Israel’s major contributions to the treatment of cardiovascular disease were
hailed by participants of the 60th International Conference of the Israel Heart
Society (IHS) on Monday, and are commemorated in three just-issued postage
stamps featuring three Israeli cardiology innovations.
cardiologists from here and abroad are attending the two-day conference at the
Jerusalem International Convention Center.
Outgoing IHS president
Prof. Chaim Lotan – who is director of the Hadassah University Medical
Center’s Heart Institute – and IHS secretary-general Dr. Amit Segev hosted the
Among the leading foreign guests are Prof. John Harold, president
of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and Prof. Panos Vardas, president of
the European Society of Cardiology. Both organizations enjoy strong ties with
The Philatelic Service’s three new postage stamps were unveiled
by its director, Yaron Razon. The stamp series presents a percutaneous
(underskin) artificial heart valve; stents (metal mesh cylinders that release
medication and hold open weak, damaged or collapsed coronary arteries); and an
implanted defibrillator that electrically regulates a heartbeat.
said the new stamp series is meant to increase Israeli awareness of the
country’s world-class achievements in combating heart disease.
stamps make their way abroad, they will also raise awareness of these around the
world. The stamps cost NIS 3, NIS 4.20 and NIS 5.
At the conference,
Lotan told the audience that the mortality rate from cardiovascular disease has
dropped in recent decades by half, and that 90 percent of acute cardiovascular
events are treated immediately with catheterization.
In the last four
years, Lotan continued, some 1,500 artificial heart valves have been implanted
via catheter to replace faulty ones in patients unsuited for open-heart
Cholesterol-lowering drugs are successfully reducing
complications in large numbers of patients, Lotan said, noting that many
patients fail to recognize the symptoms of cardiac infarction and don’t get to
hospitals in time.
As heart attack symptoms are more difficult to
identify in women than in men, the IHS is launching Go Red!, a program to
increase awareness of symptoms among women and healthcare providers, Lotan
In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, the ACC’s Harold described
the growth of cardiac services in Israel as “nothing short of
Harold, a cardiologist at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center in
California, said he has “trained many Israeli cardiologists, and I am amazed to
meet here those in prestigious medical posts.”
The ACC, founded the same
year as the State of Israel, has 43,000 members (membership is granted only to
cardiologists of the highest caliber) and an Israeli chapter with more than 30
“Israeli cardiologists have great bench-to-bedside
developments. Israel is one of the safest parts of the world to have a
heart attack,” he smiled.
His organization also runs a “Middle East
Conference” in California with cardiologists from countries in the region,
including Iran, Egypt and Lebanon as well as Israel.
“They sit at the
same table, and they don’t discuss politics.
They discuss hearts,” Harold
said. “We wanted to show the world that cardiologists can transcend divisive
issues and come together to benefit all.”
Vardas, a Greek cardiologist,
said that his group, established in 1949, has 55 chapters in Europe, and is
based in Nice, France. The group will soon also have an office in Brussels.
Vardas has come to Israel almost annually and is “extremely impressed by its
medical innovation, vision and strong economy.”