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October 2023
Zach Rozenbaum MD FACC FSCAI

Infectious endocarditis (IE) remains challenging to treat, with substantial morbidity and mortality rates. Antibiotics are the mainstay of treatment; however, patients with large vegetations often do not respond to antibiotics. Moreover, large vegetations carry an increased risk of embolization. In such cases, guidelines recommend considering surgical treatment [1]. Surgery itself introduces potential complications and high mortality rates [2], and if performed during active infection, the technical possibilities are hindered by a catastrophic recurrence on prosthetic material. Emerging percutaneous solutions to large IE vegetations have been described in recent years to overcome the surgical limitations. Currently, several devices are available. The different debulking mechanisms are based on percutaneous mechanical, either motor or manual aspiration. While becoming more available, percutaneous treatment options are not mentioned in guidelines and data are limited. This report describes a case of percutaneous tricuspid valve (TV) vegetation aspiration using Inari Flowtriever (Inari Medical, Irvine, CA, USA). The case is followed by a review of the literature.

August 2023
Andre Keren MD, Rabea Asleh MD PhD MHA, Edo Y. Birati MD, Tuvia Ben Gal MD, Michael Arad MD

Recognizing myocarditis is a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge due to the heterogeneity of its clinical presentation and the wide range of etiologies. There is a lack of uniformity among position papers and guidelines from various professional societies regarding the definition and diagnostic workout, including recommendations for performing endomyocardial biopsy (EMB) and medical management, especially the use of immunosuppressive regimens [1-3]. Moreover, there is significant variability among medical centers in Israel in the diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to acute myocarditis. The purpose of this position paper is to present ways to standardize the management of acute myocarditis in Israel [4] by providing up-to-date definitions of the clinical categories of myocarditis, diagnostic criteria, and therapeutic approaches that correspond to the realities of our healthcare system.

Andre Keren MD, Rabea Asleh MD PhD MHA, Edo Y. Birati MD, Tuvia Ben Gal MD, Michael Arad MD

In the position statement on the definition and diagnosis of acute myocarditis on page XXX of this issue of the Israel Medical Association Journal (IMAJ), we discussed contemporary criteria for definition of acute myocarditis and inflammatory cardiomyopathy [1-6]. We also addressed current diagnostic methods including indications for endomyocardial biopsy (EMB) [7-21]. In this position statement, we discuss the management approaches during hospitalization and following hospital discharge, including specific forms of myocarditis and recommendations for returning to physical activity after myocarditis [21-36].

Roy Bitan MD, Ophir Freund MD, David Zeltser MD, Sivan Ebril MD

Acute or chronic aortic dissection is considered a rare emergency, with an estimated rate of 2.9 to 5 cases per 100,000 patients each year. This condition is most prevalent in males older than 65 years of age with a history of hypertension, atherosclerosis, and previous cardiac surgery [1,2]. To confirm the diagnosis, imaging is used, often by computed tomography angiography (CTA) of the chest. Although prompt treatment is required, patients often present with non-specific symptoms, such as abdominal pain or neurologic deficits, resulting in the early diagnosis of less than 20% and a high mortality rate [1].

November 2022
William Nseir MD, Lior Masika MD, Adi Sharabi-Nov MD, Raymond Farah MD

Background: Statins have anti-inflammatory effects that are independent of their lipid-lowering activity.

Objectives: To examine whether prior statins therapy affects the clinical course of the first episode of acute idiopathic pericarditis (AIP) as the 1-year recurrence and length of hospitalization (LOH).

Methods: This retrospective study included 148 subjects with first episode AIP admitted between the years 2015 and 2019. Data were collected from two hospitals in Northern Israel. We divided the patients in into two groups: 117 those without statins use and 31 those with prior statins use. We compared age, sex, co-morbidities, drugs, laboratory data, 1-year recurrence, and LOH.

Results: The mean age of participants was 43.1 ± 19.4 years. Comparisons between subjects without statins and with prior statins use were made according to age (37.5 ± 16.7 years vs. 64.4 ± 12.7 years, P < 0.01), C-reactive protein (50 ± 40 vs. 48 ± 35 mg/dl, P = 0.9), LOH (5.4 ± 2.85 vs. 8.03 ± 4.92 days, P < 0.01), 1-year recurrence of pericarditis (23 vs. 6 cases, P = 0.95), respectively. Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that 1-year recurrence (odds ratio [OR] 0.8, 95% confidence interval [95%CI 0 0.6–1.1, P = 0.41), was not associated with prior statin use, while LOH (OR 2.56, 95%CI 2.08–2.75, P = 0.01) was prolonged with prior statins use in patients with first episode of AID.

Conclusions: Prior statins use in patients with the first episode of AIP did not reduce the 1-year recurrence of pericarditis and prolong the LOH.

November 2019
Aviv Mager MD, Yoav Hammer MD, Hadas Ofek MD, Ilana Kedmi PhD, Zaza Iakobishvili MD and Ran Kornowski MD

Background: The frequency of increased high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) and the time course of evolution of their levels in patients with acute idiopathic pericarditis (AIP) are not well established.

Objective: To assess the time course of evolution of hs-CRP levels and the possible clinical significance of maximal hs-CRP levels in patients with AIP

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the medical files of 241 patients admitted to the hospital with a diagnosis of AIP between March 2006 and March 2017. Data on demographics, time of symptom onset, laboratory and imaging findings, and outcome were collected.

Results: Data on serum hs-CRP levels were available for 225 patients (age 18–89 years, 181 men). Fever, pleural effusion, and age were independently associated with hs-CRP levels. Major cardiac complications (MCC) (death, cardiac tamponade, cardiogenic shock, large pericardial effusion, ventricular tachycardia, pericardiocentesis, or pericardiectomy) were more common in patients with hs-CRP levels above the median compared to those below (21.2% vs. 4.5%, respectively, P < 0.001). Hs-CRP levels were independently associated with MCC (odds ratio [OR] 1.071, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.016–1.130, P = 0.011). Hs-CRP levels were elevated in 76.0%, 92.3% and 96.0% of the patients tested <6 hours, 7-12 hours, and >12 hours of symptom onset, respectively (P = 0.003). The frequency of elevated hs-CRP among patients tested > 24 hours was 98.1%.

Conclusions: Hs-CRP levels rise rapidly among patients with AIP. Maximal hs-CRP levels are associated with MCC. A normal hs-CRP level is rare among patients tested > 24 hours of symptom onset.

July 2019
Carlo Perricone MD PhD, Daphna Katz, Cinzia Ciccacci PhD, Fulvia Ceccarelli MD PhD, Guido Valesini MD, Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaACR, Paola Borgiani PhD and Fabrizio Conti MD PhD

Recurrent pericarditis is a state of repetitive inflammation of the pericardium with intervals of remission. The etiology of recurrent pericarditis is still largely unknown, yet most causes are presumed to be immune mediated. Genetic factors, including human leukocyte antigen (HLA) haplotypes, can be involved in dysregulation of the immune system and as a predisposition to several autoimmune conditions, including recurrent pericarditis. Several diseases are frequently associated with such manifestations. They include systemic lupus erythematosus, familial Mediterranean fever, and tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated periodic syndrome. However, idiopathic recurrent pericarditis remains the most frequently observed clinical condition and the conundrum of this disease still needs to be solved.

March 2019
Ortal Fallek Boldes BSc, Shani Dahan MD, Yahel Segal MD, Dana Ben-Ami Shor MD, Robert K. Huber MD, Iris Barshack MD, Yuval Horowitz MD, Gad Segal MD and Amir Dagan MD

Background: Pericardial biopsies are rarely performed during the diagnosis and management of pericardial diseases. The circumstances and clinical profile of patients undergoing pericardial biopsies are largely uncharacterized.



Objectives: To examine the circumstances in which pericardial biopsies are obtained and to evaluate their diagnostic yield.



Methods: We studied a total of 100 cases (71% males, mean age 60.8 years, range 8.1–84.5 years) of surgically resected pericardium specimens obtained from 2000 to 2015 at Sheba Medical Center, the largest medical center in Israel. Patients were classified into groups according to four major histological etiologies: idiopathic pericarditis, constrictive pericarditis, malignant pericarditis, and post-cardiac injury syndrome (PCIS). The clinical history and course, laboratory, echocardiography, and histological results were reviewed retrospectively.



Results: Causes of pericarditis according to histological definitions included idiopathic pericarditis (29%), constrictive pericarditis (29%), PCIS (9%), and malignant pericarditis (26%). Overall sensitivity of the pericardial biopsy in patients with malignancy was 57.7%. During the study period, we found a trend toward an increased number of biopsies due to constrictive pericarditis and PCIS, along with a decrease in the number of biopsies performed in patients with malignant or idiopathic pericarditis. The diagnosis following biopsy did not change for any of the patients.



Conclusions: Our findings suggest a low diagnostic yield from pericardial biopsies, especially in malignant pericarditis. This conclusion, along with novel therapies, resulted in the infrequent use of pericardial biopsy in recent years.

March 2018
Shir Azrielant MD, Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MACR and Yehuda Adler MD, MHA
August 2017
Liron Hofstetter MD, Sagit Ben Zekry MD, Naama Pelz-Sinvani MD, Michael Kogan MD, Vladislav Litachevsky MD, Avi Sabbag MD and Gad Segal MD
July 2016
Marina Leitman MD, Eli Peleg MD, Ruthie Shmueli and Zvi Vered MD FACC FESC

Background: The search for the presence of vegetations in patients with suspected infective endocarditis is a major indication for trans-esophageal echocardiographic (TEE) examinations. Advances in harmonic imaging and ongoing improvement in modern echocardiographic systems allow adequate quality of diagnostic images in most patients.

Objectives: To investigate whether TEE examinations are always necessary for the assessment of patients with suspected infective endocarditis. 

Methods: During 2012–2014 230 trans-thoracic echo (TTE) exams in patients with suspected infective endocarditis were performed at our center. Demographic, epidemiological, clinical and echocardiographic data were collected and analyzed, and the final clinical diagnosis and outcome were determined. 

Results: Of 230 patients, 24 had definite infective endocarditis by clinical assessment. TEE examination was undertaken in 76 of the 230 patients based on the clinical decision of the attending physician. All TTE exams were classified as: (i) positive, i.e., vegetations present; (ii) clearly negative; or (iii) non-conclusive. Of the 92 with clearly negative TTE exams, 20 underwent TEE and all were negative. All clearly negative patients had native valves, adequate quality images, and in all 92 the final diagnosis was not infective endocarditis. Thus, the negative predictive value of a clearly negative TTE examination was 100%.

Conclusions: In patients with native cardiac valves referred for evaluation for infective endocarditis, an adequate quality TTE with clearly negative examination may be sufficient for the diagnosis.

 

December 2015
Vered Schichter-Konfino MD, Zahava Vadasz MD and Elias Toubi MD
October 2015
Alon Nevet MD PhD, Talia Polak MD, Ovdi Dagan MD and Yehezkel Waisman MD

Background: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) may serve as a bridge to regain cardiac function in refractory resuscitation. However, its use has so far been limited owing to low availability, especially in emergency departments. 

Objectives: To describe two children with acute myocarditis successfully treated with ECMO in the emergency department of a tertiary pediatric medical center. 

Description: The children presented with vomiting, followed by rapid deterioration to cardiogenic shock that failed to respond to conservative treatment. Given the urgency of their condition and its presumably reversible (viral) etiology, treatment with ECMO was initiated in the department’s resuscitation room. 

Results: Outcome was excellent, and cardiac function remained normal throughout 6 and 10 months follow-up. 

Conclusions: Extracorporeal life support has enormous potential in the emergency department and warrants further assessment.  

Idit Yedidya MD, Elad Goldberg MD, Ram Sharoni MD, Alex Sagie MD and Mordehay Vaturi MD
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