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עמוד בית
Tue, 06.06.23

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September 2019
July 2017
Amir Dagan, Naim Mahroum, Gad Segal, Shmuel Tiosano, Abdulla Watad, Doron Comaneshter, Arnon D. Cohen and Howard Amital

Background: Patients with giant cell arteritis (GCA) suffer from inflammatory diseases often treated by large amounts of corticosteroids. Whether this inflammatory burden also carries an increased risk for cardiovascular morbidity, and especially ischemic heart disease, is not clearly established.

Objectives: To clarify the linkage between GCA and ischemic heart disease. 

Methods: In a cross-sectional study, we assessed the association between GCA and ischemic heart disease, adjusting for cardiovascular risk factors, among GCA patients and matched controls using the database of the largest healthcare provider in Israel.

Results: The study group was comprised of 5659 GCA patients and 28,261 age and gender matched controls. The proportion of ischemic heart disease was higher in the GCA group (27.5% vs. 12.5% among controls, odds ratio 2.65). Diabetes mellitus, hypertension, hyperlipidemia and smoking were also found to have higher concurrency in GCA. After stratifying for those cardiovascular co-morbidities using logistic regression, GCA remained independently associated with ischemic heart disease with an odds ratio of 1.247 (1.146–1.357 P < 0.001).

Conclusions: GCA is associated with both cardiovascular risk factors and ischemic heart disease. Healthcare professionals should not overlook this aspect of the disease when managing GCA patients. 


June 2012
T. Fuchs, M. Leitman, I. Zysman, T. Amini and A. Torjman

Background: Microvolt T-wave alternans (MTWA) measures subtle beat-to-beat fluctuations in the T-wave amplitude. It was found to be associated with cardiac electrical instability in patients with ischemic and dilated cardiomyopathy.

Objectives: To investigate the reproducibility of the MTWA test results in patients with ischemic heart disease.

Methods: The study group comprised patients with ischemic heart disease who participated in a rehabilitation program at the Assaf Harofeh Medical Center. MTWA was measured during a bicycle exercise test at the first encounter and repeated after one week.

Results: Of the 40 study patients with coronary artery disease, 4 had an indeterminate result and were excluded from the data analysis; 5 had a positive MTWA in the first and second study (14%), 27 had a negative MTWA in the first and second study (75%), and 4 had a negative MTWA in the first study and a positive MTWA in the second study (11%). Overall, there was a correlation between the results of the first and the second study in 89% of the patients (kappa = 0.652, P = 0.0001).

Conclusions: MTWA measurements are reproducible in the short term in patients with coronary artery disease.

November 2008
I. Greenberg-Wolff et al

Background: Cardiac computed tomography scans influde several extra-cardiac structures such as mediastinum, lung parenchyma and upper abdominal organs. A variety of abnormalities in those structures might be clinically important and in some cases might explain the patient's complaints.

Objectives: To analyze consecutive cardiac computed tomography examinations for the prevalence and clinical significance of extra-cardiac findings.

Methods: Cardiac CT scans of 134 sequential patients (104 males, 30 females) aged 20–77 years (mean 54 years) with suspected coronary artery disease were prospectively and independently reviewed by a consensus of two radiologists for the presence of lung, mediastinal, pleural, upper abdominal and skeletal abnormalities. CT scans with extra-cardiac abnormalities were divided into two groups: group A – defined as "clinically significant" or "potentially significant findings" – consisted of patients requiring further evaluation or follow-up, and group B – "clinically non-significant findings."

Results: Extra-cardiac abnormalities were found in 103 of the 134 patients (76.8%). Group A abnormalities were found in 52/134 patients (39%), while group B abnormalities were seen in 85/134 (63%). The most common abnormalities in group A were non-calcified lung nodules (> 4 mm) noted in 17/134 patients (13%), followed by enlarged mediastinal lymph nodes (> 10 mm) in 14/134 (10%), diaphragmatic hernia (2 cm) in 12/134 (9%), moderate or severe degenerative spine disease in 12/134 (9%), and emphysema and aortic aneurysm in 6 patients each (4.5%). A malignant lung tumor was noted in one patient.

Conclusions: There is a high prevalence of non-cardiac abnormalities in patients undergoing CCT[1]. Clinically significant or potentially significant findings can be expected in 40% of patients who undergo CCT, and these will require further evaluation and follow-up. The reporting radiologist should be experienced in chest imaging and aware of the large variety of non-cardiac findings in CCT that might explain the patient's complaints. 

[1] CCT = coronary computed tomography

August 2006
E. Leibovitz, Y. Gerber, M. Maislos, E. Wolfovitz, T. Chajek-Shaul, E. Leitersdorf, U. Goldbourt and D. Harats for the HOLEM study group
 Background: Obesity is an independent risk factor for ischemic heart disease and affects the status of other risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Objective: To study the attitude of physicians to obesity by examining discharge letters of overweight patients with ischemic heart disease.

Methods: We used the HOLEM database for this analysis. The HOLEM project was designed to study the NCEP (National Cholesterol Education Program) guideline implementation among patients with IHD[1] at hospital discharge. We documented the recording of risk factors and treatment recommendations for IHD by reviewing the discharge letters of 2994 IHD patients admitted to four central hospitals in Israel between 1998 and 2000. A follow-up visit was held 6–8 weeks after discharge, at which time the diagnosis of IHD was verified, risk factor status was checked, height and weight were measured and drug treatment was reviewed.

Results: Mean body mass index was 28.3 kg/m2 and 32% were obese (BMI[2] ³ 30 kg/m2). Only 39.6% of the obese patients and 65.8% of the morbidly obese patients (BMI ³ 40 kg/m2) had "obesity" noted in their discharging letters, and weight loss recommendation was written in only 15% of the obese patients' discharge letters. Acute episodes like acute myocardial infarction and unstable angina did not influence the notation of obesity, and only BMI and the number of additional risk factors were positively correlated with the notation of this risk factor.

Conclusions: Despite the importance of obesity, weight status was not noted and weight loss was not recommended in most of the discharge letters of obese IHD patients.


[1] IHD = ischemic heart disease

[2] BMI = body mass index

June 2005
D. Harats, E. Leibovitz, M. Maislos, E. Wolfovitz, T. Chajek-Shaul, E. Leitersdorf, D. Gavish, Y. Gerber and U. Goldbourt, for the HOLEM study group
 Background: Hypercholesterolemia control status is lacking throughout the western world.

Objectives: To examine whether the treatment recommendations given to ischemic heart disease patients at hospital discharge are compatible with the guidelines of the Israeli Medical Societies and the U.S. National Cholesterol Education Program for coronary artery disease prevention; and to study the effects of brief educational sessions on the adherence of physicians with the guidelines.

Methods: We included consecutive IHD[1] patients admitted to four central hospitals in Israel between 1998 and 2000. The study was conducted in two phases. In phase 1, we reviewed discharge letters to document treatment recommendations given to each patient. In phase 2 we educated the practitioners by reviewing the Israeli Medical Societies and the NCEP[2] guidelines and the quality of their recommendations in phase 1, after which we reevaluated the discharge letters.

Results: The study included 2,994 patients: 627 in phase 1 and 2,367 in phase 2. Of the patients who needed cholesterol-lowering according to their low density lipoprotein levels, 37.4% were not prescribed such drugs at discharge (under-treatment group). This proportion was reduced by education to 26.6% (P < 0.001) in phase 2. Of the treated patients, 65.6% did not reach the target LDL[3] goal in phase 1 (under-dosage group) as compared to 60.2% in phase 2 (P = 0.23). In phase 2 there was an increase in the percent of patients reaching LDL levels <130 mg/day (69.3% vs. 63.8% of patients prescribed medication, P = 0.01), but the percent of patients reaching LDL levels <100 was not different in phase 2 after adjusting for age and gender (the odds ratio for reaching target LDL was 1.16, with 95% confidence interval of 0.95–1.43).

Conclusions: Physician recommendations to IHD patients discharged from hospital were suboptimal. We documented a high proportion of under-treated and under-dosage patients. Brief educational sessions have a beneficial effect on the usage of statins; however, additional effort in guideline implementations is needed.


[1] IHD = ischemic heart disease

[2] NCEP = National Cholesterol Education Program

[3] LDL = low density lipoprotein

January 2004
A. Zeidman, Z. Fradin, A. Blecher, H.S. Oster, Y. Avrahami and M. Mittelman

Background: Anemia is a known risk factor for ischemic heart disease. Based on knowledge of the physiologic role of oxygen delivery to the myocardium, anemia may be a cause of more severe cardiovascular diseases or a marker of other processes occurring in the body that induce more severe disease.

Objectives: To investigate the relationship between anemia and the clinical picture of IHD[1], including manifestations, severity and complications.

Methods: The population studied comprised 417 similarly aged patients with IHD and anemia. The patients were categorized into subgroups of IHD according to disease severity: namely, angina pectoris, acute ischemia, acute myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure or cardiac arrhythmias. Two populations served as control groups: patients with anemia but no IHD (C-I) and patients with IHD without anemia (C-II). A standard anemia workup was conducted in all patients with IHD and anemia and a correlation was made between the hematologic parameters and the manifestations and complications of IHD.

Results: The common presenting symptom was chest pain in the study group and in C-II (94% and 86% respectively) and weakness (90%) in C-I. Patients with IHD and anemia tended to suffer from a more advanced degree of IHD (80%) compared to patients with IHD alone who had milder disease (46%). Hematologic values including hemoglobin, mean cell volume, serum iron and total iron binding capacity correlated inversely with disease severity among anemic patients with IHD. There were significant differences between the study group and C-II regarding CHF[2] (31% and 18% respectively) and arrhythmias (41% and 16% respectively). The mortality rate was higher in patients with IHD and anemia than in patients with IHD alone (13% and 4% respectively).

Conclusions: Anemia is a significant risk factor in IHD. It correlates with advanced IHD, CHF, rhythm disturbance and higher mortality rate. An aggressive therapeutic and preventive approach might improve the outcome of this disease.

[1] IHD = ischemic heart disease

[2] CHF = congestive heart failure

September 2002
Ronen Durst, MD, Deborah Rund, MD, Daniel Schurr, MD, Osnat Eliav, MSc, Dina Ben-Yehuda, MD, Shoshi Shpizen, BSc, Liat Ben-Avi, BSc, Tova Schaap, MSc, Inna Pelz, BSc and Eran Leitersdorf, MD

Background: Low density lipoprotein apheresis is used as a complementary method for treating hypercholesterolemic patients who cannot reach target LDL[1]-cholesterol levels on conventional dietary and drug treatment. The DALI system (direct absorption of lipoproteins) is the only extracorporeal LDL-removing system compatible with whole blood.

Objective: To describe our one year experience using the DALI[2] system.

Methods: LDL apheresis was used in 13 patients due to inability to reach target LDL-C levels on conventional treatment. They included seven patients with familial hypercholesterolemia, three who had adverse reactions to statins, and three patients with ischemic heart disease who did not reach LDL-C target level on medical treatment.

Results: The average triglyceride, total cholesterol, high density lipoprotein-C and LDL-C levels before and after treatment in all patients were: 170 ± 113 vs. 124 ± 91, 269 ± 74 vs. 132 ± 48, 42 ± 8 vs. 37 ± 7.9, and 196 ± 77 vs. 80 ± 52 mg/dl, respectively. Comparing the results of a subgroup of seven patients who had previously been treated with plasma exchange, it is noteworthy that while the reduction in triglyceride, total cholesterol and LDL-C are comparable, the effect on HDL[3]-C concentration was less apparent: from an average of 39.7 ± 8.7 and 23 ± 5.7 mg/dl before and after plasma exchange to an average of 43.9 ± 8.1 and 38.4 ± 7 mg/dl before and after LDL apheresis, respectively. Five patients developed treatment-related adverse events: three experienced allergic reactions manifested as shortness of breath, urticaria and facial flushing; one patient developed rhabdomyolysis, an adverse reaction that was not reported previously as a result of LDL apheresis; and one patient had myopathy with back pain. All untoward effects occurred during the first few treatment sessions.

Conclusions: LDL apheresis using the DALI system is highly efficacious for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia. It is associated with a significant number of side effects occurring during the first treatment sessions. In patients not experiencing adverse effects in the early treatment period, it is well tolerated, and can provide remarkable clinical benefit even after short-term therapy.


[1] LDL = low density lipoprotein

[2] DALI = direct absorption of lipoproteins

[3] HDL = high density lipoprotein

June 2001
Gad Rennert and Yitzh Peterburg

Background: Knowledge of the prevalence of chronic disease in the population is essential for health planners and providers.

Objectives:To present the results of a concentrated effort by the largest health maintenance organization in Israel (Clalit Health Services) in order to develop a comprehensive register of chronic diseases.

Methods: In 1998, all 2,704 primary care physicians in Israel’s largest health provider were requested to report on all patients with selected chronic diseases. In addition, all the filled prescriptions for medications relevant to the investigated diseases and all relevant hospitalization events were added to the database. Prevalence rates were calculated based on the reporting practices only (1,653 physicians responsible for a total of 1,409,725 adults).

Results: Hypertension (10.2/100), diabetes (6.1/100), hyperlipidemia (5.7/100), peptic ulcer (4.7/100) and ischemic heart disease (4.3/100) were the most prevalent. Females had significantly higher rates of hypothyroidism, psychoses, neu­roses and malignancies, and lower rates of ischemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart failure and asthma. Arabs had higher rates of diabetes mellitus and lower rates of ischemic heart disease, hypertension and hyperlipidemia than Jews. About 20% of the adult population had one or more of the selected chronic diseases.

Conclusions: Differences in rates noted between physi­cians, not explainable by population characteristics, may reflect differences in the quality and delivery of health services. Rate differences between demographic subgroups call for further studies on the etiology, susceptibility and natural history of these diseases.

January 2001
Pnina Langevitz MD, Avi Livneh MD, Lily Neumann PhD, Dan Buskila MD, Joshua Shemer MD, David Amolsky MD and Mordechi Pras MD

Background: Familial Mediterranean fever is a genetic disorder manifested by recurrent attacks of peritonitis, pleuritis and arthritis, and characterized by clinical, histological and laboratory evidence for localized and systemic inflammation. Colchicine treatment usually prevents the attacks and the associated inflammation. Inflammation of atherosclerosis and ischemic heart disease.

Objective: To study the effect of inflammation and its prevention on occurrence of IHD, using FMF as a model.

Methods and Patients: We studied the presence of IHD and its risk factors in 290 FMF patients aged 40 years or more, and in two control groups – 233 spouses of the FMF patients’ and 126 patients with inflammatory diseases obtained from other outpatient clinics. FMF patients were also compared with age and gender-matched individuals from the population reference data of the Israel Ministry of Health.

Results: The prevalence of IHD in FMF patients was significantly lower than in the group of controls from other outpatient clinics (15.5% vs. 30.2% P< 0.05) and comparable with their spouses (11.2%) and with the matched general population in Israel (16%).

Conclusion: These findings suggest that despite the evidence of recurrent inflammation, colchicines-treated FMF patients are not more predisposed to IHD than the normal population.

March 2000
Michael A. Weingarten MA BM BCh, Irene Katzir MD, Elliot Sprecher PhD,Svetlana Kobzantsev MD, Cara Zelzer MD and Ernesto Kahan MD

Background: The pattern of diabetes and ischemic heart disease among emigrants from pre-industrialized societies to more developed countries may be explained by both genetic and environmental factors.

Objectives: To describe and interpret the pattern of diabetes and ischemic heart disease among Yemenite immigrants in Israel and their second-generation offspring.

Methods: Medical record charts of adult Yemenites were surveyed in a primary care health center, and the data were compared with prevalence rates derived from a non-Yemenite population.

Results: There was a marked excess of non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus among Yemenite immigrants over 45 years of age, but not of hypertension or ischemic heart disease. Yemenites with diabetes were far less likely to develop ischemic heart disease than non-Yemenites with diabetes (odds ratio for non-Yemenites compared with Yemenites, 3.5; confidence interval 1.54<OR<7.77).

Conclusions: There was less of an association between diabetes and ischemic heart disease among Yemenites. This finding requires further investigation of the relative roles of genetic and environmental factors. 



OR= odds ratio

December 1999
Eduard Kaykov MD, Benyamine Abbou MD, Scott Friedstrom MD, Doron Hermoni MD and Nathan Roguin MD
 Background: Previous work has suggested an association between Chlamydia pneumoniae infection and coronary artery disease. The infection was demonstrated by titers of antibodies - enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay or immunofluorescence, and polymerase chain reaction - and by the findings of C. pneumoniae in the atherosclerotic plaque.

Objectives: To evaluate the association between chronic infection with C. pneumoniae, as measured by a high titer of IgG antibody, and CAD. Our study was designed to explore the relationship between seropositivity to C. pneumoniae and serious coronary events, and to assess whether or not there may be an additional association between established cardiovascular factors and infection with this organism.

Methods: The serum of 130 patients with proven CAD was tested for the presence of IgG antibodies to C. pneumoniae using an ELISA test. A titer ≤1:64 using the microinfluorescence method, the recognized "gold standard," correlates with a positive result when using the ELISA method. The mean age was 57 (40-65 years). The patients, 82% male and 18% female, had either myocardial infarction (n=109) or unstable angina (n=21) 6 months before the investigation (range 3-24 months). The serum for the control group was obtained from 98 blood donors from the same area matched for age 52 (40-58 years) and sex. The donors had no known cardiac history.

Results: In the CAD group 75% of patients were positive for C. pneumoniae compared to 33% in the control group (P=0.001). No increased correlation could be demonstrated between traditional risk factors and C. pneumoniae infection, except in those patients with diabetes mellitus. We found a lower prevalence of IgG antibody to C. pneumoniae in the diabetes subgroup than in other subgroups (P<0.006), but a higher prevalence than in the control group.

Conclusions: We demonstrated a more than twofold increase in seropositivity to C. pneumoniae among patients suffering serious coronary events, and this trend was independent of gender, age or ethnic group. These findings suggest that chronic C. pneumoniae infection may be a significant risk factor for the development of CAD, but this correlation should be investigated further.


CAD= coronary artery disease

October 1999
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