Cardiac catheterization used to fix heart defect for first time in Israel

It was decided that Yifrach should undergo surgery to correct and reduce the blood load flowing to the lungs that caused him to have an irregular heart beat.

THE HADASSAH-UNIVERSITY Medical Center campus is seen in Ein Kerem. (photo credit: MOSHE SHAI/FLASH90)
THE HADASSAH-UNIVERSITY Medical Center campus is seen in Ein Kerem.
(photo credit: MOSHE SHAI/FLASH90)

Cardiac catheterization was used to heal a patient suffering from a congenital heart defect for the first time in Israel at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem's Ein Kerem on Sunday.

Cardiac catheterization is a procedure where a thin tube is inserted through a blood vessel to the heart to diagnose or treat certain heart conditions. Examples would include irregular heart beating or defective arteries.

The procedure was performed on Jerusalem-resident Yair Yifrach, 68, who until last Sunday required multiple open-heart surgeries to treat his defect.

"A year ago, I was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect," he said. "During a running workout I started having a fast and extreme pulse and since then I have started to suffer from an irregular pulse," he said.

Yifrach underwent a series of comprehensive tests when it was initially confirmed that he was born with a heart defect. Dr. Gur Mainzer at Hadassah confirmed that he was suffering from a heart defect called Sinus Venosus Atrial Septal Defect. 

 Yair Yifrach and Dr. Gavri Sagui. (credit: HADASSAH SPOKESPERSON) Yair Yifrach and Dr. Gavri Sagui. (credit: HADASSAH SPOKESPERSON)

Medical professionals decided that Yifrach should undergo surgery to correct and reduce the blood load flowing to the lungs that caused him to have an irregular heart beat. During one meeting, the possibility arose of performing his treatment with catheterization instead of surgery, since it is an easier operation for the patient.

"To date, the treatment of such defects has required open-heart surgery, which includes opening the chest, opening the heart and repairing the septum," said Dr. Sagui Gavri, director of the Department of Pediatrics.

The procedure, which was performed for the first time in Israel, was performed by a team of cardiologists including Gavri, Mainzer, Dr. Nurit Yaakobi (a pediatric cardiologist who specializes in pediatric catheterization) and Dr. Julius Golander, director of the Hadera Preoperative Cardiology Unit, together with Prof. Eric Rosenthal, a pediatrician and cardiologist from London. Rosenthal volunteered to come to Israel to perform the procedure for the first time in Israel, and he is among the first to apply this method for closing defects using catheterization.

"I decided to perform the operation at Hadassah even though it was the first time it was performed in the country, but since I trust the doctors in the country, and especially Dr. Mainzer, who is an amazing person and cardiologist, I put my heart in his hands," said Yifrach. The operation was successful and Yifrach was released in excellent condition.