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עמוד בית
Sun, 26.05.24

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March 2024
Amir Aker MD, Ina Volis MD, Walid Saliba MD MPH, Ibrahim Naoum MD, Barak Zafrir MD

Background: Ischemic stroke is associated with increased risk of morbidity and mortality in future vascular events.

Objectives: To investigate whether CHA2DS2-VASc scores aid in risk stratification of middle-aged patients without atrial fibrillation (AF) experiencing ischemic stroke.

Methods: We analyzed data of 2628 patients, aged 40–65 years with no known AF who presented with acute ischemic stroke between January 2020 and February 2022. We explored the association between CHA2DS2-VASc scores categorized by subgroups (score 2–3, 4–5, or 6–7) with major adverse cardiac and cerebrovascular events (MACCE) including recurrent stroke, myocardial infarction, coronary revascularization, or all-cause death during a median follow-up of 19.9 months.

Results: Mean age was 57 years (30% women); half were defined as low socioeconomic status. Co-morbidities included hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and smoking in 40–60% of the patients. The incidence rate of MACCE per 100 person-years was 6.7, 12.2, and 21.2 in those with score 2–3, 4–5, and 6–7, respectively. In a multivariate cox regression model, compared to patients with score 2–3 (reference group), those with score 4–5 and 6–7 had an adjusted hazard ratio (95% confidence interval [95%CI]) for MACCE of 1.74 (95%CI 1.41–2.14) and 2.87 (95%CI 2.10–3.93), respectively. The discriminative capacity of CHA2DS2-VASc score for overall MACCE was modest (area under curve 0.63; 95%CI 0.60–0.66), although better for myocardial infarction 0.69 (95% CI 0.61–0.77).

Conclusions: CHA2DS2-VASc score may predict future MACCE in middle-aged patients with ischemic stroke and no history of AF.

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.

May 2019
Hussein Sliman MD, Avinoam Shiran MD, Dallit Mannheim MD, Eyal Avraham MD, Ron Karmeli MD, Nader Khader MD, Barak Zafrir MD, Ronen Rubinshtein MD and Ronen Jaffe MD

Background: Access-site bleeding is a common complication of transfemoral transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI). Percutaneous stent-graft implantation within the femoral artery may achieve hemostasis and avert the need for more invasive surgical vascular repair; however, failure to advance a guidewire antegradely via the injured vessel may preclude stent delivery. While retrograde stent-graft delivery from the distal vasculature may potentially enable percutaneous control of bleeding, this approach has not been reported.

Objectives: To assess the feasibility of a retrograde approach for stent-graft implantation in the treatment of access-site bleeding following transfemoral TAVI.

Methods: A prospective TAVI registry was analyzed. Of 349 patients who underwent TAVI, transfemoral access was used in 332 (95%). Access-site injury requiring stent-graft implantation occurred in 56 (17%). In four patients (7%), antegrade wiring across the site of vascular injury was not possible and a retrograde approach for stent delivery was used.

Results: Distal vascular access was achieved via the superficial femoral or profunda artery. Retrograde advancement of a polymer-coated 0.035” wire to the abdominal aorta, followed by stent-graft delivery to the common femoral artery, achieved hemostasis in all cases. During a median (interquartile range) follow-up period of 198 (618) days (range 46–2455) there were no deaths and no patient required additional vascular interventions.

Conclusions: A retrograde approach for stent-graft delivery is feasible and allows percutaneous treatment of a common femoral artery injury following TAVI in patients who are not suitable for the conventional antegrade approach.

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.

September 2017
Basheer Karkabi MD, Ronen Jaffe MD, David A. Halon MD, Amnon Merdler MD, Nader Khader MD, Ronen Rubinshtein MD, Jacob Goldstein MD, Barak Zafrir MD, Keren Zissman MD, Nissan Ben-Dov MD, Michael Gabrielly MD, Alex Fuks MD, Avinoam Shiran MD, Salim Adawi MD, Yaron Hellman MD, Johny Shahla, Salim Halabi MD, Shai Cohen MD, Irina Bergman MD, Sameer Kassem MD PhD MPH, Chen Shapira MD and Moshe Y. Flugelman MD

Background: Outcomes of patients with acute ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) are strongly correlated to the time interval from hospital entry to primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PPCI). Current guidelines recommend a door to balloon time of < 90 minutes. 

Objectives: To reduce the time from hospital admission to PPCI and to increase the proportion of patients treated within 90 minutes. 

Methods: In March 2013 the authors launched a seven-component intervention program: 


  1. Direct patient evacuation by out-of-hospital emergency medical services to the coronary intensive care unit or catheterization laboratory

  2. Education program for the emergency department staff

  3. Dissemination of information regarding the urgency of the PPCI decision

  4. Activation of the catheterization team by a single phone call

  5. Reimbursement for transportation costs to on-call staff who use their own cars

  6. Improvement in the quality of medical records

  7. Investigation of failed cases and feedback 



Results: During the 14 months prior to the intervention, initiation of catheterization occurred within 90 minutes of hospital arrival in 88/133 patients(65%); during the 18 months following the start of the intervention, the rate was 181/200 (90%) (P < 0.01). The respective mean/median times to treatment were 126/67 minutes and 52/47 minutes (P < 0.01). Intervention also resulted in shortening of the time interval from hospital entry to PPCI on nights and weekends. 

Conclusions: Following implementation of a comprehensive intervention, the time from hospital admission to PPCI of STEMI patients shortened significantly, as did the proportion of patients treated within 90 minutes of hospital arrival. 

 

April 2017
Avraham Shotan MD, Barak Zafrir MD, Tuvia Ben Gal MD, Alicia Vazan MD, Israel Gotsman MD and Offer Amir MD

Background: The treatment of patients hospitalized with heart failure (HHF) and ambulatory chronic heart failure (CHF) differs in various countries.

Objective: To evaluate the management and outcomes of patients with HFF and CHF in Israel compared to those in other European countries who were included in the ESC-HF Long-Term Registry.

Methods: From May 2011 to April 2013, heart failure patients – 467 Israelis and 11,973 from other countries – were evaluated. The Israeli patients included 178 with HHF and 289 with CHF. One year outcomes, including all-cause and cardiovascular mortality as well as HHF, were evaluated.

Results: The HHF Israeli patients were older than their CHF Israeli counterparts, had more co-morbidities, included more women, and were treated less frequently with medications suggested by European guidelines. The Israeli HHF patients had similar all-cause 1 year mortality rates compared to HHF patients from other participating countries, but their cardiovascular (CV) mortality was lower, while a significantly higher rate of all-cause and HHF was noted. The Israeli CHF patients were older, suffered from more co-morbidities and had prior cardio-electronic implantable devices. In addition, they had higher mortality rates, especially non-CV, and were more frequently hospitalized, compared to CHF patients from other countries.

Conclusions: The Israeli patients with heart failure differed in their baseline characteristics and the therapeutic approach. Despite high usage of treatments recommended by official guidelines, especially among CHF patients, mortality, particularly in HHF patients, remained high.

June 2014
Haim Shmuely MD, Morad Wattad MD, Alejandro Solodky MD, Jacob Yahav MD, Zmira Samra PhD and Nili Zafrir MD
 Background: The relationship between Helicobacter pylori infection and coronary artery disease (CAD) has as yet not been fully examined. The myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) stress test has proven its efficacy as an integral part of diagnosing CAD.


Objectives: To investigate the association between CAD and H. pylori infection using MPI.

Methods: This prospective study evaluated CAD positivity among consecutive patients referred to a tertiary medical center for a stress/rest MPI. All patients were tested for serum anti-H. pylori and CagA protein immunoglobulin G antibodies. The CAD-positive group included patients with ischemia and/or myocardial infarctions (MI) on a stress MPI, coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) or percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI). CAD-negative subjects were defined as participants with a normal MPI, no pathological Q waves in resting ECG tracing, and no history of CAD. Both groups were compared for H. pylori and CagA seropositivity. Patients’ demographic data, risk factors for CAD, and childhood socioeconomic status were recorded.

Results: The study group consisted of 300 consecutive patients, 170 men and 130 women; 64% (110/173) CAD-positive patients and 47% (60/127) CAD-negative participants were found seropositive for H. pylori infection (P = 0.005). In the adjusted analysis, H. pylori infection was found to be associated with CAD- positive (odds ratio 1.83, 95% confidence interval 1.06–3.17, P = 0.031), and MI (fixed perfusion defects on MPI) (OR 3.36, 95%CI 1.44–7.84, P = 0.005). No association was noted with CagA positivity.

Conclusions: In patients undergoing a stress MPI, serum anti-H. pylori antibodies positivity was found to be associated with CAD, independent of traditional cardiovascular risk factors. 

April 2014
March 2012
B. Zafrir and O. Amir

Beta blockers are a fundamental treatment in chronic heart failure (HF), yet concern and disagreement regarding their role in the treatment of decompensated HF and during hospitalization are common in clinical practice. This review summarizes the literature on various aspects of beta blocker treatment during acute and chronic decompensated HF. In recent years evidence has accumulated concerning the efficacy and tolerability of beta blockers in decompensated HF. Clinical analyses show that withdrawal of chronic beta blockade should be avoided when possible during hospitalization and that beta blocker therapy be initiated as soon as hemodynamic stability and a euvolemic state are achieved. This strategy may increase adherence to beta blockers after discharge and lower rehospitalization and mortality rates. We also discuss the various positive inotrope regimens (phosphodiesterase inhibitors, levosimendan, dobutamine) and their interactions with beta blockers in decompensated HF.

December 2010
Y. Oren, Y. Shapira, N. Agmon-Levin, S. Kivity, Y. Zafrir, A. Altman, A. Lerner and Y. Shoenfeld

Background: Hypovitaminosis D has been shown to be extremely common in various regions around the world, mostly at high latitudes. Israel is characterized by certain features – cultural (e.g., ethnic isolates) and geographic (e.g., sunny climate) – that have been identified for their possible association with vitamin D status.

Objectives: To conduct an ecological study on a representative sample of the population of Israel, testing vitamin D status across age groups, genders, ethnic groups, and seasons.

Methods: We obtained serum samples from 195 healthy Israeli volunteers representing a broad demographic spectrum. Serum concentrations of 25(OH)D were measured with the commercial kit Liaison 25(OH)D Assay (DiaSorin, Italy).

Results: The mean vitamin D level for the entire cohort was surprisingly low (22.9 ± 10.1 ng/ml), with 149 subjects (78%) suffering from vitamin D insufficiency (< 30 ng/ml). Vitamin D status was better in infants than in older age groups. Differences by gender were significant only in the infant age group (i.e., vitamin D status was worse among females) and were not prominent across older ages. Israelis of Ashkenazi origin had higher vitamin D mean levels than those of Sephardic origin, who, in turn, had higher vitamin D levels than Arab subjects (31.4 ± 12, 24.1 ± 10, and 17.6 ± 9 ng/ml respectively). With regard to season, there were no differences between the samples collected in winter and the samples collected in summer.

Conclusions: The results suggest that hypovitaminosis D is common across all ages, genders and seasons in Israel, a country characterized by a sunny Mediterranean climate. Specific ethnic groups may be at especially high risk.

January 2010
B. Zafrir, A. Laor and H. Bitterman

Background: Parallel to increased life expectancy, the number of very elderly patients hospitalized in internal medicine departments is growing rapidly, although clinical data on hospital care are lacking.

Objectives: To investigate the sociodemographic data, hospitalization characteristics and outcomes of nonagenarian patients, as these measures are necessary for evaluating prognostic information and predictors of mortality.

Methods: We reviewed the medical records of all patients aged ≥ 90 hospitalized in our institute's Department of Internal Medicine. The data comprised 482 admissions of 333 patients hospitalized over a one year period.

Results: Half of the study patients were residents of nursing institutions. A high rate of atrial fibrillation was documented (106 patients, 32%). Acute infectious diseases constituted the leading diagnosis (276/482 admissions, 57%), followed by acute coronary syndrome (17% of admissions). In-hospital mortality occurred in 74 patients (22%). Chronic therapy with statins or acetylsalicylic acid was inversely related to mortality (P < 0.05). The main predictors for in-hospital death of nonagenarians were pressure sores, older age, atrial fibrillation, malignant disease, and admission due to an acute infection, especially Clostridium difficile-associated diseases. In addition, mental decline, permanent urinary catheter, leukocytosis, renal failure and hypoalbuminemia predicted post-discharge mortality. Admission due to an infectious disease but not acute coronary syndrome was significantly correlated to in-hospital and post-discharge mortality (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Hospitalized nonagenarians comprise a growing group with distinct characteristics and increasing significance in the daily practice of internal medicine departments. Comprehensive assessment of the elderly at admission together with identification of the above clinical and laboratory risk factors for mortality will help determine in-hospital management, discharge planning and rehabilitation programs.

March 2004
B. Zafrir, M. Zimmerman, Y Fellig, Y. Naparstek, N. Reichman and E. Flatau
October 2001
Tuvia Ben-Gal, MD and Nili Zafrir, MD

Background: The evaluation of hospitalized patients with chest pain and non-diagnostic electrocardiogram is problematic and the optimal cost-effective strategy for their management controversial.

Objectives: To determine the utility of myocardial perfusion imaging with thallium-201 for predicting outcome of hospitalized patients with chest pain and a normal or non-diagnostic ECG.

Methods: On pain cessation, 109 hospitalized patients, age 61+14 years (mean+SD), with chest pain and non-diagnostic ECG underwent stress myocardial perfusion SPECT imaging with thallium-201. Costs related to their management were calculated. The occurrence of non-fatal myocardial infarction or cardiac death was recorded at 12+5 months follow-up.

Results: A normal SPECT was found in 84 patients (77%). During one year follow-up, only 1 (1.2%) compared to 7 (28%) cardiac events (6 myocardial infarctions, 1 cardiac death) occurred in patients with normal versus abnormal scans respectively (P < 0.0001). Negative predictive value and accuracy of the method were 99% and 83% respectively. Multivariate regression analysis identified an abnormal SPECT as the only independent predictor of adverse cardiac event (P = 0.0016). Total cost from admission until discharge was 11,193 vs. 31,079 shekels (P < 0.0001) for normal and abnormal scan. Considering its high negative predictive value, shortening the hospital stay from admission until scan performance to 2 days would result in considerably reduced management costs (from NIS 11,193 to 7,243) per patient.

Conclusion: Stress SPECT applied to hospitalized patients with chest pain and a normal or non-diagnostic ECG is safe, highly accurate and potentially cost effective in distinguishing between Iow and high risk patients.
 

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