To assess the impact of relief of pulmonary stenosis (PS) and pulmonary regurgitation (PR) by percutaneous pulmonary valve implantation (PPVI) on biventricular function during exercise stress.
Methods and results
Seventeen patients, who underwent PPVI for PS or PR, were included. Magnetic resonance imaging was performed at rest and during supine exercise stress pre- and within 1-month post-PPVI, using a radial k − t SENSE real-time sequence. In patients with PS (n = 9), there was no reserve in right ventricular (RV) ejection fraction (EF) in response to exercise prior to PPVI (48.2 ± 12.1% at rest vs. 48.4 ± 14.8% during exercise, P = 0.87). Post-PPVI, reserve in RVEF in response to exercise was re-established (53.4 ± 15.0% at rest vs. 59.6 ± 17.3% during exercise, P = 0.003) with improvement in left ventricular stroke volume (LVSV) (45.4 ± 6.2 mL/m2 at rest vs. 52.8 ± 8.8 mL/m2 during exercise, P = 0.001). In patients with PR prior to PPVI (n = 8), LVSV during exercise increased (43.0 ± 8.5 vs. 54.3 ± 6.6 mL/m2, P < 0.001) due to reduction in PR fraction during exercise (29.2 ± 5.2 vs. 13.6 ± 6.1%, P < 0.001). After PPVI, LVSV increased from rest to exercise (48.4 ± 8.8 vs. 57.2 ± 8.1 mL/m2, P < 0.001) due to improved RVEF (45.5 ± 8.3 vs. 50.4 ± 6.9%, P = 0.001). There was a significantly higher increase in LVSV at exercise from pre- to post-PPVI in PS patients than in PR patients (ΔLVSV 8.2 ± 4.1 vs. Δ2.9 ± 4.1 mL/m2, P = 0.01). The reduction in the RV outflow tract gradient correlated significantly with the improvement in LVSV during exercise (r = −0.73, P < 0.001).
Percutaneous pulmonary valve implantation in patients with PS leads to restoration of reserve in RVEF during exercise stress. In patients with PR, SV augmentation improves only mildly post-PPVI. Improvement in SV augmentation during exercise stress after PPVI is dependent mainly on afterload reduction.
Exercise physiology; Right ventricular outflow tract dysfunction; Percutaneous pulmonary valve implantation; Congenital heart disease; Exercise stress magnetic resonance imaging
Patients hospitalized for acute heart failure (AHF) differ with respect of many clinical characteristics which may influence their prognosis and response to treatment. We have assessed possible differences in the effects of serelaxin on dyspnoea relief, 60 Day outcomes and 180 Day mortality across patient subgroups in the RELAX-AHF trial.
Methods and results
Subgroups were based on pre-specified covariates (age, sex, race, geographic region, estimated glomerular filtration rate, time from presentation to randomization, baseline systolic blood pressure, history of diabetes, atrial fibrillation, ischaemic heart disease, cardiac devices, i.v. nitrates at randomization). Other covariates which may modify the efficacy of AHF treatment were also analysed. Subgroup analyses did not show any difference in the effects of serelaxin vs. placebo on dyspnoea relief or on the incidence of cardiovascular death or rehospitalizations for heart failure or renal failure at 60 days. Nominally significant interactions between some patient subgroups and the effects of serelaxin on 180 days cardiovascular and all-cause mortality were noted but should be interpreted cautiously due to the number of comparisons and the low incidence of deaths in the subgroups at lower risk.
The effects of serelaxin vs. placebo appeared to be similar across subgroups of patients in RELAX-AHF.
Acute heart failure; Serelaxin; Mortality; Subgroups
Threshold crossings of impedance trends detected by implanted devices have been associated with clinically relevant heart failure events, but long-term prognosis of such events has not been demonstrated. The aim of this study is to examine the relationship between alterations in intrathoracic impedance and mortality risk in patients with implantable devices.
Methods and results
We reviewed remote monitoring data in the de-identified Medtronic CareLink® Discovery Link that captured intrathoracic impedance trends for >6 months. The initial 6 months of the cardiac and impedance trends were used as the observation period to create the patient groups and cross-referenced with the Social Security Death Index for mortality data. In our study cohort of 21 217 patients, 36% experienced impedance threshold crossing within the initial 6 months of monitoring (defined as the ‘early threshold crossing’ group). Patients with early threshold crossings demonstrated an increased risk of age- and gender-adjusted all-cause mortality [hazard ratio (HR) 2.15, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.95–2.38, P< 0.0001]. Increased mortality risk remained significant when analysed in subgroups of patients without defibrillator shock (HR 2.10, 95% CI 1.90–2.34, P< 0.0001, n= 1621) or within those patients without device-detectable atrial fibrillation (AF) during the initial 6 months of monitoring (HR 2.09, 95% CI 1.86–2.34, P< 0.0001, n= 17 235). Both the number and the duration of early threshold crossings of impedance trends detectable by implanted devices were associated with increased mortality risk. Furthermore, the improvement of altered impedance trends portends more favourable prognosis.
Threshold crossing of impedance trends detectable by implanted devices is associated with relatively increased mortality risk even after adjusted for demographic, device-detected AF, or defibrillator shocks.
Intrathoracic impedance; Heart failure; Prognosis
The availability of new antithrombotic agents, each with a unique efficacy and bleeding profile, has introduced a considerable amount of clinical uncertainty with physicians. We have developed a clinical decision aid in order to assist clinicians in determining an optimal antithrombotic regime for the prevention of stroke in patients who are newly diagnosed with non-valvular atrial fibrillation.
Methods and results
The CHA2DS2-VASc and HAS-BLED scoring systems were used to assess patients’ baseline risks of stroke and major bleeding, respectively. The relative risks of stroke and major bleeding for each antithrombotic agent were then used to identify the agent associated with the lowest net risk. Individual patient factors such as the treatment threshold, bleeding ratio, and cost threshold modified the recommendations in order to generate a final recommendation. By considering both patient factors and clinical research concurrently, this clinical decision aid is able to provide specific advice to clinicians regarding an optimal stroke prevention strategy. The resulting treatment recommendation tables are consistent with the recommendations of the European Society of Cardiology and Canadian Cardiovascular Society Guidelines, which can be incorporated into either a paper-based or electronic format to allow clinicians to have decision support at the point of care.
The use of a clinical decision aid that considers both patient factors and evidence-based medicine will serve to bridge the knowledge gap and provide practical guidance to clinicians in the prevention of stroke due to atrial fibrillation.
Atrial fibrillation; Stroke prevention; Decision aid; Antithrombotic; Anticoagulation
Orthostatic hypotension (OH), an independent predictor of mortality and cardiovascular events, strongly correlates with hypertension. Recent genome-wide studies have identified new loci influencing blood pressure (BP) in populations, but their impact on OH remains unknown.
Methods and results
A total of 38 970 men and women of European ancestry from five population-based cohorts were included, of whom 2656 (6.8%) met the diagnostic criteria for OH (systolic/diastolic BP drop ≥20/10 mmHg within 3 min of standing). Thirty-one recently discovered BP-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were examined using an additive genetic model and the major allele as referent. Relations between OH, orthostatic systolic BP response, and genetic variants were assessed by inverse variance-weighted meta-analysis. We found Bonferroni adjusted (P < 0.0016) significant evidence for association between OH and the EBF1 locus (rs11953630, per-minor-allele odds ratio, 95% confidence interval: 0.90, 0.85–0.96; P = 0.001), and nominal evidence (P < 0.05) for CYP17A1 (rs11191548: 0.85, 0.75–0.95; P = 0.005), and NPR3-C5orf23 (rs1173771: 0.92, 0.87–0.98; P= 0.009) loci. Among subjects not taking BP-lowering drugs, three SNPs within the NPPA/NPPB locus were nominally associated with increased risk of OH (rs17367504: 1.13, 1.02–1.24; P = 0.02, rs198358: 1.10, 1.01–1.20; P = 0.04, and rs5068: 1.22, 1.04–1.43; P = 0.01). Moreover, an ADM variant was nominally associated with continuous orthostatic systolic BP response in the adjusted model (P= 0.04).
The overall association between common gene variants in BP loci and OH was generally weak and the direction of effect inconsistent with resting BP findings. These results suggest that OH and resting BP share few genetic components.
Orthostatic hypotension; Genetics; Single nucleotide polymorphism; Steroid 17-alpha-hydroxylase; Natriuretic peptides; Adrenomedullin
The aim of this study was to assess diagnostic and prognostic value of mid-regional pro-atrial natriuretic peptide (MR-proANP) and adrenomedullin (MR-proADM) for the evaluation of patients presenting to the emergency department with acute dyspnoea.
Methods and results
A total of 560 patients from the pro-B type natriuretic peptide Investigation of Dyspnoea in the Emergency Department were evaluated; 180 had acutely decompensated heart failure (ADHF). Concentrations of amino-terminal pro-B type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP), MR-proADM, and MR-proANP were measured, and patients were followed to 4 years for survival. Logistic regression evaluated utility of MR-proANP in ADHF diagnosis. Area under the curve (AUC), multivariate Cox regression, net reclassification improvement, and Kaplan–Meier survival analyses were used for mortality analyses. Mid-regional pro-atrial natriuretic peptide was higher in patients with ADHF (median 329 vs. 58 pmol/L; P < 0.001), and remained an independent predictor of HF diagnosis even when NT-proBNP was included as a covariate (odds ratio = 4.34, 95% CI = 2.11–8.92; P < 0.001). In time-dependent analyses, MR-proADM had the highest AUC for death during the first year; after 1 year, MR-proANP and NT-proBNP had a higher AUC. Both mid-regional peptides were independently prognostic and reclassified risk at 1 year [MR-proANP, hazard ratio (HR) = 2.99, MR-proADM, HR = 2.70; both P < 0.001] and at 4 years (MR-proANP, HR = 3.12, P < 0.001; MR-proADM, HR = 1.51, P = 0.03) and in Kaplan–Meier curves both mid-regional peptides were associated with death out to 4 years, individually or in a multimarker strategy.
Among patients with acute dyspnoea, MR-proANP is accurate for diagnosis of ADHF, while both MR-proANP and MR-proADM are independently prognostic to 4 years of the follow-up.
Diagnosis; Prognosis; Biomarker; Heart failure
Although cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) reduces morbidity and mortality in patients with heart failure, a significant minority of patients do not respond adequately to this therapy. The objective of this study was to examine the impact of a ‘multidisciplinary care’ (MC) approach on the clinical outcome in CRT patients.
Methods and results
The clinical outcome in patients prospectively receiving MC (n = 254) was compared with a control group of patients who received conventional care (CC, n = 173). The MC group was followed prospectively in an integrated clinic setting by a team of subspecialists from the heart failure, electrophysiology, and echocardiography service at 1-, 3-, and 6-months post-implant. All patients had echocardiographic-guided optimization at their 1-month visit. The proportional hazards model (adjusting for all covariates) and Kaplan–Meier time to first event curves were compared between the two groups, over a 2-year follow-up. The long-term outcome was measured as a combined endpoint of heart failure hospitalization, cardiac transplantation, or all-cause mortality. The clinical characteristics between the MC and CC groups at baseline were comparable (age, 68 ± 13 vs. 69 ± 12; NYHA III, 90 vs. 82%; ischaemic cardiomyopathy 55 vs. 64%, P = NS, respectively). The event-free survival was significantly higher in the multidisciplinary vs. the CC group (P = 0.0015). A significant reduction in clinical events was noted in the MC group vs. the CC group (hazard ratio: 0.62, 95% CI: 0.46–0.83, P = 0.001).
Integrated MC may improve 2-year event-free survival in patients receiving cardiac resynchronization therapy. Prospective randomized studies are needed to validate our findings.
Cardiac resynchronization therapy; Heart failure; Integrated clinic; Multidisciplinary care
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are the gold standard for assessing the efficacy of therapeutic interventions because randomization protects from biases inherent in observational studies. Propensity score (PS) methods, proposed as a potential solution to confounding of the treatment–outcome association, are widely used in observational studies of therapeutic interventions for acute coronary syndromes (ACS). We aimed to systematically assess agreement between observational studies using PS methods and RCTs on therapeutic interventions for ACS.
Methods and results
We searched for observational studies of interventions for ACS that used PS methods to estimate treatment effects on short- or long-term mortality. Using a standardized algorithm, we matched observational studies to RCTs based on patients’ characteristics, interventions, and outcomes (‘topics’), and we compared estimates of treatment effect between the two designs. When multiple observational studies or RCTs were identified for the same topic, we performed a meta-analysis and used the summary relative risk for comparisons. We matched 21 observational studies investigating 17 distinct clinical topics to 63 RCTs (median = 3 RCTs per observational study) for short-term (7 topics) and long-term (10 topics) mortality. Estimates from PS analyses differed statistically significantly from randomized evidence in two instances; however, observational studies reported more extreme beneficial treatment effects compared with RCTs in 13 of 17 instances (P = 0.049). Sensitivity analyses limited to large RCTs, and using alternative meta-analysis models yielded similar results.
For the treatment of ACS, observational studies using PS methods produce treatment effect estimates that are of more extreme magnitude compared with those from RCTs, although the differences are rarely statistically significant.
Observational studies; Randomized controlled trials; Acute coronary syndromes; Myocardial infarction; Unstable angina; Propensity score
Bleeding complications have been associated with short-term mortality in patients with non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI). Their association with long-term outcomes is less clear. This study examines mortality associated with in-hospital bleeding during NSTEMI over time intervals starting from hospital discharge and extending past 3 years.
Methods and results
We studied 32 895 NSTEMI patients aged ≥65 years, using patient-level data from the CRUSADE registry linked with Medicare claims data. We assessed the association of in-hospital major bleeding with short (30 days), intermediate (1 year), and long-term (3 years) mortality among hospital survivors overall, as well as in those patients treated with or without a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). We calculated adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) for mortality for bleeders vs. non-bleeders over time intervals from: (i) discharge to 30 days; (ii) 31 days to 1 year; (iii) 1 year to 3 years; and (iv) beyond 3 years. Overall, 11.9% (n = 3902) had an in-hospital major bleeding event. Cumulative mortality was higher in those who had a major bleed vs. those without at 30 days, 1 year, and 3 years. Even after adjustment, major bleeding continued to be significantly associated with higher mortality over time in the overall population: (i) discharge to 30 days [adjusted HR 1.33; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.18–1.51]; (ii) 31 days to 1 year (1.19; 95% CI 1.10–1.29); (iii) 1 year to 3 years (1.09; 95% CI 1.01–1.18), and (iv) attenuating beyond 3 years (1.14; 95% CI 0.99–1.31). In-hospital bleeding among patients treated with PCI continued to be significantly associated with higher adjusted mortality even beyond 3 years (1.25; 95% CI 1.01–1.54).
In-hospital major bleeding is associated with short-, intermediate-, and long-term mortality among older patients hospitalized for NSTEMI—this association is strongest within the first 30 days, but remains significant long term, particularly among PCI-treated patients. Despite a probable early hazard related to bleeding, the longer duration of risk in patients who bleed casts doubt on its causal relationship with long-term mortality. Rather, major bleeding likely identifies patients with an underlying risk for mortality.
Bleeding; Outcomes; Elderly patients; Acute myocardial infarction; Percutaneous coronary intervention
Recent secondary prevention trials have failed to demonstrate a beneficial effect of n-3 fatty acids on cardiovascular outcomes, which may be due to the growing use of statins since the mid-1990s. The aim of the present study was to assess whether statins modify the effects of n-3 fatty acids on major adverse cardiovascular events in patients with a history of myocardial infarction (MI).
Methods and results
Patients who participated in the Alpha Omega Trial were divided into consistent statin users (n = 3740) and consistent statin non-users (n = 413). In these two groups of patients, the effects of an additional daily amount of 400 mg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) plus docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), 2 g α-linolenic acid (ALA), or both on major cardiovascular events were evaluated. Multivariable Cox's proportional hazard models were used to calculate adjusted hazard rate ratios (HRadj). Among the statin users 495 (13%) and among the statin non-users 62 (15%) developed a major cardiovascular event. In statin users, an additional amount of n-3 fatty acids did not reduce cardiovascular events [HRadj 1.02; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.80, 1.31; P = 0.88]. In statin non-users, however, only 9% of those who received EPA–DHA plus ALA experienced an event compared with 18% in the placebo group (HRadj 0.46; 95% CI: 0.21, 1.01; P= 0.051).
In patients with a history of MI who are not treated with statins, low-dose supplementation with n-3 fatty acids may reduce major cardiovascular events. This study suggests that statin treatment modifies the effects of n-3 fatty acids on the incidence of major cardiovascular events.
ClinicalTrials.gov number: NCT00127452.
n-3 fatty acids; Eicosapentaenoic acid; Docosahexaenoic acid; α-linolenic acid; Cardiovascular diseases; Statins; Lipids
The aim of this study was to examine the association between long-term alcohol consumption, alcohol consumption before and after myocardial infarction (MI), and all-cause and cardiovascular mortality among survivors of MI.
Methods and results
The Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS) is a prospective cohort study of 51 529 US male health professionals. From 1986 to 2006, 1818 men were confirmed with incident non-fatal MI. Among MI survivors, 468 deaths were documented during up to 20 years of follow-up. Long-term average alcohol consumption was calculated beginning from the time period immediately before the first MI and updated every 4 years afterward. Cox proportional hazards were used to estimate the multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Compared with non-drinkers, the multivariable-adjusted HRs for all-cause mortality were 0.78 (95% CI: 0.62–0.97) for 0.1–9.9 g/day, 0.66 (95% CI: 0.51–0.86) for 10.0–29.9 g/day, and 0.87 (95% CI: 0.61–1.25) for ≥30 g/day (Pquadratic= 0.006). For cardiovascular mortality, the corresponding HRs were 0.74 (95% CI: 0.54–1.02), 0.58 (95% CI: 0.39–0.84), and 0.98 (95% CI: 0.60–1.60), Pquadratic= 0.003. These findings were consistent when restricted to pre- and post-MI alcohol assessments. In subgroup analyses, moderate alcohol consumption was inversely associated with mortality among men with non-anterior infarcts, and among men with mildly diminished left ventricular function.
Long-term moderate alcohol consumption is inversely associated with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality among men who survived a first MI. This U-shaped association may be strongest among individuals with less impaired cardiac function after MI and should be examined further.
Alcohol consumption; Mortality; Myocardial infarction; Survival
Medicine has always been personalized. For years, physicians have incorporated environmental, behavioural, and genetic factors that affect disease and drug response into patient management decisions. However, until recently, the ‘genetic’ data took the form of family history and self-reported race/ethnicity. As genome sequencing declines in cost, the availability of specific genomic information will no longer be limiting. Rather, our ability to parse these data and our decision whether to use it will become primary. As our understanding of genetic association with drug responses and diseases continues to improve, clinically useful genetic tests may emerge to improve upon our previous methods of assessing genetic risks. Indeed, genetic tests for monogenic disorders have already proven useful. Such changes may usher in a new era of personalized medicine. In this review, we will discuss the utility and limitations of personal genomic data in three domains: pharmacogenomics, assessment of genetic predispositions for common diseases, and identification of rare disease-causing genetic variants.
Pharmacogenomics; Common disease risk assessment; Rare genetic variant discovery; Personalized medicine; Genomic medicine
The pathophysiology of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) is complex but increased left ventricular (LV) diastolic stiffness plays a key role. A load-independent, non-invasive, direct measure of diastolic stiffness is lacking. The diastolic wall strain (DWS) index is based on the linear elastic theory, which predicts that impaired diastolic wall thinning reflects resistance to deformation in diastole and thus, increased diastolic myocardial stiffness. The objectives of this community-based study were to determine the distribution of this novel index in consecutive HFpEF patients and healthy controls, define the relationship between DWS and cardiac structure and function and determine whether increased diastolic stiffness as assessed by DWS is predictive of the outcome in HFpEF.
Methods and results
Consecutive HFpEF patients (n = 327, EF ≥ 50%) and controls (n = 528) from the same community were studied. Diastolic wall strain was lower in HFpEF (0.33 ± 0.08) than in controls (0.40 ± 0.07, P < 0.001). Within HFpEF, those with DWS ≤ median (0.33) had higher LV mass index, relative wall thickness, E/e′, Doppler-estimated LV end-diastolic pressure to LV end-diastolic volume ratio, left atrial volume index, and brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) levels than those with DWS > median. Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction patients with DWS ≤ median had higher rate of death or HF hospitalization than those with DWS > median (P = 0.003) even after the adjustment for age, gender, log BNP, LV geometry, or log E/e′ (P < 0.01).
These data suggest that DWS, a simple index, is useful in assessing diastolic stiffness and that more advanced diastolic stiffness is associated with worse outcomes in HFpEF.
Diastolic function; Heart failure; Preserved ejection fraction; Outcomes
Heart failure (HF) is a major public health burden worldwide. Of patients presenting with HF, 30–55% have a preserved ejection fraction (HFPEF) rather than a reduced ejection fraction (HFREF). Our objective was to examine discriminating clinical features in new-onset HFPEF vs. HFREF.
Methods and results
Of 712 participants in the Framingham Heart Study (FHS) hospitalized for new-onset HF between 1981 and 2008 (median age 81 years, 53% female), 46% had HFPEF (EF >45%) and 54% had HFREF (EF ≤45%). In multivariable logistic regression, coronary heart disease (CHD), higher heart rate, higher potassium, left bundle branch block, and ischaemic electrocardiographic changes increased the odds of HFREF; female sex and atrial fibrillation increased the odds of HFPEF. In aggregate, these clinical features predicted HF subtype with good discrimination (c-statistic 0.78). Predictors were examined in the Enhanced Feedback for Effective Cardiac Treatment (EFFECT) study. Of 4436 HF patients (median age 75 years, 47% female), 32% had HFPEF and 68% had HFREF. Distinguishing clinical features were consistent between FHS and EFFECT, with comparable discrimination in EFFECT (c-statistic 0.75). In exploratory analyses examining the traits of the intermediate EF group (EF 35–55%), CHD predisposed to a decrease in EF, whereas other clinical traits showed an overlapping spectrum between HFPEF and HFREF.
Multiple clinical characteristics at the time of initial HF presentation differed in participants with HFPEF vs. HFREF. While CHD was clearly associated with a lower EF, overlapping characteristics were observed in the middle of the left ventricular EF range spectrum.
Heart failure; Epidemiology; Risk factors; Ejection fraction
Recent decades have seen very large declines in coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality across most of Europe, partly due to declines in risk factors such as smoking. Cardiovascular diseases (predominantly CHD and stroke), remain, however, the main cause of death in most European countries, and many risk factors for CHD, particularly obesity, have been increasing substantially over the same period. It is hypothesized that observed reductions in CHD mortality have occurred largely within older age groups, and that rates in younger groups may be plateauing or increasing as the gains from reduced smoking rates are increasingly cancelled out by increasing rates of obesity and diabetes. The aim of this study was to examine sex-specific trends in CHD mortality between 1980 and 2009 in the European Union (EU) and compare trends between adult age groups.
Sex-specific data from the WHO global mortality database were analysed using the joinpoint software to examine trends and significant changes in trends in age-standardized mortality rates. Specific age groups analysed were: under 45, 45–54, 55–64, and 65 years and over. The number and location of significant joinpoints for each country by sex and age group was determined (maximum of 3) using a log-linear model, and the annual percentage change within each segment calculated. Average annual percentage change overall (1980–2009) and separately for each decade were calculated with respect to the underlying joinpoint model.
Recent CHD rates are now less than half what they were in the early 1980s in many countries, in younger adult age groups as well as in the population overall. Trends in mortality rates vary markedly between EU countries, but less so between age groups and sexes within countries. Fifteen countries showed evidence of a recent plateauing of trends in at least one age group for men, as did 12 countries for women. This did not, however, appear to be any more common in younger age groups compared with older adults. There was little evidence to support the hypothesis that mortality rates have recently begun to plateau in younger age groups in the EU as a whole, although such plateaus and even a small number of increases in CHD mortality in younger subpopulations were observed in a minority of countries.
There is limited evidence to support the hypothesis that CHD mortality rates in younger age groups in the member states of the EU have been more likely to plateau than in older age groups. There are, however, substantial and persistent inequalities between countries. It remains vitally important for the whole EU to monitor and work towards reducing preventable risk factors for CHD and other chronic conditions to promote wellbeing and equity across the region.
Coronary heart disease; Mortality; Trends; Young adults
Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging is widely used for diagnostic imaging in medicine as it is considered a safe alternative to ionizing radiation-based techniques. Recent reports on potential genotoxic effects of strong and fast switching electromagnetic gradients such as used in cardiac MR (CMR) have raised safety concerns. The aim of this study was to analyse DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) in human blood lymphocytes before and after CMR examination.
Methods and results
In 20 prospectively enrolled patients, peripheral venous blood was drawn before and after 1.5 T CMR scanning. After density gradient cell separation of blood samples, DNA DSBs in lymphocytes were quantified using immunofluorescence microscopy and flow cytometric analysis. Wilcoxon signed-rank testing was used for statistical analysis. Immunofluorescence microscopic and flow cytometric analysis revealed a significant increase in median numbers of DNA DSBs in lymphocytes induced by routine 1.5 T CMR examination.
The present findings indicate that CMR should be used with caution and that similar restrictions may apply as for X-ray-based and nuclear imaging techniques in order to avoid unnecessary damage of DNA integrity with potential carcinogenic effect.
Cardiac MRI; DNA damage; γ-H2AX; Flow cytometry; Immunofluorescence microscopy
Catheter-based renal artery sympathetic denervation has emerged as a novel therapy for treatment of patients with drug-resistant hypertension. Initial studies were performed using a single electrode radiofrequency catheter, but recent advances in catheter design have allowed the development of multi-electrode systems that can deliver lesions with a pre-determined pattern. This study was designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the EnligHTN™ multi-electrode system.
Methods and results
We conducted the first-in-human, prospective, multi-centre, non-randomized study in 46 patients (67% male, mean age 60 years, and mean baseline office blood pressure 176/96 mmHg) with drug-resistant hypertension. The primary efficacy objective was change in office blood pressure from baseline to 6 months. Safety measures included all adverse events with a focus on the renal artery and other vascular complications and changes in renal function. Renal artery denervation, using the EnligHTN™ system significantly reduced the office blood pressure from baseline to 1, 3, and 6 months by −28/10, −27/10 and −26/10 mmHg, respectively (P < 0.0001). No acute renal artery injury or other serious vascular complications occurred. Small, non-clinically relevant, changes in average estimated glomerular filtration rate were reported from baseline (87 ± 19 mL/min/1.73 m2) to 6 months post-procedure (82 ± 20 mL/min/1.73 m2).
Renal sympathetic denervation, using the EnligHTN™ multi-electrode catheter results in a rapid and significant office blood pressure reduction that was sustained through 6 months. The EnligHTN™ system delivers a promising therapy for the treatment of drug-resistant hypertension.
Hypertension; Renal denervation; Blood pressure; Percutaneous
Statins protect against cardiovascular-related mortality but induce skeletal muscle toxicity. To investigate mechanisms of statins, we tested the hypothesis that statins optimized cardiac mitochondrial function but impaired vulnerable skeletal muscle by inducing different level of reactive oxygen species (ROS).
Methods and results
In atrium of patients treated with statins, ROS production was decreased and oxidative capacities were enhanced together with an extensive augmentation of mRNAs expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma co-activator (PGC-1) family. However, in deltoid biopsies from patients with statin-induced muscular myopathy, oxidative capacities were decreased together with ROS increase and a collapse of PGC-1 mRNA expression. Several animal and cell culture experiments were conducted and showed by using ROS scavengers that ROS production was the triggering factor responsible of atorvastatin-induced activation of mitochondrial biogenesis pathway and improvement of antioxidant capacities in heart. Conversely, in skeletal muscle, the large augmentation of ROS production following treatment induced mitochondrial impairments, and reduced mitochondrial biogenesis mechanisms. Quercetin, an antioxidant molecule, was able to counteract skeletal muscle deleterious effects of atorvastatin in rat.
Our findings identify statins as a new activating factor of cardiac mitochondrial biogenesis and antioxidant capacities, and suggest the importance of ROS/PGC-1 signalling pathway as a key element in regulation of mitochondrial function in cardiac as well as skeletal muscles.
Mitohormesis; Statin; ROS; Heart; Mitochondrial biogenesis
Mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists (MRAs) improve outcomes in patients with heart failure and reduced left ventricular ejection fraction (HFrEF), but their use is limited by hyperkalaemia and/or worsening renal function (WRF). BAY 94-8862 is a highly selective and strongly potent non-steroidal MRA. We investigated its safety and tolerability in patients with HFrEF associated with mild or moderate chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Methods and results
This randomized, controlled, phase II trial consisted of two parts. In part A, the safety and tolerability of oral BAY 94-8862 [2.5, 5, or 10 mg once daily (q.d.)] was assessed in 65 patients with HFrEF and mild CKD. In part B, BAY 94-8862 (2.5, 5, or 10 mg q.d., or 5 mg twice daily) was compared with placebo and open-label spironolactone (25 or 50 mg/day) in 392 patients with HFrEF and moderate CKD. BAY 94-8862 was associated with significantly smaller mean increases in serum potassium concentration than spironolactone (0.04–0.30 and 0.45 mmol/L, respectively, P < 0.0001–0.0107) and lower incidences of hyperkalaemia (5.3 and 12.7%, respectively, P = 0.048) and WRF. BAY 94-8862 decreased the levels of B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP), amino-terminal proBNP, and albuminuria at least as much as spironolactone. Adverse events related to BAY 94-8862 were infrequent and mostly mild.
In patients with HFrEF and moderate CKD, BAY 94-8862 5–10 mg/day was at least as effective as spironolactone 25 or 50 mg/day in decreasing biomarkers of haemodynamic stress, but it was associated with lower incidences of hyperkalaemia and WRF.
Aldosterone; Antagonist; Chronic kidney disease; Heart failure; Mineralocorticoid receptor
Hyperglycemia and insulin resistance are key players in the development of atherosclerosis and its complications. A large body of evidence suggest that metabolic abnormalities cause overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS). In turn, ROS, via endothelial dysfunction and inflammation, play a major role in precipitating diabetic vascular disease. A better understanding of ROS-generating pathways may provide the basis to develop novel therapeutic strategies against vascular complications in this setting. Part I of this review will focus on the most current advances in the pathophysiological mechanisms of vascular disease: (i) emerging role of endothelium in obesity-induced insulin resistance; (ii) hyperglycemia-dependent microRNAs deregulation and impairment of vascular repair capacities; (iii) alterations of coagulation, platelet reactivity, and microparticle release; (iv) epigenetic-driven transcription of ROS-generating and proinflammatory genes. Taken together these novel insights point to the development of mechanism-based therapeutic strategies as a promising option to prevent cardiovascular complications in diabetes.
Diabetes; Vascular disease; Pathophysiology
Conventional late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) cardiac magnetic resonance can detect myocardial infarction and some forms of non-ischaemic myocardial fibrosis. However, quantitative imaging of extracellular volume fraction (ECV) may be able to detect subtle abnormalities such as diffuse fibrosis or post-infarct remodelling of remote myocardium. The aims were (1) to measure ECV in myocardial infarction and non-ischaemic myocardial fibrosis, (2) to determine whether ECV varies with age, and (3) to detect sub-clinical abnormalities in ‘normal appearing’ myocardium remote from regions of infarction.
Methods and results
Cardiac magnetic resonance ECV imaging was performed in 126 patients with T1 mapping before and after injection of gadolinium contrast. Conventional LGE images were acquired for the left ventricle. In patients with a prior myocardial infarction, the infarct region had an ECV of 51 ± 8% which did not overlap with the remote ‘normal appearing’ myocardium that had an ECV of 27 ± 3% (P < 0.001, n = 36). In patients with non-ischaemic cardiomyopathy, the ECV of atypical LGE was 37 ± 6%, whereas the ‘normal appearing’ myocardium had an ECV of 26 ± 3% (P < 0.001, n = 30). The ECV of ‘normal appearing’ myocardium increased with age (r = 0.28, P = 0.01, n = 60). The ECV of ‘normal appearing’ myocardium remote from myocardial infarctions increased as left ventricular ejection fraction decreased (r = −0.50, P = 0.02).
Extracellular volume fraction imaging can quantitatively characterize myocardial infarction, atypical diffuse fibrosis, and subtle myocardial abnormalities not clinically apparent on LGE images. Taken within the context of prior literature, these subtle ECV abnormalities are consistent with diffuse fibrosis related to age and changes remote from infarction.
Magnetic resonance imaging; Myocardial infarction; Fibrosis; Aging; Gadolinium
Person-centred care (PCC) emphasizes a partnership in care between patients and healthcare professionals and is advocated by WHO as a key component of quality health care. We evaluated outcomes of PCC in hospitalized patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) with respect to the length of hospital stay (LOS), activities of daily living (ADL), health-related quality of life (HRQL) and 6-month readmission rate.
Methods and results
During 2008–2010, 248 consecutive patients hospitalized for symptoms of worsening CHF were enrolled in a controlled before and after designed study. A Usual care group (n= 123) was recruited according to pre-defined criteria to map usual CHF care and assess outcomes at five designated hospital wards. Based on the mapping, a panel of in-house clinicians and researchers developed measures aimed at aligning usual care with basic PCC principles. These measures were incorporated into a study protocol to guide care procedures at the same five wards. Person-centred care was then implemented at these wards and evaluated in 125 patients. Both length of hospital stay and 6-month readmission were extracted from patient records. Activities of daily living were evaluated at baseline and discharge and HRQL was evaluated at baseline and after 3 months. In the analysis of all patients, the LOS was reduced by 1 day (P= 0.16) while retaining ADL (P= 0.07). When PCC was fully implemented (per protocol analysis), LOS was reduced by 2.5 days (P= 0.01) and the ADL-level better preserved (P= 0.04). Health-related quality of life and time-to-first readmission did not differ.
In this proof-of-concept study, our findings suggest that a fully implemented PCC approach shortens hospital stay and maintains functional performance in patients hospitalized for worsening CHF, without increasing risk for readmission or jeopardizing patients' HRQL.
Patient-centred care; Chronic heart failure; Disease management programmes; Person-centered medicine; Person-centered care