Getting at the ‘Heart’ of the Matter…World’s Top Cardiologists Confer at Sheba Medical Center in Israel

By Ken Stephens

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Timing is everything! So when a group of the world’s top cardiologists from Sheba Medical Center in Israel and the Mayo Clinic from Rochester, Minnesota gathered in Ramat Gan last week for the 5th Mayo-Sheba Cardiovascular & Cardio-Renal Symposium, the global buzz generated from Newsweek Magazine tabbing both Mayo (#1) and Sheba (#10), as two of the Top 10 Hospitals in the World, just a few days prior to the event, had a definitive impact on the proceedings. Over 200 top cardiologists and nephrology experts from Israel and around the world participated in the two-day parley.

“None of us are surprised that the Mayo Clinic was chosen to be number one because we in the medical profession know that Mayo is a mecca of clinical research and top patient care, so for Sheba to be also on this list for the first time in its history alongside the Mayo Clinic is thrilling and a testament to the hard work of our people,” said Professor Arnon Afek, Associate Director General, the Acting Director of Sheba General Hospital. “What we share in common, is the spirit of innovation and never resting on our laurels.”

Dr. Paul Friedman, Professor of Medicine and Chair of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at Mayo Clinic added, “The relationship between the Mayo Clinic and Sheba is built on common values and a special personal bond between the doctors that has grown over the years. We benefit from each other’s knowledge and that means that at the end the day the patients benefit as well.”

During the two-day symposium, which focused on Adult Congenital Heart Disease, Women in Cardiology and Updates in Nephrology, cardiologists from Mayo and Sheba not only tackled hot button medical issues in Sourasky Hall, several of them turned words into action by donning surgical uniforms and participating in a complicated procedure on a patient at Sheba. This joint surgical task force has played a vital role in assisting cardiologists from Sheba to upgrade their capabilities. “The Mayo Clinic has had an incredible impact on Israeli cardiology based on their dedication and professionalism,” claimed Professor Amit Segev, Director of the Olga and Lev Leviev Heart Center at Sheba.

At the other end of the spectrum, Sheba’s cardiologists have assisted Mayo Clinic’s doctors using innovative, cutting-edge heart disease detection concepts. At this moment, Sheba cardiologist, Dr. Elad Maor along with his colleagues from the Mayo Clinic are working with a Boston-based start-up, Beyond Verbal, which is using voice/ vocal biomarkers to determine if a person is suffering or will suffer from coronary artery disease.

Founded in 2012 by Israeli medical professionals, Beyond Verbal has been developing voice-enabled AI (Artificial Intelligence) solutions to create proprietary vocal biomarkers for personalized healthcare screening and continuous remote monitoring of health and emotions. Sheba is a global leader in employing cutting-edge start-up technologies, including AI healthcare solutions to create a revolution in personalized healthcare and telemedicine. The initial research paper on “Voice Signal Characteristics Associated with Coronary Artery Disease”, which was authored by Dr. Maor, Professor Amir Lerman (Mayo) and other doctors from Sheba and Mayo, was published in the Mayo Clinic’s prestigious Proceedings medical journal.

Other cardiologists from Sheba and the Mayo Clinic, such as Professor Ehud Raanani and Professor Rick Nishimura have created their own start-up entities that are addressing several heart problems issues in patients. “We are excited to be part of this collaboration with the Mayo Clinic within the realm of research and clinical activities. The rankings in Newsweek enforces the fact that we are the right role models when it comes to collaboration,” said Professor Raanani.

Professor Amir Lerman, who serves as an Associate Chair of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine and the Director of the Cardiovascular Research Center at Mayo Clinic, as well as the Medical Director of the Mayo-Israeli startup company initiative, was beaming as he saw his Israeli and American colleagues engaging in medical jargon and light banter. “I am proud of the collaboration between Sheba and Mayo, which actually started 20 years ago based on science and friendship. We continue to look forward to enhancing the collaboration between us,” said Professor Lerman.

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