Cardiovascular Institute

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Diastolic Dysfunction

Causes: increased age, ischemia, and LV hypertrophy are common causes of impaired LV relaxation. Myocardial fibrosis and scarring is a common mechanism for decreased ventricular compliance and elevated filling pressures.

Stages of Diastolic Dysfunction:

  • Stage 1: 
    • Impaired relaxation
      • Relaxation simulates negative pressure allowing an inflow of blood from the left atrium into the left ventricle. 
    • Normal Atrial Pressure
    • E/A < 1
  • Stage 2:
    • Psudonormal filling pattern with or without elevated pressures 
    • E/A > 1
    • Increased Atrial Pressure
  • Stage 3: 
    • Restrictive LV filling pattern with elevated pressures
    • Reversible: Pattern Normalized with valsalva
    • Atrial Enlargement 
    • E/A > 2
  • Stage 4: 
    • Non Reversible restriction.
    • Atrial Enlargement

Tissue Doppler Imaging In the Setting of Diastolic Dysfunction: 

Tissue doppler imaging (TDI) detects a shift in frequency of ultrasound signals from myocardial tissue motion. The motion is measured in a parallel plane to the ultrasound beam. It visualizes long axis shortening and relaxation velocities of the heart. 

Cardiac Cycle on Ultrasound

  • There are three waveforms that can be visualized on ultrasound, which depict the cardiac cycle: rapid filling, diastasis, and atrial contraction. 
  • (KB) Lateral & Septal Placement of Ultrasound Probe during Diastolic Examination:
    • Placement of the ultrasound probe: tissue doppler sampling is done 1cm below the mitral plane. The sample can be placed at the septal and lateral borders of the mitral annulus. 
      • Mitral annular velocities measured at the medial aspect are normally <8 cm/s, whereas those measured at the lateral aspect are normally <10 cm/s. These measurements are combined to form a mean mitral annular valve velocity. Of note, young and healthy patients may display higher velocities. The medial annular velocity is typically lower than the lateral because the lateral can move more freely as the medial annular ring is tethered to the rigid intervalvular fibrosa. Medial ring movement may also be blunted by the motion of the right ventricle. 
      • When medial and lateral velocities are measured, the mean value is used. This is useful when there are regional wall motion abnormalities. 
    • Example: Measuring the E/e’ ratio and the Left Ventricular End-Diastolic Pressure
      • E/e’ = the peak E wave velocity divided by the peak e’ velocity. 
      • The American Society of Echocardiography recommends measuring the E/e’ ratio …***

Pulmonary Vein Flow: this looks at the flow from the RSPV pulmonary vein to the left atrium.

There are three things to evaluate via ultrasound (apical 4 chamber view) using pulsed-wave Doppler.

  1. The Systolic peak (S)
    1. forward flow (from the pulmonary vein perspective) 
  2. The antegrade diastolic peak (D)
    1. Should be smaller than S in pulmonary blood flow
    2. filling of the ventricle
  3. Peak AR velocity (Ar)
    1. reverse flow (left atrium to the pulmonary vein, from the pulmonary vein perspective)
    2. This is caused by the contraction of the atria pushing blood both forward into the ventricle but also some blood back into the pulmonary veins.

A caveat to a normal pulmonary venous pattern is that many young individuals and athletes will have an S < D relationship. This is thought to be secondary to exaggerated pulmonary venous inflow during diastole from a powerful suction during the early rapid filling phase of diastole.

Diastolic Function | Thoracic Key


Diastolic Dysfunction Assessment - Normal, Mild, Moderate ...

E = rapid filling 

A = atrial contraction 

S = forward flow (from the pulmonary vein perspective) 

D = filling of the ventricle 

A = reverse flow (left atrium to the pulmonary vein, from the pulmonary vein perspective)

Severe Diastolic Dysfunction: [ Adur – adur >=30 ] 

Adur = reversed flow (LA to pulmonary vein) caused by atrial contraction 

adur = atrial contraction (from the ‘mitral inflow’ perspective) 

The ‘Adur’ duration will be longer in a restrictive diastolic dysfunction pattern because blood that cannot fill the left ventricular space backs up into the left atrium. This leftover blood will then cause the duration of blood flow from the left atrium to the pulmonary vein to be increased in comparison with the mitral inflow perspective. In other words, the blood flow duration represented by the ‘Adur’ variable will continue long past the closing of the mitral valve and subsequent ending of the duration of flow across the mitral inflow tract (represented by ‘adur’). 

Other Parameters for evaluating diastolic dysfunction:

  • left atrial (LA) maximum volume index: looking at patients body surface and end atrial diastole. >34 ml/m2
  • tricuspid regurgitant systolic jet velocity: calculated with continuous wave doppler from apical 4 chamber. >2.8 m/s
  • valsalva for dynamically assessing reversal mitral inflow velocity E/A
  • E/e’ >14


  3. Recommendations for the Evaluation of Left Ventricular Diastolic Function by Echocardiography: An Update from the American Society of Echocardiography and the European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging

Please feel free to add 😀 

General Tips

  • Always ask for the patient’s date of birth instead of their name if not sure
  • Make sure to check the patient in and copy over the previous note
  • If patient was seen recently and their labs are not in their documents section, ask the front desk staff to check Quest for their results
  • Please don’t stand in the hallways due to COVID precautions. Prepare presentations in empty patient rooms (1 or 2)

Patient Education Tips

  • Plant-based diet: vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and fruits. Anything grown from the ground.
  • Fruits: Any type of fruit including apple, bananas, grapes, strawberries, citrus fruits, etc.
  • Vegetables: Plenty of veggies including peppers, corn, lettuce, spinach, kale, peas, collards, etc.
  • Tubers: Root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, beets. Etc.
  • Legumes: Beans of any kind, plus lentils, pulses, etc. nuts, seeds, avocados, tofu, tempeh

Note Writing Tips

  • Read other notes’ assessments to get idea of how to write 
  • Add initials to Encounter so staff can reference/ask 
  • Add Summary section to Others @ end of Plan for the next student for quick reference 
    • Include date of visit, chief complaint, work up and follow up plan
  • Always utilize the spell check function and minimize abbreviations 
  • Don’t change the color (status) of the note until someone has reviewed it 
  • Always double check that vitals are included and physical exam section is correct (toggle physical exam performed or not)
  • Carefully read the assessment and plan sections. Check for completion, flow, spelling and grammar mistakes. 

Topics to Study/Review

  • Generic & brand names of common medications (HTN meds, HLD meds, DM meds, blood thinners)
  • Review BP medication classes and side effects 
  • If you don’t know medication quickly look it up prior to presenting- might ask about it
  • STATINS, doses, mechanism of action, side effects (myalgia – monitor CK, myopathy, headache, GI)
  • PCSK9 inhibitor, Praulent and Repatha, mechanism of action, monthly and every 2 weeks, side effects (myalgia), sinus congestion is a common side effect of repatha
    • You want to warm up repatha before administering it (have patient hold in hands) if pen, make sure all the med is administered before removing

Oral presentation blueprint

  1. Mr/Mrs./Miss ____
  2. Age/ gender
  3. PMH- including cardiac surgeries
    1. For aortic stenosis include most recent valve surface area
    2. For CHF include NYHA class
    3. For aortic aneurysms include most recent measurement 
    4. For MI include date and area of stent placement
  4. Coronary Calcium Score
  5. Last lipids Date and LDL #
  6. Statin therapy, if not why not?
  7. ASCVD 
  8. CHAD-VASC (only if hx of afib or on anticoagulant)
  9. Chief Complaint and HPI
  10. Cardiac sx
  11. Home blood pressures and home blood glucose 
  12. Last visit medication changes
  13. Any questions for Dr. Ben-Zur?

Primary Hyperaldosteronism 

Background: Excess aldosterone secretion from the adrenal cortex. Most common cause of primary hyperaldosteronism is bilateral adrenal hyperplasia. 

Clinical Presentation: Refractory hypertension in young or middle aged adults commonly failing multiple anti-hypertensive drug regimens. Associated symptoms include headaches, fatigue, flushing and excess sweating.


  • Hypokalemia
    • Metabolic alkalosis may be present due to counter exchange of potassium and hydrogen in the kidneys
  • Plasma aldosterone concentration (PAC) to plasma renin assay (PRA) ratio
    • PAC/PRA ratio of > 20
    • PAC is often greater than 15 ng/dL
  • Confirmatory test: 24 urine aldosterone >20 mcg/24hrs
  • MRI or CT scan can be used to differentiate adrenal hyperplasia from an adrenal adenoma (Conn Syndrome) 


  • Spironolactone is the mainstay of treatment
  • Laparoscopic surgery can be performed for unilateral adrenal hyperplasia or adrenal adenoma

Dear friends and family,

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is alerting healthcare professionals and patients of a voluntary recall of several drug products containing the active ingredient valsartan used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure. This recall is due to an impurity, N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which was found in the recalled products. However, not all products containing valsartan are being recalled. NDMA is classified as a probable human carcinogen (a substance that could cause cancer) based on results from laboratory tests. The presence of NDMA was unexpected and is thought to be related to changes in the way the active substance was manufactured.

The FDA’s review is ongoing and has included investigating the levels of NDMA in the recalled products, assessing the possible effect on patients who have been taking them and what measures can be taken to reduce or eliminate the impurity from future batches produced by the company.

“The FDA is committed to maintaining our gold standard for safety and efficacy. That includes our efforts to ensure the quality of drugs and the safe manner in which they’re manufactured,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “When we identify lapses in the quality of drugs and problems with their manufacturing that have the potential to create risks to patients, we’re committed to taking swift action to alert the public and help facilitate the removal of the products from the market. As we seek the removal of certain drug products today, our drug shortages team is also working hard to ensure patients’ therapeutic needs are met in the United States with an adequate supply of unaffected medications.”

Information for Patients and Health Care Professionals:

Because valsartan is used in medicines to treat serious medical conditions, patients taking the recalled valsartan-containing medicines should continue taking their medicine until they have a replacement product.

To determine whether a specific product has been recalled, patients should look at the drug name and company name on the label of their prescription bottle. If the information is not on the bottle, patients should contact the pharmacy that dispensed the medicine.

If a patient is taking one of the recalled medicines listed below, they should follow the recall instructions provided by the specific company. This information will be posted to the FDA’s website.

Patients should also contact the pharmacist who dispensed the medication to find out if their medicine is included in this recall to discuss their treatment, which may include another valsartan product not affected by this recall or an alternative treatment option.

The companies listed below are recalling all lots of non-expired products that contain the ingredient valsartan supplied by a third-party. Not all valsartan-containing medicines distributed in the United States have valsartan active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) supplied by this specific company. The supplier has stopped distributing its valsartan API and the FDA is working with the affected companies to reduce or eliminate the valsartan API impurity from future products.

Recalled Products:

Medicine                                                            Company

-Valsartan                                                          Major Pharmaceuticals
-Valsartan                                                          Solco Healthcare
-Valsartan                                                          Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd.
-Valsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ)  Solco Healthcare
-Valsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ)  Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd.

“We have carefully assessed the valsartan-containing medications sold in the United States, and we’ve found that the valsartan sold by these specific companies does not meet our safety standards. This is why we’ve asked these companies to take immediate action to protect patients,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

The FDA will continue to investigate this issue and provide additional information when it becomes available. The agency encourages patients and healthcare professionals to report any adverse reaction to the FDA’s MedWatch program.

If you are affected by this recall please contact your pharmacy. They will give you possible alternative medications that your insurance company may cover. Please also find out the prices of these alternative medications. Each insurance company has a different fee structure. 

Please notify my office at 818-986-0911, and come in so that I may adjust your medications if needed.

Thank you!


  • -Real time measurement of pressure & volume within left ventricle
  • -It gives information on stroke volume, cardiac output, ejection fraction, and myocardial contractility
  • -The LV pressure is plotted against the LV volume at multiple points during a single cardiac cycle

1 → 2 (isovolumetric contraction). The cycle begins at the end of diastole at point 1. Ventricular pressure is low because the ventricular muscle is relaxed. On excitation, the ventricle contracts and ventricular pressure increases. The mitral valve closes when left ventricular pressure is greater than left atrial pressure. Because all valves are closed, no blood can be ejected from the ventricle (isovolumetric).

2 → 3 (ventricular ejection). The aortic valve opens at point 2 when pressure in the left ventricle exceeds pressure in the aorta. Blood is ejected into the aorta, and ventricular volume decreases. The volume that is ejected in this phase is the stroke volume. Thus, stroke volume can be measured graphically by the width of the pressure–volume loop. The volume remaining in the left ventricle at point 3 is end-systolic volume.

3 → 4 (isovolumetric relaxation). At point 3, the ventricle relaxes. When ventricular pressure decreases to less than aortic pressure, the aortic valve closes. Because all of the valves are closed again, ventricular volume is constant (isovolumetric) during this phase.

4 → 1 (ventricular filling). Once left ventricular pressure decreases to less than left atrial pressure, the mitral valve opens and filling of the ventricle begins. During this phase, ventricular volume increases to about 140 mL (the end-diastolic volume).

Loops Based off Drugs

Increased Preload/ Intravenous Fluids

  • -Increases end diastolic volume and increases stroke volume
  • -Increases width of pressure-volume loop

Decreased Afterload – ACE-inhibitors, ARB’s

  • -Increased stroke volume because ventricle ejects blood against a lower pressure in the systemic vasculature
  • -Causes increased width of pressure-volume loop
  • -Decreases end systolic volume

Increased Contractility/Positive Inotropes – Dobutamine, Dopamine

  • -Ventricle develops more tension during systole, leads to an increase in stroke volume
  • -Decreases end systolic volume






















Deaths due to Alzheimer’s disease have sky-rocketed by 89% since the year 20001. Currently, 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease with 16 million projected to have it by 20501. Alzheimer’s is an insidious, chronic disease that affects patients and their families for about a decade before killing them. It puts extreme emotional and financial stress, not only on the patient, but also on the family members and caregivers who look after patients during their illness.

Emerging research comparing plant based diets, like the vegan diet, to the average American diet show that a plant based diet has neuroprotective effects for the brain. For example, a recent study from California showed that vegan subjects were half as likely to become demented compared to those who ate meat, including poultry and fish. Cumulative data on vegetarians show a trend of delayed onset of dementia overall2. Harvard University researchers found that older women who eat foods containing monounsaturated fats, such as avocado, nuts, and seeds, are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who eat foods high in saturated fats, like meat and butter.3

The typical Western diet consists of high carbohydrates, high saturated fats, and refined sugars, increases oxidative stress in the body, which significantly contributes to cardiac and cerebrovascular disease. Both of these disease states are caused by fat and cholesterol plaques building up along the sides of blood vessels walls throughout the body. Poor diet doesn’t just affect the vessels in your heart; it affects the vessels in your brain too! The small vessels of the brain can become clogged leading to small areas of brain death. Eventually these damaged areas can cause dementia and cognitive defects. Along these lines, a study from the Mayo Clinic discovered women with heart disease are three times more likely to develop cognitive problems associated with dementia.3

The evidence is clear: our typical Western Diet is linked with the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. We need a diet shift that supports a plant based diet to prevent heart disease, diabetes mellitus, and dementia. Foods that decrease oxidative stress like fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts can protect our brain health in addition to helping us lose weight, reduce fatigue and medications. Your physical health and mental health will both be improved by the significant antioxidant properties of the plant based diet. So head to the produce isle today!


  1. Alzheimer’s Association.
  2. Giem, P., W.L. Beeson, and G.E. Fraser. “The incidence of dementia and intake of animal products: preliminary findings from the Adventist Health Study.” Neuroepidemiology. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1993. Web. 08 Aug. 2017.
  3. “New Link Between Dementia and Diet.” PETA Prime. Mayo Clinic, 27 Feb. 2013. Web. 08 Aug. 2017.
  4. Solfrizzi, V., et. al. “Relationships of Dietary Patterns, Foods, and Micro- and Macronutrients with Alzheimer’s Disease and Late-Life Cognitive Disorders: A Systematic Review.” Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Volume 59 (2017), pp 815-849.
















Close your eyes for a moment. Imagine your wife or husband is told by your doctor that you had a significant heart attack. He explains that you may not survive the night and your wife or husband should bring your teenaged children to the hospital to say, “Good bye”. And if you do survive your family, the people you love the most in the world can be consoled by the fact that you will most likely be a vegetable and unable to take care of yourself. Now how do you feel? It could happen to you, G-d forbid. It happened to me. Please read my story below so you won’t have to live with the same guilt I now live with for the rest of my life.

My name is Leibel Winegard and I usually don’t like to write about myself nor do I typically engage in social media. However, I believe it is vital for me to spread my story because it may help someone out there. I have told my story several times and several cardiologists have suggested that I need to make sure that as many people as possible understand that what happened to me, can easily happen to you. I write this story with tears. This account originates from multiple sources because candidly, I lost six days of my life that I cannot account for today. I simply don’t have any recall of even leaving my home, much less all that happened to me and my family once my heart attack started. I’ve done the best to be as accurate and as detailed as possible.

Los Angeles Marathon- Sunday- 2017. In the morning, I attended the open house of a new building my client built where our firm was the Construction Manager. I remember the celebration and the joy as this was a relatively large building built just a few miles from my home. When I got home, I was hot and felt exhausted. Sitting on the couch in the living room, I didn’t even have the energy to change out of my suit and tie and I asked my son to go get me a change of clothes. My last memory for the next six days was sitting on the couch feeling hot and out of breath.

After I woke up in the hospital, I was told that my sons who are trained in first aid, CPR, and are almost Eagle Scouts knew I was in trouble and needed urgent medical assistance. They said I got sick to my stomach and I told them that I would not let them call 911. Instead, they told me that I thought I was having an asthma attack and I suggested that they get our neighbor, who is a trained first responder to drive me to Dr. Ben Zur because he was open on Sundays. I DON’T REMEMBER LEAVING MY HOME AND GETTING IN THE CAR. As we were driving and speaking with Ramiro navigating to Dr. Ben Zur’s office, I am told I developed severe chest pain and then slumped over. My son knew he needed to keep my airway open and grabbed my head from behind so I could breathe. My neighbor told Ramiro that I was nearby Sherman Oaks Hospital in Sherman Oaks, CA. and that he was taking me there because he didn’t think I would survive the drive through heavy traffic to Dr. Ben Zur’s office. By the time I was at the hospital parking lot I had gone into cardiac arrest, my heart stopped and I understand I took my last breath of oxygen for probably at least 5 minutes. Worse, I was told by an LA County Deputy Sherriff that it is very important if you have an emergency because it significantly delays the Emergency Room’s response to starting the necessary treatment.

Because my treatment was somewhat delayed, the ER (emergency room) staff had to perform CPR on me for between 30 and 40 minutes. Thank G-d, after the third and final electric shock, I was revived from death.

My wife immediately notified Dr. Ben Zur’s office which was about 6 miles away in Tarzana, CA. Because it was a Sunday and probably because it was the marathon day, all the streets and the freeways were virtual parking lots. Cars were standing still in all directions. This was especially the case for Ventura Boulevard and the Ventura Freeway which are the only ways to rapidly get from Tarzana to Sherman Oaks. Suddenly, Dr. Ben-Zur appeared in the Sherman Oaks emergency room and took control of the situation. My wife was astonished because she knew that they had just spoken with Dr. Ben-Zur by phone and he was in his Tarzana office. One of the nurses looked at Dr. Ben-Zur and said “you must have superpowers” I just spoke with you and you were in Tarzana. But, I know how he did it, his genuine care and love for his patients provides him with unique abilities. That is the secret superpower that God has bestowed upon Dr. Ben-Zur.

When Dr. Ben-Zur arrived I was in cardiac shock with a very poor blood pressure and I was on a respiratory machine. The staff of the hospital informed my family that my chances of survival were dismal. Apparently, Sherman Oaks Hospital does not have the ability to operate on my condition. Thank G-d, Dr. Ben-Zur ordered an ambulance to Sherman Oaks Hospital while he was driving. The ambulance immediately came to where I was located and transported me to Tarzana Hospital. Dr. Ben-Zur also asked the great one, Ramiro, (SM) to call ahead of time to Tarzana Hospital. The entire Tarzana Hospital ER and operating room staff were all there waiting for the ambulance to arrive. One of the ER doctors commented that for the past 20 years Dr. Ben-Zur has always arrived before the ambulances. “Every second counts,” said Dr. Ben-Zur, the difference between life and death may be a matter of only a few minutes. One of the ambulance crew members said to Dr. Ben-Zur “I know you left after us, I saw you! How is it possible that you got here before us?” Apparently, caring gives you higher powers than the wailing sirens of the Los Angeles Fire Department. Now every time I hear sirens I think of Dr. Ben-Zur and where he might be. Perhaps he’s flying overhead?

I subsequently made a full recovery and I am back with my family, my wife and three children. My daughter Shira does not allow people to refer to Dr. Ben-Zur as Dr. Ben-Zur. She insists that we all call him Abba’s Dr. Ben-Zur and all of us occasionally call him Rabbi Ben Zur as a measure of added respect. Whenever she sees Dr. Ben-Zur she runs over to give him a deep hug. She too has become a vegetarian (at 14 years old) and my 15 and 17-year-old sons now are more conscious of our family history and try to exercise more and more.

When I come to the office I’m greeted by an incredible staff. People who go above and beyond to love and respect each and every one of their patients. What an incredibly loving atmosphere. A team that saves lives for a living and cares and truly cares about each and every individual person. When I tell you that I love going to the office, I know you’ll think I’m crazy, but it’s the truth. My doctor and his staff are special. Please, If you see Dr. Ben-Zur or any of his staff members, please give them a big hug. Tell them Leibel sends his love and gratitude for keeping his family together.

The purpose of this letter is to help save lives. You need to understand how lucky I was that I was a patient of Dr. Ben Zurs and the Cardiac Institute. Once I woke up six days later, I had several doctors and nurses at the Tarzana Hospital coming in to see me and they called me a miracle. I thought they were being kind and encouraging me to help. The truth is that a very close friend of mine is a cardiac care specialist who has won fellowships and publishes and delivers papers at prestigious cardiac conferences. He explained to me three months after my heart attack just how lucky I was to have Dr. Ben Zur provide the care he did when I needed it. My friend explained that because I went so long without oxygen from not breathing and because it took precious moments to start CPR which lasted so long, the statistics of my survival, particularly that I, thank G-d, didn’t have any loss of mental capacity nor physical complications were probably 1 in 1 million. Yes – I am a miracle. What that means is that there are 999,999 others most-likely that given the same situation would be dead or a vegetable.

So what do you do? Please, I beg of you do the following:

1.Go to Dr. Ben Zur for a check-up.
2.Start a vegetarian diet. Get your family, including your children to start eating properly, especially if you have a family history of cardiac disease.
3.Exercise. It is the summer now and my wife and I walk laps at the mall. It is air conditioned with flat surfaces and there are bathrooms and chairs available to sit down if you need them.
4.Take your blood pressure and start a record of your daily BP, weight, medications, and exercise so you and Dr. Ben Zur can see how you are doing over time.
5.Realize that while your work is important, your family is more important. I wore my strong work ethic like a badge of honor. I used to be so proud that I was one of the first in the office in the morning and always the last to leave Working 60 or more hours on a salaried job where you are not paid a dollar more over 40 hours indicates you have your priorities wrong.
6.Take vacations. Give your family the memories they can share with their children and grandchildren.
7.Sleep. Again, I used to be so proud of myself that I was able to work an extremely long day on four hours of sleep. Lack of sleep plays a major role in weight gain, stress, and heart disease. To quote Forrest Gump, “Stupid is as stupid does.”
8.Love yourself. Dr. Ben Zur almost always greets you with a hug because he knows that in today’s high energy environment, we rarely take care of ourselves. When Dr. Ben Zur hugs me, it brings me back to a reality that I too have to hug myself. I have to love myself because I deserve to be loved.
9. Finally, if you ever find yourself in a situation where you MIGHT need emergency medical attention, call 9-1-1 immediately. I was the 1 in a million chance that survived cardiac arrest after waiting far too long to get treatment and you and your family will have a much higher rate of survival if you go into the emergency room from an ambulance than if you drive in yourself.
10.Have your family and friends learn CPR and the signs of cardiac arrest and stroke. Seconds mean lives.

Thank G-d I don’t have any recollection of the physical pain associated with my heart attack. Having said that, however, knowing that I cause my wife and children such pain hearing I may die and seeing me on life support is horrible. I live with this guilt every day. But I use this guilt as the motivation to exercise more, eat a vegetarian diet, and walk away from stress at work and home. I want to become their role model of healthy living. That is the only way I can bear the guilt of having given them such a scare.

Thank you very much for reading my letter. I would be glad to further discuss my near-death experience, as well as how I am making the necessary changes in my life to beat heart disease. I suggest you reach out to Dr. Ben Zur and Ramiro to get a hold of me.

Wishing you the good health.

Leibel Winegard.













This is our story about when my husband had his heart attack. My husband developed chest pain. We went to the local emergency room, where a doctor told me my husband was having a major heart attack. A cardiologist had been called. Fear and panic overwhelmed me. My husband was 47 years old at the time. We have three children. Thoughts began taking root in my head: What will happen to him, my life-long friend? What will be with our children? Amazingly within minutes, a tall gentleman arrived. He said, “Hi my name is Dr. Ben-Zur, and I’ll be taking care of your husband.” He was obviously hurried and intensely focused on the problem, but his gentle eyes were calming. Within seconds I felt at ease. It was if an older brother had come to save us while we were drowning.

Almost immediately Dr. Ben-Zur rushed my husband to the operating room. This was at about 1:30 AM. At about 4:30 AM Dr. Ben-Zur emerged and came out to the waiting area. He had a glowing look, a big smile, and two thumbs up. His clothing was wet from perspiration. It was obvious that he had worked very hard. My husband was fine and he Would be going home in a few days, he said. My husband was then seen in. Dr. Ben-Zur’s office over the next several months. Dr. Ben-Zur and his amazing staff completely changed our lifestyle. My husband is now eating healthy food and is in the best shape he has been in a very long time.

After meeting with many of Dr. Ben-Zur’s patients, I realized that our story was not unique. Hundreds of them have similar stories. Dr. Ben-Zur has been a tremendous addition to our lives. My youngest son said it best: “Our doctor is special.” Even though I’m busy with my husband and raising three children, I take two cups of green juice to Dr. Ben-Zur every morning. (I worry that he does not always eat on time.)

My name is Azita and I look forward to meeting you at Dr. Ben-Zur’s office some day.

















My sister is a physician who worked with Dr. Ben-Zur, back when she was a medical student. Our family is well acquainted with Dr. Ben-Zur and his office staff. We have the highest regard for everyone there. I always thought that I was taking care of my health; being that I have been eating properly and exercising daily. On June 26th, 2017 I had a stress test at Dr. Ben-Zur’s office. This was the first stress test I’d ever undergone. I questioned whether I really needed it, but for the two weeks prior I was having chest pain. A lot of the features of the chest pain I was having were not typical for heart disease. During the stress test, however, I developed severe problems – my artery closed off. Within seconds, Dr. Ben-Zur and the entire team at the Cardiovascular Institute were activated. Within minutes I was at the hospital and less than 20 minutes later my arteries were open. It turned out that two of my main arteries were severely diseased. I truly believe that Dr. Ben-Zur and his staff saved my life that day. They not only saved my life, but they did so in the most rapid fashion. I was top priority and they stopped everything and focused only on helping me. It seemed like everybody knew who to call and how to get things done. It was as if a tornado was set off, but one which was carefully orchestrated and precisely choreographed. The doctors and nurses at the hospital were already waiting for me upon my arrival. How Dr. Ben-Zur arrived at the hospital before the ambulance is still beyond me. The Cardiovascular Institute is a great place for medical care. Many years ago I lost my father to heart disease. He was approximately the same age I am today. I will, hopefully, get to see my children grow and develop – something my father was not as fortunate to have.

Andre Shamalian










































The year was 1942. My father’s father, Meir Nuri, the man who I am named after, underwent a “minor procedure” in Iraq. Complications ensued immediately after the procedure and, as a result, my grandfather lost his life the very next day. My father was now in charge of raising his ten young siblings. His mother was very loving but her husband had been the one in charge of the finances. My father wept without end. At age 16 his best friend, the center of his universe, was gone. He walked out of the hospital and knelt on the sand. Drawing a puzzle made up of 12 pieces, similar to the 12 tribes of Israel, he then removed the center piece of the puzzle. The piece that represented his father. Sitting up all night, terrified and sobbing, he tried to figure out how to rebuild that puzzle on his own. In the morning he got up and decided to change his life. He left school and started to work, at times, 20 hours per day, to support his brothers, sisters, and mother. He promised himself that he would make sure that each of his siblings would receive an education and get married before he would consider his job complete.

Twenty years ago today, the doors to the Cardiovascular Institute opened. As my father stood proudly on that day, in that first small office, he recounted the events of the night after his father had passed. Our mission, like his, would be to keep all of the families of our patients together. To keep the puzzle of each family that puts its trust in us together. That is our mission.

As I stand here today, I cannot be more proud of what we have accomplished. After years of work from morning to night, and on occasion 24 hours a day, we have assembled a team of people of whom I am extremely proud. “The best people in the world,” my father always says.  From my father, who built and currently manages the office, to my colleague, Ramiro, to Bhagat, Martha, Tatyana, Vladimir, Leslie, Mariana, Marissa, Sylvia, Aida, Liora, Elizabeth, Lana, Ofir, Jessie, and all of our wonderful students.

In those twenty years, we have often received many thoughtful and heartwarming gifts from our patients. All of them carry great meaning. But, every morning I arrive 30 minutes before everyone else to look at one particular gift. Another puzzle.

Several years ago a beautiful family came to us. The family consisted of a loving mother, who relied on her husband, a father, and a severely autistic young woman. The father had been having a very difficult time with his health and they had driven a great distance to see us. He was the sole provider for his family and had been sick for several months. After repeatedly passing out, he had been seen by multiple doctors and hospitalized on multiple occasions without any formal diagnosis. After careful evaluation, we discovered the problem and were able to correct it with a surgical procedure. His daughter, the autistic child, understood exactly what had happened, and its significance to her and to her family.

As her mother later recounted to me, as soon as her dad came home she grabbed her mother’s hand and dragged her to a store. Once inside she stopped in front of a particularly complex puzzle. Pointing to it, she said with enthusiasm, “Dr. Ben-Zur!”  They returned home with the puzzle and she immediately put it together with incredible speed. The same puzzle would’ve taken me many months to assemble. When she brought it to the office she gave me a big hug. The normally very shy girl, who her parents said, rarely demonstrated any affection, showed me the meaning of warmth. Her mother explained that her daughter meant for the puzzle to represent all the pieces of her family, with the face being her father. Now, my puzzle is back in one piece. Tears of joy filled my eyes and my throat constricted.  It took me immediately back to the night my dad was putting his pieces together.

And so, for all those who ask me, “Why do you get up so early?” and “Why do you put so much effort into what you do?” and “Why don’t you ever go on vacation?” I stand back, and point to that puzzle, and say, “Today I’m assembling a puzzle!”

Sincerely yours,

Uri Meir Nuriel Ben-Zur, M.D., F.A.C.C.

And the loving members of the Cardiovascular InstituteFullSizeRender (2)












With All of My Love, Pauline Bustamante


From the Bustamante Family:

I have never met a doctor so dedicated to helping, caring, saving, guiding, and supporting his patients the way Dr. Uri Ben-Zur does.

I had a condition no other doctor knew how to treat. The doctors (cardiologists, neurologists, etc.) told me my heart was fine and that they couldn’t find anything abnormal.

My daughter, Annie, received a referral for Dr. Ben-Zur. She called his office and immediately made an appointment.

When I arrived at his office, I waited no more than 2 minutes before the doctor greeted me and my family. He took me into a room where his friendly staff ran tests and asked me questions.

Going to an appointment with Dr. Ben-Zur is completely different than going to any other doctor appointment. The tranquil atmosphere and harmony that one feels is incredibly relaxing. I sometimes spend hours at his office (with all the testing that needs to be done) but time passes quickly and it’s always a pleasure since it’s such a calm environment.

For me, it was a blessing from G-d to have found Dr. Uri Ben-Zur. Not only did he save my life, but I had the opportunity to meet such an extraordinary and charitable man. My family and I are profoundly grateful for all of his help and for the compassion he shows for my special needs daughter, Pauline.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you doctor.
May G-d bless you.

Eternally Grateful,

Jose Bustamante & Family



















Thank you for saving our Papi, The Bustamante Family



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Acute Coronary Syndrome

            ASC is the classification used to describe a range of conditions associated with suddenly reduced blood flow to the heart such as a myocardial infarction and/or unstable angina. This is when blood that is supposed to be supplied to the heart is suddenly blocked. Atherosclerosis is the primary cause of acute coronary syndrome. It is known as the buildup of fats, cholesterol, and other foreign particles that are clogged in the artery walls. ASC symptoms include chest pain, nausea, excessive sweating, dizziness, jaw/neck pain with radiation in the arm, and dyspnea. Acute Coronary Syndrome mainly affects those of older age.

Acute coronary syndrome can be diagnosed by a blood test, it can display evidence that heart cells are dying by looking at the blood count. An ECC can diagnose ACS by measuring the heart’s electrical activity of the AV and SV nodes and how the atria and ventricles contract. An echo as well can diagnose ACS because it uses sound waves to produce live images of the heart and can determine if it is pumping properly. Other diagnostic tests that could help diagnose ASC include coronary angiograms, myocardial perfusion imaging, and a stress test.

The cause of acute coronary syndrome is when a blood clot forms after a plaque deposit ruptures, the clot then obstructs the flow of blood to heart muscles. The low supply of oxygen to cells is too low, then causing cells of the heart muscles to die thus causing a myocardial infarction. Treatment of acute coronary syndrome includes an angioplasty, medications, or stent. Medications include statins, nitrates, beta blockers, clopidogrel, etc. High-risk factors of acute coronary syndrome include high blood pressure, obesity, unhealthy dieting, diabetes, high blood sugar levels, lack of physical activity, and smoking.

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