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author:("elmari, Sammy")
1.  Risk Factors Associated with the Incidence and Progression of Mitral Annulus Calcification: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
American heart journal  2013;166(5):904-912.
Significant cardiovascular morbidity has been associated with mitral annulus calcification (MAC), but limited data exist regarding its progression. The purpose of this study was to examine the natural history of and risk factors for MAC progression.
The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) is a longitudinal cohort study of participants aged 45–84 years without clinical cardiovascular disease who underwent serial cardiac computed tomography studies with quantification of MAC. Regression models were used to identify risk factors associated with MAC incidence and progression.
Prevalent MAC was observed in 534 of 5,895 (9%) participants. Over a median 2.3 years, 280 (5%) developed incident MAC. After adjustment, age was the strongest predictor of incident MAC (adjusted OR, 2.25 per 10 yrs; 95% CI, 1.97 to 2.58; P<0.0001). Female gender, white ethnicity, body mass index, diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, serum cholesterol, smoking, and interleukin-6 were also significant predictors of incident MAC. In participants with prevalent MAC, the median rate of change was 10.1 [IQR, −6.7, 60.7] Agatston units (AU)/year. Baseline MAC severity was the predominant predictor of rate of MAC progression (β-coefficient per 10 AU, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.85 to 0.91; P<0.0001), although ethnicity and smoking status possessed modest influence.
Several cardiovascular risk factors predicted incident MAC, as did female gender. Severity of baseline MAC was the primary predictor of MAC progression, suggesting that, while atherosclerotic processes may initiate MAC, they are only modestly associated with its progression over these time frames.
PMCID: PMC3978772  PMID: 24176447
calcification; mitral valve; progression; risk factors; gender
2.  Associations between Aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and aortic valve or coronary artery calcification: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and the Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study 
Atherosclerosis  2013;229(2):310-316.
The association between non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and the incidence of valvular and arterial calcification is not well established despite known associations between these drugs and cardiovascular events.
To compare the association between the baseline use of aspirin with other NSAID class medications with the incidence and prevalence of aortic valve calcification (AVC) and coronary artery calcium (CAC).
The relationship of NSAID use to AVC and CAC detected by computed tomography was assessed in 6,814 participants within the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) using regression modeling. Results were adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, study site, anti-hypertensive medication use, education, income, health insurance status, diabetes, smoking, exercise, body mass index, blood pressure, serum lipids, inflammatory markers, fasting glucose, statin medication use, and a simple diet score. Medication use was assessed by medication inventory at baseline which includes the use of non-prescription NSAIDs. MESA collects information on both incident and prevalent calcification. The 4,814 participants of the Heinz Nixdorf Recall (HNR) Study, a German prospective cohort study with similar measures of calcification, were included in this analysis to enable replication.
Mean age of the MESA participants was 62 years (51% female). After adjustment for possible confounding factors, a possible association between aspirin use and incident AVC (Relative Risk(RR): 1.60; 95%Confidence Interval (CI): 1.19–2.15) did not replicate in the HNR cohort (RR: 1.06; 95%CI: 0.87–1.28). There was no significant association between aspirin use and incident CAC in the MESA cohort (RR 1.08; 95%CI: 0.91–1.29) or in the HNR cohort (RR 1.24; 95%CI: 0.87–1.77). Non-aspirin NSAID use was not associated with either AVC or CAC in either cohort. There were no associations between regular cardiac dose aspirin and incident calcification in either cohort.
Baseline NSAID use, as assessed by medication inventory, appears to have no protective effect regarding the onset of calcification in either coronary arteries or aortic valves.
PMCID: PMC3724227  PMID: 23880181
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; aspirin; aortic valve calcification; coronary artery calcification; Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis; Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study
3.  Differential left ventricular remodelling and longitudinal function distinguishes low flow from normal-flow preserved ejection fraction low-gradient severe aortic stenosis 
European Heart Journal  2013;34(25):1906-1914.
There is uncertainty in identifying patients with severe aortic stenosis (AS) with preserved left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction, low flow, and low gradients (LFLG). Prior studies propose that these patients demonstrate significant concentric remodelling and decreased survival, while others suggest that they have features and survival similar to moderate AS.
Methods and results
We compared the clinical characteristics, echocardiographic features, and overall survival of LFLG AS patients (n = 38) to those with normal-flow, low-gradient (NFLG) severe AS (n = 75) and moderate AS (n = 70). Low-flow, low-gradient patients had the lowest end-diastolic volume index (43 vs. 54 vs. 54 mL/m2, P < 0.001), highest relative wall thickness (RWT) (60 vs. 49 vs. 48%, P < 0.001), and lowest septal mitral annular displacement (1.0 vs. 1.5 vs. 1.5 cm, P < 0.001). New York Heart Association (NYHA) class III/IV symptoms were the most frequent in the LFLG group (29 vs. 11 vs. 3%, P < 0.001). Survival at 3 years was significantly lower in LFLG compared with NFLG (P = 0.006) and moderate AS (P = 0.002), but not different between NFLG and moderate AS (P = 0.49). Higher NYHA classification (HR 1.77, 95% CI 1.22–2.57), RWT > 50% (HR 3.28, 95% CI 1.33–8.1), and septal displacement <1.1 cm (HR 3.93, 95% CI 1.96–7.82) but not low flow were independent predictors of survival in Cox proportional hazards analysis.
Preserved ejection fraction, LFLG AS patients exhibit marked concentric remodelling and impaired longitudinal functional—features that predict their poor long-term survival. Normal-flow, low-gradient AS patients have outcomes similar to moderate AS.
PMCID: PMC3858103  PMID: 23533186
Aortic stenosis; Echocardiography; Remodelling; Haemodynamics
4.  Increases in Myocardial Workload Induced by Rapid Atrial Pacing Trigger Alterations in Global Metabolism 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99058.
To determine whether increases in cardiac work lead to alterations in the plasma metabolome and whether such changes arise from the heart or peripheral organs.
There is growing evidence that the heart influences systemic metabolism through endocrine effects and affecting pathways involved in energy homeostasis.
Nineteen patients referred for cardiac catheterization were enrolled. Peripheral and selective coronary sinus (CS) blood sampling was performed at serial timepoints following the initiation of pacing, and metabolite profiling was performed by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS).
Pacing-stress resulted in a 225% increase in the median rate·pressure product from baseline. Increased myocardial work induced significant changes in the peripheral concentration of 43 of 125 metabolites assayed, including large changes in purine [adenosine (+99%, p = 0.006), ADP (+42%, p = 0.01), AMP (+79%, p = 0.004), GDP (+69%, p = 0.003), GMP (+58%, p = 0.01), IMP (+50%, p = 0.03), xanthine (+61%, p = 0.0006)], and several bile acid metabolites. The CS changes in metabolites qualitatively mirrored those in the peripheral blood in both timing and magnitude, suggesting the heart was not the major source of the metabolite release.
Isolated increases in myocardial work can induce changes in the plasma metabolome, but these changes do not appear to be directly cardiac in origin. A number of these dynamic metabolites have known signaling functions. Our study provides additional evidence to a growing body of literature on metabolic ‘cross-talk’ between the heart and other organs.
PMCID: PMC4059652  PMID: 24932507
5.  A Plasma Long‐Chain Acylcarnitine Predicts Cardiovascular Mortality in Incident Dialysis Patients 
The marked excess in cardiovascular mortality that results from uremia remains poorly understood.
Methods and Results
In 2 independent, nested case‐control studies, we applied liquid chromatography‐mass spectrometry‐based metabolite profiling to plasma obtained from participants of a large cohort of incident hemodialysis patients. First, 100 individuals who died of a cardiovascular cause within 1 year of initiating hemodialysis (cases) were randomly selected along with 100 individuals who survived for at least 1 year (controls), matched for age, sex, and race. Four highly intercorrelated long‐chain acylcarnitines achieved the significance threshold adjusted for multiple testing (P<0.0003). Oleoylcarnitine, the long‐chain acylcarnitine with the strongest association with cardiovascular mortality in unadjusted analysis, remained associated with 1‐year cardiovascular death after multivariable adjustment (odds ratio per SD 2.3 [95% confidence interval, 1.4 to 3.8]; P=0.001). The association between oleoylcarnitine and 1‐year cardiovascular death was then replicated in an independent sample (n=300, odds ratio per SD 1.4 [95% confidence interval, 1.1 to 1.9]; P=0.008). Addition of oleoylcarnitine to clinical variables improved cardiovascular risk prediction using net reclassification (NRI, 0.38 [95% confidence interval, 0.20 to 0.56]; P<0.0001). In physiologic profiling studies, we demonstrate that the fold change in plasma acylcarnitine levels from the aorta to renal vein and from pre‐ to post hemodialysis samples exclude renal or dialytic clearance of long‐chain acylcarnitines as confounders in our analysis.
Our data highlight clinically meaningful alterations in acylcarnitine homeostasis at the time of dialysis initiation, which may represent an early marker, effector, or both of uremic cardiovascular risk.
PMCID: PMC3886735  PMID: 24308938
cardiovascular disease; dialysis; metabolism; mortality; risk factors
6.  Associations of Left Ventricular Hypertrophy with Prevalent and Incident Valve Calcification: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
JACC. Cardiovascular imaging  2012;5(8):781-788.
We aim to evaluate the relationship between percent of predicted left ventricular mass (%PredLVM) and valve calcification in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).
Cardiac valve calcification has been associated with left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), which portends cardiovascular events. However, this relationship and its mediators are poorly understood.
MESA is a longitudinal cohort study of men and women aged 45-84 years without clinical cardiovascular disease in whom serial cardiac magnetic resonance and computed tomography imaging were performed. The relationships between baseline %PredLVM and the prevalence, severity, and incidence of aortic valve (AVC) and mitral annulus calcification (MAC) were determined by regression modeling.
Prevalent AVC was observed in 630 and MAC in 442 of 5,042 subjects (median 55.9 and 71.1 Agatston units, respectively). After adjustment for age, gender, body mass index, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, physical activity, diabetes, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, smoking, kidney function, serum lipids, and antihypertensive and statin medications, %PredLVM was associated with prevalent AVC (OR=1.18 per SD increase in %PredLVM [95%CI 1.08 – 1.30]; p=0.0004) and MAC (OR=1.18 [95%CI 1.06 – 1.32]; p=0.002). Similarly, %PredLVM was associated with increased severity of prevalent AVC (risk difference = 0.26 [95%CI 0.15 – 0.38]; p<0.0001) and MAC (risk difference = 0.20 [95%CI 0.03 – 0.37]; p=0.02). During follow-up (mean 2.4±0.9 years), 153 subjects (4%) developed AVC and 198 (5%) MAC. %PredLVM was associated with incident AVC (OR=1.24 [95%CI 1.04 – 1.47]; p=0.02) and MAC (OR=1.18 [1.01-1.40]; p=0.04). Further adjustment for inflammatory markers and coronary artery calcification did not attenuate these associations. Specifically, concentric LVH most strongly predicted incident valve calcification.
Within the MESA cohort, LVH was associated with prevalence, severity, and incidence of valve calcification independent of hypertension and other identified confounders.
PMCID: PMC3426868  PMID: 22897991
aortic valve; calcification; left ventricular mass; mitral valve annulus
8.  A Novel Clinical Prediction Rule for 30-day Mortality Following Balloon Aortic Valuloplasty: The CRRAC the AV Score 
We seek to identify predictors of 30-day mortality after balloon aortic valvuloplasty (BAV).
To date, there is no validated method of predicting patient outcomes after percutaneous aortic valve interventions.
Data for consecutive patients with severe aortic stenosis who underwent BAV at the Mount Sinai Medical Center from January 2001 to July 2007 were retrospectively reviewed. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to identify significant predictors of 30-day mortality and the resultant model was compared to the EuroSCORE using Akaike's Information Criterion and area under the receiver-operating curve (AUC).
The analysis included 281 patients (age 83 ± 9 yrs, 61% women, aortic valve area: 0.64 ± 0.2 cm2), 36 (12.8%) of whom died within 30 days of BAV. Identified risk factors for 30-day mortality, critical status, renal dysfunction, right atrial pressure, and cardiac output, we used to construct the CRRAC the AV risk score. Thirty-day survival was 72% in the highest tertile versus 94% in the lower two tertiles of the score. Compared to the additive and logistic EuroSCORE, the risk score demonstrated superior discrimination (AUC = 0.75 vs. 0.60 and 0.63, respectively).
We derived a risk score, the CRRAC the AV score, that identifies patients at high-risk of 30-day mortality after BAV. Validation of the developed risk prediction score, the CRRAC the AV score, is needed in other cohorts of post-BAV patients and potentially in patients undergoing other catheter-based valve interventions.
PMCID: PMC3412054  PMID: 21413131
aortic valve stenosis; EuroSCORE; percutaneous
9.  Bisphosphonate use and the Prevalence of Valvular and Vascular Calcification in Women: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
To determine whether nitrogen-containing bisphosphonate (NCBP) therapy is associated with the prevalence of cardiovascular calcification.
Cardiovascular calcification correlates with atherosclerotic disease burden. Experimental data suggest that NCBP may limit cardiovascular calcification, which has implications for disease prevention.
The relationship of NCBP use to the prevalence of aortic valve, aortic valve ring, mitral annulus, thoracic aorta, and coronary artery calcification (AVC, AVRC, MAC, TAC, and CAC, respectively) detected by computed tomography was assessed in 3,636 women within the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) using regression modeling.
Analyses were age-stratified because of a significant interaction between age and NCBP use (interaction p-values: AVC p<0.0001; AVRC p<0.0001; MAC p=0.002; TAC p<0.0001; CAC p=0.046). After adjusting for age, body mass index, demographics, diabetes, smoking, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and statin, hormone replacement, and renin-angiotensin inhibitor therapy, NCBP use was associated with a lower prevalence of cardiovascular calcification in women ≥65 years old (prevalence ratio [95% confidence interval]: AVC 0.68 [0.41, 1.13]; AVRC 0.65 [0.51, 0.84]; MAC 0.54 [0.33, 0.93]; TAC 0.69 [0.54, 0.88]; CAC 0.89 [0.78, 1.02]), whereas calcification was more prevalent in NCBP users among the 2,181 women <65 years old (AVC 4.00 [2.33, 6.89]; AVRC 1.92 [1.42, 2.61]; MAC 2.35 [1.12, 4.84]; TAC 2.17 [1.49, 3.15]; CAC 1.23 [0.97, 1.57]).
Among women in the diverse MESA cohort, NCBPs were associated with decreased prevalence of cardiovascular calcification in older subjects, but more prevalent cardiovascular calcification in younger ones. Further study is warranted to clarify these age-dependent NCBP effects.
PMCID: PMC3004769  PMID: 21070928
bisphosphonate; calcification; coronary artery; valve; vascular
10.  The Pathogenesis and Treatment of the Valvulopathy of Aortic Stenosis: Beyond the SEAS 
Current cardiology reports  2010;12(2):125-132.
Fibrocalcific aortic stenosis (AS) results from an active process similar to atherosclerosis that involves basement membrane disruption, lipid deposition, inflammatory cell infiltration, and calcification. Consequently, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors (statins) have been extensively studied as potential therapeutic agents capable of slowing the progression of AS. However, two randomized trials, SALTIRE and the SEAS study, showed no benefit with statin therapy for AS. These results have shed doubt over the efficacy of statin therapy for AS, although their potential efficacy at early stages of aortic valve disease remains possible. In this article, we review the pathophysiology of fibrocalcific AS and discuss future directions for its nonsurgical management in the post-SEAS era.
PMCID: PMC2861781  PMID: 20425167
Calcification; Aortic valve; Statin; Stenosis

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