B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) and amino-terminal pro-BNP (NT-proBNP) are promising cardiac biomarkers that have recently been shown to be of diagnostic value in decompensated heart failure, acute coronary syndromes and other conditions resulting in myocardial stretch and volume overload. In view of the high prevalence of cardiac disorders in the intensive care unit, the experience of elevated natriuretic peptide levels in the critically ill might be of enormous diagnostic and therapeutic value. BNP and NT-proBNP levels rise to different degrees in critical illness and may also serve as markers of severity and prognosis in diseases beyond acute or chronic heart failure. The diagnostic and prognostic use of natriuretic peptides in the intensive care setting for patients with various forms of shock could be an attractive alternative as noninvasive markers of cardiac dysfunction that could obviate the need for pulmonary artery catheterization in some patients.
The cardiac troponins are integral components of the myofibrillary apparatus and they regulate muscle contraction. The measurement of cardiac troponins has replaced other biomarkers for the specific detection of myocardial necrosis and for the diagnosis of myocardial infarction. The tissue specificity plus sensitivity of the measurement technology has meant that cardiac damage can be detected in circumstances other than conventional acute coronary syndromes. The ability to specifically detect cardiac damage as part of multiple organ failure in intensive care patients has been shown to provide prognostic information, but it is unclear whether this is a dependent or an independent marker of outcome.
The use of cardiac biomarkers in the intensive care setting is gaining increasing popularity. There are several reasons for this increase: there is now the facility for point-of-care biomarker measurement providing a rapid diagnosis; biomarkers can be used as prognostic tools; biomarkers can be used to guide therapy; and, compared with other methods such as echocardiography, the assays are easier and much more affordable. Two important characteristics of the ideal biomarker are disease specificity and a linear relationship between the serum concentration and disease severity. These characteristics are not present, however, in the majority of biomarkers for cardiac dysfunction currently available. Those clinically useful cardiac biomarkers, which naturally received the most attention, such as troponins and B-type natriuretic peptide, are not as specific as was originally thought. In the intensive care setting, it is important for the user to understand the degree of specificity of these biomarkers and that the interpretation of the results should always be guided by other clinical information. The present review summarizes the available biomarkers for different cardiac conditions. Potential biomarkers under evaluation are also briefly discussed.
N-terminal pro brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) is a cardiac biomarker that has recently shown to be of diagnostic value in a diagnosis of decompensated heart failure, acute coronary syndromes and other conditions resulting in myocardial stretch. We sought to study whether sepsis-induced myocardial dilation would result in an elevation of NT-proBNP.
Serum NT-proBNP measurements were made in six consecutive patients with septic shock within 6 hours of admission to the intensive care unit.
Markedly elevated levels of NT-proBNP were found in all six patients.
NT-proBNP levels can be markedly elevated in critically ill patients presenting with septic shock. An elevated NT-proBNP level in a critically ill patient is not specific for decompensated heart failure.
brain natriuretic peptide; N-terminal pro brain natriuretic peptide; septic shock
Biomarkers in acute cardiac care are gaining increasing interest given their clinical benefits. This study is a review of the major conditions in acute cardiac care, with a focus on biomarkers for diagnostic and prognostic assessment. Through a PubMed search, 110 relevant articles were selected. The most commonly used cardiac biomarkers (cardiac troponin, natriuretic peptides, and C-reactive protein) are presented first, followed by a description of variable acute cardiac conditions with their relevant biomarkers. In addition to the conventional use of natriuretic peptides, cardiac troponin, and C-reactive protein, other biomarkers are outlined in variable critical conditions that may be related to acute cardiac illness. These include ST2 and chromogranin A in acute dyspnea and acute heart failure, matrix metalloproteinase in acute chest pain, heart-type fatty acid binding protein in acute coronary syndrome, CD40 ligand and interleukin-6 in acute myocardial infarction, blood ammonia and lactate in cardiac arrest, as well as tumor necrosis factor-alpha in atrial fibrillation. Endothelial dysfunction, oxidative stress and inflammation are involved in the physiopathology of most cardiac diseases, whether acute or chronic. In summary, natriuretic peptides, cardiac troponin, C-reactive protein are currently the most relevant biomarkers in acute cardiac care. Point-of-care testing and multi-markers use are essential for prompt diagnostic approach and tailored strategic management.
biomarker; acute cardiac care; point-of-care; management; assays
The pathogenic, diagnostic and therapeutic landscape of sepsis is no longer confined to the intensive care unit: many patients from other portals of entry to care, both outside and within the hospital, progress to severe disease. Approaches that have led to improved outcomes with other diseases (e.g., acute myocardial infarction, stroke and trauma) can now be similarly applied to sepsis. Improved understanding of the pathogenesis of severe sepsis and septic shock has led to the development of new therapies that place importance on early identification and aggressive management. This review emphasizes approaches to the early recognition, diagnosis and therapeutic management of sepsis, giving the clinician the most contemporary and practical approaches with which to treat these patients.
The concept of reversible cardiac failure has hitherto been applicable mostly to rare instances of acute afflictions of the myocardium wherein cardiac compensation returns with the healing of the process. Recent strides in cardiac surgery have brought into focus a wide variety of conditions where operative removal of the cause of heart failure can successfully restore compensation.
The concept of increased work of the heart—cardiac overload—is presented and classified with special reference to those forms where surgical removal of the cause of the overload is possible.
Now, since surgical treatment of a patient in functional class IV need no longer entail risk of prohibitive mortality, a careful search is indicated in patients in a state of chronic cardiac failure, particularly in the younger age group, for a correctable factor or factors.
Diagnosis of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) encompasses a wide spectrum of myocardial ischaemia varying from assuredly benign to potentially fatal. Cardiac biomarkers have had a major impact on the management of this disease and are now the cornerstone in its diagnosis and prognosis. In this review we discuss both the established and the newer emerging biomarkers in ACS and their role in highlighting not only myocardial necrosis but also different facets of the pathophysiology of ACS. The future of cardiac biomarker testing may be in multimarker testing to better characterize each patient of ACS and thus tailor both short-term and long-term therapy accordingly. This novel concept, however, needs to be tested in clinical trials for its incremental value and cost-effectiveness.
Acute coronary syndrome; brain natriuretic peptide; cardiac biomarkers; CRP; cystatin C; troponin
The potential of nitric oxide (NO) as a rapid assay biomarker, one that could provide a quantum leap in acute care, remains largely untapped. NO plays a crucial role as bronchodilator, vasodilator and inflammatory mediator. The main objective of this review is to demonstrate how NO is a molecule of heavy interest in various acute disease states along the emergency department and critical care spectrum: respiratory infections, central nervous system infections, asthma, acute kidney injury, sepsis, septic shock, and myocardial ischemia, to name just a few. We discuss how NO and its oxidative metabolites, nitrite and nitrate, are readily detectable in several body compartments and fluids, and as such they are associated with many of the pathophysiological processes mentioned above. With methods such as high performance liquid chromatography and chemiluminescence these entities are relatively easy and inexpensive to analyze. Emphasis is placed on diagnostic rapidity, as this relates directly to quality of care in acute care situations. Further, a rationale is provided for more bench, translational and clinical research in the field of NO biomarkers for such settings. Developing standard protocols for the aforementioned disease states, centered on concentrations of NO and its metabolites, can prove to revolutionize diagnostics and prognostication along a spectrum of clinical care. We present a strong case for developing these biomarkers more as point-of-care assays with potential of color gradient test strips for rapid screening of disease entities in acute care and beyond. This will be relevant to global health.
Acute kidney injury; Acute myocardial ischemia; Acute respiratory illness; Asthma; Critical care; Emergency department; Nitrate; Nitrite; Nitric Oxide; Sepsis; Shock.
Because no bedside method is currently available to evaluate myocardial contractility independent of loading conditions, a biological marker that could detect myocardial dysfunction in the early stage of severe sepsis would be a helpful tool in the management of septic patients. Clinical and experimental studies have reported that plasma cardiac troponin levels are increased in sepsis and could indicate myocardial dysfunction and poor outcome. The high prevalence of elevated levels of cardiac troponins in sepsis raises the question of what mechanism results in their release into the circulation. Apart from focal ischemia, several factors may contribute to the microinjury and minimal myocardial cell damage in the setting of septic shock. A possible direct cardiac myocytotoxic effect of endotoxins, cytokines or reactive oxygen radicals induced by the infectious process and produced by activated neutrophils, macrophages and endothelial cells has been postulated. The presence of microvascular failure and regional wall motion abnormalities, which are frequently observed in positive-troponin patients, also suggest ventricular wall strain and cardiac cell necrosis. Altogether, the available studies support the contention that cardiac troponin release is a valuable marker of myocardial injury in patients with septic shock.
During the past decade considerable research has been conducted into the use of cardiac troponins, their diagnostic capability and their potential to allow risk stratification in patients with acute chest pain. Determination of risk in patients with suspected myocardial ischaemia is known to be as important as retrospective confirmation of a diagnosis of myocardial infarction (MI). Therefore, creatine kinase (CK)-MB - the former 'gold standard' in detecting myocardial necrosis - has been supplanted by new, more accurate biomarkers.Measurement of cardiac troponin levels constitute a substantial determinant in assessment of ischaemic heart disease, the presentations of which range from silent ischaemia to acute MI. Under these conditions, troponin release is regarded as surrogate marker of thrombus formation and peripheral embolization, and therefore new therapeutic strategies are focusing on potent antithrombotic regimens to improve long-term outcomes. Although elevated troponin levels are highly sensitive and specific indicators of myocardial damage, they are not always reflective of acute ischaemic coronary artery disease; other processes have been identified that cause elevations in these biomarkers. However, because prognosis appears to be related to the presence of troponins regardless of the mechanism of myocardial damage, clinicians increasingly rely on troponin assays when formulating individual therapeutic plans.
acute coronary syndrome; glycoprotein IIb/IIIa blockade; myocardial necrosis; risk stratification; troponin I; troponin T
Cardiac troponin is the preferred biomarker for the diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction (AMI). The recent development of a high-sensitive cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT) assay permits detection of very low levels of cTnT. Using the hs-cTnT assay improves the overall diagnostic accuracy in patients with suspected AMI, while a negative result also has a high negative predictive value. The gain in sensitivity may be particularly important in patients with a short duration from symptom onset to admission. Measurement of cardiac troponin T with the hs-cTnT assay may provide strong prognostic information in patients with acute coronary syndromes, stable coronary artery disease, heart failure and even in the general population; however, increased sensitivity comes at a cost of decreased specificity. Serial testing, as well as clinical context and co-existing diseases, are likely to become increasingly important for the interpretation of hs-cTnT assay results.
Troponin T; Acute myocardial infarction; Risk stratification
The introduction and acceptance of a standard definition for exacerbations of COPD can be helpful in prompt diagnosis and management of these events. The latest GOLD executive committee recognised this necessity and it has now included a definition of exacerbation in the guidelines for COPD which is an important step forward in the management of the disease. This definition is pragmatic and compromises the different approaches for exacerbation. However, the inclusion of the "healthcare utilisation" approach (".. may warrant a change in regular medication") in the definition may introduce in the diagnosis of exacerbation factors related to the access to health care services which may not be related to the underlying pathophysiologal process which characterizes exacerbations. It should be also noted that the aetiology of COPD exacerbations has not yet been included in the current definition. In this respect, the definition does not acknowledge the fact that many patients with COPD may suffer from additional conditions (i.e. congestive cardiac failure or pulmonary embolism) that can masquerade as exacerbations but they should not be considered as causes of them. The authors therefore suggest that an inclusion of the etiologic factors of COPD exacerbations in the definition. Moreover, COPD exacerbations are characterized by increased airway and systemic inflammation and significant deterioration in lung fuction. These fundamental aspects should be accounted in diagnosis/definition of exacerbations. This could be done by the introduction of a "laboratory" marker in the diagnosis of these acute events. The authors acknowledge that the use of a test or a biomarker in the diagnosis of exacerbations meets certain difficulties related to performing lung function tests or to sampling during exacerbations. However, the introduction of a test that reflects airway or systemic inflammation in the diagnosis of exacerbations might be another step forward in the management of COPD.
Rapid diagnosis, appropriate management, and time are the key factors for improving survival rate in many emergency clinical scenarios such as acute myocardial infarction, pulmonary embolism, cerebral stroke, and severe sepsis. Clinical signs and electrocardiographic, radiological, and echographic investigations associated with biomarkers usually allow a quick diagnosis in all of the above situations, except severe sepsis, in which the diagnosis in the early phases is often only presumptive. In sepsis, microbiological cultures are still considered the 'gold standard' for diagnosis, whereas the numerous biomarkers investigated are actually valuable only for patient stratification and evaluation of clinical course. In this issue of Critical Care, Que and colleagues describe the prognostic value of pancreatic stone protein/regenerating protein (PSP/reg) concentration in patients with severe infections. The data reported are interesting, but several questions about this biomarker arise, and further studies are needed to understand its role in sepsis and clinical practice.
Stratification of cardiac patients arriving at the emergency department is now being made according to the levels of acute cardiac biomarkers (i.e. cardiac troponin (cTn) or creatine kinase myocardial band (CK-MB)). Ongoing efforts are undertaken in an attempt to identify and validate additional cardiac biomarkers, for example, interleukin-6, soluble CD40L, and C-reactive protein, in order to further risk stratify patients with acute coronary syndrome. Several studies have also now shown an association of platelet transcriptome and genomic single nucleotide polymorphisms with myocardial infarction by using advanced genomic tools. A number of markers, such as myeloid-related protein 14 (MRP-14), cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1), 5-lipoxygenase activating protein (FLAP), leukotriene A4 hydrolase (LTA4H) and myocyte enhancing factor 2A (MEF2A), have been linked to acute coronary syndromes, including myocardial infarction. In the future, these novel markers may pave the way toward personalized disease-prevention programs based on a person’s genomic, thrombotic and cardiovascular profiles. Current and future biomarkers and bioassays for identifying at-risk patients will be discussed in this review.
troponin; CK-MB; clopidogrel; aspirin; perfusion chamber
Takotsubo cardiomyopathy (TTC) is an infrequent cardiac syndrome characterized by acute onset chest pain with apical ballooning on echocardiography. It is often triggered by severe emotional or physical stress, and in contrast to acute myocardial infarction (AMI), the regional wall motion abnormality returns to normal within days. Here, we describe a 62-year-old female who presented with acute onset chest pain during treatment for a liver abscess. We presumed a diagnosis of AMI because of ST segment elevation on electrocardiography and elevated cardiac enzyme levels. However, the patient's coronary arteries were normal on angiography, and apical ballooning was seen on echocardiography. A diagnosis of TTC was made, and the patient was managed with intensive cardiopulmonary support using vasopressors in our hospital's medical intensive care unit. The patient's symptoms improved, but persistent severe left ventricular dysfunction was detected on follow-up echocardiography. After 5 weeks, a new apical mural thrombus appeared, and anticoagulation therapy was started. The apical ballooning persisted 3 months later, although the patient's overall ejection fraction was slightly improved. The apical thrombus was completely resolved without any embolic event. Non-adrenergic inotropics can be recommended in TTC with shock, and clinicians should keep in mind the potential risk of thrombus formation and cardioembolism.
Takotsubo cardiomyopathy; Persistent apical ballooning; Thrombus
The objective was to determine the association of four clinical risk scores and coronary plaque burden as detected by computed tomography (CT) with the outcome of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) in patients with acute chest pain. The hypothesis was that the combination of risk scores and plaque burden improved the discriminatory capacity for the diagnosis of ACS.
The study was a subanalysis of the Rule Out Myocardial Infarction Using Computer-Assisted Tomography (ROMICAT) trial—a prospective observational cohort study. The authors enrolled patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) with a chief complaint of acute chest pain, inconclusive initial evaluation (negative biomarkers, nondiagnostic electrocardiogram [ECG]), and no history of coronary artery disease (CAD). Patients underwent contrast-enhanced 64-multidetector-row cardiac CT and received standard clinical care (serial ECG, cardiac biomarkers, and subsequent diagnostic testing, such as exercise treadmill testing, nuclear stress perfusion imaging, and/or invasive coronary angiography), as deemed clinically appropriate. The clinical providers were blinded to CT results. The chest pain score was calculated and the results were dichotomized to ≥10 (high-risk) and <10 (low-risk). Three risk scores were calculated, Goldman, Sanchis, and Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction (TIMI), and each patient was assigned to a low-, intermediate-, or high-risk category. Because of the low number of subjects in the high-risk group, the intermediate- and high-risk groups were combined into one. CT images were evaluated for the presence of plaque in 17 coronary segments. Plaque burden was stratified into none, intermediate, and high (zero, one to four, and more than four segments with plaque). An outcome panel of two physicians (blinded to CT findings) established the primary outcome of ACS (defined as either an acute myocardial infarction or unstable angina) during the index hospitalization (from the presentation to the ED to the discharge from the hospital). Logistic regression modeling was performed to examine the association of risk scores and coronary plaque burden to the outcome of ACS. Unadjusted models were individually fitted for the coronary plaque burden and for Goldman, Sanchis, TIMI, and chest pain scores. In adjusted analyses, the authors tested whether the association between risk scores and ACS persisted after controlling for the coronary plaque burden. The prognostic discriminatory capacity of the risk scores and plaque burden for ACS was assessed using c-statistics. The differences in area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve (AUC) and c-statistics were tested by performing the −2 log likelihood ratio test of nested models. A p value <0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Among 368 subjects, 31 (8%) subjects were diagnosed with ACS. Goldman (AUC = 0.61), Sanchis (AUC = 0.71), and TIMI (AUC = 0.63) had modest discriminatory capacity for the diagnosis of ACS. Plaque burden was the strongest predictor of ACS (AUC = 0.86; p < 0.05 for all comparisons with individual risk scores). The combination of plaque burden and risk scores improved prediction of ACS (plaque + Goldman AUC = 0.88, plaque + Sanchis AUC = 0.90, plaque + TIMI AUC = 0.88; p < 0.01 for all comparisons with coronary plaque burden alone).
Risk scores (Goldman, Sanchis, TIMI) have modest discriminatory capacity and coronary plaque burden has good discriminatory capacity for the diagnosis of ACS in patients with acute chest pain. The combined information of risk scores and plaque burden significantly improves the discriminatory capacity for the diagnosis of ACS.
Cardiac disease remains the major cause of death in thalassaemia major. This review deals with the mechanisms involved in heart failure development, the peculiar clinical presentation of congestive heart failure and provides guidelines for diagnosis and management of the acute phase of cardiac failure. It emphasizes the need for intensive medical – cardiac care and aggressive iron chelating management as, with such approaches, today, the patients outcomes can be favourable in the long term. It covers advances in the assessment of cardiac iron overload with the use of magnetic resonance imaging and makes recommendations for preventing the onset of cardiac problems by tailoring iron chelation therapy appropriate to the degree of cardiac iron loading found.
thalassaemia major; cardiomyopathy; cardiac failure; transfusion therapy; iron chelation therapy
The management of acute, severe cardiac valvular regurgitation requires expeditious multidisciplinary care. Although acute, severe valvular regurgitation can be a true surgical emergency, accurate diagnosis and subsequent treatment decisions require clinical acumen, appropriate imaging, and sound judgment. An accurate and timely diagnosis is essential for successful outcomes and requires appropriate expertise and a sufficiently high degree of suspicion in a variety of settings. Whereas cardiovascular collapse is the most obvious and common presentation of acute cardiac valvular regurgitation, findings may be subtle, and the clinical presentation can often be nonspecific. Consequently, other acute conditions such as sepsis, pneumonia, or nonvalvular heart failure may be mistaken for acute valvular regurgitation. In comparison with that of the right-sided valves, regurgitation of the left-sided valves is more common and has greater clinical impact. Therefore, this review focuses on acute regurgitation of the aortic and mitral valves.
Acute disease; aortic valve insufficiency/classification/complications/diagnosis/etiology/physiopathology/surgery/therapy; cardiology/standards; echocardiography; endocarditis, bacterial/physiopathology/therapy; heart valve diseases/diagnosis/etiology/physiopathology/surgery/therapy; heart valve prosthesis implantation/standards; mitral valve insufficiency/classification/complications/diagnosis/etiology/physiopathology/surgery/therapy; physical examination; prosthesis failure
Post-acute care (PAC) is available for older adults who need additional services after hospitalization for acute cardiac events. With the aging population and an increase in the prevalence of cardiac disease, it is important to determine current PAC use for cardiac patients to assist health care workers to meet the needs of older cardiac patients. The purpose of this study was to determine the current PAC use and factors associated with PAC use for older adults following hospitalization for a cardiac event that includes coronary artery bypass graph (CABG) and valve surgeries, myocardial infarction (MI), percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), and heart failure (HF).
Methods and Results
A cross-sectional design and the 2003 Medicare Part A database were used for this study. The sample (n=1,493,521) consisted of patients aged 65 years and older discharged after their first cardiac event. Multinomial logistic regression was used to examine factors associated with PAC use. Overall, PAC use was 55% for cardiac valve surgery, 50% for MI, 45% for HF, 44% for CABG, and 5% for PCI. Medical patients use more skilled nursing facility care and surgical patients use more home health care. Only 0.1–3.4% of the cardiac patients use intermediate rehabilitation facilities. Compared to those who do not use PAC, those who use home health care and skilled nursing facility care are older, female, have a longer hospital length of stay, and more comorbidity. Asians, Hispanics and Native Americans were less likely to use PAC after hospitalization for an MI or HF.
The current rate of PAC use indicates that almost half of non-disabled Medicare patients discharged from the hospital following a cardiac event use one of these services. Healthcare professionals can increase PAC use for Asians, Hispanics and Native Americans by including culturally targeted communication. Optimizing recovery for cardiac patients who use PAC may require focused cardiac rehabilitation strategies.
The use of point of care echocardiography by non-cardiologist in acute care settings such as the emergency department (ED) or the intensive care unit (ICU) is very common. Unlike diagnostic echocardiography, the scope of such point of care exams is often restricted to address the clinical questions raised by the patient’s differential diagnosis or chief complaint in order to inform immediate management decisions. In this article, an overview of the most common applications of this focused echocardiography in the ED and ICU is provided. This includes but is not limited to the evaluation of patients experiencing hypotension, cardiac arrest, cardiac trauma, chest pain and patients after cardiac surgery.
Echocardiography; emergency department; ICU; point of care; ultrasound.
Objectives: To investigate prospectively the role of transoesophageal echocardiography (TEE) in selecting patients for anticoagulation in an unselected stroke population.
Methods: Transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) and TEE were done in all clinically suitable hospitalised patients (n = 457) with transient ischaemic attack or ischaemic stroke in the acute phase during a two year period in Turku University Hospital. 441 patients were successfully evaluated for cardiac sources of embolism using TEE within 31 days of the event.
Results: A major risk factor for a cardiac source of embolism excluding atrial fibrillation, acute myocardial infarction, and prosthetic valve was detected in 10% of patients and a minor risk factor for a cardiac source of embolism in 46%. When a major risk factor of a cardiac source of embolism was detected using TTE or TEE and no contraindications were present, the patient was given anticoagulation drugs. If a minor risk factor for a cardiac source of embolism was detected, anticoagulation treatment was started after clinical assessment, if no contraindications were present. In 62 (14%) cases, the patient was given oral anticoagulation drugs or the necessity of ongoing anticoagulation treatment was confirmed on the basis of TEE. When these anticoagulation treated patients were evaluated using logistic regression analysis, they were found to have significantly more atrial fibrillation and histories of myocardial infarctions. Moreover, the patients were mainly men. When patients in sinus rhythm and without any history of cardiac disease were analysed, 8% of patients were found to have been given anticoagulation drugs on the basis of TEE data.
Conclusion: This study suggests that TEE should be used in patients with stroke even without any clinical evidence of cardiac disease when the patients are candidates for anticoagulation.
A coronary arterial fistula is a connection between one or more of the coronary arteries and a cardiac chamber or great vessel. This is a rare defect and usually occurs in isolation. Its exact incidence is unknown. The majority of these fistulas are congenital in origin although they may occasionally be detected after cardiac surgery. They do not usually cause symptoms or complications in the first two decades, especially when small. After this age, the frequency of both symptoms and complications increases. Complications include 'steal' from the adjacent myocardium, thrombosis and embolism, cardiac failure, atrial fibrillation, rupture, endocarditis/endarteritis and arrhythmias. Thrombosis within the fistula is rare but may cause acute myocardial infarction, paroxysmal atrial fibrillation and ventricular arrhythmias. Spontaneous rupture of the aneurysmal fistula causing haemopericardium has also been reported. The main differential diagnosis is patent arterial duct, although other congenital arteriovenous shunts need to be excluded. Whilst two-dimensional echocardiography helps to differentiate between the different shunts, coronary angiography is the main diagnostic tool for the delineation of the anatomy. Surgery was the traditional method of treatment but nowadays catheter closure is recommended using a variety of closure devices, such as coils, or other devices. With the catheter technique, the results are excellent with infrequent complications.
Disease name and synonyms
Coronary arterial fistulas
Coronary arterial fistulas or malformations
OBJECTIVE--To establish whether immunoscintigraphy with antibody to myosin may detect acute myocardial infarction without electrocardiographic changes. DESIGN--Prospective study of patients with suspected acute myocardial infarction or unstable angina with cardiac imaging with 111indium myosin antibody, estimation of cardiac enzyme concentrations, electrocardiography, 201thallium imaging, and radionuclide ventriculography. SETTING--Coronary care unit in a district general hospital. PATIENTS--119 Consecutive patients with suspected acute myocardial infarction or unstable angina. Patients with cardiomyopathy, myocarditis, valvular heart disease, myocardial infarction or cardiac surgery in the previous two weeks or with left bundle branch block and women of childbearing age were excluded. RESULTS--Of 75 patients with suspected acute myocardial infarction, seven had no diagnostic electrocardiographic changes despite normal conduction patterns. Immunoscintigraphy with myosin antibody disclosed necrosis in all seven patients, which was localised in regions supplied by diseased coronary arteries in all but one. Six patients had abnormal images on 201thallium imaging, and all seven had abnormal wall motion at the site of antibody uptake. One patient with minimal left main stem and right coronary artery atheroma had uptake of antibody at two discrete sites. CONCLUSIONS--Immunoscintigraphy with antibody to myosin confirms myocardial infarction in the absence of electrocardiographic changes and discloses the site of infarction.
Left ventricular end diastolic (LVEDP) and mean right atrial (RAP) pressures were recorded simultaneously in 30 patients with shock (14 acute myocardial infarction, 10 acute pulmonary embolism or severe bronchopulmonary disease, and 6 sepsis). Myocardial infarction was characterized by a predominant increase in LVEDP, pulmonary disease by a predominant increase in RAP, and sepsis by a normal relationship between LVEDP and RAP. In all three groups a significant positive correlation was noted between RAP and LVEDP, with the regression line in cor pulmonale deviated significantly toward the RAP axis and the regression line in myocardial infarction exhibiting a zero RAP intercept at an elevated LVEDP.
Low cardiac outputs with elevated LVEDP in myocardial infarction indicated severe left ventricular failure. Low outputs with elevated RAP in cor pulmonale were consistent with right ventricular overload. Although cardiac outputs often were normal in sepsis, low outputs with elevated cardiac filling pressures in some patients were consistent with a hemodynamic or humoral-induced generalized depression of cardiac performance.
Vasoconstrictor and inotropic drugs often produced a functional disparity between the two ventricles, with the gradient between LVEDP and RAP increasing, apparently because of an increase in left ventricular work or an inadequacy of left ventricular oxygen delivery. Acute plasma volume expansion with dextran in patients with pulmonary vascular disease resulted in a somewhat more rapid rise in RAP than in LVEDP. In septic and myocardial infarction shock, however, LVEDP and RAP usually rose proportionally, with the absolute rise of LVEDP surpassing that of RAP. Although the absolute level of the central venous pressure thus may not be a reliable indicator of left ventricular function in shock, changes in venous pressure during acute plasma volume expansion should serve as a fairly safe guide to changes in LVEDP.