Kaplan Medical Center's New Cardiac Center

Making a Profound Difference in the Advancement of Cardiac Care in Israel and the Middle East

This crucial project will create a breakthrough for Israel and the Middle East in finding solutions for heart diseases and heart disease prevention, the main cause of medical fatalities in the western world.

The Center's hospitalization rooms, labs, and clinics will house the most advanced technologies available and will take its position at the forefront of advanced treatment and medical care.

By establishing a cardiac research center, in collaboration with the Hebrew University and the Weizmann Institute, the Cardiac Center will be amongst the most advanced Cardiac Centers in the world.

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About Kaplan Medical Center and the Rising Need

Accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI), Kaplan Medical Center is part of the Clalit Health Services Network and is located in Rehovot, near the Weizmann Institute. Its catchment area is comprised of 1 million citizens from the center and southern regions of Israel.

The 554 bed facility is a teaching hospital and is affiliated both with the Hebrew University medical schools and Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem. Each year, 150,000 people visit its emergency room. In 2016, Kaplan has treated as many as 150,000 ER patients, 50,000 admissions and 350,000 outpatient visits.

Kaplan's catchment area includes several populations with high cardiac risk factors: immigrants from the former Soviet Union, Ethiopia, and Israeli Arabs.

While cardiology departments at other hospitals have seen a decline in admissions and treatments over the past three years, Kaplan's Heart Institute has seen a dramatic increase in volume and is one of the busiest in Israel. The number of coronary catheterizations procedures has more than doubled, with as many as 2,500 performed in the past year.

While Kaplan is a mid-sized hospital, this number of catheterizations is even larger than the number performed annually by Israel's largest medical centers. In addition, arrhythmia ablations have increased by 50% and stress echocardiography has tripled, with 3,000 procedures performed annually.

Innovation and Patient-Centered Care

Alongside this extraordinary growth, Kaplan has become a leader in cutting edge cardiology technologies and procedures. For example:

  • Kaplan is one of Israel's top three centers for percutaneous transplantation of aortic valves.
  • It leads Israel in percutaneous implantation of closure devices in the atrium to mitigate the need for blood thinners, thus reducing health risks.
  • Kaplan is the only center in Israel that provides optimizer pacemaker.
  • Kaplan was the first to introduce renal nerve ablation by ultrasound.
  • It is one of only two centers that operate a laser system device which opens chronically occluded vessels and removes pacemaker electrodes.

Kaplan's Heart Institute is a designated Center of Excellence for Medtronic, a leading international medical equipment firm. Medtronic sends groups of European cardiologists to Kaplan for a week long courses in the treatment fields of complex coronary interventions, structural heart interventions, cardiac imaging, and heart failure management.

Kaplan's Heart Institute has formed extensive clinical collaboration with community physicians and clinics. All Kaplan full time cardiologists are “on call” to consult with local general practitioners. This provides a smooth, effective and rapid path for diagnosis and treatment on one hand and a much better rehabilitation process for patients, on the other.

Inspiring Leadership

Professor Jacob (Kobi) George, who heads the Heart Institute, has revolutionized cardiology treatment in Israel.

  • He has first world experience with a novel US-based device to denervate the renal arteries and treat patients with resistant hypertension.
  • Professor. George is the first in Israel to use the Leaflex device which opens the aortic valve without having to use prosthesis for patients with aortic stenosis.
  • He was the first in Israel to implant fully retrievable aortic valve prosthesis percutaneous- also for patients with aortic stenosis.
  • He was the first to implant a fully subcutaneous defibrillator and bio-absorbable stent.
  • Professor. George is the only Israeli cardiologist who has used a cardiac contractility modulation device for patients with heart failure.
  • He is also the Israeli cardiologist with the most experience implanting left atrial occlude devices to avoid blood thinners in patients with atrial fibrillation, using cryoablation for arrhythmias, and opening obstructions in arteries of the legs using radial approaches.

Professor George leads a team of 22 physicians, trained at Cedars-Sinai / UCLA, Methodist Hospital / Baylor College of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and the Royal Brompton Hospital in London. The Heart Institute has twice received Clalit Health Services Network coveted “Center of Excellence” recognition and also “Yitzhak Rabin Public Sector Quality and Excellence National Award” for the year 2013.

Research at the Heart Institute

In the past five years, Kaplan's cardiac physicians have published more than 100 articles in prestigious peer-reviewed journals, such as the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the European Heart Journal, Circulation, European journal of Heart Failure, and Journal of the American College of Echocardiology, to name a few.

Some of the most recent research has focused on such varied and important topics as cryotherapy ablation in children and implications drawn from a military bioterror exercise in Israel. Bench research looked into hindlimb ischemia in mice and gonadal steroids and body composition, strength and sexual function in men, among dozens of other subjects.

Perhaps most exciting is the work being done involving stem cell research for cardiac disease. Amazingly, Professor George and his team are growing heart cells, and cell therapy studies are underway designed to rejuvenate blood vessels.

Current Conditions

Although famed internationally for its medical care and innovation, the Heart Institute is housed in 65 year old prefab barracks that were put in place when Kaplan was first opened in 1953.

The Heart Institute has only 23 beds, with 8 of them used for intensive cardiac care and the remaining 15 shared by cardiac patients and patients who are undergoing heart surgery.

Overflow patients are placed in the internal medicine departments, far from the cardiology facilities. Since cardiac surgery is performed in the main operating rooms at the end of Kaplan's campus, patients must be wheeled outdoor from the operating room to their hospitalization beds.

The intervention Unit has only 2 catheterization labs - one deals with coronary and structural heart diseases and the other handles both electrophysiology and pacemakers. The Heart Failure Center has only 4 daycare beds. Nuclear Cardiology has but one gamma camera for scans done both by stress and pharmacologic agents. The cardiac CT machine must also be shared with local radiologists.

The New Cardiac Center

The new Cardiac Center will be the largest high-tech cardiac center in the Middle East. It will be a six story, tertiary care facility and will serve 5,000 inpatients and 30,000 outpatients annually. In addition, approximately 5,000 children will be treated in the Pediatric Cardiology Clinic.

With the approvals of the government and Clalit Health Services already in place, the Cardiac Center will be the largest in Israel. Its 120,000 square feet of hospitalization rooms, labs, clinics and rehabilitation facilities, will house the most advanced technology available and will provide superior medical care and advanced treatment than has ever been available to the 1 million citizens of the catchment area in particular, and to the citizens of Israel in general.

Under Professor George's leadership, the 22 specialized cardiologists will run their own clinic within the center, together with a staff of 150 employees. Cardiology services will include nuclear medicine, cardiac rehabilitation non-invasive procedures, electrophysiology, congestive heart failure, catheterization, intermediate care and coronary care unit.

The new Cardiac center will have 40 inpatient beds, 10 for intensive care and 30 for intermediate care. The Clinics and ambulatory services will be integrated into the center as well. There will be 4 catheterization labs, a heart failure center with 10 daycare beds, dedicated cardiac MRI and CT machines, and modern echocardiogram and nuclear cardiology facilities.

The Kaplan Cardiac center will serve as the core and future engine of Israel's tertiary cardiac care system.

Donation and Donor Recognition

The total cost of the new Cardiac Center is 37 million USD, as detailed in the budget. Of this amount, construction costs are 30 million USD with equipment expenses totaling 7 million USD.

Clalit Health Services Network has committed 22 million USD and has already invested 1 million USD in architectural plans and project planning.

To leverage this support, the Friends of Kaplan Medical Center Association intends to raise 15 million USD. Kaplan Medical Center will provide prominent donor recognition on site as well as in a dignified public dedication ceremony.

Dr. Carlos Gruzman, MD, M.H.A.
Kaplan-Herzfeld Medical Center

Prof. Jacob (Kobi) George, MD, Ph.D.
Director of Heart Institute
Kaplan Medical Center

U.S. Contact:
Lou Balcher
National Director, AFKMC
215.932.2974 (voice or text)

What's in Your Heart?

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Our Vision

“We want to build a heart center that can patch all these units together — cath labs, MRIs, ICU units, heart scans — with sophisticated imaging and modalities dedicated to the heart. Our vision is to have all the niches built into a single structure. Usually some of those units are outside the hospital. Our idea is to have everything combined for kind of a one-stop shopping cardiac center.”

— Professor Kobi George, Director of Cardiology, Kaplan Medical Center