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1.  Outcomes and Characteristics of Patients Undergoing Percutaneous Angioplasty Followed by Below-Knee or Above-Knee Amputation for Peripheral Artery Disease 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e111130.
Little is known about long-term outcomes among patients who receive percutaneous angioplasty (PTA) for peripheral artery disease (PAD) then undergo below-knee or above-knee amputations. We sought to determine clinical outcomes associated with below-knee or above-knee amputation, along with possible explanatory factors and treatment strategies.
Using data from Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Research Database from 1997 to 2010, 7,568 adult patients were divided into three groups: lower extremity preserved (LE), below-knee amputation (BK) and above-knee amputation (AK). We assessed outcomes including major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) and associated risk factors.
Overall MACE was significantly higher in the AK group compared to the LE and BK groups, over a mean follow-up of 2.45 years (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.81; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.50–2.18 for AK vs. LE; HR: 1.67; 95% CI: 1.36–2.06 for AK vs. BK). However MACE were similar for the BK and LE groups (HR: 1.08; 95% CI: 0.98–1.20). Overall mortality was highest in the AK group (HR: 1.65, 95% CI: 1.34–2.04 for AK vs. BK). As for patient characteristics, atrial fibrillation was more prevalent in the AK group than in the BK group (17% vs. 7%). Independent risk factors associated with death after above- or below-knee amputation included advanced age, heart failure, dialysis, male gender and high patient volume.
The MACE rate was highest in the AK group, whereas the LE and BK groups were similar in this regard. Furthermore, overall mortality increased with larger area of amputation.
PMCID: PMC4212984  PMID: 25354252
2.  Increased Leukocyte Rho-associated Coiled-Coil Containing Protein Kinase Activity Predicts the Presence and Severity of Coronary Vasospastic Angina 
Atherosclerosis  2012;221(2):521-526.
Although inhibition of Rho-associated coiled-coil containing protein kinase (ROCK) has been shown to prevent coronary vasospastic angina (CVA), direct evidence linking ROCK activity and CVA is lacking. Accordingly, we investigated whether ROCK activity is an independent marker for CVA and is altered after treatment with antispastic medications.
Methods and Results
We prospectively studied 31 Taiwanese patients who were diagnosed with CVA and 33 control subjects. Subject demographics were recorded, and blood samples were obtained at baseline in all participants and in CVA patients after 3 months of antispastic treatment. Compared with control subjects, leukocyte ROCK activity was greater in CVA patients (136% versus 91%, P<0.001). A cutoff value for leukocyte ROCK activity of 104% predicted the presence of CVA with specificity and sensitivity rates of 88% and 84%, respectively. ROCK activity increased with the severity of CVA (P for trend <0.001). Following 3-month treatment of antispastic agents, leukocyte ROCK activity, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, and interleukin-6 levels were reduced by 43%, 42% and 27%, respectively (P<0.05 for all).
Increased levels of leukocyte ROCK activity independently predicted the presence of CVA and correlated with CVA severity. Treatment with antispastic agents substantially reduced the level of leukocyte ROCK activity.
PMCID: PMC3312984  PMID: 22293227
angina; calcium antagonist; coronary vasospasm; rho-kinase
3.  Far infra-red therapy promotes ischemia-induced angiogenesis in diabetic mice and restores high glucose-suppressed endothelial progenitor cell functions 
Far infra-red (IFR) therapy was shown to exert beneficial effects in cardiovascular system, but effects of IFR on endothelial progenitor cell (EPC) and EPC-related vasculogenesis remain unclear. We hypothesized that IFR radiation can restore blood flow recovery in ischemic hindlimb in diabetic mice by enhancement of EPCs functions and homing process.
Materials and methods
Starting at 4 weeks after the onset of diabetes, unilateral hindlimb ischemia was induced in streptozotocine (STZ)-induced diabetic mice, which were divided into control and IFR therapy groups (n = 6 per group). The latter mice were placed in an IFR dry sauna at 34°C for 30 min once per day for 5 weeks.
Doppler perfusion imaging demonstrated that the ischemic limb/normal side blood perfusion ratio in the thermal therapy group was significantly increased beyond that in controls, and significantly greater capillary density was seen in the IFR therapy group. Flow cytometry analysis showed impaired EPCs (Sca-1+/Flk-1+) mobilization after ischemia surgery in diabetic mice with or without IFR therapy (n = 6 per group). However, as compared to those in the control group, bone marrow-derived EPCs differentiated into endothelial cells defined as GFP+/CD31+ double-positive cells were significantly increased in ischemic tissue around the vessels in diabetic mice that received IFR radiation. In in-vitro studies, cultured EPCs treated with IFR radiation markedly augmented high glucose-impaired EPC functions, inhibited high glucose-induced EPC senescence and reduced H2O2 production. Nude mice received human EPCs treated with IFR in high glucose medium showed a significant improvement in blood flow recovery in ischemic limb compared to those without IFR therapy. IFR therapy promoted blood flow recovery and new vessel formation in STZ-induced diabetic mice.
Administration of IFR therapy promoted collateral flow recovery and new vessel formation in STZ-induced diabetic mice, and these beneficial effects may derive from enhancement of EPC functions and homing process.
PMCID: PMC3472269  PMID: 22894755
Far infra-red therapy; Endothelial progenitor cell; Diabetes; Ischemia
4.  Coronary Vasospasm Inducing Dynamic Left Ventricular Outflow Tract Obstruction 
Texas Heart Institute Journal  2001;28(3):223-225.
An 80-year-old man was admitted to the emergency department of our institution due to acute, anterior-wall myocardial infarction and cardiogenic shock. Two-dimensional echocardiography revealed systolic anterior motion of the mitral leaflets with severe left ventricular outflow tract obstruction. Although coronary angiography showed normal coronary arteries, an ergonovine provocation test induced diffuse coronary constriction of the left coronary artery, with chest pain, and ST-T changes seen on the electrocardiogram. These clinical signs caused us to suspect coronary spasm.
The present case serves as a reminder that coronary vasospasm may be a factor in the development of dynamic left ventricular outflow tract obstruction. Early detection and intensive efforts to relieve vasospasm, including emergency coronary angiography and intracoronary injection of nitroglycerin, are essential.
PMCID: PMC101185  PMID: 11678262
Myocardial infarction/therapy; angina pectoris; shock, cardiogenic; coronary vasospasm/complications/diagnosis/therapy; left ventricular outflow tract obstruction/diagnosis/therapy
5.  Intravenous Atropine Relieves Coronary Arterial Spasm and Hemodynamic Decompensation during Recovery after Exercise 
Texas Heart Institute Journal  2000;27(2):212-214.
A 66-year-old man developed right coronary arterial spasm and hemodynamic decompensation during the early recovery phase of a treadmill exercise test. The unstable condition was corrected immediately after intravenous administration of atropine. A subsequent coronary angiographic study revealed insignificant right coronary artery stenosis. The pathophysiology of this response may be related to rapid alterations in autonomic balance during recovery after exercise. To our knowledge, this is the 1st reported case in which atropine effected immediate reversal of coronary arterial spasm and hemodynamic decompensation that were induced by exercise, rather than by pharmacologic agents. Atropine might be an effective treatment in patients who experience exercise-induced coronary arterial spasm and hemodynamic decompensation, but further investigation is warranted.
PMCID: PMC101059  PMID: 10928512
Atropine/administration and dosage; atropine/therapeutic use; coronary vasospasm/diagnosis; coronary vessels/physiopathology; exercise test

Results 1-5 (5)