Publications by authors named "Zahra Abtahian"

10 Publications

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No clinical benefit of high dose corticosteroid administration in patients with COVID-19: A preliminary report of a randomized clinical trial.

Eur J Pharmacol 2021 Apr 16;897:173947. Epub 2021 Feb 16.

Chronic Respiratory Diseases Research Center, National Research Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (NRITLD), Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran; Department of Clinical Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran. Electronic address:

The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical effects of dexamethasone administration in patients with mild to moderate acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The study included 50 patients who were randomly assigned to the dexamethasone group or control group. Dexamethasone was administered at a dose of 20 mg/day from day 1-5 and then at 10 mg/day from day 6-10. The need for invasive mechanical ventilation, death rate, duration of clinical improvement, length of hospital stay, and radiological changes in the computed tomography scan were assessed. The results revealed that 92% and 96% of patients in the dexamethasone and control groups, respectively, required noninvasive ventilation (P = 0.500). Among them, 52% and 44% of patients in the dexamethasone and control groups, respectively, required invasive mechanical ventilation (P = 0.389). At the end of the study, 64% of patients in the dexamethasone group and 60% of patients in the control group died (P = 0.500); the remaining patients were discharged from the hospital during the 28-day follow-up period. The median length of hospital stay was 11 days in the dexamethasone group and 6 days in the control group (P = 0.036) and the median length of hospital stay was 7 days in the dexamethasone group and 3 days in the control group (P < 0.001). No significant differences were observed in the other outcomes. This study showed that corticosteroid administration had no clinical benefit in patients with COVID-19-induced mild to moderate ARDS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejphar.2021.173947DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7885705PMC
April 2021

Combination therapy of IFNβ1 with lopinavir-ritonavir, increases oxygenation, survival and discharging of sever COVID-19 infected inpatients.

Int Immunopharmacol 2021 Mar 26;92:107329. Epub 2020 Dec 26.

Clinical Tuberculosis and Epidemiology Research Center, National Research Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (NRITLD), Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran. Electronic address:

Interferon Beta-1a (IFN-β1-a), an immunomodulatory mediator with antiviral effects, has shown in vivo and in vitro activities especially on coronavirus including SARS-CoV-2. COVID-19 defined as the disease caused by infection with SARS-CoV-2. The virus has been illustrated inhibits the production of IFN-β1-a from inflammatory cells. We conducted a retrospective study of all adult confirmed COVID-19 hospitalized patients who received combination of three doses of 12 million international units of IFN-β1-a and Lopinavir 400 mg and Ritonavir 100 mg every 12 h (case group) for 14 days besides standard care and age- and sex- matched COVID-19 patients with receiving lopinavir/ritonavir (control group) at Masih Daneshvari Hospital as a designated hospital for COVID-19 between Feb 19 and Apr 30, 2020. Multivariate analysis was done to determine the impact of IFN-β1-a on outcome and all-cause mortality. 152 cases in IFN-β1-a group and 304 cases as control group were included. IFN-β1-a group stayed at hospital longer and required noninvasive ventilation more than control group (13 vs. 6 days, p = 0.001) and (34% vs. 24%, p = 0.04), respectively. During treatment, 57 (12.5%) patients died. The death rate in case and control groups was 11% and 13% respectively. In multivariate analysis, not receiving IFN-β1-a (HR 5.12, 95% CI: 2.77-9.45), comorbidity (HR 2.28, 95% CI: 1.13-4.60) and noninvasive ventilation (HR 2.77, 95% CI: 1.56-4.93) remained significantly associated with all-cause mortality. In this study, risk of death decreased by using IFN-β1-a in COVID-19 patients. More clinical study will be necessary to measure efficacy of IFN-β1-a in COVID-19 treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.intimp.2020.107329DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7762801PMC
March 2021

Clinical Manifestations of Patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in a Referral Center in Iran.

Tanaffos 2020 Nov;19(2):122-128

Clinical Tuberculosis and Epidemiology Research Center, National Research Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (NRITLD), Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

Background: Following the recent epidemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Wuhan, China, a novel betacoronavirus was isolated from two patients in Iran on February 19, 2020. In this study, we aimed to determine the clinical manifestations and outcomes of the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection (n=127).

Materials And Methods: This prospective study was conducted on all COVID-19-suspected cases, admitted to Masih Daneshvari Hospital (a designated hospital for COVID-19), Tehran, Iran, since February 19, 2020. All patients were tested for COVID-19, using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay. Data of confirmed cases, including demographic characteristics, clinical features, and outcomes, were collected and compared between three groups of patients, requiring different types of admission (requiring ICU admission, admission to the general ward, and transfer to ICU).

Results: Of 412 suspected cases, with the mean age of 54.1 years (SD=13.4), 127 (31%) were positive for COVID-19. Following the patients' first visit to the clinic, 115 cases were admitted to the general ward, while ten patients required ICU admission. Due to clinical deterioration in the condition of 25 patients (out of 115 patients), ICU admission was essential. Based on the results, the baseline characteristics of the groups were similar. Patients requiring ICU admission were more likely to have multiorgan involvement (liver involvement, P<0.001; renal involvement, P<0.001; and cardiac involvement, P=0.02), low O saturation (P<0.001), and lymphopenia (P=0.05). During hospital admission, 21 (16.5%) patients died, while the rest (83.5%) were discharged and followed-up until March 26, 2020. Also, the survival rate of patients, who received immunoglobulin, was higher than other patients (60.87% vs. 39.13%).

Conclusion: The mortality rate of COVID-19 patients was considerable in our study. Based on the present results, this infection can cause multiorgan damage. Therefore, intensive monitoring of these patients needs to be considered.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7680520PMC
November 2020

Evaluating the effects of Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIg) on the management of severe COVID-19 cases: A randomized controlled trial.

Int Immunopharmacol 2021 Jan 13;90:107205. Epub 2020 Nov 13.

Department of Clinical Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran; Chronic Respiratory Diseases Research Center (CRDRC), National Research Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (NRITLD), Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran. Electronic address:

Background: The newly discovered coronavirus has turned into coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and it rages at an unprecedented rate. Considering the findings of previous studies on the use of Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIg) for treating severe HN infection and the satisfying results for reducing viral load and mortality, this study aimed to investigate the potential usefulness of IVIg for the management of severe cases.

Methods: In this randomized controlled trial, 84 patients were included: 52 in the IVIg group and 32 in the control group. The intervention group received IVIg at a dose of 400 mg/kg, IV, daily for three days. Both groups received hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir and supportive care. The demographic data, mortality rate, the need for mechanical ventilation, length of stay in hospital and in Intensive Care Unit (ICU), and imaging findings were recorded and compared in terms of the mentioned factors.

Results: The mean time from admission to IVIg initiation was 3.84 ± 3.35 days. There was no significant difference between the two groups in terms of mortality rate (P-value = 0.8) and the need for mechanical ventilation (P-value = 0.39). The length of hospital stay was significantly lower for the control group than that of the intervention group (P-value = 0.003). There was a significant positive relationship between the time from hospital admission to IVIg initiation and the length of stay in the hospital and ICU among the survivors (P-value < 0.001 and =0.01, respectively).

Conclusions: Our findings did not support the use of IVIg in combination with hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir in treatment of severe COVID-19 cases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.intimp.2020.107205DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7665876PMC
January 2021

Promising effects of tocilizumab in COVID-19: A non-controlled, prospective clinical trial.

Int Immunopharmacol 2020 Nov 4;88:106869. Epub 2020 Aug 4.

Clinical Tuberculosis and Epidemiology Research Center, National Research Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (NRITLD), Masih Daneshvari Hospital, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran. Electronic address:

Background: The clinical presentation of SARS-CoV-2 infection ranges from mild symptoms to severe complications, including acute respiratory distress syndrome. In this syndrome, inflammatory cytokines are released after activation of the inflammatory cascade, with the predominant role of interleukin (IL)-6. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of tocilizumab, as an IL-6 antagonist, in patients with severe or critical SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Methods: In this prospective clinical trial, 76 patients with severe or critical SARS-CoV-2 infection were evaluated for eligibility, and ultimately, 42 patients were included. Tocilizumab was administered at a dose of 400 mg as a single dose via intravenous infusion. Primary outcomes included changes in oxygenation support, need for invasive mechanical ventilation, and death. Secondary outcomes included radiological changes in the lungs, IL-6 plasma levels, C-reactive protein levels, and adverse drug reactions. The data were analyzed using SPSS software.

Results: Of the 42 included patients, 20 (48%) patients presented the severe infection stage and 22 (52%) were in the critical stage. The median age of patients was 56 years, and the median IL-6 level was 28.55 pg/mL. After tocilizumab administration, only 6 patients (14%) required invasive ventilation. Additionally, 35 patients (83.33%) showed clinical improvement. By day 28, a total of 7 patients died (6 patients in the critical stage and 1 patient in the severe stage). Neurological adverse effects were observed in 3 patients.

Conclusions: Based on the current results, tocilizumab may be a promising agent for patients with severe or critical SARS-CoV-2 infection, if promptly initiated during the severe stage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.intimp.2020.106869DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7402206PMC
November 2020

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and COVID-19: The causes of failure.

J Card Surg 2020 Oct 17;35(10):2838-2843. Epub 2020 Jul 17.

Chronic Respiratory Diseases Research Center, National Research Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (NRITLD), Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

Introduction: Venovenous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VV-ECMO) is a therapeutic strategy for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) induced acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). There are inconclusive data in this regard and causes of VV-ECMO failure are not yet understood well.

Case Series: Here, seven patients with COVID-19-induced ARDS who underwent VV-ECMO introduced and causes of VV-ECMO failure discussed. Medical records of seven COVID-19 patients treated with VV-ECMO were retrospectively evaluated to determine the clinical outcomes of VV-ECMO. Oxygenator failure occurred in four patients whom needed to oxygenator replacement. Successful VV-ECMO decannulation was done in three patients, however finally one patient survived.

Conclusions: Hypercoagulability state and oxygenator failure were the most main etiologies for VV-ECMO failure in our study. All patients with COVID-19 undergoing VV-ECMO should be monitored for such problems and highly specialized healthcare team should monitor the patients during VV-ECMO.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jocs.14867DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7404852PMC
October 2020

Candidemia due to in an immuno-compromised infant: a case report and review of literature.

Curr Med Mycol 2019 Mar;5(1):32-36

Amirkola Children Hospital, Babol University of Medical Sciences, Babol, Iran.

Background And Purpose: Candidemia is a life-threatening fungal infection with significant mortality and morbidity in neutropenic individuals, immunosuppressive chemotherapy recipients, and broad-spectrum antibiotics consumers. The epidemiology and antifungal susceptibility testing of non- species have been poorly studied. These species are characterized by low susceptibility to azoles and echinocandins. Herein, we report the first pediatric case of candidemia due to in Iran and review the literature on fungemia caused by .

Case Report: We presented the first candidemia case due to in a 4-month-old male infant with neuroblastoma in Iran. This study also involves a comprehensive literature review on fungemia caused by during a period of 18 years (i.e., 2000-2018) to discuss the epidemiology, clinical features, and treatment of this disease. The literature review resulted in the identification of 501 cases of candidemia caused by . Most of the patients were adults and had multiple risk factors. However, the main risk factors were significantly related to cancer chemotherapy, followed by central venous catheter use and Intensive Care Unit admission. Mortality rate due to this disease had a range of 3.4-66.6%, in this regard, the patients with cancer had the highest mortality rate.

Conclusion: Given the high mortality of candidemia, the early diagnosis of this infection and timely initiation of antifungal therapy significantly improve the patients' survival rate and result in better outcomes. Consequently, it is highly recommended to monitor the local epidemiology of this life-threatening infection and raise awareness in this regard.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18502/cmm.5.1.535DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6488283PMC
March 2019

Airway colonisation by Candida and Aspergillus species in Iranian cystic fibrosis patients.

Mycoses 2019 May 13;62(5):434-440. Epub 2019 Mar 13.

Department of Medical Mycology, School of Medicine, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari, Iran.

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is associated with increased rates of morbidity and mortality due to fungal and bacterial colonisation of the airways or respiratory infections. The prevalence of fungi in Iranian CF population has been underestimated. Therefore, the current study was conducted to define the frequency of fungi in respiratory specimens obtained from Iranian CF patients based on conventional and molecular assays. Furthermore, in vitro antifungal susceptibility testing was performed on the obtained isolates according to the guidelines from the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute. A cohort of 42 CF patients, including 29 males and 13 females, were categorised according to the referenced diagnostic criteria. Candida albicans (n = 24, 80%), C. dubliniensis (n = 2, 6.6%), C. parapsilosis (n = 2, 6.6%), C. tropicalis (n = 1, 3.3%), C. glabrata (n = 1, 3.3%) and Meyerozyma caribbica (n = 1, 3.3%) were isolated from 73.8% of the CF patients. Aspergillus terreus (n = 3, 42.8%) was identified as the most common Aspergillus species, followed by A. fumigatus (n = 2, 28.5%), A. oryzae (n = 1, 14.2%) and A. flavus (n = 1, 14.2%). Bacterial and fungal co-colonisation was detected in 7 (16.6%) and 22 (52.3%) samples that were positive for Aspergillus and Candida species, respectively. However, Scedosporium species and Exophiala dermatitidis never were detected. In terms of geometric mean (GM) minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs), posaconazole (0.018 μg/mL) and caspofungin (0.083 μg/mL) exhibited the highest antifungal activities against all Candida species. In addition, posaconazole exhibited the lowest MIC range (0.008-0.063 μg/mL) against all Aspergillus species, followed by caspofungin (0.016-0.125 μg/mL) and voriconazole (0.125-0.25 μg/mL). To conclude, it is essential to adopt a consistent method for the implementation of primary diagnosis and determination of treatment regimen for the CF patients. However, further studies are still needed to better define the epidemiology of fungal organisms in CF patients from the Middle East and the clinical significance of their isolation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/myc.12898DOI Listing
May 2019

Frequency and Geographic Distribution of Mutations in Patients With Severe Fungal Infections.

Front Microbiol 2018 12;9:2434. Epub 2018 Oct 12.

Department of Medical Mycology, School of Medicine, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari, Iran.

Autosomal recessive deficiency in the caspase recruitment domain containing protein 9 (CARD9) results in susceptibility to fungal infections. In the last decade, infections associated with CARD9 deficiency are more reported due to the advent of genome sequencing. The aim of this study was to evaluate the frequency, geographic distribution and nature of mutations in patients with CARD9 deficiency. We identified 60 patients with 24 mutations and different fungal infections. The presence of the homozygous (HMZ) p.Q295X (c.883C > T) and HMZ p.Q289X (c.865C > T) mutations were associated with an elevated risk of candidiasis (OR: 1.6; 95% CI: 1.18-2.15; = 0.004) and dermatophytosis (OR: 1.85; 95% CI: 1.47-2.37; < 0.001), respectively. The geographical distribution differed, showing that the main mutations in African patients were different Asian patients; HMZ p.Q289X (c.865C > T) and HMZ p.Q295X (c.865C > T) accounted for 75% and 37.9% of the African and Asian cases, respectively. The spectrum of mutations in Asian patients was higher than in African. Asia is the most populous continent in the world and may have a greater genetic burden resulting in more patients with severe fungal infections. The presence of a high diversity of mutations revealing 24 distinct variations among 60 patients emphasize that the unique genetic alteration in gene may be associated with certain geographical areas.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2018.02434DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6195074PMC
October 2018