Israeli cardiology given top marks

Prestigious journal rates Israeli cardiology better than most of Europe’s.

April 26, 2010 09:59
2 minute read.
Israeli cardiology given top marks

heart monitor 88. (photo credit: )


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Israeli cardiology has received an impressive report card from the European Society of Cardiology, whose prestigious European Heart Journal has found that the death rate of hospitalized heart attack patients in Israel is lower than that in 29 European countries. In addition, Israeli acute myocardial infarction patients get balloon angioplasty to open clogged coronary arteries faster than in all the others except Germany.

A few years ago, among all diseases cancer was identified as the biggest killer in Israel, surpassing heart disease, whose mortality rates have declined due to improved medical technology, highly trained cardiologists, greater accessibility and better prevention. Accessibility was increased when the Health Ministry required the health funds to give hospitals a rather generous, set amount per procedure instead of the much lower, per diem hospitalization rate.

Experts from 30 countries, from Austria to the UK, were asked to report on their own official national statistics, and Israel was represented by leading cardiologists Profs. Alexander Battler, Basil Lewis and Shlomo Behar.
The just-published scientific paper reported that the number of annual Israeli angioplasties (catheterizations in which a tiny deflated balloon is pushed from the groin or arm into the heart to restore blood flow) is 2,726 per million residents – twice that in the US and higher than France and Italy. Only Germany had a higher rate than Israel’s. Just 4.2 percent of patients died in the aftermath of heart attacks in Israeli hospitals, compared to 11.9% in Finland and 13.5% in Italy.

The article also noted that 75% of Israeli heart patients who undergo urgent angioplasties get it immediately rather than the less effective thrombolysis (injection of tPA, which gradually dissolves the clot).

At the same time, the number of new heart attack cases here is similar to the average European rate of 136 per 100,000, the Israel Heart Society reported. The journal showed in its tables that the rate of Israeli residents per catheterization center was 333,500 (there are 22 centers here), which was at an “optimal” level, making this country look good compared to most European countries. Israeli heart attack victims, on average, reach medical care in 90 minutes after the onset of symptoms compared to twice that in Belgium and Greece.

The heart society’s president, Prof. Gad Keren, and secretary-general Prof. Doron Zager said they were proud that the mortality rate from heart attacks in Israel is among the lowest in Europe. “It reflects upon years of research and hard work by cardiology departments around the country, as well as the health system’s correct investment in catheterization labs. To preserve this achievement for the future and even to improve on it, we must continue to invest many resources in research, manpower and equipment to deal with heart attacks. This investment has proven itself as saving lives,” they concluded.

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