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The Israel Heart Society celebrates its 60th anniversary in April 2013

Israel Heart Society President Professor Chaim Lotan reveals plans for the society’s 60th anniversary celebrations and major milestones in the Society’s history.

The Israel Heart Society (IHS) celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. This momentous date will be commemorated at the IHS annual congress in April and will include a reception hosted by the President of Israel, Shimon Peres.

With a greater international reach than ever before, the past, current and president-elect of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) will attend, along with the presidents of the National Cardiac Societies in Canada, China and Russia. Three joint sessions will be held with the ESC, the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society. Professor Lotan comments:

“We feel that we are part of the large ESC community. Having the past, current and future presidents of the ESC coming to our 60th anniversary is a real salute.”

Then and now

Israel’s milestones in cardiology over the last 60 years began with tackling rheumatic heart disease. IHS president Professor Chaim Lotan, says:

“When I was a young cardiologist mitral stenosis, aortic stenosis and rheumatic valve disease were the predominant issues.”

He adds:

“Later on we moved to coronary disease and Israel was very advanced with regards to adopting PCI. We were one of the first countries to use stents.”

Israel’s registry of acute cases shows that ESC guidelines on acute cardiac care have been adopted. Nearly 98% of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) cases are sent directly to the cath lab for primary PCI, showing the success of a programme started eight years ago to bypass the emergency room. Israel has 26 cath labs and mortality from AMI is less than 10%.
Israel was among the first countries to do aortic valve replacement. After three years around 2,000 procedures have been performed with a high success rate.

Other milestones are similar to elsewhere in Europe – pacemaker implantations, defibrillators - reflecting evolutions in the treatment of coronary disease.

Challenges for the future

A major challenge is decreasing the time from chest pain in AMI to calling emergency services. The average wait for both men and women is about two hours, with women waiting longer than men.

“We want to do a national programme to shorten those times,”

says Professor Lotan. A campaign aimed at educating women about heart disease will be launched during the 60th anniversary to increase understanding of risk factors and dispel myths.

Reducing cardiovascular risk factors is another challenge. Achievements include treating high cholesterol, reducing cigarette smoking and incorporating free rehabilitation after every cardiac event into health provision. More intensive treatment with hypertension has begun and last year Israel adopted renal denervation treatment.

Average life expectancy in Israel is 80 for men and 82 for women. The aging population brings more heart failure and associated challenges such as atrial fibrillation and the need to fund the new oral anticoagulants (NOACs).

During Professor Lotan’s presidency the IHS built a new website with sections devoted to cardiologists and the public. The 13 IHS working groups will have access to an online university with CME credits. Patients will find educational information about all aspects of heart disease.

Last year saw the opening of a new Heart House for the IHS which is the home of the secretariat and web team.

Working with the ESC

Professor Lotan has enhanced connections with the ESC by increasing input into ESC Associations and Working Groups, Guidelines, the ESC Core Curriculum and the ESC Congress and has led the webinar work for the ESC’s Education Committee. He says:

“The world is becoming more global and webinars are an important educational tool for fellows and for continuous education. It enables cardiologists to see a live summary of ESC events, studies and other work.”

He adds:

“I believe the internet will become a major source for education in ESC countries and it will be important for the ESC to build a strong tool that can be adjusted to each country’s needs including time and language.”

Israel is set to adopt the ESC online learning programme (ESCeL) and the EAPCI Interventional Portal.

The ESC Cardiologists of Tomorrow programme was launched two years ago in Israel. Today the fellows have their own working group and are encouraged to attend and participate in meetings. Professor Lotan says:

“It exposes them at a relatively young age to the ESC and will enhance their knowledge of guidelines, working groups and the congress.”

Israel plays an active role in ESC registries and surveys that collate valuable data for comparable studies. The Israel Heart Society is currently involved in studies for Heart Failure, Lead Extraction and the Transcatheter Valve Treatment, with centres across Israel also involved in studies on Pregnancy and Cardiac disease (ROPAC), Peripartum Cardiomyopathy and Atrial Fibrillation. If you work in a centres and are interested in taking part, find out more here or contact us.

He concludes:

“This wonderful work in the last two years was done with great collaboration with Dr Amit Segev, the secretary general of the society.”

More on the 60th anniversary

National Cardiac Society presidents of the past, present and future will be guests at a reception held at the house of the President of Israel, Shimon Peres. Three special postage stamps dedicated to the 60th anniversary will be issued by the Israeli post office and revealed at the congress. They will illustrate innovations in cardiology in which Israel played a role: the defibrillator, stents and aortic valve replacement.
The IHS Cardiologists of Tomorrow will hold a special session during the congress and present tough cases to discuss with international cardiology experts including ESC president-elect Professor Fausto Pinto and Professor Eugene Braunwald.