First-ever implant treats heart failure at Israeli hospital

Unique Israeli device offers hope to those suffering diastolic heart failure, Haifa hospital becomes first to use innovative heart solution.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Innovative operation at Rambam Hospital
Innovative operation at Rambam Hospital

Haifa's Rambam Hospital became the first in the world to implant a device intended to improve cardiac function in patients diagnosed with diastolic heart failure.

Over 23 million people worldwide suffer from heart failure, a condition in which the heart fails to pump sufficient oxygenated blood to meet the body's needs. Symptoms include shortness of breath, tiredness, swollen legs and limited ability to exercise or perform simple physical tasks.

The prognosis of heart failure is poor, with over 40% of patients dying within 5 years of diagnosis.

Approximately half of these patients suffer diastolic heart failure, which occurs when the heart's left ventricle fails to relax and adequately refill with blood (diastolic phase of the heart cycle). As a result, patients suffer a high filling pressure, congestion and shortness of breath. Risk of diastolic heart failure increases with age, and those at higher risk include women with hypertension, obesity, and diabetes. Currently, there is no proven treatment.

CorAssist, an Israeli start-up company, 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 (Rambam), together with partners Dr. Yotam Reisner and Dr. Shay Dubi.

Department of Cardiac Surgery Director Professor Gil Bolotin, and Interventional Cardiology Unit senior physician Dr. Arthur Kerner 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 admitted specifically for this procedure.

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 for his diastolic heart failure. 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 good people. Professor Gil Bolotin explained that while many potential applicants were interested in the procedure, no one wanted to be first.

Bright-eyed MacLachlan spoke of his experience with Rambam’s culturally diverse staff all sharing one special characteristic - a heart!

Rambam Director and CEO Professor Rafi Beyer explained, "Patients turn to us for the 'Rambam Advantage.' They 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."

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

The patient
The CORolla® implant