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עמוד בית
Sun, 26.06.22

May 2022


Original Articles
Herman Avner Cohen MD, Maya Gerstein MD, Vered Shkalim Zemer MD, Sophia Heiman MD, Yael Richenberg MD, Eyal Jacobson MD, and Oren Berkowitz PhD PA-C

Background: On 18 March 2020, the Israeli Health Ministry issued lockdown orders to mitigate the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Objectives: To assess the association of lockdown orders on telemedicine practice and the effect of social distancing on infectious diseases in a primary care community pediatric clinic as well as the rate of referrals to emergency departments (ED) and trends of hospitalization.

Methods: Investigators performed a retrospective secondary data analysis that screened for visits in a large pediatric center from 1 January to 31 May 2020. Total visits were compared from January to December 2020 during the same period in 2019. Visits were coded during the first lockdown as being via telemedicine or in-person, and whether they resulted in ED referral or hospitalization. Month-to-month comparisons were performed as well as percent change from the previous year.

Results: There was a sharp decline of in-person visits (24%) and an increase in telemedicine consultations (76%) during the first lockdown (p < 0.001). When the lockdown restrictions were eased, there was a rebound of 50% in-person visits (p < 0.05). There was a profound decrease of visits for common infectious diseases during the lockdown period. Substantial decreases were noted for overall visits, ED referrals, and hospitalizations in 2020 compared to 2019.

Conclusions: COVID-19 had a major impact on primary care clinics, resulting in fewer patient-doctor encounters, fewer overall visits, fewer ED referrals, and fewer hospitalizations

Carmel Kasher MD, Orit Rozenberg PhD, Anna Yanovskay MD, Hana Kahanov-Edelstein, and Bibiana Chazan MD

Background: Healthcare workers (HCWs) have close interaction with confirmed or suspected coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients. Infection rates reported among HCWs is between 3% and 17%, and asymptomatic HCWs are a potential source of nosocomial transmission to vulnerable patients and colleagues. Universal mask use and good supply of personal protective equipment was implemented early at our institution.

Objectives: To determine the rate of infection by the serologic status of HCWs during first three COVID-19 waves, based on occupation and risk of exposure, compared to Israeli general population.

Methods: We conducted a prospective cohort study at Emek Medical Center from April 2020 to April 2021. A total of 101 HCWs volunteered to be followed at six time points by a serology test and a questionnaire.

Results: A total of 101 HCWs completed six serologic tests. All participants were seronegative at the four initial tests. The cumulative seropositivity rate for COVID-19 in HCWs was 9.9% (10/101). Only three seropositive HCWs (2.97%) were hospital-acquired.

Conclusions: Seroprevalence and seroconversion dynamics of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in 101 HCWs during COVID-19 outbreaks at Emek Medical Center were similar to the epidemiological curve of positive polymerase chain reaction results of the Israeli population, as published by the Israeli Ministry of Health, at each time point. Universal mask use and infection control measures may have contributed to a low hospital infection rate.

Issac Levy MD, Dolev Dollberg MD, Ron Berant MD, and Ronit Friling MD

Background: Data on how the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) affected consultations in ophthalmic departments are sparse.

Objectives: To examine the epidemiology of ophthalmic consultations in a large pediatric emergency medicine department (PED) during the first nationwide COVID-19 lockdown in Israel.

Methods: The database of a tertiary pediatric medical center was retrospectively reviewed for patients aged < 18 years who attended the PED from 17 March to 30 April 2020 (first COVID-19 lockdown) and the corresponding period in 2019. Background, clinical, and disease-related data were collected from the medical charts and compared between groups.

Results: The study included 757 PED visits. There were no significant differences in demographics between the groups. The 2020 period was characterized by a decrease in PED visits (by 52%), increase in arrivals during late afternoon and evening (P = 0.013), decrease in visits of older children (age 5–10 year), and proportional increase in younger children (age 1–5 years) (P = 0.011). The most common diagnoses overall and during each period was trauma followed by conjunctivitis and eyelid inflammation. The mechanisms of trauma differed (P = 0.002), with an increase in sharp trauma and decrease in blunt trauma in 2020 (P < 0.001 for both). In 2020, 95% of traumatic events occurred in the home compared to 54% in 2019 (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Parents need to learn appropriate preventive and treatment measures to prevent serious and long-term ophthalmic injury while minimizing their exposure to the COVID-19. PEDs and ophthalmic pediatric clinics should consider increasing use of telemedicine and the availability of more senior physicians as consultants during such times.

Jordan Lachnish MD, Amit Zabatani MD, and Ran Thein MD

Background: The influence of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused countries worldwide to implement lockdowns. Elective surgeries were temporarily suspended, with surgeries being performed only for emergent/urgent medical conditions such as hip fractures where early surgical intervention has shown decreased rates of morbidity/mortality.

Objectives: To assess the indirect influence of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdown on hip fracture patients, considering factors such as time to surgery, early postoperative complications, and ambulation status.

Methods: A comparative retrospective study was conducted on consecutive patients presenting to our emergency department (ED) with hip fractures that were treated surgically (N=29) during a 1-month period during the government lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The treatments were compared to consecutive patients who presented with hip fractures and were treated surgically (N=44) during the same timeframe in the previous year (control). Comparisons were made using t-test, ANOVA test, Fisher's exact test, and chi-square test.

Results: The COVID-19 group was operated on sooner (20.34 vs. 34.87 hours), had fewer early postoperative complications (10.3% vs. 31.8%), had better ambulatory status at discharge, and experienced a shorter hospital stay (5.93 vs. 8.13 days) with more patients being discharged home (72.4% vs. 22.7%).

Conclusions: Patients presenting with hip fractures to our ED during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown indirectly benefited from this situation by undergoing earlier surgical treatment, thus experiencing fewer early postoperative complications, faster ambulation, and sooner discharge.

 

Olga Vera-Lastra MD, Erik Cimé-Aké MD, Alberto Ordinola Navarro MD, Joel Eduardo Morales-Gutiérrez MD, Orestes de Jesús Cobos-Quevedo MD, Jorge Hurtado-Díaz MD, María Lucero Espinoza-Sánchez MD, Ana Lilia Peralta-Amaro MD, María Pilar Cruz-Domínguez MD, Gabriela Medina MD, Antonio Fraga-Mouret MD, Jesus Sepulveda-Delgado MD, and Luis J. Jara MD

Background: Patients with autoimmune disease (AID) and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) could have higher mortality due to the co-morbidity and the use of immunosuppressive therapy.

Objectives: To analyze the risk factors and outcomes of patients with AID and COVID-19 versus a control group.

Methods: A prospective cohort study included patients with and without AID and COVID-19. Patients were paired by age and sex. Clinical, biochemical, immunological treatments, and outcomes (days of hospital stay, invasive mechanical ventilation [IMV], oxygen at discharge, and death) were collected.

Results: We included 226 COVID-19 patients: 113 with AID (51.15 ± 14.3 years) and 113 controls (53.45 ± 13.3 years). The most frequent AIDs were Rheumatoid arthritis (26.5%), systemic lupus erythematosus (21%), and systemic sclerosis (14%). AID patients had lower lactate dehydrogenas, C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, IMV (P = 0.027), and oxygen levels at discharge (P ≤ 0.0001) and lower death rates (P ≤ 0.0001). Oxygen saturation (SaO2) ≤ 88% at hospitalization provided risk for IMV (RR [relative risk] 3.83, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.1–13.6, P = 0.038). Higher creatinine and LDH levels were associated with death in the AID group. SaO2 ≤ 88% and CO-RADS ≥ 4 were risk factors for in-hospital mortality (RR 4.90, 95%CI 1.8–13.0, P = 0.001 and RR 7.60, 95%CI 1.4–39.7, P = 0.016, respectively). Anticoagulant therapy was protective (RR 0.36, 95%CI 0.1–0.9, P = 0.041)

Conclusions: Patients with AID had better outcomes with COVID-19 than controls. Anticoagulation was associated with a lower death in patients with AID.

Yehuda Hershkovitz MD, Oded Zmora MD, Hilli Nativ MD, Itamar Ashkenazi MD, Jonathan Hammerschlag MD, and Igor Jeroukhimov MD

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has had a significant impact on healthcare systems worldwide. The fear of seeking medical attention to avoid the possibility of being infected may have altered the course of some diseases.

Objectives: To describe our experience with the management of patients with acute cholecystitis during the pandemic at our medical center.

Methods: We compared patients treated for acute cholecystitis between 1 March and 31 August 2020 (Group I) to patients admitted with the same diagnosis during the same months in 2019 (Group II). We evaluated demographics, presenting symptoms, laboratory and imaging findings at presentation, the disease's clinical course, management, and outcome.

Results: Group I consisted of 101 patients and group II included 94 patients. No differences were noted for age (66 years, IQR 48–78 vs. 66 years, IQR 47–76; P = 0.50) and sex (57.4% vs. 51.1% females; P = 0.39) between the two groups. The delay between symptom onset and hospital admission was longer for Group I patients (3 days, IQR 2–7 vs. 2 days, IQR 1–3; P = 0.002). Moderate to severe disease was more commonly encountered in Group I (59.4% vs. 37.2%, P = 0.003). Group I patients more often failed conservative management (36% vs. 6%, P = 0.001) and had a higher conversion rate to open surgery (15.4% vs. 0%, P = 0.025).

Conclusions: Patients presenting with acute cholecystitis during the COVID-19 pandemic more often presented late to the emergency department and more showed adverse outcomes

Moria Mahanaimy MD MPH, Uriah Finkel MA, Noam Barda MD PhD, Eytan Roitman MD, Ran Balicer MD PhD MPH, Adi Berliner Senderey MSc MPH, and Becca Feldman ScD

Background: The association between use of renin-angiotensin-aldosterone (RAAS) inhibitors and both SARS-CoV-2 infection and the development of severe COVID-19 has been presented in the recent medical literature with inconsistent results.

Objectives: To assess the association between RAAS inhibitor use and two outcomes: infection with SARS-CoV-2 (Model 1) and severe COVID-19 among those infected (Model 2).

Methods: We accessed used electronic health records of individuals from Israel who were receiving anti-hypertensive medications for this retrospective study. For Model 1 we used a case-control design. For Model 2 we used a cohort design. In both models, inverse probability weighting adjusted for identified confounders as part of doubly robust outcome regression.

Results: We tested 38,554 individuals for SARS-CoV-2 who had hypertension and were being treated with medication; 691 had a positive test result. Among those with a positive test, 119 developed severe illness. There was no association between RAAS inhibitor use and a positive test. Use of RAAS inhibitors was associated with a decreased risk for severe COVID-19 (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 0.47, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 0.29–0.77) compared with users of non-RAAS anti-hypertensive medication. The association remained significant when use of angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors (adjusted OR 0.46, 95%CI 0.27–0.77) and angiotensin II receptor blockers (adjusted OR 0.39, 95%CI 0.16–0.95) were analyzed separately.

Conclusions: Among individuals with hypertension using RAAS inhibitors, we found a lower risk of severe disease compared to those using non-RAAS anti-hypertensive medications. This finding suggests that RAAS inhibitors may have a protective effect on COVID-19 severity among individuals with medically treated hypertension.

Nomy Levin-Iaina MD, Avital Angel-Korman MD, Adi Leiba MD MHA, Esther Peres MD, Gabriel Bryk PhD, Vladimir Rapoport MD, Zeev Katzir MD, Yoram Yagil MD, and Tal Brosh-Nissimov MD MHA

Background: The reduced immune response of maintenance hemodialysis patients to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines is a major concern.

Objectives: To analyze the late (6 months after full vaccination) antibody response and compare it to early post-vaccination titer.

Methods: We conducted a multicenter prospective study of 13 hemodialysis units in Israel.

Results: We demonstrated that the low titers observed among ESRD patients 2–3 months after vaccination with the Comirnaty vaccine (median 63.8 AU/ml) declined to critically lower values 6 months after full vaccination. (Mediananti S antibodies, 31 AU/ml). Seropositivity significantly declined among hemodialysis patients from 89% to 74% (P < 0.0001), although it did not significantly change among controls.

Conclusions: We recommend all patients on hemodialysis receive a booster COVID-19 vaccine 6 months after the second dose.

 

Arthur E. Frankel MD, Dennis Wylie PhD, Bjoern Peters PhD, Daniel Marrama BS, and Chul Ahn PhD

Background: Secondary immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a rare but serious complication of the pandemic. Diagnostic criteria include clinical and laboratory findings. Early treatment is often effective, but rare severe bleeding and death can occur. An autoimmune mechanism is likely.

Objectives: To determine a role for molecular mimicry in producing disease.

Methods: Hexapeptide and heptapeptide matches between severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and platelet N-glycosylated proteins and other human proteins were assessed.

Results: Shared viral and platelet glycoprotein peptides were found. Copy frequency of these peptides in the human proteome was low for many of the candidate molecular mimics.

Conclusions: The data support a contribution of molecular mimicry in COVID-19 ITP autoimmunity and offer avenues for in vitro diagnostic assay development. The continuation of the pandemic necessitates additional understanding of COVID-19 ITP as well as studies on diagnosis and mitigation.

 

Moshe Ashkenazi MD MBA, Eyal Zimlichman MD, Noa Zamstein PhD, Galia Rahav MD, Reut Kassif Lerner MD, Yael Haviv MD, and Itai M. Pessach MD PhD MPH

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic resulted in repeated surges of patients, sometimes challenging triage protocols and appropriate control of patient flow. Available models, such as the National Early Warning Score (NEWS), have shown significant limitations. Still, they are used by some centers to triage COVID-19 patients due to the lack of better tools.

Objectives: To establish a practical and automated triage tool based on readily available clinical data to rapidly determine a distinction between patients who are prone to respiratory failure.

Methods: The electronic medical records of COVID-19 patients admitted to the Sheba Medical Center March–April 2020 were analyzed. Population data extraction and exploration were conducted using a MDClone (Israel) big data platform. Patients were divided into three groups: non-intubated, intubated within 24 hours, and intubated after 24 hours. The NEWS and our model where applied to all three groups and a best fit prediction model for the prediction of respiratory failure was established.

Results: The cohort included 385 patients, 42 of whom were eventually intubated, 15 within 24 hours or less. The NEWS score was significantly lower for the non-intubated patients compared to the two other groups. Our improved model, which included NEWS elements combined with other clinical data elements, showed significantly better performance. The model's receiver operating characteristic curve had area under curve (AUC) of 0.92 with of sensitivity 0.81, specificity 0.89, and negative predictive value (NPV) 98.4% compared to AUC of 0.63 with NEWS. As patients deteriorate and require further support with supplemental O2, the need for re-triage emerges. Our model was able to identify those patients on supplementary O2 prone to respiratory failure with an AUC of 0.86 sensitivity 0.95, and specificity 0.7 NPV 98.9%, whereas NEWS had an AUC of 0.76. For both groups positive predictive value was approximately 35%.

Conclusions: Our model, based on readily available and simple clinical parameters, showed an excellent ability to predict negative outcome among patients with COVID-19 and therefore might be used as an initial screening tool for patient triage in emergency departments and other COVID-19 specific areas of the hospital.

Letter
Nomy Dikman PhD, Rola Khamisy-Farah MD, Raymond Farah MD, Jumana Essa-Hadad PhD, Nataly Lipavski, and Izhar Ben Shlomo MD
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