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עמוד בית
Sun, 26.05.24

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November 2023
Anat Milman MD PhD, Bernard Belhassen MD, Eyal Nof MD, Israel Barbash MD, Amit Segev MD, Roy Beinart MD

A 42-year-old healthy man collapsed suddenly in the street while walking. The patient received 2 minutes of basic life support until an automatic external defibrillator was brought and detected ventricular fibrillation (VF), which was successfully terminated by a single shock. The patient regained consciousness and was transferred to the hospital.

The patient’s physical examination was normal with no neurologic deficit. Blood pressure was 147/102 mmHg. Brain computed tomography showed normal findings. The first troponin I measurement within 1 hour of the event was in the normal range (19.6 ng/L, normal < 20 ng/L) and rose to 99.9 ng/L after 3 hours.

August 2018
Yoav Michowitz MD, Jeremy Ben-Shoshan MD, Oholi Tovia-Brodie MD, Aharon Glick MD and Bernard Belhassen MD

Background: The incidence, characteristics, and clinical significance of catheter-induced mechanical suppression (trauma) of ventricular arrhythmias originating in the outflow tract (OT) area have not been thoroughly evaluated.

Objectives: To determine these variables among our patient cohort.

Methods: All consecutive patients with right ventricular OT (RVOT) and left ventricular OT (LVOT) arrhythmias ablated at two medical centers from 1998 to 2014 were included. Patients were observed for catheter-induced trauma during ablation procedures. Procedural characteristics, as well as response to catheter-induced trauma and long term follow-up, were recorded.

Results: During 288 ablations of OT arrhythmias in 273 patients (RVOT n=238, LVOT n=50), we identified 8 RVOT cases (3.3%) and 1 LVOT (2%) case with catheter-induced trauma. Four cases of trauma were managed by immediate radiofrequency ablation (RFA), three were ablated after arrhythmia recurrence within a few minutes, and two were ablated after > 30 minutes without arrhythmia recurrence. Patients with catheter-induced trauma had higher rates of repeat ablations compared to patients without: 3/9 (33%) vs. 12/264 (0.45%), P = 0.009. The three patients with arrhythmia recurrence were managed differently during the first ablation procedure (immediate RFA, RFA following early recurrence, and delayed RFA). During the repeat procedure of these three patients, no catheter trauma occurred in two, and in one no arrhythmia was observed.

Conclusions: Significant catheter-induced trauma occurred in 3.1% of OT arrhythmias ablations, both at the RVOT and LVOT. Arrhythmia suppression may last > 30 minutes and may interfere with procedural success. The optimal mode of management following trauma is undetermined.

May 2018
Eran Leshem MD, Michael Rahkovich MD, Anna Mazo MD, Mahmoud Suleiman MD, Miri Blich MD, Avishag Laish-Farkash MD, Yuval Konstantino MD, Rami Fogelman MD, Boris Strasberg MD, Michael Geist MD, Israel Chetboun MD, Moshe Swissa MD, Michael Ilan MD, Aharon Glick MD, Yoav Michowitz MD, Raphael Rosso MD, Michael Glikson MD and Bernard Belhassen MD

Background: Limited information exists about detailed clinical characteristics and management of the small subset of Brugada syndrome (BrS) patients who had an arrhythmic event (AE).

Objectives: To conduct the first nationwide survey focused on BrS patients with documented AE.

Methods: Israeli electrophysiology units participated if they had treated BrS patients who had cardiac arrest (CA) (lethal/aborted; group 1) or experienced appropriate therapy for tachyarrhythmias after prophylactic implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) implantation (group 2).

Results: The cohort comprised 31 patients: 25 in group 1, 6 in group 2. Group 1: 96% male, mean CA age 38 years (range 13–84). Nine patients (36%) presented with arrhythmic storm and three had a lethal outcome; 17 (68%) had spontaneous type 1 Brugada electrocardiography (ECG). An electrophysiology study (EPS) was performed on 11 patients with inducible ventricular fibrillation (VF) in 10, which was prevented by quinidine in 9/10 patients. During follow-up (143 ± 119 months) eight patients experienced appropriate shocks, none while on quinidine. Group 2: all male, age 30–53 years; 4/6 patients had familial history of sudden death age < 50 years. Five patients had spontaneous type 1 Brugada ECG and four were asymptomatic at ICD implantation. EPS was performed in four patients with inducible VF in three. During long-term follow-up, five patients received ≥ 1 appropriate shocks, one had ATP for sustained VT (none taking quinidine). No AE recurred in patients subsequently treated with quinidine.

Conclusions: CA from BrS is apparently a rare occurrence on a national scale and no AE occurred in any patient treated with quinidine.

February 2016
Oholi Tovia-Brodie MD, Yoav Michowitz MD, Aharon Glick MD, Raphael Rosso MD and Bernard Belhassen MD

Background: Left ventricular outflow tract (LVOT) arrhythmias are increasingly recognized. Data regarding the distribution of the sites of origin (SOO) of the arrhythmias are sparse.

Objectives: To describe the clinical characteristics of patients with LVOT arrhythmias and the distribution of their SOO. 

Methods: All 42 consecutive patients with LVOT arrhythmias who underwent radiofrequency (RF) ablation during the period 2000–2014 were included. SOO identification was based on mapping activation, pace mapping and a 3D mapping system in eight patients. 

Results: The study group comprised 28 males (66.7%) and 14 females, the mean age was 55 ±15.4 years. Most patients (76%) were symptomatic. All suffered from high grade ventricular arrhythmias. Left ventricular (LV) dysfunction (ejection fraction ≤ 50%) was observed in 15 patients (35.7%), of whom 14 (93.3%) were males. The left coronary cusp (LCC) was the most common arrhythmia SOO (64.3%). Other locations were the right coronary cusp (RCC), the junction of the RCC-LCC commissure, aortic-mitral continuity, endocardial-LVOT, and a coronary sinus branch. Acute successful ablation was achieved in 29 patients (69%) and transient arrhythmia abolition in 40 (95.2%). There was a trend for a higher success rate using cooled tip ablation catheters as compared to standard catheters. The ablation procedure significantly improved LV function in all patients with tachycardiomyopathy. 

Conclusions: LVOT arrhythmias mostly originate from the LCC and are associated with LV dysfunction in 36% of patients. Knowledge regarding the prevalence of the anatomic origin of the LVOT arrhythmias may help achieve successful ablation. The use of cooled tip ablation catheters might have beneficial effects on the success rate of the procedure.


September 2009
B. Belhassen, T. Ohayon-Tsioni, A. Glick and S. Viskin

Background: The predictive value of electrophysiologic studies depends on the aggressiveness of the programmed ventricular stimulation protocol.

Objectives: To assess if non-inducibility with an "aggressive" protocol of PVS[1] identifies post-infarction patients with low ejection fraction (EF[2] ≤ 30%) who may safely be treated without implantable cardioverter defibrillator.

Methods: We studied 154 patients during a 9 year period. Our aggressive PVS protocol included: a) stimulus current five times the diastolic threshold (≤ 3 mA) and b) repetition of double and triple extrastimulation at the shortest coupling intervals that capture the ventricle.

Results: Sustained ventricular tachyarrhythmias were induced in 116 patients (75.4%) and 112 (97%) of them received an ICD[3] (EPS[4]+/ICD+ group). Of the 38 non-inducible patients, 34 (89.5%) did not receive an ICD (EPS-/ICD- group). In comparison to the EPS+/ICD+ group, EPS-/ICD- group patients were older (69 ± 10 vs. 65 ± 10 years, P < 0.05), had a lower EF (23 ± 5% vs. 25 ± 5%,  P < 0.05) and a higher prevalence of left bundle branch block (45.5% vs. 20.2%, P < 0.005). Follow-up was longer for EPS+/ICD+ patients (40 ± 26 months) than for EPS-/ICD- patients (27 ± 22 months) (P = 0.011). Twelve EPS+/ICD+ patients (10.7%) and 5 EPS-/ICD- patients (14.7%) died during follow-up (P = 0.525). Kaplan-Meier survival curves did not show a significant difference between the two groups (P = 0.18).
Conclusions: The mortality rate in patients without inducible VTAs[5] using an aggressive PVS protocol and who did not undergo subsequent ICD implantation is not different from that of patients with inducible arrhythmias who received an ICD. Using this protocol, as many as one-fourth of primary prevention ICD implants could be spared without compromising patient prognosis

[1] PVS = programmed ventricular stimulation

[2] EF = ejection fraction

[3] ICD = implantable cardioverter defibrillator

[4] EPS electrophysiologic study

[5] VTA = ventricular tachyarrhythmias

June 2008
R. Rosso, A. Click, M. Glikson, M. Swissa, S. Rosenhek, I. Shetboun, V. Khalamizer, M. Boulos, M. Geist, B. Strasberg, M. Ilan and B. Belhassen

background: many electrophysiologists recommend implantable cardioverter defibrillators for patients with Brugada syndrome who are cardiac arrest survivors or presumed at high risk of sudden death (patients with syncope or a familial history of sudden death or those with inducible ventricular fibrillation at electrophysiologic study).

objectives: To assess the efficacy and complications of ICD therapy in patients with Brugada syndrome.

Methods: The indications, efficacy and complications of ICD therapy in all patient with Brugada syndrome who underwent ICD implantation in 12 Israeli centers between 1994 and 2007 were analyzed.

Results: there were 59 patients (53 males, 89.8%) with a mean age of 44.1 years. At diagnosis 42 patients (71.2%) were symptomatic while 17 (28.8%) were asymptomatic. The indications for ICD implantation were: a history of cardiac arrest (n=11, 18.6%), syncope (n=31, 52.5%), inducible VF in symptomatic patients (n=14, 23.7%), and a family history of sudden death (n=3, 0.5%). The overall inducibility rates of VF were 89.2% and 93.3% among the symptomatic and a symptomatic patients, respectively (P=NS). During a follow-up of 4-160 (45+-35) months, all patients (except one who died from cancer) are alive. Five patients (8.4%), all with a history of cardiac arrest, had appropriate ICD discharge. Conversely, none of the patients without prior cardiac arrest had appropriate device therapy during 39+-30 month follow-up. Complications were encountered in 19 patients (32%). Inappropriate shocks occurred in 16 (27.1%) due to lead failure/dislodgment (n=5), T wave oversensing (n=2), device failure (n=1), sinus tachycardia (n=4), and supraventricular tachycardia (n=4). One patient suffered a pneumothorax and another a brachial plexus injury during the implant procedure. One patient suffered a late (2 months) perforation of the right ventricle by the implanted lead. Eleven patients (18.6%) required a reintervention either for infection (n=1) or lead problems (n=10). Eight patients (13.5%) required psychiatric assistance due to complications related to the ICD (mostly inappropriate shocks in 7 patients).

Conclusions: In this Israeli population with Brugada syndrome treated with ICD, appropriate device therapy was limited to cardiac arrest survivors while none of the other patients including those with syncope and/or inducible VF suffered an arrhythmic event. The overall complication rate was high.

April 2007
B. Belhassen, O. Rogowski, A. Glick, S. Viskin, M. Ilan, R. Rosso and M. Eldar

Background: Radiofrequency ablation has been suggested as first-line therapy in the management of accessory pathways. There are limited data on the results of ablation over years of experience.

Objectives: To assess the results and complications following RFA[1] of APs[2] performed in our institution over a 14 year period.

Methods: RFA was performed using deflectable electrode catheters positioned at the mitral or tricuspid annulus. The site of the AP was localized by electrophysiological study and radiofrequency energy was applied via the tip of the catheter

Results: The study cohort comprised 508 consecutive patients (64.2% males, mean age 33.6 ± 15.1 years) who underwent 572 RFA procedures for ablating 534 APs. A single AP was found in 485 (95.5%) patients while multiple APs were noted in 23 patients (4.5%). The APs were manifest, concealed or intermittent in 46.8%, 44.4% and 8.8% of cases, respectively. AP distribution was as follows: left free wall (56.6%), posteroseptal (23%), right anteroseptal (7.9%), right free wall (6.2%), midseptal (3.4%) and right atriofascicular (3.0%). Acute successful rates for a first or multiple ablation attempts were 93.1% and 95.3%, respectively. At a first ablation attempt, acute success and failure rates were the highest for midseptal (100%) and right atriofascicular (12.5%) APs respectively. Right anteroseptal APs were associated with the highest rate (23.9%) of discontinued or non-attempted procedures. Recurrent conduction in an AP after an initial successful ablation was observed in 9.9% of cases; it was the highest (24.2%) for right free wall APs and the lowest (5.0%) for left free wall APs. During follow-up (85 ± 43 months), definite cure of the AP was achieved in 94.9% of cases following a single or multiple procedures: midseptal (100%), left free wall (98%), right free wall (97%), posteroseptal (92.7%), right atriofascicular (87.5%) and right anteroseptal (78.5%). A non-fatal complication occurred in 18 patients (3.5%), more frequently in females (6.6%) than in males (1.8%) (P < 0.01). The two major complications (pericardial effusion and myocardial ischemic events) mainly occurred during RFA of a left free wall AP using a retrograde aortic approach. Catheter-induced mechanical trauma to APs was observed in 56 cases (10.5%). Mechanical trauma mainly involved right atriofascicular (43.8%) and right anteroseptal (38.1%) APs and contributed to the low success rate of RFA at these AP locations. During the 14 year period, our learning curve was achieved quickly in terms of success rate, although the most significant complications were observed at the beginning of our experience.

Conclusions: The results of this study confirm the efficacy and safety of RFA and suggest that it is a reasonable first-line therapy for the management of APs at any location.

[1] RFA = radiofrequency ablation

[2] AP = accessory pathway

July 2006
I. Topilski, O. Rogowski, A. Glick, S. Viskin, M. Eldar and B. Belhassen
 Background: Atrioventricular nodal reentry tachycardia is the most frequent cause of regular, paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia. Radiofrequency ablation of the slow pathway has been recommended as first-line therapy for curing AVNRT[1].

Objectives: To report a 14 year experience of RFA[2] of the slow pathway in patients with AVNRT treated in our laboratory.

Methods: A total of 901 consecutive patients (aged 9–92, mean 50.8 ± 18.2 years) underwent RFA of the slow pathway. All patients had sustained AVNRT induced with or without intravenous administration of isoproterenol. A standard electrophysiologic method with three diagnostic and one ablation catheter was used in 317 patients (35.2%); in the remaining 584 patients (64.8%), only two electrode catheters (one diagnostic, one ablation) were used ("two-catheter approach").

Results: Catheter ablation of the slow pathway abolished AVNRT induction in 877 patients (97.3%). In 14 patients (1.6%) the procedure was discontinued while in 10 (1.1%) the procedure failed. In 864 patients (95.9%) there were no complications. Transient or permanent AV block occurred during the procedure in 31 patients (3.4%), of whom 8 (0.9%) eventually required pacemaker insertion (n=7) or upgrade of a previously implanted VVI pacemaker (n=1) during the month following the procedure. The number of catheters used did not significantly affect the rate of results or complications of the ablation procedure. The success and complication rates remained stable over the years, although a significant trend for increased age and associated heart disease was observed during the study period.

Conclusions: The results of this single-center large study, which included patients with a wide age range, showed results similar to those of previous studies. The use of a "two-catheter approach" (one diagnostic and one ablation) was as effective and safe as a multi-catheter approach.


[1] AVNRT = atrioventricular nodal reentry tachycardia

[2] RFA = radiofrequency ablation

April 2004
I. Topilski, A. Glick and B. Belhassen

Background: Idiopathic left ventricular tachycardia with a right bundle branch block configuration and left axis deviation, first described by Belhassen et al., is a rare electrocardiographic-electrophysiologic entity. Radiofrequency catheter ablation has been proposed as a good therapeutic option, but the best criteria for determining the optimal site of ablation are still under debate.

Objectives: To report the clinical features, electrophysiologic characteristics, results of RFA[1], and long-term outcome in 18 patients with "Belhassen's VT” treated in our laboratory during the last 10 years, stressing the best electrophysiologic criteria for determining the optimal site of ablation.

Methods: Eighteen consecutive patients with this specific VT[2] underwent RFA in our laboratory during the last 10 years. RFA was acutely successful in 17 patients after one or two procedures (15 and 2 patients, respectively) using 4.1 ± 2.2 RF pulses. The putative ablation sites were defined by good pace-mapping (3 patients), earliest recorded Purkinje spike prior to the QRS onset during VT or sinus rhythm (6 patients), earliest endocardial activation during VT (1 patient), and diastolic potential preceding the Purkinje spike during VT and/or late diastolic potential in sinus rhythm (7 patients). In the patients with a definite successful ablation, the ratio of successful to unsuccessful radiofrequency pulse delivery to the diastolic potential site was compared to that of other methods. The ratio of successful RFA at the diastolic potential site (5:8) was higher than in the other methods (8:31), and the difference was statistically significant (P = 0.05). Successful ablation sites were more basal when the diastolic potential site was chosen.

Conclusion: The results of the present study confirm the high success rate and safety of RFA using conventional techniques in the management of “Belhassen VT,” suggesting that this procedure can be proposed as a first-line therapy. Ablating at a site demonstrating a late diastolic potential is at least as effective as ablating at a ventricular exit site, although the use of combined electrophysiologic criteria may be the optimal approach.

[1] RFA = radiofrequency catheter ablation

[2] VT = ventricular tachycardia

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