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1.  Patient-Specific Simulation of Coronary Artery Pressure Measurements: An In Vivo Three-Dimensional Validation Study in Humans 
BioMed Research International  2015;2015:628416.
Pressure measurements using finite element computations without the need of a wire could be valuable in clinical practice. Our aim was to compare the computed distal coronary pressure values with the measured values using a pressure wire, while testing the effect of different boundary conditions for the simulation. Eight coronary arteries (lumen and outer vessel wall) from six patients were reconstructed in three-dimensional (3D) space using intravascular ultrasound and biplane angiographic images. Pressure values at the distal and proximal end of the vessel and flow velocity values at the distal end were acquired with the use of a combo pressure-flow wire. The 3D lumen and wall models were discretized into finite elements; fluid structure interaction (FSI) and rigid wall simulations were performed for one cardiac cycle both with pulsatile and steady flow in separate simulations. The results showed a high correlation between the measured and the computed coronary pressure values (coefficient of determination [r2] ranging between 0.8902 and 0.9961), while the less demanding simulations using steady flow and rigid walls resulted in very small relative error. Our study demonstrates that computational assessment of coronary pressure is feasible and seems to be accurate compared to the wire-based measurements.
PMCID: PMC4359837  PMID: 25815328
2.  Determinants of vascular function in patients with type 2 diabetes 
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is independently associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular diseases that is primarily due to the early development of advanced atherosclerotic vascular changes. The aim of our study was to investigate the predictors of vascular dysfunction in T2DM patients.
We studied 165 T2DM patients without known macrovascular or microvascular disease. Standard demographic (age, gender, cardiovascular risk factors, medications), clinical (body mass index, blood pressure) and laboratory (glucose, glycated hemoglobin, lipids, renal function) parameters were included in analyses. Brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD), nitrate mediated dilation (NMD) and Carotid-Femoral Pulse Wave Velocity (PWV) were measured.
Median age was 66 years and duration since T2DM diagnosis was 10 years, 70% were females and 79% hypertensives, while only 10% had a glycated hemoglobin <7%. FMD was positively associated with NMD (r 0.391, P < 0.001), while PWV was inversely associated with FMD (r -0.218, P = 0.014) and NMD (r -0.309, P < 0.001). Time since diagnosis of diabetes was the single independent predictor of FMD (β -0.40, P = 0.003). Increased age and fasting glucose and the presence of hypertension were independent predictors of decreased NMD (P < 0.001). Increased age and systolic blood pressure were independently associated with increased PWV (P < 0.001).
In T2DM patients, impairment of endothelium-dependent vasodilation was independently associated only with longer diabetes duration while no association with other established risk factors was found. Vascular smooth muscle dysfunction and increased arterial stiffness were more prominent in older T2DM patients with hypertension. Worse glycemic control was associated with impaired vascular smooth muscle function.
PMCID: PMC3490819  PMID: 23062182
Type 2 diabetes mellitus; Pulse wave velocity; Flow-mediated dilation; Nitrate-mediated dilation; Atherosclerosis
3.  Focus on the research utility of intravascular ultrasound - comparison with other invasive modalities 
Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) is an invasive modality which provides cross-sectional images of a coronary artery. In these images both the lumen and outer vessel wall can be identified and accurate estimations of their dimensions and of the plaque burden can be obtained. In addition, further processing of the IVUS backscatter signal helps in the characterization of the type of the plaque and thus it has been used to study the natural history of the atherosclerotic evolution. On the other hand its indigenous limitations do not allow IVUS to assess accurately stent struts coverage, existence of thrombus or exact site of plaque rupture and to identify some of the features associated with increased plaque vulnerability. In order this information to be obtained, other modalities such as optical coherence tomography, angioscopy, near infrared spectroscopy and intravascular magnetic resonance imaging have either been utilized or are under evaluation. The aim of this review article is to present the current utilities of IVUS in research and to discuss its advantages and disadvantages over the other imaging techniques.
PMCID: PMC3039561  PMID: 21276268
4.  Lack of effects of pioglitazone on cardiac function in patients with type 2 diabetes and evidence of left ventricular diastolic dysfunction: a tissue doppler imaging study 
Thiazolidinediones, used for the treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM2), are associated with an increased incidence of heart failure. We sought to investigate the effects of pioglitazone on novel echocardiographic indices of left ventricular (LV) diastolic function in DM2 patients with LV diastolic dysfunction (LVDD).
Eighty-eight asymptomatic DM2 patients on metformin and/or sulfonylureas, aged 64.5 ± 7.7 years, without known cardiovascular disease, with normal LV systolic function and evidence of LVDD were randomly assigned to pioglitazone 30 mg/day (n = 42) or an increase in dose of other oral agents (n = 39) for 6 months. All patients underwent transthoracic conventional and Tissue Doppler Imaging echocardiography at baseline and follow-up. The primary end-point was change in early diastolic velocity of the mitral annulus (E').
Improvement of glycaemic control was similar in the 2 groups. A significant difference (p < 0.05) between the 2 groups was found in the treatment-induced changes in fasting insulin, the insulin resistance index HOMA, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, diastolic blood pressure (all in favor of pioglitazone) and in body weight (increase with pioglitazone). No significant changes were observed in any echocardiographic parameter in either group and did not differ between groups (p = NS for all). E' increased non-significantly and to a similar extent in both groups (p = NS).
In asymptomatic DM2 patients with LVDD, the addition of pioglitazone to oral conventional treatment for 6 months does not induce any adverse or favorable changes in LV diastolic or systolic function despite improvements in glycaemic control, insulin sensitivity, lipid profile, and blood pressure.
PMCID: PMC2955641  PMID: 20863381
5.  Effect of intravenous administration of antioxidants alone and in combination on myocardial reperfusion injury in an experimental pig model 
Background: Several antioxidants have been found to have conflicting results in attenuating myocardial reperfusion injury. These studies were done primarily in experimental protocols that did not approximate clinical situations.
Objective: The aim of this study was to test the efficacy of 3 different antioxidants (ascorbic acid [AA], desferrioxamine, and N-acetylcysteine [NAC]) administered IV alone and in combination in a closed-chest pig model.
Methods: Farm-raised domestic male pigs (aged 3–5 months, weight of 30–35 kg) were assigned to 1 of 5 groups to receive treatment as follows: group A, AA 100 mg/kg; group B, desferrioxamine 60 mg/kg; group C, a loading dose of NAC 100 mg/kg for 20 minutes and a 20-mg/kg maintenance dose; group D, all 3 drugs in combination; and group E, normal saline (control group). The infusion of all drugs was started 15 minutes before and completed 5 minutes after reperfusion, except for the administration of NAC, which was terminated 60 minutes postreperfusion. Myocardial ischemia (45 minutes) and reperfusion (210 minutes) were achieved percutaneously by circumflex artery balloon occlusion. Ejection fraction, left ventricular end-diastolic pressure (LVEDP), flow in the infarcted artery, and all ventricular arrhythmias were recorded. Oxidative stress was estimated by serial measurements of thiobarbituric acid reactive substance (TBARS) concentration in coronary sinus blood. Infarct size was assessed as a percentage of the area at risk (I/R ratio) using the tetrazolium red staining method.
Results: The 25 pigs were divided into 5 groups of 5 pigs each. No significant between-group differences were found in I/R ratio or in oxidative stress (as measured by TBARS concentration). Group C developed significantly more ventricular atrhythmias than the control group (80% vs 0%, P = 0.02). No other differences among groups were found. LVEDP was significantly elevated in all treatment groups (mean LVEDP difference [SD] for group A, 6.0 [1.6] mm Hg; group B, 17.6 [1.9] mm Hg; group C, 3.6 [1.7] mm Hg; group D, 6.8 [3.2] and group E, 5.4 [3.4] mm Hg). LVEDP elevation was found to be significantly higher in group B compared with all the other groups (all, P < 0.001). No significant between-group differences were found in the other parameters measured.
Conclusion: In this experimental pig model, the antioxidants AA, desferrioxamine, and NAC administered alone or in combination did not reduce the deleterious effects of reperfusion injury and specifically the extent of myocardial necrosis.
PMCID: PMC3969921  PMID: 24692817
myocardial infarction; reperfusion injury; antioxidants; combination

Results 1-5 (5)