North Shore-LIJ Collaborates with Jerusalem College of Technology to Develop New Technique to Detect Newborn Heart Disease

Manhasset, NY – The North Shore-LIJ Health System and Cleveland Clinic Innovations announced today that Cohen Children’s Medical Center neonatologist Robert Koppel, MD, and Professor Meir Nitzan of the Jerusalem College of Technology are collaborating to develop a new way of screening for congenital heart disease.

“This collaboration could lead to the development of an improved test to identify newborns with aortic coarctation, a narrowing of the aorta that is the most common critical congenital heart defect and the hardest to diagnose,” said Dr. Koppel. “This could ultimately improve the health of newborns at the time of diagnosis and reduce the risk of death.”

In the first few days of life, physical examination may not detect all cases of critical congenital heart disease. In fact, studies show that approximately 25 percent of infants with serious congenital heart defects were discharged from hospitals without being diagnosed. Improved screening is essential for reliable detection of critical heart defects in newborns and to provide them with appropriate, timely treatment. The standard method currently in use to screen newborns for heart defects is able to detect only half of the babies with aortic coarctation. Dr. Koppel has addressed this need by studying whether measurements from an optical pulse sensor on the right hand, in combination with an additional pulse measurement from a second sensor placed on the baby’s foot, can provide a sensitive and cost-effective screening tool for coarctation of the aorta in newborns.

Through the collaboration, Jerusalem College of Technology provided Dr. Koppel with a new pulse recording device and performed the required mathematical analysis of the pulse signals. Dr. Koppel used the new pulse recording device to obtain pulse signals from the newborns and correlated this data with medical diagnoses of aortic coarctation. Encouraging results from his studies have been submitted for publication and presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting in May, 2014. In addition, based on their research, two patents have been filed jointly by the health system and Jerusalem College of Technology, which are pending approval.

In addition, Dr. Koppel and Professor Nitzan are assessing whether their new methods can determine the clinical significance of a condition known as patent ductus arteriosus, or PDA. The ductus arteriosus is a blood vessel that allows blood to bypass a baby’s lungs before birth. Soon after the infant is born and the lungs fill with air, the ductus arteriosus is no longer needed. It usually closes within a couple of days after birth. In PDA, the ductus arteriosus does not close properly, and the open ductus arteriosus leads to excessive blood flow to the baby’s lungs. Through his research, Dr. Koppel said he hopes to develop a method to provide neonatologists with continuous, real-time monitoring of blood flow through this vessel.

“We are excited to be involved in the first international academic collaboration formed within The Global Healthcare Innovation Alliance,” said Gary Fingerhut, executive director of Cleveland Clinic Innovations, referring to the partnership with North Shore-LIJ that seeks to advance discoveries made by scientists at North Shore-LIJ’s Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and other physicians across the health system.“This clinical research is critical for Dr. Koppel to prove out his ideas, with the goal of making new diagnostic devices available to patients in the near future.”

About Congenital Heart Disease

Congenital heart disease refers to a spectrum of heart conditions in newborns involving defects in the structure of the heart and surrounding blood vessels. Many types of heart defect exist, most of which either obstruct blood flow in the heart or vessels near it, or cause blood to flow through the heart in an abnormal pattern. Congenital heart disease is the most common type of birth defect, and causes more deaths in the first year of life than any other birth defect. Of those who have congenital heart disease, 1 in 4 has critical congenital heart disease (CCHD), which means that the baby will require surgery or catheter intervention in the first year of life. One of the most common CCHD is coarctation of the aorta. Coarctation of the aorta is a narrowing of the aorta, the large blood vessel that branches off from the heart and delivers oxygen-rich blood to the body. When aortic coarctation occurs, the heart must pump harder to force blood through the narrow part of the aorta.

About The Innovation Alliance

In 2012, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, the research enterprise of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, joined the Global Healthcare Innovation Alliance. Established by Cleveland Clinic Innovations and the founding members, the goal of the Alliance is to leverage the capabilities of the member institutions to help advance their discoveries, devices, diagnostic and treatment options aimed at improving and extending patient lives. Additional members include; MedStar Health, The University of Notre Dame, ProMedica, Marshfield Clinic and The Innovations Institute. For more information, visit

About the Jerusalem College of Technology

Founded in 1969 by Professor Ze’ev Lev, Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) is an Orthodox Jewish college, specializing in high-tech engineering, industrial management and life and health sciences. JCT is particularly known for being the first academic institution in Israel to open an Electro-Optics department and for its leading Nursing program. JCT aims to produce industrial leaders strongly committed to Israel and a Jewish way of life, and to produce developments for the betterment of the world. For more information, visit

About The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

Headquartered in Manhasset, NY, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is home to international scientific leaders in many areas including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, psychiatric disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, sepsis, human genetics, pulmonary hypertension, leukemia, neuroimmunology, and medicinal chemistry. The Feinstein Institute, part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, ranks in the top 6th percentile of all National Institutes of Health grants awarded to research centers. For more information, visit

Media Contact:
Emily Ng
(516) 465-2752