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עמוד בית
Sat, 15.06.24

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November 2020
Zeev Perles MD, Yuval Ishay MD, Amiram Nir MD, Sagui Gavri MD, Julius Golender MD, Asaf Ta-Shma MD, Ibrahim Abu-Zahira MD, Juma Natsheh MD, Uriel Elchalal MD, Dror Mevorach MD, and Azaria JJT Rein MD

Fetal complete atrioventricular block (CAVB) is usually autoimmune mediated. The risk of developing CAVB is 2% to 3% in anti-Ro/SS-A seropositive pregnancies and it increases 10 times after previous CAVB in siblings. Despite being a rare complication, CAVB carries a 20% mortality rate and substantial morbidity, as about 65% of newborns will eventually need life-long pacing. Once found, fetal CAVB is almost always irreversible, despite aggressive immunotherapy. This poor outcome prompted some research groups to address this situation. All groups followed anti-Ro/SS-A seropositive pregnancies on a weekly basis during the second trimester of pregnancy and tried to detect first degree atrioventricular block (AVB) using accurate echocardiographic tools, assuming they may characterize the initiation of the immune damage to the A-V conduction system, at which point the process might still be reversible. Some of the groups treated fetuses with first degree AVB with maternal oral fluorinated steroids. We summarized the results of all groups, including our group. We describe a case of a fetus that developed CAVB 6 days after normal sinus rhythm (NSR), who under aggressive dexamethasone therapy gradually reverted to NSR. This fetus had a previous sibling with CAVB. We assumed the immune damage to the conduction system in this small group of fetuses with a previous CAVB sibling may have occurred more quickly than usual. We therefore recommend a twice-weekly follow-up with these fetuses

August 2017
Amiram Nir MD and Neville Berkman MD

Background: Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a significant consequence of congenital heart disease (CHD). Its presence and severity is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. 

Objectives: To evaluate the clinical and demographic characteristics of adults with congenital heart diseases (ADCHD) and PAH at a single center. 

Methods: A prospective registry of all patients with PAH was conducted between 2009 and 2015. 

Results: Thirty-two patients were identified. The mean age at the last visit was 44 years (range 19–77 years). The prevalence of PAH among all ADCHD patients was 6% (95% confidence interval 4.3%–8.4%). A much higher prevalence (53%) was found in patients with Down syndrome. Most patients with PAH had moderate or severe disease. Fifteen patients (47%) were treated with pulmonary vasodilators and 6 (19%) with combination therapy. The average World Health Organization functional class was 2.6. Morbidity included cerebral vascular accident or transient ischemic attack in 22% (mostly in patients with right-to-left shunt) and arrhythmia in 37% of the patients. During a median follow-up of 3.5 years, 5 patients (15.6%) died. Of 13 women with no mental retardation, 11 were or had been married and all had children (between 1 and 13, mean 3.3). 

Conclusions: Patients with congenital heart disease and PAH have significant morbidity and mortality. PAH is more prevalent in patients with Down syndrome. While pulmonary pressure during the reproductive years was not always known, 27% of women with PAH at the time of the study were multiparous.


July 2011
I. Nevo, M. Erlichman, N. Algur and A. Nir

Background: Cardiac patients express elevated levels of B-type natriuretic peptide and the amino terminal segment of its prohormone (NT-proBNP). However, there are non-cardiac causes of NT-proBNP level elevation.

Objectives: To determine the upper limit of NT-proBNP for pediatric patients with acute non-cardiac disease.

Methods: We compared NT-proBNP concentrations in healthy children and children with acute non-cardiac, mostly febrile, and acute cardiac disease. We used the Student t-test and Mann-Whitney test for group comparisons, and Pearson's and Spearman's correlation coefficients to test relationships between variables. 

Results: In 138 patients with acute non-cardiac diseases (mean age 3.7 years, 53% male), median NT-proBNP concentration was 162 pg/ml, upper limit (95% percentile) 1049 pg/ml. The level did not vary significantly by disease category; was negatively correlated with weight, weight percentile, age and hemoglobin level; and positively correlated with creatinine level. Multivariant analysis showed weight to be the only factor influencing NT-proBNP level. Levels were higher in children with acute non-cardiac diseases versus healthy children (median 88 pg/ml, P < 0.001, n= 59), and lower than levels in patients with acute cardiac disease (median 29,986 pg/ml, P < 0.001, n=29). Receiver operating characteristic analysis showed good NT-proBNP performance for differentiation between children with acute cardiac versus non-cardiac disease (area under the curve 0.958), at a cutoff of 415 pg/ml.

Conclusions: NT-proBNP levels are higher in children with acute non-cardiac diseases than in healthy children, but lower than in children with acute cardiac disease. NT-proBNP negatively correlated with weight and weight percentile.

January 2010
M. Godfrey, M.S. Schimmel, C. Hammerman, B. Farber, J. Glaser and A. Nir

Background: The incidence of congenital heart defects, reported to be 5–8/1000 in term infants, is not well established in very low birth weight infants.

Objectives: To establish the incidence of congenital heart defects in VLBW[1] infants in the neonatal intensive care unit of our institution.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of the population in the NICU[2] at our institution was performed. VLBW (BW ≤ 1500 g) infants born between 2001 and 2006 who survived more than 48 hours were included in the study. Infants with clinical signs of heart disease underwent echocardiography.

Results: During the study period 437 VLBW live-born infants met the inclusion criteria. Of these, 281 (64.3 %) underwent echocardiography. CHD[3] was detected in 19 infants (4.4%, 95% confidence interval 2.4–5.4%), significantly higher than the incidence of 5–8/1000 in the general population (P < 0.0001). In the subgroup of 154 infants with BW < 1000 g there were 10 (6.5%) with CHD. In the subgroup of 283 infants with BW 100–-1500 g there were 9 (3.2 %, P = 0.19 vs. VLBW) with CHD.

Conclusions:  Our observations show an increased incidence of CHD in VLBW neonates, as compared to the general population. Since not all infants underwent echocardiography, and minor cardiac defects may have been missed in our VLBW infants, the true incidence may be higher than reported here.


[1] VLBW = very low birth weight

[2] NICU = neonatal intensive care unit

[3] CHD = congenital heart disease

December 2007
O. Wand, Z. Perles, A.J.J.T. Rein, N. Algur and A. Nir

Background: Surgical repair of tetralogy of Fallot may leave the patient with pulmonary regurgitation causing eventual right ventricle dilatation and dysfunction. Predicting clinical deterioration may help to determine the best timing for intervention.

Objectives: To assess whether the clinical and humoral status of patients in the second decade after repair of ToF[1] is worse than that of patients in the first decade after repair.

Methods: Twenty-one patients with repaired ToF underwent clinical assessment, electrocardiogram, echocardiogram and measurement of plasma B-type natriuretic peptide and N-terminal pro-BNP[2] as well as the 6 minute walk distance test. Patients were divided into two groups: group A – less than 10 years after repair (n=10, age < 12 years old), and group B – more than 10 years after repair (n=11, age > 12 years old). The age at repair was similar in both groups.

Results: In all but one patient the distance in the 6 min walk test was less than the minimum for age. RV[3] end-diastolic volume and the 6 min walk test correlated with age. NT-proBNP[4] levels were significantly higher in the ToF group compared to 26 healthy controls (P < 0.0001) and were inversely correlated with RV ejection fraction. Comparison of the two groups showed no difference in RV end-diastolic volume indexed for body surface area, pulmonary regurgitation severity, right or left ventricular myocardial performance index, RV ejection fraction, QRS duration, or 6 min walk indexed to minimum for age.

Conclusions: In this group of patients with similar age at operation and pulmonary regurgitation severity, most clinical, echocardiographic and humoral parameters were not worse in the second decade after repair of ToF. These data suggest that very early pulmonary valve replacement may not be of benefit.


[1] ToF = tetralogy of Fallot

[2] BNP = B-type natriuretic peptide

[3] RV = right ventricle

[4] NT-proBNP = N-terminal pro-BNP

March 2001
Maurit Beeri, MD, Ziv Haramati, MD, JJT. Azaria Rein, MD and Amiram Nir, MD

Background: Parental knowledge of their child’s heart disease, while often overlooked, contributes to compliance and reduces anxiety. Prior studies have shown that 36% of parental diagnostic descriptions are incorrect.

Objectives: To assess parental knowledge and attitudes among outpatients at a hospital pediatric cardiology clinic.

Methods: Seventy-four families completed a questionnaire in which they described their child’s condition and stated their attitude towards dental hygiene and future prenatal diagnosis.

Results: Eighteen percent of the parents failed to describe their child’s malformation correctly. We found that parental understanding of the heart defect correlated with parental education. Future prenatal diagnosis was considered by 88% of families, and termination of pregnancy by 40%. Only 40% of children were aware of their heart problem. Children of parents who were ignorant about the condition tended to lack knowl­edge themselves. An additional finding was that 68% of Jewish families turn to non-medical personnel for medical advice - an interesting finding not hitherto addressed.

Conclusions: Ignorance of their child’s problem did not correlate with its severity or complexity but rather with parental background: the less educated the parent, the more likely was the problem perceived incorrectly.

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