Unique Treatment for a Rare Cardiac Problem

Several weeks ago, a 35 year old man living in London went into cardiac arrest while on a run. By-standers performed CPR and he was rushed to a local hospital where he underwent a cardiac catheterization (which found no blockages) as well as an array of tests which ruled out congenital heart problems, however, found that he had a problematic blood vessel that went through the heart muscle.

The man returned to Israel, consulted a number of experts and underwent heart bypass surgery to treat the blood vessel. However, the man continued to suffer from chest pain during exertion.

The man then came to Shaare Zedek where the staff suspected that he may suffer from his vessels contracting when he exerts himself which consequently cuts off blood flow to the heart. Dr. Amir Orlev, a senior cardiologist in our Jesselsohn Integrated Heart Center, with the guidance of Dr. Lerman who is the Associate Chair of the Dept of Cardiovascular Medicine and the Medical Director of the Chest Pain and Coronary Physiology Clinic at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota in the United States conducted a test that had never been performed in Israel.

During a cardiac catheterization, the patient was given a drug that constricted the blood vessels of the heart, just like one experiences during an actual heart attack. After the blood vessel constricted the patient was immediately injected with medication that relaxed the blood vessels and prevented a blockage in the vessel that would result in a heart attack. The problem was identified and the doctors provided the appropriate treatment plan.

Dr. Orlev shared, “There are rare and unique cases in which a heart attack is not caused by a blocked blood vessels but by something else. Our unique diagnosis and treatment prevents unnecessary catheterization and follow-up surgery and can save lives.”

Professor Glikson, the Director of our Jesselson Integrated Heart Center said, “Shaare Zedek’s Heart Center is one of the leading centers in the country which integrates innovative and unique treatments that address the rare diseases and heart problems. This unique treatment needs to include a very wide range of solutions and treatments for the various heart problems that are offered in our Heart Center.”

Special thanks to Ms. Estelle Bukatman, our Director of Pharmacy Services and her staff, for working with the medical staff to identify and obtain the necessary medications.

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