Israeli doctors during the unique operation. (Rambam Hospital) (Rambam Hospital)
Rambam Heart Operation

Millions of people worldwide suffer from diastolic heart failure, and it appears that an Israeli medical team may have found a cure.

A unique device developed by an Israeli start-up gives new hope to those who suffer from diastolic heart failure.

Rambam Hospital in Haifa was the first to use this new device in a 72-year-old Canadian man admitted specifically for this procedure.

Over 23 million people worldwide suffer from heart failure, a condition under which the heart fails to pump sufficient oxygenated blood to meet the body’s needs.

The prognosis for heart failure in general is poor, with more than 40 percent of such patients dying within five years of diagnosis. There are several types of heart failure based on the mode of heart dysfunction. Diastolic heart failure occurs when the left ventricle fails to relax and adequately refill with blood, the diastolic phase of the heart cycle, resulting in high filling pressure, congestion and shortness of breath.

The threat of diastolic heart failure increases with age and is common among women with hypertension, obesity and diabetes. There is currently no effective  treatment for this condition.

CorAssist, an Israeli start-up company, has developed the CORolla®, an elastic device that is implanted inside the left ventricle of the heart by a minimally invasive procedure on a beating heart. The device can improve cardiac diastolic function by applying direct expansion force on the ventricle wall to help the heart fill with blood.

The CorAssist technology was invented by Dr. Yair Feld, a cardiologist at Rambam Health Care Campus, together with Drs. Yotam Reisner and Shay Dubi.

Canadian Makes History in Israel

Professor Gil Bolotin, director of the Department of Cardiac Surgery, and Dr. Arthur Kerner, senior physician in the Interventional Cardiology Unit, recently led a multi-disciplinary team of cardiologists, heart surgeons and other Rambam medical professionals in the first clinical implantation surgery on a 72-year old Canadian man.

When asked how and why he came to Rambam for the procedure, Robert MacLachlan explained that he had run out of treatment options in Canada. His wife had read about the CORolla implant on the Internet and contacted Dr. Karen Bitton Worms, Head of Research – Department of Cardiac Surgery at Rambam. MacLachlan’s cardiologist encouraged him to apply, saying he would be going to a great facility, a university hospital with high-quality practitioners.

Bolotin explained that while many potential applicants were interested in the procedure, no one wanted to be first.

The ‘Rambam Advantage’

MacLachlan spoke enthusiastically of his experience with Rambam’s culturally diverse staff, saying they share one special characteristic—they all have heart!

Professor Rafi Beyer, director and CEO of Rambam, said that patients turn to the hospital for what he called the “Rambam Advantage.”

“They [the patients] know that Rambam’s physician researchers have access to some of the most innovative technologies and treatments. I am proud that Rambam offers treatments to patients not available anywhere else in the world,” he said.

The Israel Ministry of Health has authorized up to 10 clinical trials at Rambam to test the efficacy of cardiac catheterization for placement of the CORolla® implant.

By: United with Israel Staff