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February 2024
Orit Wimpfheimer MD, Yotam Kimmel BSc

Medical imaging data has been at the frontier of artificial intelligence innovation in medicine with many clinical applications. There have been many challenges, including patient data protection, algorithm performance, radiology workflow, user interface, and IT integration, which have been addressed and mitigated over the last decade. The AI products in imaging now fall into three main categories: triage artificial intelligence (AI), productivity AI, and augmented AI, each providing a different utility for radiologists, clinicians, and patients. Adoption of AI products into the healthcare system has been slow, but it is growing. It is typically dictated by return on investment, which can be demonstrated in each use case. It is expected to lead to wider adoption of AI products in imaging into the clinical workflow in the future.

January 2022
Zach Rozenbaum MD, Ilan Merdler MD MHA, Itamar Loewenstein MD, Keren Lee-Rozenfeld MD, Shmuel Banai MD, and Yacov Shacham MD

Background: The extent and impact of obesity as an isolated risk factor for coronary artery disease is not clear since co-morbidities serve as confounders and may mask this association.

Objectives: To examine whether obesity is associated with extensive coronary artery disease among metabolically healthy patients presenting with ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) and to explore the outcomes according to body mass index (BMI).

Methods: We stratified STEMI patients who had a metabolically healthy phenotype and available weight and height data according to BMI: 18.5–25 kg/m² (lean), 25.01–30 kg/m² (overweight), and > 30 kg/m² (obese).

Results: Overall 381 patients were included, 42% lean, 41% overweight, and 17% obese. Patients with increased BMIs had higher levels of low-density proteins and triglycerides (P < 0.05). Obese patients presented with the lowest rates of multi-vessel disease (12.9% vs. 22.9% for overweight and 28% for lean). In a univariable analysis, obese patients were 60% less likely to be diagnosed with multi-vessel disease (odds ratio 0.4, 95% confidence interval 0.2–0.9, P = 0.021) compared to lean patients. The association remained significant in a multivariable model adjusted for baseline characteristics (P = 0.029). There were no differences in 30-day or long-term mortality (median follow-up 3.2 years) among the groups (P > 0.1 for all comparisons).

Conclusions: Metabolically healthy phenotype obesity was associated with lower rates of multi-vessel disease despite higher levels of triglycerides. However, this association did not translate into increased mortality.

October 2021
Nicholay Teodorovich MD, Michael Jonas MD, Dan Haberman MD, Haitham Abu Khadija MD‏, Omar Ayyad MD, Gera Gandelman MD, Lion Poles MD, Jacob George MD, and Alex Blatt MD MSc

Background: Anti-endothelial cell antibodies (AECA) are a known biomarker of endothelial dysfunction and damage in clinical practice, especially in autoimmune disease.

Objectives: To determine the relation between natural AECA levels and prognosis related to coronary artery disease.

Methods: Candidates for coronary angiography were prospectively enrolled. AECA levels were determined by ELISA assay. Mortality was evaluated after more than 5 years follow-up.

Results: Of a total 857 patients, 445 had high AECA levels (group 1) and 412 had low levels (< 1 OD unit, group 2). Both groups did not differ in age, sex, or presence of diabetes. The median follow up was 2293 days (76 months). Patients with high AECA levels were more likely to have normal coronary arteries on angiography (21.6% vs. 16.9%, P = 0.047) and less likely to have calcified lesions (19.0% vs. 26.6%, P = 0.028) and lower prevalence of abnormal renal functions (71.1 mg/dl vs. 66.5 mg/dl, P = 0.033). Patients with higher AECA levels had lower mortality levels (20.1% vs. 27.6%, P = 0.006). A logistic regression model demonstrated independent association between lower AECA levels and the presence of coronary atherosclerosis based on angiogram.

Conclusions: After a median of more than 6 years, higher natural AECA levels were associated with less coronary artery disease and lower mortality rates in patients undergoing coronary angiography

January 2021
Eytan Cohen MD, Ili Margalit MD, Tzippy Shochat MSC, Elad Goldberg MD, and Ilan Krause MD

Background: Low folate levels are associated with megaloblastic anemia, neural tube defects, and an increased risk of cancer. Data are scarce regarding the sex aspect of this deficiency.

Objectives: To assess sex differences in folate levels in a large cohort of patients and to investigate the effect of low folate levels on homocysteine concentrations.

Methods: Data were collected from medical records of patients examined at a screening center in Israel between 2000 and 2014. Cross sectional analysis was conducted on 9214 males and 4336 females.

Results: The average age was 48.4 ± 9.5 years for males and 47.6 ± 9.4 years for females. Average folate levels were 19.2 ± 8.6 and 22.4 ±10.3 nmol/L in males and females, respectively (P < 0.001). The prevalence of folate levels below 12.2 nmol/L was 19.5% in males compared to 11.6% in females (P < 0.001). In patients with low folate levels and normal B12 levels, homocysteine levels above 15 μmol/L were found in 32.4% of males and 11.4% of females (P < 0.001). Males had a significantly higher odds ratio (OR) of having folate levels below 12.2 nmol/L: OR 1.84 (95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.66–2.05) in a non-adjusted model, and OR 2.02 (95%CI 1.82–2.27) adjusted for age, smoking status, body mass index, kidney function, albumin, and triglycerides levels.

Conclusions: Folate levels are lower in males compared to females, which may contribute to the higher homocysteine levels found in males and thus to their increased risk of developing atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease.

June 2020
Ilan Merdler MD MHA, Mustafa Gabarin MD, Itamar Loewenstein MD, Sivan Letourneau MD, David Zahler MD, Aviram Hochstadt MD, Yishay Szekely MD, Shmuel Banai MD and Yacov Shacham MD

Background: Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) for primary reperfusion in patients with ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) has largely been superseded byf primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and is estimated to be performed in ≤ 5% of STEMI cases.

Objectives: To compare early CABG (within 30 days following admission) and primary PCI outcomes following STEMI.

Methods: We analyzed a retrospective cohort of patients hospitalized with acute STEMI for early reperfusion therapy between January 2008 and June 2016. Short- and long-term outcomes were assessed for patients with STEMI undergoing primary PCI vs. early CABG as reperfusion therapy.

Results: The study comprised 1660 STEMI patients, 38 of whom (2.3%) underwent CABG within 30 days of presentation. Unadjusted 30-day mortality was more than twice as high in the CABG group (7.5%) than in the PCI group (3.3%); however, it did not reach statistical significance. Similar results were demonstrated for mortality rates beyond 30 days (22% vs. 14%, P = 0.463). All patients undergoing CABG beyond 72 hours following admission survived past 2 years. Multivariate analysis found no differences between the two groups in long-term mortality risk. propensity score matched long-term mortality comparison (30 days–2 years) yielded a 22% mortality rate in the CABG groups compared with 14% in the PCI group (P < 0.293).

Conclusion: Early CABG was performed in only a minority of STEMI patients. This high-risk patient population demonstrated worse outcomes compared to patients undergoing PCI. Performing surgery beyond 72 hours following admission may be associated with lower risk.

Irene Nabutovsky PhD, Saar Ashri BSc, Amira Nachshon RNMA, Riki Tesler PhD, Yair Shapiro MD MBA, Evan Wright MD, Brian Vadasz MD, Amir Offer MD FACC, Liza Grosman-Rimon PhD and Robert Klempfner MD

Background: Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is underutilized globally despite evidence of clinical benefit. Major obstacles for wider adoption include distance from the rehabilitation center, travel time, and interference with daily routine. Tele-cardiac rehabilitation (tele-CR) can potentially address some of these limitations, enabling patients to exercise in their home environment or community.

Objectives: To evaluate the clinical and physiological outcomes as well as adherence to tele-CR in patients with low cardiovascular risk and to assess exercise capacity, determined by an exercise stress test, using a treadmill before and following the 6-month intervention.

Methods: A total of 22 patients with established coronary artery disease participated in a 6-month tele-CR program. Datos Health (Ramat Gan, Israel), a digital health application and care-team dashboard, was used for remote monitoring, communication, and management of the patients.

Results: Following the 6-month tele-CR intervention, there was significant improvement in exercise capacity, assessed by estimated metabolic equivalents with an increase from 10.6 ± 0.5 to 12.3 ± 0.5 (P = 0.002). High-density lipoproteins levels significantly improved, whereas low-density lipoproteins, triglyceride, glycosylated hemoglobin, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels were not significantly changed. Exercise adherence was consistent among patients, with more than 63% of patients participating in a moderate intensity exercise program for 150 minutes per week.

Conclusions: Patients who participated in tele-CR adhered to the exercise program and attained clinically significant functional improvement. Tele-CR is a viable option for populations that cannot, or elect not to, participate in center-based CR programs.

March 2020
Hussein Sliman MD, Moshe Y. Flugelman MD, Idit Lavi MsC, Barak Zafrir MD, Avinoam Shiran MD, Amnon Eitan MD and Ronen Jaffe MD

Background: The impact of revascularization of coronary chronic total occlusion (CTO) on survival is unknown. Several studies, which included subjects with varied coronary anatomy, suggested that CTO revascularization improved survival. However, the contribution of CTO revascularization to improved outcome is unclear since it was more commonly achieved in subjects with fewer co-morbidities and less extensive coronary disease.

Objectives: To study the association between CTO revascularization and survival in patients with uniform coronary anatomy consisting of isolated CTO of the right coronary artery (RCA).

Methods: A registry of 16,832 coronary angiograms was analyzed. We identified 278 patients (1.7%) with isolated CTO of the RCA who did not have lesions within the left coronary artery for which revascularization was indicated. Survival of 52 patients (19%) who underwent successful percutaneous coronary intervention was compared to those who did not receive revascularization.

Results: Revascularized patients were younger (60.2 vs. 66.3 years, P = 0.001), had higher creatinine clearance (106 vs. 83 ml/min, P < 0.0001), and had fewer co-morbidities than those who did not receive revascularization. Lack of CTO revascularization was a univariable predictor of mortality (hazard ratio [HR] = 2.65, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.06–6.4) over 4.3 ± 2.5 years of follow-up. On multivariable analysis, the only predictors of mortality were increased age (HR 1.04, 95%CI 1.01–1.07), reduced creatinine clearance (HR 1.02, 95%CI 1.01–1.03), and ejection fraction below 55% (HR 2.24, 95%CI 1.22–4.11).

Conclusions: Among patients with isolated RCA CTO who underwent extended follow-up, revascularization was not an independent predictor of increased survival.

December 2019
Dror B Leviner MD, Guy Witberg MD, Amir Sharon MD, Yosif Boulos BsC, Alon Barsheshet MD, Erez Sharoni MD, Dan Spiegelstein MD, Hana Vaknin-Assa MD, Dan Aravot MD, Ran Kornowski MD and Abid Assali MD

Background: Current guidelines for choosing between revascularization modalities may not be appropriate for young patients.

Objectives: To compare outcomes and guide treatment options for patients < 40 years of age, who underwent percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) or coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) between 2008 and 2018.

Methods: Outcomes were compared for 183 consecutive patients aged < 40 years who underwent PCI or CABG between 2008 and 2018, Outcomes were compared as time to first event and as cumulative events for non-fatal outcomes.

Results: Mean patient age was 36.3 years and 96% were male. Risk factors were similar for both groups. Drug eluting stents were implemented in 71% of PCI patients and total arterial revascularization in 74% of CABG patients. During a median follow-up of 6.5 years, 16 patients (8.6%) died. First cardiovascular events occurred in 35 (38.8%) of the PCI group vs. 29 (31.1%) of the CABG group (log rank P = 0.022), repeat events occurred in 96 vs. 51 (P < 0.01), respectively. After multivariate adjustment, CABG was associated with a significantly reduced risk for first adverse event (hazard ratio [HR] 0.305, P < 0.01) caused by a reduction in repeat revascularization. CABG was also associated with a reduction in overall repeat events (HR 0.293, P < 0.01). There was no difference in overall mortality between CABG and PCI.

Conclusions: Young patients with coronary disease treated by CABG showed a reduction in the risk for non-fatal cardiac events. Mortality was similar with CABG and PCI.

August 2019
Richard Haber MB BS (Hons) FRACP and George M. Weisz MD FRACS BA MA
June 2019
Ofer M. Kobo MD, Elit Vainer Evgrafov MD, Yuval Cohen MD, Yael Lerner MD, Alaa Khatib MD, Ron Hoffman MD, Ariel Roguin MD PhD and Inna Tzoran MD

Background: Malignancy is a known risk factor for venous thromboembolism; however, the association with arterial thromboembolic events remains unclear.

Objectives: To examine the association between non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI) and non-significant coronary artery disease (CAD) and the presence of new or occult malignancy.

Methods: An observational cohort, single-center study was performed 2010–2015. Adult patients with NSTEMI, who underwent coronary angiography and had no significant coronary lesion, were included. Using propensity score matching, we created a 2:1 matched control group of adults with NSTEMI, and significant coronary artery disease. Risk factors for new or occult malignancy were assessed using multivariate backward stepwise logistic regression analysis. The primary outcome was new or occult malignancy, defined as any malignancy diagnosed in the 3 months prior and 6 months following the myocardial infarction (MI).

Results: During the study period, 174 patients who presented with MI with non-obstructive coronary arteries were identified. The matched control group included 348 patients. There was no significant difference in the group demographics, past medical history, or clinical presentation. The incidence of new or occult malignancy in the study group was significantly higher (7/174, 4% vs. 3/348, 0.9%, P = 0.019). NSTEMI with non-significant CAD was an independent risk factor for occult malignancy (odds ratio [OR] 4.6, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.1–18.7). Other risk factors included active smoking (OR 11.2, 95%CI 2.5–49.1) and age (OR 1.1, 95%CI 1.03–1.17).

Conclusions: NSTEMI with non-significant CAD may be a presenting or early marker of malignancy and warrants further investigation.

October 2018
Ahmad Hassan MD, Ronen Jaffe MD, Ronen Rubinshtein MD, Basheer Karkabi MD, David A. Halon MB ChB, Moshe Y. Flugelman MD and Barak Zafrir MD

Background: Contemporary data on clinical profiles and long-term outcomes of young adults with coronary artery disease (CAD) are limited.

Objectives: To determine the risk profile, presentation, and outcomes of young adults undergoing coronary angiography.

Methods: A retrospective analysis (2000–2017) of patients aged ≤ 35 years undergoing angiography for evaluation and/or treatment of CAD was conducted.

Results: Coronary angiography was performed in 108 patients (88% males): 67 acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and 41 non-ACS chest pain syndromes. Risk factors were similar: dyslipidemia (69%), positive family history (64%), smoking (61%), obesity (39%), hypertension (32%), and diabetes (22%). Eight of the ACS patients (12%) and 29 of the non-ACS (71%) had normal coronary arteries without subsequent cardiac events. Of the 71 with angiographic evidence of CAD, long-term outcomes (114 ± 60 months) were similar in ACS compared to non-ACS presentations: revascularization 41% vs. 58%, myocardial infarction 32% vs. 33%, and all-cause death 8.5% vs. 8.3%. Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) was diagnosed in 25% of those with CAD, with higher rates of myocardial infarction (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 2.62, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.15–5.99) and revascularization (HR 4.30, 95%CI 2.01–9.18) during follow-up. Only 17% of patients with CAD attained a low-density lipoprotein cholesterol treatment goal < 70 mg/dl.

Conclusions: CAD in young adults is associated with marked burden of traditional risk factors and high rates of future adverse cardiac events, regardless of acuity of presentation, especially in patients with FH, emphasizing the importance of detecting cardiovascular risk factors and addressing atherosclerosis at young age.

May 2018
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