Israelis More Likely to Survive Heart Attack than Europeans


planting-trees-israelThe mortality rate of heart patients in Israel is significantly lower than that of patients in Europe, a new study has shown. The study, published this month in the European Heart Journal, compares data on medical treatment of serious heart attack victims in 29 European countries.

Data in Israel was collected in 2006 in the Israel Heart Society’s biannual survey of cardiology departments.

The survey showed that 4.2 percent of Israeli heart patients in intensive care died, significantly lower than the 20 other European countries who submitted data in this category. In France, the number is 6.6 percent, in Germany 6.8 percent and in Britain, 9 percent.

The study also showed that the number of catheterizations in Israel following a heart attack is among the highest in Europe: 2,726 per million people per year. That figure is double the number in Britain and 42 percent higher than in France. However, it is 77 percent lower than in Switzerland and 32 percent lower than in Germany.

Israel has an intensive care unit for every 333,500 people – similar to the average in Europe, but better than in Britain, which has one intensive care unit for every 620,165 people. In France there is one such unit per 297,376 people, and Germany has one intensive care unit for every 190,000 people.

The number of intensive care units open 24 hours a day seven days a week for urgent catheterizations is also high compared to Europe.

According to Prof. Doron Zahger, secretary general of the Israel Heart Society, the availability of urgent catheterization in Israel and the speed with which people are treated are both high compared to Europe, which contributes to low mortality rates.

Most Israelis who suffer a heart attack are catheterized (49 percent), with only 15 percent given anti-clotting medication instead. In some countries the situation is the opposite, such as Britain, where 55 percent of heart attack patients receive medications and only 24 percent are catheterized.

Medication is less effective than catheterization in opening blocked arteries, but catheterization might be less available in these other countries, Zahger says.

The survey found that 36 percent of heart patients in Israel receive no treatment, which is the European average; higher than in Germany (12 percent) and Britain (21 percent) and similar to France (39 percent).

According to Zahger, untreated patients include those defined as non-urgent because their pain subsides before they get to the hospital or arrive at the hospital more than 12 hours after the onset of symptoms, when the damage is already done.

In Israel, patients experiencing symptoms of a heart attack see a medical professional some 90 minutes after the onset of symptoms, which is the average in Europe, but more than in France (68 minutes) and less than in Britain (100 minutes).

Israel has 136 new cardiac patients per 100,00 people each year, which is also the European average. It is higher than France (105 per 100,000) but lower than Turkey (312 per 100,000).

{Haaretz/Yair Israel}


  1. If Obamacare is based on the European model, we’ll get rid of a whole bunch of resource-sucking citizens really quick.