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עמוד בית
Sat, 02.03.24

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August 2011
I. Gotsman, D. Zwas, Z. Zemora, R. Jabara, D. Admon, C. Lotan and A. Keren

Background: Patients with heart failure (HF) have a poor prognosis. Heart failure centers with specialized nurse-supervised management programs have been proposed to improve prognosis.

Objectives: To evaluate the clinical outcome of patients with HF treated at a multidisciplinary HF center of Clalit Health Services in Jerusalem in collaboration with Hadassah University Hospital.

Methods: We evaluated clinical outcome including hospitalizations and death in all HF patients followed at the HF center for 1 year.

Results: Altogether, 324 patients were included and followed at the HF center; 58% were males with a mean age of 76 ± 11 years, and 58% were in New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class 3-4. The overall 1 year survival rate was 91% and the 1 year hospitalization rate 29%. Comparing patients in the HF center to the whole cohort of patients with a diagnosis of HF (N=6618) in Clalit Health Services in Jerusalem demonstrated a similar 1 year survival rate: 91% vs. 89% respectively but with a significantly reduced hospitalization rate: 29% vs. 42% respectively (P < 0.01). Cox regression analysis demonstrated that treatment in the HF center was a significant predictor of reduced hospitalization after adjustment for other predictors (hazard ratio 0.65, 95% confidence interval 0.530.80, P < 0.0001). A subset of patients that was evaluated (N=78) showed significantly increased compliance. NYHA class improved in these patients from a mean of 3.1 ± 0.1 to 2.6 ± 0.1 after treatment (P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Supervision by dedicated specialized nurses in a HF center increased compliance, improved functional capacity in HF patients, and reduced hospitalization rate. HF centers should be considered part of the standard treatment of patients with symptomatic HF.

E.Y. Birati and A. Roth

Telemedicine is the application of advanced telecommunication technology for diagnostic, monitoring and therapeutic purposes. It enables data transmission from the patient's whereabouts or his/her primary care provider to a specialized medical call center. Telecardiology is a highly developed medical discipline involving almost every aspect of cardiology, including acute coronary syndromes, arrhythmias, congestive heart failure, sudden cardiac arrest and others. Israel is one of the leading countries in the use of telecardiology, achieving both extended survival, improvement of the patient's quality of life, and significant reduction in health costs. 

July 2011
I. Gabizon, A. Shiyovich, V. Novack, V. Khalameizer, H. Yosefy, S.W. Moses and A. Katz

Background: As the lowest natural site on earth (-415 meters), the Dead Sea is unique for its high pressure and oxygen tension in addition to the unparalleled combination of natural resources. Furthermore, its balneotherapeutic resorts have been reported to be beneficial for patients with various chronic diseases.

Objectives: To evaluate the safety, quality of life (QoL), exercise capacity, heart failure, and arrhythmia parameters in patients with systolic congestive heart failure (SCHF) and implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) following descent and stay at the Dead Sea.

Methods: The study group comprised patients with SCHF, New York Heart Association functional class II-III after ICD implantation. The following parameters were tested at sea level one week prior to the descent, during a 4 day stay at the Dead Sea, and one week after return: blood pressure, O2 saturation, ejection fraction (echocardiography), weight, B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP), arrhythmias, heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV), and QoL assessed by the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure questionnaire.

Results: We evaluated 19 patients, age 65.3 ± 9.6 years, of whom 16 (84%) were males and 18 (95%) had ICD-cardiac resynchronization therapy. The trip to and from and the stay at the Dead Sea were uneventful and well tolerated. The QoL score improved by 11 points, and the 6 minute walk increased by 63 meters (P < 0.001). BNP levels slightly increased with no statistical significance. The HRV decreased (P = 0.018). There were no significant changes in blood pressure, weight, O2 saturation or ejection fraction.

Conclusions: Descent to, ascent from, and stay at the Dead Sea resort are safe and might be beneficial in some aspects for patients with sCHF and an ICD.

December 2010
A. Blatt, S. Minha, G. Moravsky, Z. Vered and R. Krakover

Background: Appropriate antibiotic use is of both clinical and economic significance to any health system and should be given adequate attention. Prior to this study, no in-depth information was available on antibiotic use patterns in the emergency department of Hadassah Medical Center.

Objectives: To describe the use and misuse of antibiotics and their associated costs in the emergency department of Hadassah Medical Center.

Methods: We analyzed the charts of 657 discharged patients and 45 admitted patients who received antibiotics in Hadassah Medical Center’s emergency department during a 6 week period (29 April – 11 June 2007). A prescription was considered appropriate or inappropriate if the choice of antibiotic, dose and duration by the prescribing physician after diagnosis was considered suitable or wrong by the infectious diseases consultant evaluating the prescriptions according to Kunin’s criteria.

Results: The overall prescribing rate of antibiotics was 14.5% (702/4830) of which 42% were broad- spectrum antibiotics. The evaluated antibiotic prescriptions numbered 1105 (96 prescriptions containing 2 antibiotics, 2 prescriptions containing 3 antibiotics), and 54% of them were considered appropriate. The total inappropriate cost was 3583 NIS[1] (1109 USD PPP[2]) out of the total antibiotic costs of 27,300 NIS (8452 USD PPP). The annual total antibiotic cost was 237,510 NIS (73,532 USD PPP) and the annual total inappropriate cost was 31,172 NIS (9648 USD PPP). The mean costs of inappropriate prescriptions were highest for respiratory (112 NIS, 35 USD PPP) and urinary tract infection (93 NIS, 29 USD PPP). There were more cases when the optimal cost was lower than the actual cost (N=171) than when optimal cost was higher than the actual cost (N=9). In the first case, the total inappropriate costs were 3805 NIS (1,178 USD PPP), and in the second case, -222 NIS (68.7 USD PPP).

Conclusions: The use of antibiotics in emergency departments should be monitored, especially in severely ill patients who require broad-spectrum antibiotics and for antibiotics otherwise restricted in the hospital wards. Our findings indicate that 12% of the total antibiotic costs could have been avoided if all prescriptions were optimal.

[1] NIS = New Israeli Shekel

[2] USD PPP = US dollar purchasing power parity

August 2010
C. Vigder, Y. Ben Israel, S.R. Meisel, E. Kaykov, S. Gottlieb and A. Shotan

Background: Guidelines are frequently under-implemented in older patients with heart failure. Octogenerians are often excluded from clinical trials.

Objectives: To characterize the clinical profile of the oldest-old (age ≥ 80 years) heart failure patients hospitalized in a subacute geriatric hospital and to evaluate their management and 1 year outcome.

Methods: Patient characteristics and in-hospital course were retrospectively collected. Diagnosis of heart failure was based mainly on clinical evaluation in addition to chest X-ray results and echocardiographic findings when available.

Results: The study population comprised 96 consecutive unselected heart failure patients hospitalized from January to June 2003. The patients were predominantly women (67%), aged 85 ± 5 years, fully dependent or frail with a high rate of comorbidities. Adherence to guidelines and recommended heart failure medications was poor. Their 1 year mortality was 57%. According to logistic regression analysis, predictors of 1 year mortality were lower body mass index (odds ratio 0.86, 95% confidence interval 0.78–0.96) and high urea levels (OR[1] 1.04, 95% CI[2] 1.02–1.06).

Conclusions: Our study confirms that the management of oldest-old heart failure patients hospitalized in a subacute geriatric hospital was suboptimal and their mortality was exceptionally high.

[1] OR = odds ratio

[2] CI = confidence interval

March 2010
O. Amir, O. Rogowski, M. David, N. Lahat, R. Wolff and B.S. Lewis

Background: Interleukin-10 is an anti-inflammatory cytokine and consequently is considered by many to have a protective role in heart failure, as opposed to the notorious tumor necrosis factor-alpha.

Objectives: To test the hypothesis of the possible beneficial impact of IL-10[1] on mortality in systolic heart failure patients in relation to their circulating TNFα[2] levels.

Methods: We measured circulating levels of IL-10 and TNFα in 67 ambulatory systolic heart failure patients (age 65 ± 13 years).

Results: Mortality was or tended to be higher in patients with higher levels (above median level) of circulating TNFα (9/23, 39% vs. 6/44, 14%; P = 0.02) or IL-10 (10/34, 30% vs. 5/33, 15%; P = 0.10). However, mortality was highest in the subset of patients with elevation of both markers above median (7/16, 44% vs. 8/51, 16%; P = 0.019). Elevation of both markers was associated with more than a threefold hazard ratio for mortality (HR[3] 3.67, 95% confidence interval 1.14–11.78).

Conclusions: Elevated circulating IL-10 levels in systolic heart failure patients do not have a protective counterbalance effect on mortality. Moreover, patients with elevated IL-10 and TNFα had significantly higher mortality, suggesting that the possible interaction in the complex inflammatory and anti-inflammatory network may need further study.


[1] IL = interleukin

[2] TNFα = tumor necrosis factor-alpha

[3] HR = hazard ratio

November 2009
October 2009
G. Goldenberg, A. Eisen, N. Weisenberg and H. Amital
July 2009
D. Freimark, M. Arad, S. Matetzky, I. DeNeen, L. Gershovitz, N. Koren Morag, N. Hochberg, Y. Makmal and M. Shechter

Background: Chronic heart failure is associated with excessive hospitalizations and poor prognosis.

Objectives: To summarize the 5 year experience of a single-center CHF[1] day care service, detect the cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular events, and evaluate the safety of the treatments provided.

Methods: We retrospectively studied all patients admitted to the CHF day care service of the Sheba Medical Center between September 2000 and September 2005.

Results: Advanced (New York Heart Association class III-IV) CHF patients (n=190), mean age 65 ± 12 years and left ventricular ejection fraction 25 ± 11%, were treated for 6 hourly biweekly visits; 77% had ischemic and 23% had non-ischemic cardiomyopathy. Treatment included: intravenous diuretic combinations (91%), intermittent low dose (≤ 5 mg/kg/min) dobutamine (87%), low dose (≤ 3 mg/kg/min) dopamine (38%), intravenous iron preparation and/or blood (47%), and intravenous nitropruside (36%). Follow-up of at least 1 year from initiation of therapy was completed in 158 of 190 patients (83%). Forty-six (29.3%) died: 23% due to CHF exacerbation, 5.7% from infection, 4.4% from sudden cardiac death, 3.8% from malignancy, 2.5% from malignant arrhythmias, 1.9% from renal failure, 1.3% from stroke, and 0.6% from myocardial infarction. There were only 0.68 rehospitalizations/patient/year; the most frequent cause being CHF exacerbation (16.5%).

Conclusions: Our study demonstrates the safety and potential benefits of a supportive day care service for advanced CHF patients. Multidrug intravenous treatment, accompanied by monitoring of electrolytes, hemoglobin and cardiac rhythm, along with education and psychological support, appear to reduce morbidity in advanced CHF patients and may have contributed to the lower than expected mortality/hospitalization rate.

[1] CHF = chronic heart failure

S. Schwartzenberg, J. Sherez, D. Wexler, G. Aviram and G. Keren

Isolated ventricular non-compaction is a frequently underdiagnosed rare congenital cardiomyopathy. The importance of diagnosing this cardiomyopathy lies especially in asymptomatic patients, screening relatives of index cases in order to focus on their follow-up and searching for criteria warranting prophylactic anticoagulation, implantable cardioverter defibrillator and anti-remodeling drugs such as angiotensin-converting inhibitors. We present the clinical and imaging characteristics of this entity and discuss some of the therapeutic dilemmas involving these patients.

May 2009
A. Blum

Experimental and clinical data suggest a causal relationship between immunological and inflammatory processes and heart failure. Inflammatory processes may be involved in the pathogenesis of heart failure and may play a role in the progression of ventricular dysfunction. In the last decade several immunological methods were developed that tried to address these questions and overcome the inflammatory and immunological insults. We hope that the present review will increase awareness of new treatment options and encourage researchers and physicians to investigate this novel approach to treat patients with heart failure.

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