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עמוד בית
Sat, 24.02.24

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November 2023
Gassan Moady MD, Moanis Serhan MD, Shaul Atar MD, Alexander Shturman MD

Background: The continuity equation (CE) used for evaluating aortic stenosis (AS) is based on values obtained from transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) with the assumption that the left ventricular outflow tract (LVOT) has a circular shape. Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) may be used for accurate measurement of the LVOT cross-sectional area (CSA). Previous studies have focused on fusion from TEE for LVOT-CSA measurement and TTE for velocity time integrals (VTI) calculations.

Objectives: To assess aortic valve area (AVA) using parameters obtained exclusively from TEE as an alternative approach.

Methods: Thirty patients with equivocal AS based on TTE were evaluated using TEE for further assessment.

Results: The mean pressure gradient across the aortic valve (AV) was 38 ± 5.9 and 37.9 ± 7.6 mmHg in TTE and TEE, respectively, P = 0.42. LVOT-CSA was larger in TEE (3.6 ± 0.3 vs. 3.4 ± 0.3 cm2, P = 0.049). VTI over the AVA was similar (98.54 ± 22.8 and 99.52 ± 24.52 cm in TTE and TEE, respectively, P = 0.608), while VTI across the LVOT was higher when measured by TTE (24.06 ± 5.8 vs. 22.03 ± 4.3 cm, P < 0.009). Using the CE, AVA was 0.82 ± 0.3 vs. 0.83 ± 0.17 cm2 in TEE vs. TTE, respectively, P = 0.608. Definitive grading was achieved in all patients (26 patients defined with severe AS and 4 with moderate).

Conclusions: In equivocal cases of AS, full assessment using TEE may be a reliable modality for decision making.

July 2023
Zach Rozenbaum MD, Orly Sapir MD, Yoav Granot MD, Joshua H. Arnold MD MS, Simon Biner MD, Yan Topilsky MD, Michal Laufer-Perl MD

Background: Small left atria (LA) is associated with an increased risk of mortality.

Objectives: To determine whether the attributed risk of mortality is influenced by the underlying etiologies leading to decreased volumes.

Methods: We retrospectively evaluated patients with an available LA volume index (LAVI) as measured by echocardiography who came to our institution between 2011 and 2016. Individuals with small LA (LAVI < 16 ml/m2) were included and divided according to the etiology of the small LA (determined or indeterminate) and investigated according to the specific etiology.

Results: The cohort consisted of 288 patients with a mean age of 56 ± 18 years. An etiology for small LA was determined in 84% (n=242). The 1-year mortality rate of the entire cohort was 20.5%. Patients with indeterminate etiology (n=46) demonstrated a lower mortality rate compared with determined etiologies (8.7% vs. 22.7%, P = 0.031). However, following propensity score adjustments for baseline characteristics, there was no significant difference between the groups (P = 0.149). The only specific etiology independently associated with 1-year mortality was the presence of space occupying lesions (odds ratio 3.26, 95% confidence interval 1.02–10.39, P = 0.045).

Conclusions: Small LA serve as a marker for negative outcomes, and even in cases of undetected etiology, the prognosis remains poor. The presence of small LA should alert the physician to a high risk of mortality, regardless of the underlying disease.

May 2023
Hagit Hemi RN, Olga Morelli MD, Mordehay Vaturi MD, Ran Kornowski MD, Alexander Sagie MD, Yaron Shapira MD, Shmuel Schwartzenberg MD

Background: Cancellation of transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) tests leads to inefficient use of echocardiography laboratory (echo lab) time and wastes resources.

Objectives: To identify the causes of same-day TEE cancellations in hospitalized patients, to formulate a TEE order screening protocol, and to evaluate its efficacy at implementation.

Methods: We performed a prospective analysis of inpatients referred to a single tertiary hospital echo lab for TEE study by inpatient wards. A comprehensive screening protocol emphasizing active participation of all links directly involved in the chain of inpatient TEE referral was developed and implemented. Comparison of pre- and post-implementation of the new screening protocol on two consecutive periods of 6 months on TEE cancellation rates out of total ordered TEEs stratified by cause categories was performed.

Results: In total, 304 inpatient TEE procedures were ordered during the initial observation period; 54(17.8%) were canceled on the same day. The most common cancellation reasons were equally respiratory distress and patient not in fasted state (20.4% of total cancellations and 3.6% of all scheduled TEEs for each cause). Following implementation of the new screening process, total TEEs ordered (192) and cancelled (16) dropped significantly. A decrease in the rate of each cancellation category was observed, with statistical significance achieved for the overall cancellation rate (8.3% vs. 17.8%, P = 0.003), but not for the individual cancellation categories in split analysis.

Conclusions: A concerted effort to implement a comprehensive screening questionnaire significantly reduced same-day cancellations of scheduled TEEs.

Marina Leitman MD FESC, Isabella Pilcha MD, Vladimir Tyomkin MSc, Zoe Haitov MD

Background: Traditionally, transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) has been performed under moderate sedation and local pharyngeal anesthesia. Respiratory complications during the TEE can occur.

Objectives: To test the effectiveness of low-dose midazolam combined with verbal sedation during TEE.

Methods: The study comprised 157 consecutive patients who underwent TEE under mild conscious sedation. All patients received local pharyngeal anesthesia and low doses of midazolam combined with verbal sedation. The course of TEE and clinical characteristics of the patients were analyzed.

Results: The mean age was 64 ± 15.3 years, 96 males (61%). In 6% of the patients, low dose midazolam in combination with verbal sedation was insufficient and propofol was administrated. In women under 65 years of age with normal renal function, there was a 40% risk of low-dose midazolam being ineffective (P = 0.0018).

Conclusions: In most patients, TEE can be conducted easily using low-dose midazolam combined with verbal sedation. Some patients need deeper sedation with anesthetic agents like propofol. These patients tended to be younger, in good general health, and more often female.

February 2023
Gassan Moady MD MPH, Alexander Shturman MD, Elias Daud MD, Gal Rubinstein MD, Dror Leviner MD, Shaul Atar MD

Takotsubo syndrome (TTS) often develops following stressors such as cardiac surgery. It may be fatal in rare cases. Our 70-year-old female patient presented with a rare case of tricuspid valve papillary fibroelastoma, which was complicated by fatal TTS after successful resection. The patient had a right atrial mass that was investigated with computed tomography and transesophageal echocardiography (TTE). She was scheduled for surgery. Pathology findings were consistent with papillary fibroelastoma of the tricuspid valve. Three weeks after successful surgery, the patient was admitted due to cardiogenic shock with echocardiographic findings of apical ballooning and left ventricular outflow tract obstruction consistent with TTS. The patient died one hour after her admission despite optimal medical therapy.

March 2022
Israel Mazin MD, Ori Vaturi MD, Rafael Kuperstein MD, Roy Beigel MD, Micha Feinberg MD, and Sagit Ben Zekry MD

Background: Estimated frequency of aortic stenosis (AS) in those over 75 years of age is 3.4%. Symptomatic patients with severe AS have increased morbidity and mortality and aortic valve replacement should be offered to improve life expectancy and quality of life.

Objectives: To identify whether systolic time intervals can identify severe AS.

Methods: The study comprised 200 patients (mean age 79 years, 55% men). Patients were equally divided into normal, mild, moderate, or severe AS. All patients had normal ejection fraction. Acceleration time (AT) was defined as the time from the beginning of systolic flow to maximal velocity; ejection time (ET) was the time from onset to end of systolic flow. The relation of AT/ET was calculated. Death or aortic valve intervention were documented.

AT increased linearly with the severity of AS, similar to ET and AT/ET ratio (P for trend < 0.05 for all). Receiver-operator characteristic curve analysis demonstrated that AT can identify severe AS with a cutoff ≥ 108 msec with 100% sensitivity and 98% specificity, while a cutoff of 0.34 when using AT/ET ratio can identify severe AS with 96% sensitivity and 94% specificity. Multivariate analysis adjusting to sex, stroke volume index, heart rate, and body mass index showed similar results. Kaplan-Meier curve for AT ≥ 108 and AT/ET ≥ 0.34 predicted death or aortic valve intervention in a 3-year follow-up.

Conclusions: Acceleration time and AT/ET ratio are reliable measurements for identifying patients with severe AS. Furthermore, AT and AT/ET were able to predict aortic valve replacement or death

January 2022
Gergana Marincheva MD, Tal Levi MD, Olga Perelshtein Brezinov MD, Andrei Valdman MD, Michael Rahkovich MD, Yonatan Kogan MD, and Avishag Laish-Farkash MD PhD

Background: Endocardial leads of permanent pacemakers (PPM) and implantable defibrillators (ICD) across the tricuspid valve (TV) can lead to tricuspid regurgitation (TR) or can worsen existing TR with subsequent severe morbidity and mortality.

Objectives: To evaluate prospectively the efficacy of intraprocedural 2-dimentional-transthoracic echocardiography (2DTTE) in reducing/preventing lead-associated TR.

Methods: We conducted a prospective randomized controlled study comparing echocardiographic results in patients undergoing de-novo PPM/ICD implantation with intraprocedural echo-guided right ventricular (RV) lead placement (Group 1, n=56) versus non-echo guided implantation (Group 2, n=55). Lead position was changed if TR grade was more than baseline in Group 1. Cohort patients underwent 2DTTE at baseline and 3 and/or 6 months after implantation. Excluded were patients with baseline TR > moderate or baseline ≥ moderate RV dysfunction.

Results: The study comprised 111 patients (74.14 ± 11 years of age, 58.6% male, 19% ICD, 42% active leads). In 98 patients there was at least one follow-up echo. Two patients from Group 1 (3.6%) needed intraprocedural RV electrode repositioning. Four patients (3.5%, 2 from each group, all dual chamber PPM, 3 atrial fibrillation, 2 RV pacing > 40%, none with intraprocedural reposition) had TR deterioration during 6 months follow-up. One patient from Group 2 with baseline mild-moderate aortic regurgitation (AR) had worsening TR and AR within 3 months and underwent aortic valve replacement and TV repair.

Conclusions: The rate of mechanically induced lead-associated TR is low; thus, a routine intraprocedural 2DTTE does not have a significant role in reducing/preventing it

December 2021
Ben Sadeh MD, Tamar Itach MD, Ilan Merdler MD MHA, Shir Frydman MD, Samuel Morgan BSc, David Zahler MD, Yogev Peri MD, Aviram Hochstadt MD MPH, Yotam Pasternak MD MSc, Yan Topilsky MD,Shmuel Banai MD, and Yacov Shacham MD

Background: Tricuspid regurgitation (TR) is associated with adverse prognosis in various patient populations, but currently no data is available about the prevalence and prognostic implication of TR in ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients.

Objectives: To investigate the possible implication of TR among STEMI patients.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective study of STEMI patients undergoing primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and its relation to major clinical and echocardiographic parameters. Patient records were assessed for the prevalence and severity of TR, its relation to the clinical profile, key echocardiographic parameters, in-hospital outcomes, and long-term mortality. Patients with previous myocardial infarction or known previous TR were excluded.

Results: The study included 1071 STEMI patients admitted between September 2011 and May 2016 (age 61 ± 13 years; predominantly male). A total of 205 patients (19%) had mild TR while another 32 (3%) had moderate or greater TR. Patients with significant TR demonstrated worse echocardiographic parameters, were more likely to have in-hospital complications, and had higher long-term mortality (28% vs. 6%; P < 0.001). Following adjustment for significant clinical and echocardiographic parameters, mortality hazard ratio of at least moderate to severe TR remained significant (hazard ratio 2.44; 95% confidence interval 1.06–5.62; P = 0.036) for patients with moderate-severe TR.

Conclusions: Among STEMI patients after primary PCI, the presence of moderate-severe TR was independently associated with adverse outcomes and significantly lower survival rate

July 2021
Ben Sadeh MD, Tamar Itach MD, Ilan Merdler MD MHA, Shir Frydman MD, Samuel Morgan BSc, David Zahler MD, Yogev Peri MD, Aviram Hochstadt MD, Yotam Pasternak MD MSc, Yan Topilsky MD, Shmuel Banai MD, and Yacov Shacham MD

Background: Tricuspid regurgitation (TR) is associated with adverse prognosis in various patient populations but currently no data is available about the prevalence and prognostic implication of TR in ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients.

Objectives: To investigate the possible implication of TR among STEMI patients.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective study of STEMI patients undergoing primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), and its relation to major clinical and echocardiographic parameters. Patient records were assessed for the prevalence and severity of TR as well as the relation to the clinical profile, key echocardiographic parameters, in-hospital outcomes, and long-term mortality. Patients with previous myocardial infarction or known previous TR were excluded.

Results: The study included 1071 STEMI patients admitted between September 2011 and May 2016 (age 61 ± 13 years; predominantly male). A total of 205 patients (19%) had mild TR while another 32 (3%) had moderate or greater TR. Patients with significant TR demonstrated worse echocardiographic parameters, were more likely to have in-hospital complications, and had higher long-term mortality (28% vs. 6%, P < 0.001). Following adjustment for significant clinical and echocardiographic parameters, mortality hazard ratio of at least moderate to severe TR remained significant (2.44, 95% confidence interval 1.06–5.6, P = .036) for patients with moderate to severe TR.

Conclusions: Among STEMI patients after primary PCI, the presence of moderate to severe TR was independently associated with adverse outcomes and significantly lower survival rate

March 2021
Gassan Moady MD MPH and Shaul Atar MD

Background: Takotsubo syndrome (TTS) is a non-ischemic cardiomyopathy characterized by an acute reversible left ventricular dysfunction with typical apical ballooning, usually with subsequent complete spontaneous recovery. TTS may be triggered by several physical and emotional stressors. The name Covidsubo was recently adopted to describe this emerging entity. TTS during quarantine may be a reasonable outcome of the overwhelming stress and fear of this pandemic. However, according to the current literature, conflicting results have been reported regarding the incidence of this syndrome during the first wave of the pandemic, and further studies are needed. High index of suspicion is needed to identify patients during the next waves of the pandemic, particularly given the need for minimizing imaging modalities and contact with the patients.

Objectives: To describe two cases of TTS triggered by quarantine during the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Methods: Two patients (age 81 years and 70 years) were admitted to our medical center with severe chest pain with normal blood pressure and heart rate.

Results: TTS should always be in the differential diagnosis in patients presenting with chest pain suspected to be from coronary origin. Based on the typical clinical, echocardiographic, and angiographic findings, we assumed TTS.

Conclusions: The only prominent stressor in the two cases in this article was the stress accompanying quarantine.

February 2021
Gassan Moady MD MPH, Shelly Vons MD, and Shaul Atar MD

Background: Takotsubo syndrome (TTS) is a non-ischemic cardiomyopathy characterized by an acute reversible left ventricular dysfunction with typical apical ballooning, usually with subsequent complete spontaneous recovery. TTS shares several features with acute coronary syndrome (ACS), including clinical presentation, ECG changes, and elevated troponin.

Objectives: To identify different features that may help differentiate between TTS and ACS with presentation based on presenting symptoms and physical examination.

Methods: We compared 35 patients who TTS had been diagnosed with 60 age- and sex- matched patients with ACS (both ST and non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction) who were hospitalized in Galilee Medical Center through 2011-2015.Basic characteristics and clinical features of the two groups were compared using appropriate statistical tests.

Results: Of the patients with TTS, 21 (60%) reported an emotional trigger (60%) before admission, although they did not have increased prevalence of psychiatric disease compared to ACS patients (5.7% vs. 5%, P = 0.611). There was no difference in the type of chest pain or accompanied symptoms between the groups. Of notice, ECG changes in the TTS group were prominent in the anterior leads, and the patients presented with higher heart rate (86 ± 17 vs. 79 ± 15, P = 0.029) and lower systolic blood pressure (129 ± 26 vs. 142 ± 30, P = 0.034) on admission compared to the ACS group.

Conclusions: There was no reliable feature that could distinguish TTS from ACS based on clinical presentation. TTS should always be in the differential diagnosis in patients with acute chest pain, especially in elderly women

November 2020
Hezzy Shmueli MD, Arie Steinvil MD, Galit Aviram MD, Sileman Moaad MD, Adam Sharon MD, Achiude Bendet MD, Simon Biner MD, Yacov Shacham MD, Jack Sherez MD, Ricki Megidish MD, Yifat Hasin MD, Ester Elazar MD, Sevan Letourneau-Shesaf MD, Gad Keren MD ,Shlomo Berliner MD, and Yan Topilsky MD

Background: Acute pulmonary embolism (PE) is considered to be one of the most common cardiovascular diseases with considerable mortality. Conflicting data imply possible role for echocardiography in assessing this disease.

Objectives: To determine which of the echo parameters best predicts short-term and long-term mortality in patients with PE.

Methods: We prospectively enrolled 235 patients who underwent computed tomography of pulmonary arteries (CTPA) and transthoracic Echocardiography (TTE) within < 24 hours. TTE included a prospectively designed detailed evaluation of the right heart including right ventricular (RV) myocardial performance index (RIMP), RV end diastolic and end systolic area, RV fractional area change, acceleration time (AT) of pulmonary flow and visual estimation. Interpretation and performance of TTE were blinded to the CTPA results.

Results: Although multiple TTE parameters were associated with PE, all had low discriminative capacity (AUC < 0.7). Parameters associated with 30-day mortality in univariate analysis were acceleration time (AT) < 81 msec (P = 0.04), stroke volume < 44 cc (P = 0.005), and RIMP > 0.42 (P = 0.05). The only RV independent echo parameter associated with poor long-term prognosis (adjusted for significant clinical, and routine echo associates of mortality) was RIMP (hazard ratio 3.0, P = 0.04). The only independent RV echo parameters associated with mortality in PE patients were RIMP (P = 0.05) and AT (P = 0.05). Addition of RIMP to nested models eliminated the significance of all other parameters assessing RV function.

Conclusions: Doppler-based parameters like pulmonary flow AT, RIMP, and stroke volume, have additive value in addition to visual RV estimation to assess prognosis in patients with PE.

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

May 2020
Gassan Moady MD MPH, Elias Daud MD, Ronen Galilee MD, Edmond Sabo MD, Salam Mazareb PhD and Shaul Atar MD
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