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1.  Classification of left ventricular size: diameter or volume with contrast echocardiography? 
Open Heart  2014;1(1):e000147.
Left ventricular (LV) size is an important clinical variable, commonly assessed at echocardiography by measurement of the internal diameter in diastole (IDD). However, this has recognised limitations and volumetric measurement from apical views is considered superior, particularly with the use of echocardiographic contrast. We sought to determine the agreement in classification of LV size by different measures in a large population of patients undergoing echocardiography.
Methods and results
Data were analysed retrospectively from consecutive patients (n=2008, 61% male, median 62 years) who received echocardiographic contrast for LV opacification over 3 years in a single institution. Repeat studies were not included. LVIDD was measured, and LV end-diastolic volume (LVEDV) calculated using Simpson's biplane method. Both measures were indexed (i) to body surface area and categorised according to the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) guidelines as normal, mild, moderate or severely dilated. Of 320 patients with a severely dilated LVEDVi, only 95 (30%) were similarly classified by LVIDD, with 86 patients (27%) measuring in the normal range. LVIDDi agreement was poorer, with only 43 patients (13%) classified as being severely dilated, and 173 (54%) measuring in the normal range.
Currently recommended echocardiographic measures of LV size show limited agreement when classified according to currently recommended cut-offs. LV diameter should have a limited role in the assessment of LV size, particularly where a finding of LV dilation has important diagnostic or therapeutic implications.
PMCID: PMC4267109  PMID: 25525505
2.  Left Ventricular Ejection Fraction and Volumes: It Depends on the Imaging Method 
Background and Methods
In order to provide guidance for using measurements of left ventricular (LV) volume and ejection fraction (LVEF) from different echocardiographic methods a PubMed review was performed on studies that reported reference values in normal populations for two-dimensional (2D ECHO) and three-dimensional (3D ECHO) echocardiography, nuclear imaging, cardiac computed tomography, and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR). In addition all studies (2 multicenter, 16 single center) were reviewed, which included at least 30 patients, and the results compared of noncontrast and contrast 2D ECHO, and 3D ECHO with those of CMR.
The lower limits for normal LVEF and the normal ranges for end-diastolic (EDV) and end-systolic (ESV) volumes were different in each method. Only minor differences in LVEF were found in studies comparing CMR and 2D contrast echocardiography or noncontrast 3D echocardiography. However, EDV and ESV measured with all echocardiographic methods were smaller and showed greater variability than those derived from CMR. Regarding agreement with CMR and reproducibility, all studies showed superiority of contrast 2D ECHO over noncontrast 2D ECHO and 3D ECHO over 2D ECHO. No final judgment can be made about the comparison between contrast 2D ECHO and noncontrast or contrast 3D ECHO.
Contrast 2D ECHO and noncontrast 3D ECHO show good reproducibility and good agreement with CMR measurements of LVEF. The agreement of volumes is worse. Further studies are required to assess the clinical value of contrast 3D ECHO as noncontrast 3D ECHO is only reliable in patients with good acoustic windows.
PMCID: PMC4231568  PMID: 24786629
echocardiography; contrast imaging; three-dimensional transthoracic echocardiography; left ventricular ejection fraction; left ventricular function
3.  The Alberta Heart Failure Etiology and Analysis Research Team (HEART) study 
Nationally, symptomatic heart failure affects 1.5-2% of Canadians, incurs $3 billion in hospital costs annually and the global burden is expected to double in the next 1–2 decades. The current one-year mortality rate after diagnosis of heart failure remains high at >25%. Consequently, new therapeutic strategies need to be developed for this debilitating condition.
The objective of the Alberta HEART program ( is to develop novel diagnostic, therapeutic and prognostic approaches to patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. We hypothesize that novel imaging techniques and biomarkers will aid in describing heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. Furthermore, the development of new diagnostic criteria will allow us to: 1) better define risk factors associated with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction; 2) elucidate clinical, cellular and molecular mechanisms involved with the development and progression of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction; 3) design and test new therapeutic strategies for patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. Additionally, Alberta HEART provides training and education for enhancing translational medicine, knowledge translation and clinical practice in heart failure. This is a prospective observational cohort study of patients with, or at risk for, heart failure. Patients will have sequential testing including quality of life and clinical outcomes over 12 months. After that time, study participants will be passively followed via linkage to external administrative databases. Clinical outcomes of interest include death, hospitalization, emergency department visits, physician resource use and/or heart transplant. Patients will be followed for a total of 5 years.
Alberta HEART has the primary objective to define new diagnostic criteria for patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. New criteria will allow for targeted therapies, diagnostic tests and further understanding of the patients, both at-risk for and with heart failure.
Trial registration NCT02052804.
PMCID: PMC4222863  PMID: 25063541
Heart failure; Preserved ejection fraction; Heart failure risk factors; Heart failure diagnosis
4.  Circulating Levels of Tumor Necrosis Factor-Alpha Receptor 2 Are Increased in Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction Relative to Heart Failure with Reduced Ejection Fraction: Evidence for a Divergence in Pathophysiology 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99495.
Various pathways have been implicated in the pathogenesis of heart failure (HF) with preserved ejection fraction (HFPEF). Inflammation in response to comorbid conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes, may play a proportionally larger role in HFPEF as compared to HF with reduced ejection fraction (HFREF).
Methods and Results
This study investigated inflammation mediated by the tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα) axis in community-based cohorts of HFPEF patients (n = 100), HFREF patients (n = 100) and healthy controls (n = 50). Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays were used to investigate levels of TNFα, its two receptors (TNFR1 and TNFR2), and a non-TNFα cytokine, interleukin-6 (IL-6), in plasma derived from peripheral blood samples. Plasma levels of TNFα and TNFR1 were significantly elevated in HFPEF relative to controls, while levels of TNFR2 were significantly higher in HFPEF than both controls and HFREF. TNFα, TNFR1 and TNFR2 were each significantly associated with at least two of the following: age, estimated glomerular filtration rate, hypertension, diabetes, smoking, peripheral vascular disease or history of atrial fibrillation. TNFR2 levels were also significantly associated with increasing grade of diastolic dysfunction and severity of symptoms in HFPEF.
Inflammation mediated through TNFα and its receptors, TNFR1 and TNFR2, may represent an important component of a comorbidity-induced inflammatory response that partially drives the pathophysiology of HFPEF.
PMCID: PMC4055721  PMID: 24923671
5.  Concurrent evolution of cancer cachexia and heart failure: bilateral effects exist 
Cancer cachexia is defined as a multifactorial syndrome of involuntary weight loss characterized by an ongoing loss of skeletal muscle mass and progressive functional impairment. It is postulated that cardiac dysfunction/atrophy parallels skeletal muscle atrophy in cancer cachexia. Cardiotoxic chemotherapy may additionally result in cardiac dysfunction and heart failure in some cancer patients. Heart failure thus may be a consequence of either ongoing cachexia or chemotherapy-induced cardiotoxicity; at the same time, heart failure can result in cachexia, especially muscle wasting. Therefore, the subsequent heart failure and cardiac cachexia can exacerbate the existing cancer-induced cachexia. We discuss these bilateral effects between cancer cachexia and heart failure in cancer patients. Since cachectic patients are more susceptible to chemotherapy-induced toxicity overall, this may also include increased cardiotoxicity of antineoplastic agents. Patients with cachexia could thus be doubly unfortunate, with cachexia-related cardiac dysfunction/heart failure and increased susceptibility to cardiotoxicity during treatment. Cardiovascular risk factors as well as pre-existing heart failure seem to exacerbate cardiac susceptibility against cachexia and increase the rate of cardiac cachexia. Hence, chemotherapy-induced cardiotoxicity, cardiovascular risk factors, and pre-existing heart failure may accelerate the vicious cycle of cachexia-heart failure. The impact of cancer cachexia on cardiac dysfunction/heart failure in cancer patients has not been thoroughly studied. A combination of serial echocardiography for detection of cachexia-induced cardiac remodeling and computed tomography image analysis for detection of skeletal muscle wasting would appear a practical and non-invasive approach to develop an understanding of cardiac structural/functional alterations that are directly related to cachexia.
PMCID: PMC4053562  PMID: 24627226
Cancer cachexia; Cardiac atrophy; Cardiac cachexia
6.  Global and regional left ventricular myocardial deformation measures by magnetic resonance feature tracking in healthy volunteers: comparison with tagging and relevance of gender 
Feature Tracking software offers measurements of myocardial strain, velocities and displacement from cine cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) images. We used it to record deformation parameters in healthy adults and compared values to those obtained by tagging.
We used TomTec 2D Cardiac Performance Analysis software to derive global, regional and segmental myocardial deformation parameters in 145 healthy volunteers who had steady state free precession (SSFP) cine left ventricular short (basal, mid and apical levels) and long axis views (horizontal long axis, vertical long axis and left ventricular out flow tract) obtained on a 1.5 T Siemens Sonata scanner. 20 subjects also had tagged acquisitions and we compared global and regional deformation values obtained from these with those from Feature Tracking.
For globally averaged measurements of strain, only those measured circumferentially in short axis slices showed reasonably good levels of agreement between FT and tagging (limits of agreement −0.06 to 0.04). Longitudinal strain showed wide limits of agreement (−0.16 to 0.03) with evidence of overestimation of strain by FT relative to tagging as the mean of both measures increased. Radial strain was systematically overestimated by FT relative to tagging with very wide limits of agreement extending to as much as 100% of the mean value (−0.01 to 0.23). Reproducibility showed similar relative trends with acceptable global inter-observer variability for circumferential measures (coefficient of variation 4.9%) but poor reproducibility in the radial direction (coefficient of variation 32.3%). Ranges for deformation parameters varied between basal, mid and apical LV levels with higher levels at base compared to apex, and between genders by both FT and tagging.
FT measurements of circumferential but not longitudinally or radially directed global strain showed reasonable agreement with tagging and acceptable inter-observer reproducibility. We record provisional ranges of FT deformation parameters at global, regional and segmental levels. They show evidence of variation with gender and myocardial region in the volunteers studied, but have yet to be compared with tagging measurements at the segmental level.
PMCID: PMC3621526  PMID: 23331550
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Feature tracking; Tagging; Strain; Myocardial displacement; Myocardial velocity
8.  Staphylococcus aureus Bacteraemia in a Tropical Setting: Patient Outcome and Impact of Antibiotic Resistance 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(1):e4308.
Most information on invasive Staphylococcus aureus infections comes from temperate countries. There are considerable knowledge gaps in epidemiology, treatment, drug resistance and outcome of invasive S. aureus infection in the tropics.
A prospective, observational study of S. aureus bacteraemia was conducted in a 1000-bed regional hospital in northeast Thailand over 1 year. Detailed clinical data were collected and final outcomes determined at 12 weeks, and correlated with antimicrobial susceptibility profiles of infecting isolates.
Principal Findings
Ninety-eight patients with S. aureus bacteraemia were recruited. The range of clinical manifestations was similar to that reported from temperate countries. The prevalence of endocarditis was 14%. The disease burden was highest at both extremes of age, whilst mortality increased with age. The all-cause mortality rate was 52%, with a mortality attributable to S. aureus of 44%. Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) was responsible for 28% of infections, all of which were healthcare-associated. Mortality rates for MRSA and methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) were 67% (18/27) and 46% (33/71), respectively (p = 0.11). MRSA isolates were multidrug resistant. Only vancomycin or fusidic acid would be suitable as empirical treatment options for suspected MRSA infection.
S. aureus is a significant pathogen in northeast Thailand, with comparable clinical manifestations and a similar endocarditis prevalence but higher mortality than industrialised countries. S. aureus bacteraemia is frequently associated with exposure to healthcare settings with MRSA causing a considerable burden of disease. Further studies are required to define setting-specific strategies to reduce mortality from S. aureus bacteraemia, prevent MRSA transmission, and to define the burden of S. aureus disease and emergence of drug resistance throughout the developing world.
PMCID: PMC2628727  PMID: 19180198
9.  Imaging of pericardial tumours: a case report 
Pericardial tumours are unusual and may be difficult to characterise with imaging. They manifest as large, non-contractile, solid masses within the pericardium. Presenting symptoms include heart failure, arrythmias, sudden death, cyanosis and chest pain.
Case presentation
We describe a case of massive pericardial fibroma in a 52 year old woman, who presented with palpitations only.
We illustrate the different imaging modalities available to image this tumour prior to surgical resection, and indicate the strengths and weaknesses of each.
PMCID: PMC1538633  PMID: 16848884

Results 1-9 (9)