiO2-12h, r = 0.51, P < 0.001]. Additional risk factors were not associated with CRP levels.

Conclusions: Our finding of elevated CRP4-7d levels and later development of cPVL supports earlier studies on the involvement of inflammation in the pathogenesis of cPVL. Whether CRP could serve as a biomarker of cPVL and its correlation with outcomes, awaits further trials. Furthermore, the correlation between FiO2-12h and CRP1–7d levels suggest that hypoxia and/or hyperoxia may serve as a trigger in the activation of inflammation during the first days of life of preterm infants

Amir Krivoy MD, Shai Shrot MD, Matan Avrahami MD, Tsvi Fischel MD, Abraham Weizman MD, Yael Mardor PhD, David Guez PhD, Dianne Daniels PhD, Athos Katelaris BSc, David Last PhD, and Chen Hoffmann MD

Background: Only a small proportion of schizophrenia patients present with catatonic symptoms. Imaging studies suggest that brain motor circuits are involved in the underlying pathology of catatonia. However, data about diffusivity dysregulation of these circuits in catatonic schizophrenia are scarce.

Objectives: To assess the involvement of brain motor circuits in schizophrenia patients with catatonia.

Methods: Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was used to measure white matter signals in selected brain regions linked to motor circuits. Relevant DTI data of seven catatonic schizophrenia patients were compared to those of seven non-catatonic schizophrenia patients, matched for sex, age, and education level.

Results: Significantly elevated fractional anisotropy values were found in the splenium of the corpus callosum, the right peduncle of the cerebellum, and the right internal capsule of the schizophrenia patients with catatonia compared to those without catatonia. This finding showed altered diffusivity in selected motor-related brain areas.

Conclusions: Catatonic schizophrenia is associated with dysregulation of the connectivity in specific motoric brain regions and corresponding circuits. Future DTI studies are needed to address the neural correlates of motor abnormalities in schizophrenia-related catatonia during the acute and remitted state of the illness to identify the specific pathophysiology of this disorder.

Ilan Schrier MD, Yael Feferman MD, Yael Berger MD, Dafna Yahav MD, Eran Sadot MD, Omri Sulimani MD, Michael Stein MD, and Hanoch Kashtan MD

Background: Surgical myotomy is the best therapeutic option for patients with achalasia. The minimally invasive technique is considered to be the preferred method for many surgeons. Robotic-assisted laparoscopic myotomy has several advantages over conventional laparoscopic surgery. These benefits include more accurate incisions that may result in a lower rate of intra-operative complications.

Objective: To describe our technique of performing robotic-assisted Heller myotomy and to review the initial results of this procedure.

Methods: All patients undergoing robotic-assisted Heller myotomy for achalasia between the years 2012–2018 at Rabin Medical Center were retrospectively reviewed from our institutional prospective database.

Results: Thirty patients underwent robotic-assisted Heller myotomy for achalasia. Mean operative time was 77 minutes (range 47–109 minutes) including docking time of the robotic system. There were no cases of conversion to laparoscopic or open surgery. There were no cases of intra-operative perforation of the mucosa. None of the patients had postoperative morbidity or mortality. Good postoperative results were achieved in 25 patients. Four patients required additional intervention (3 had endoscopic dilatations and 1 with known preoperative endstage achalasia had undergone esophagectomy). One patient was lost to follow-up.

Conclusions: Robotic-assisted Heller myotomy is a safe technique with a low incidence of intra-operative esophageal perforation compared to the laparoscopic approach. We believe that robotic-assisted surgery should be the procedure of choice to treat achalasia

Andrei Braester MD, Galia Stemer MD, Sahar Khouri MD, Bennidor Raviv MD, and Masad Barhoum MD

Background: Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a serious disease, which demands a fast accurate diagnosis to begin suitable treatment. It presents a major problem in the emergency department (ED), and its confirmation requires adequate evaluation.

Objectives: To evaluate a potential role of mean platelet volume (MPV) in differentiating VTE from other potential diagnosis in patients with suspected VTE.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective case-controlled study of 440 consecutive patients who presented to the ED of our hospital with clinical VTE, but only 316 with proven VTE. A control group was composed of patients (124) who presented with clinical VTE but without proven VTE. We checked the MPV value in all 440 patients and the correlation with VTE occurrence in the study group vs. control group.

Results: Statistical analysis of the acquired results indicated that MPV value could not aid in determining the difference of real VTE vs. patients with VTE-like clinical picture presenting to the ED. We found an inverse correlation between MPV value and proven VTE, in contrast to most researchers who have studied the same issue.

Conclusions: Although MPV can be a useful diagnostic marker in many diseases, we found no definite association between low MPV and VTE

Michael Goldenshluger MD, Hen Chaushu MS, Guy Ron MD, Haya Fogel-Grinvald MHA, Shay Mandler MD, Liron Miller MBA PhD, Nir Horesh MD, Batia Segal RN MA, Uri Rimon MD, and Yoram Klein MD

Background: Extra peritoneal packing (EPP) is a quick and highly effective method to control pelvic hemorrhage.

Objectives: To determine whether EPP can be as safely and efficiently performed in the emergency department (ED) as in the operating room (OR).

Methods: Retrospective study of 29 patients who underwent EPP in the ED or OR in two trauma centers in Israel 2008–2018.

Results: Our study included 29 patients, 13 in the ED-EPP group and 16 in the OR-EPP group. The mean injury severity score (ISS) was 34.9 ± 11.8. Following EPP, hemodynamic stability was successfully achieved in 25 of 29 patients (86.2%). A raise in the mean arterial pressure (MAP) with a median of 25 mmHg (mean 30.0 ± 27.5, P < 0.001) was documented. All patients who did not achieve hemodynamic stability after EPP had multiple sources of bleeding or fatal head injury and eventually succumbed. Patients who underwent EPP in the ED showed higher change in MAP (P = 0.0458). The overall mortality rate was 27.5% (8/29) with no difference between the OR and ED-EPP. No differences were found between ED and OR-EPP in the amount of transfused blood products, surgical site infections, and length of stay in the hospital. However, patients who underwent ED-EPP were more prone to develop deep vein thrombosis (DVT): 50% (5/10) vs. 9% (1/11) in ED and OR-EPP groups respectively (P = 0.038).

Conclusions: EPP is equally effective when performed in the ED or OR with similar surgical site infection rates but higher incidence of DVT

Rotem Shpatz MD, Yolanda Braun-Moscovici MD, and Alexandra Balbir-Gurman MD

Background: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory and destructive joint disease with the presence of autoantibodies, rheumatoid factor (RF), and anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA). The presence of RF or ACPA predicts RA severity. Data on the influence of ACPA titer on RA course are limited.

Objectives: To determine the correlation between ACPA titers at the time of RA diagnosis to RA features and severity during 3 years of follow-up.

Methods: We performed a retrospective study of RA patients treated at our institution during the years 2006–2015 with known ACPA titers at RA diagnosis who completed at least 3 years of follow-up. Patients (N=133) were divided according to ACPA titer: seronegative (< 15 U/ml, n=55), weakly positive (15–49 U/ml, n=18), moderately positive (50–300 U/ml, n=29), and strongly positive (> 300 U/ml, n=31). Patient data, including disease activity score (DAS28), bone erosion on hand and/or foot X-rays, treatments with corticosteroids and disease-modifying-anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), and hospitalizations, were recorded. Chi-square and Mann-Whitney method were used for statistical analysis. P < 0.05 was considered as statistically significant.

Results: Male gender, smoking, and RF positivity correlated with ACPA positivity and higher ACPA titers. There was no correlation between ACPA titer and the variables defined as representing RA severity: higher DAS28, bone erosions, hospitalizations, need for corticosteroids, and conventional and biological DMARDs.

Conclusions: Titer of ACPA was not identified as a predictive factor for RA severity

Udi Nussinovitch MD PhD, Omer Gendelman MD, Shiri Rubin MD, Yair Levy MD, Vicktoria Vishnevskia-Dai MD, Avi Livneh MD, and Merav Lidar MD

Background: Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a connective tissue disease that may affect the heart and the autonomic nervous system (ANS). There is little knowledge regarding the degree of ANS involvement in SSc patients with unknown cardiac disease.

Objectives: To evaluate cardiac and pupillary autonomic functions in patients before cardiac involvement has emerged.

Methods: The study comprised 19 patients with SSc and 29 healthy controls. Heart rate variability (HRV) analysis for time and frequency domains, as well as deep breathing test and Ewing maneuvers, were performed in all patients. Automated pupillometry for the evaluation of pupillary diameter and pupillary light reflex was completed in 8 SSc patients and 21 controls.

Results: Both groups had similar characteristics, except for medications that were more commonly or solely prescribed for SSc patients. Compared with control subjects, the SSc patients had significantly lower HRV parameters of NN50 (15.8 ± 24.4 vs. 33.9 ± 33.1, P = 0.03), pNN50 (4.9 ± 7.4% vs.10.8 ± 10.8%, P = 0.03), and triangular index (11.7 ± 3.4 vs. 15.7 ± 5.8, P = 0.02). Abnormal adaptive responses in heart rate changes were recorded during deep breathing tests and Ewing maneuvers. There was no significant difference in any of the pupillometric indices or other HRV parameters within groups.

Conclusions: SSc patients may manifest cardiac autonomic dysfunction, while their autonomic pupillary function is seemingly spared. The role of certain medications, the significance of differential organ involvement, as well as the prognostic value of our findings should be evaluated in future studies

Nicholay Teodorovich MD, Michael Jonas MD, Dan Haberman MD, Haitham Abu Khadija MD‏, Omar Ayyad MD, Gera Gandelman MD, Lion Poles MD, Jacob George MD, and Alex Blatt MD MSc

Background: Anti-endothelial cell antibodies (AECA) are a known biomarker of endothelial dysfunction and damage in clinical practice, especially in autoimmune disease.

Objectives: To determine the relation between natural AECA levels and prognosis related to coronary artery disease.

Methods: Candidates for coronary angiography were prospectively enrolled. AECA levels were determined by ELISA assay. Mortality was evaluated after more than 5 years follow-up.

Results: Of a total 857 patients, 445 had high AECA levels (group 1) and 412 had low levels (< 1 OD unit, group 2). Both groups did not differ in age, sex, or presence of diabetes. The median follow up was 2293 days (76 months). Patients with high AECA levels were more likely to have normal coronary arteries on angiography (21.6% vs. 16.9%, P = 0.047) and less likely to have calcified lesions (19.0% vs. 26.6%, P = 0.028) and lower prevalence of abnormal renal functions (71.1 mg/dl vs. 66.5 mg/dl, P = 0.033). Patients with higher AECA levels had lower mortality levels (20.1% vs. 27.6%, P = 0.006). A logistic regression model demonstrated independent association between lower AECA levels and the presence of coronary atherosclerosis based on angiogram.

Conclusions: After a median of more than 6 years, higher natural AECA levels were associated with less coronary artery disease and lower mortality rates in patients undergoing coronary angiography

Joseph Gardyn MD, Noa Chapal PhD, and Sharon Floru MD PhD

Background: Iron deficiency anemia is a widespread problem. Although oral and intravenous therapy are available, iron malabsorption is a distinct possibility.

Objectives: To evaluate the applicability of the oral iron absorption test (OIAT) as a simple and effective means of determining the degree of oral iron absorption.

Methods: The study comprised 81 patients diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia who were referred to a hematology outpatient clinic. Participants were given two ferrous sulphate tablets. Iron levels in the blood were evaluated at intervals from 30 to 180 minutes after iron administration.

Results: We divided patients into three distinct groups. The first group consisted of patients with little iron absorption with a maximum iron increment (Cmax) in the blood of 0–49 ug/dl. The second group had a moderate maximum absorption of 50–100 ug/dl, while a third group had considerable absorption of with maximum iron increase of over 100 ug/dl.

Conclusions: The oral iron absorption test, although not clearly standardized, is easy to conduct in any outpatient clinic. This test can readily and clearly determine absorption or nonabsorption of iron. This test can have major implications on the need of oral or intravenous iron therapy and can also determine the need for further gastrointestinal evaluation of the small intestine, where iron absorption takes place and the success of therapy on subsequent iron absorption

REVIEWS
Yishai Levy MD and David Levy

An arginine-rich apolipoprotein was discovered 50 years ago and became known as apolipoprotein E (ApoE) 10 years later. ApoE is associated with triglyceride-rich lipoproteins and mediates the clearance of these lipoproteins from the plasma. The ApoE-deficient hypercholesterolemic mice are an excellent platform for experimental atherosclerosis because they are similar to human pathology with regard to an atherogenic diet. ApoE is mainly produced in the liver and central nervous system cells. Three alleles determine six ApoE phenotypes with different metabolic effects and plasma cholesterol levels. Type III dysbetalipoproteinemia is associated with wide-spread atherogenesis with a defective ApoE2 resulting in delayed clearance of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins. ApoE4 substantially increases the risk including age of onset, progression, and prognosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, much effort has been directed to the elucidation of the pathogenic role of ApoE related to amyloid β (Aβ) acquisition in the brain. The ApoE trail passing from an enigmatic protein to a major player in cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disorders is reviewed

CASE COMMUNICATIONS
Benita Knox MD, Charlotte Reddington MBBS FRANZCOG, Martin Healey MBBS MD FRANZCOG FRCOG, Uri Dior MD MPH, and Claudia Cheng MBBS DIP OBS FRANZCOG
Orr Yahal MD, Yael Halavy MD, Asaf Vivante MD, Noah Gruber MD, Irit Tirosh MD, and Omer Bar-Yosef MD
ART AND MEDICINE
Baruch Wolach MD, and Ofir Wolach MD

Leonardo da Vinci, the artist and scientist, was an archetype figure of the Renaissance era. He was an autodidactic polymath in natural sciences, engineering, and physical sciences, imbued with universality, prodigious inventive imagination, and curiosity to know and understand the world around him. Among his myriad activities, anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics of the musculoskeletal system and the underlying systems fully engaged him. Leonardo dissected dozens of human and animal corpses to study. His anatomical illustrations were precise, combining art and science with an impeccable integration of both. Multiple drawings, diagrams, sketches, and designs are found in his notes. Leonardo’s style was intensely personal, unveiling his thoughts, passions, and emotions. We analyzed significant biographic aspects of Leonardo's life, remarking on his scientific and life conceptions and their manifestation in his anatomical designs. The contribution of preceding anatomists is reported as a source of his inspiration as well as motivation to successors. Leonardo da Vinci left no publications, but rather an extensive collection of personal notebooks. Leonardo's contribution to modern anatomy was enormous and he is considered by the scientific and medical community as the father of the modern anatomy

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