The Israel Heart Society—the state's official cardiology association—has published information on heart disease in Israel ahead of World Heart Day, which will take place Friday, showing, inter alia, that heart attacks are the second leading cause of death in Israel.
250,000 Electrocardiograms, 45,000 cardiac catheterizations, 5,000 heart transplants and 4,000 open heart surgeries are just part of what 850 cardiologists perform throughout the country—generating data for a large-scale study conducted from 2000 to 2016 in 23 hospitals across the country.
The study indicates that about 25,000 cases of myocardial infarction (commonly known as a heart attack) occur annually in Israel and constitute the second leading cause of death—after cancer.
Despite the high number of people suffering from heart disease, Israel is one of the only countries in the Western world to have managed to reduce its mortality rate to levels that make no longer make it the leading cause of death, thanks to the advanced cardiac care given to patients.
The data show that mortality rate from heart disease has decreased by more than 50% over the past 15 years. For example, in 2000 about 20% of patients died within a month after suffering a heart attack, whereas in 2016 that figurre dropped to 7.5%.
Gender-wise, over the years, there has been a slight decrease in the number of women who suffer from heart disease, whereas the number of male sufferers slightly increased, as they continue to be the majority patients admitted for it: 79% male in contrast to 21% female.
The average age of those suffering from a first heart attack also favors women: 64 for men, compared to 74 for women. The research explains that one of the main reasons for heart attacks occurring a full decade later among women on average is due to hormonal changes they experience during in menopause.
The data further showed that close to half the number of heart attacks are recurrent incidents. A person who has already undergone a heart-related incident remains at risk for years, while most heart attacks that recur again are graded more severely than the first time and may result in death.
According to the data, 60% of patients with severe heart disease will die within 10 years due to inadequate effects of medication, smoking, and an unhealthy lifestyle.
Early detection of symptoms and rapid evacuation to a hospital are significant determining the outcome of a heart attack. About half of those with heart disease do not make it to the hospital as the attack usually takes place at home and can result in death within minutes.
"We are proud that cardiac care in Israel is at the forefront of medical and technological progress in the world in terms of prevention and treatment of heart disease," said Prof. Ran Kornowski, president of the Israel Heart Association and head of the Rabin Medical Center’s cardiology department.
"However, despite the decline in mortality in recent years, it remains a leading cause of death."