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3.  Influence of common genetic variation on blood lipid levels, cardiovascular risk, and coronary events in two British prospective cohort studies 
European Heart Journal  2012;34(13):972-981.
Aims
The aim of this study was to quantify the collective effect of common lipid-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on blood lipid levels, cardiovascular risk, use of lipid-lowering medication, and risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) events.
Methods and results
Analysis was performed in two prospective cohorts: Whitehall II (WHII; N = 5059) and the British Women’s Heart and Health Study (BWHHS; N = 3414). For each participant, scores were calculated based on the cumulative effect of multiple genetic variants influencing total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and triglycerides (TG). Compared with the bottom quintile, individuals in the top quintile of the LDL-C genetic score distribution had higher LDL-C {mean difference of 0.85 [95% confidence interval, (CI) = 0.76–0.94] and 0.63 [95% CI = 0.50–0.76] mmol/l in WHII and BWHHS, respectively}. They also tended to have greater odds of having ‘high-risk’ status (Framingham 10-year cardiovascular disease risk >20%) [WHII: odds ratio (OR) = 1.36 (0.93–1.98), BWHHS: OR = 1.49 (1.14–1.94)]; receiving lipid-lowering treatment [WHII: OR = 2.38 (1.57–3.59), BWHHS: OR = 2.24 (1.52–3.29)]; and CHD events [WHII: OR = 1.43 (1.02–2.00), BWHHS: OR = 1.31 (0.99–1.72)]. Similar associations were observed for the TC score in both studies. The TG score was associated with high-risk status and medication use in both studies. Neither HDL nor TG scores were associated with the risk of coronary events. The genetic scores did not improve discrimination over the Framingham risk score.
Conclusion
At the population level, common SNPs associated with LDL-C and TC contribute to blood lipid variation, cardiovascular risk, use of lipid-lowering medications and coronary events. However, their effects are too small to discriminate future lipid-lowering medication requirements or coronary events.
doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehs243
PMCID: PMC3612774  PMID: 22977227
Lipid genetic score; Lipid medication; Framingham
4.  Genes for blood pressure: an opportunity to understand hypertension 
European Heart Journal  2013;34(13):951-961.
Hypertension (HTN) is quantitatively the major cardiovascular risk factor and responsible for ∼50% of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Blood pressure (BP) is also a classical complex genetic trait with heritability estimates of 30–50%. Although much is known about BP regulation, the intrinsic origin of essential HTN remains obscure although many environmental factors are known. Analyses of rare monogenic syndromes of HTN have focused attention on pathways that involve renal sodium handling, and steroid hormone metabolism including the mineralocorticoid receptor activity. The genetic basis of common essential HTN on the other hand is only just becoming accessible through high-throughput approaches. Unbiased genome-wide analyses of BP genomics have identified 43 genetic variants associated with systolic, diastolic BP, and HTN. It is highly likely based on current findings that there are hundreds of such loci with small effects on BP, opening a perspective on the genetic architecture of BP that was unknown before. It is our hope that the knowledge of these and further loci will lead to improved understanding of BP pathophysiology and to the identification of new targets for drug therapy.
doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehs455
PMCID: PMC3612776  PMID: 23303660
Blood pressure genetics; Hypertension; Monogenic disease; Complex genetic disease
5.  Neutral endopeptidase inhibition and the natriuretic peptide system: an evolving strategy in cardiovascular therapeutics 
European Heart Journal  2012;34(12):886-893.
Hypertension and heart failure (HF) are common diseases that, despite advances in medical therapy, continue to be associated with high morbidity and mortality. Therefore, innovative therapeutic strategies are needed. Inhibition of the neutral endopeptidase (NEPinh) had been investigated as a potential novel therapeutic approach because of its ability to increase the plasma concentrations of the natriuretic peptides (NPs). Indeed, the NPs have potent natriuretic and vasodilator properties, inhibit the activity of the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system, lower sympathetic drive, and have antiproliferative and antihypertrophic effects. Such potentially beneficial effects can be theoretically achieved by the use of NEPinh. However, studies have shown that NEPinh alone does not result in clinically meaningful blood pressure-lowering actions. More recently, NEPinh has been used in combination with other cardiovascular agents, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, and antagonists of the angiotensin receptor. Another future possible combination would be the use of NEPinh with NPs or their newly developed chimeric peptides. This review summarizes the current knowledge of the use and effects of NEPinh alone or in combination with other therapeutic agents for the treatment of human cardiovascular disease such as HF and hypertension.
doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehs262
PMCID: PMC3604644  PMID: 22942338
Neutral endopeptidase inhibition; Natriuretic peptide system; Evolving strategy in cardiovascular therapeutics
6.  Implementation of standardized assessment and reporting of myocardial infarction in contemporary randomized controlled trials: a systematic review 
European Heart Journal  2013;34(12):894-902.
Myocardial infarction (MI) is a key endpoint in randomized controlled trials (RCTs), but heterogeneous definitions limit comparisons across RCTs or meta-analyses. The 2000 European Society of Cardiology/American College of Cardiology MI redefinition and the 2007 universal MI definition consensus documents made recommendations to address this issue. In cardiovascular randomized trials, we evaluated the impact of implementation of three key recommendations from these reports—troponin use to define MI; separate reporting of spontaneous and procedure-related MI; and infarct size reporting. We searched ClinicalTrials.gov and MEDLINE databases for cardiovascular RCTs with more than 500 patients in which enrolment began between September 2000 and July 2012 and that listed MI in the primary endpoint. We searched English-language publications with primary results or design papers. Of 3222 studies screened, 96 (3.0%) met our criteria. We extracted enrolment start date, number of patients and MI events, follow-up duration, and coronary revascularization rate. Data extraction quality was assessed by duplicated extractions. Of 96 RCTs, 80 had a primary results publication, comprising 608 091 patients and 43 621 endpoint MIs. Myocardial infarction represented 45.3% (95% confidence interval, 40.2–50.4) of events in the primary composite endpoint. Troponin defined MI in 57% (53/93) of trials with an MI definition available. Of these RCTs, three used troponin only if creatine kinase-MB was unavailable, six used troponin to define peri-procedural MI, seven specified the 99th percentile as the MI decision limit, and three reported spontaneous and procedure-related MI separately. None reported biomarker-based infarct size, but five reported MI as multiples of the assay upper limit of normal. Although MI is a major component of cardiovascular RCT primary endpoints, standardized MI reporting and implementation of consensus document recommendations for MI definition are limited. Developing appropriate strategies for uniform implementation is required.
doi:10.1093/eurheartj/eht003
PMCID: PMC3604645  PMID: 23355654
Myocardial infarction; Clinical trials; Systematic reviews
7.  Iron status in patients with chronic heart failure 
European Heart Journal  2012;34(11):827-834.
Aims
The changes in iron status occurring during the course of heart failure (HF) and the underlying pathomechanisms are largely unknown. Hepcidin, the major regulatory protein for iron metabolism, may play a causative role. We investigated iron status in a broad spectrum of patients with systolic HF in order to determine the changes in iron status in parallel with disease progression, and to associate iron status with long-term prognosis.
Methods and results
Serum concentrations of ferritin, transferrin saturation (Tsat), soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR), and hepcidin were assessed as the biomarkers of iron status in 321 patients with chronic systolic HF [age: 61 ± 11 years, men: 84%, left ventricular ejection fraction: 31 ± 9%, New York Heart Association (NYHA) class: 72/144/87/18] at a tertiary cardiology centre and 66 age- and gender-matched healthy subjects. Compared with healthy subjects, asymptomatic HF patients had similar haematological status, but increased iron stores (evidenced by higher serum ferritin without distinct inflammation, P < 0.01) with markedly elevated serum hepcidin (P < 0.001). With increasing HF severity, patients in advanced NYHA classes had iron deficiency (ID) (reduced serum ferritin, low Tsat, high sTfR), iron-restricted erythropoiesis (reduced haemoglobin, high red cell distribution width), and inflammation (high serum high-sensitivity-C-reactive protein and interleukin 6), which was accompanied by decreased circulating hepcidin (all P < 0.001). In multivariable Cox models, low hepcidin was independently associated with increased 3-year mortality among HF patients (P < 0.001).
Conclusions
Increased level of circulating hepcidin characterizes an early stage of HF, and is not accompanied by either anaemia or inflammation. The progression of HF is associated with the decline in circulating hepcidin and the development of ID. Low hepcidin independently relates to unfavourable outcome.
doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehs377
PMCID: PMC3697803  PMID: 23178646
Heart failure; Iron deficiency; Ferritin; Hepcidin; Prognosis
8.  A non-exercise testing method for estimating cardiorespiratory fitness: associations with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in a pooled analysis of eight population-based cohorts 
European Heart Journal  2012;34(10):750-758.
Aims
Cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is a key predictor of chronic disease, particularly cardiovascular disease (CVD), but its assessment usually requires exercise testing which is impractical and costly in most health-care settings. Non-exercise testing cardiorespiratory fitness (NET-F)-estimating methods are a less resource-demanding alternative, but their predictive capacity for CVD and total mortality has yet to be tested. The objective of this study is to examine the association of a validated NET-F algorithm with all-cause and CVD mortality.
Methods and results
The participants were 32 319 adults (14 650 men) aged 35–70 years who took part in eight Health Survey for England and Scottish Health Survey studies between 1994 and 2003. Non-exercise testing cardiorespiratory fitness (a metabolic equivalent of VO2max) was calculated using age, sex, body mass index (BMI), resting heart rate, and self-reported physical activity. We followed participants for mortality until 2008. Two thousand one hundred and sixty-five participants died (460 cardiovascular deaths) during a mean 9.0 [standard deviation (SD) = 3.6] year follow-up. After adjusting for potential confounders including diabetes, hypertension, smoking, social class, alcohol, and depression, a higher fitness score according to the NET-F was associated with a lower risk of mortality from all-causes (hazard ratio per SD increase in NET-F 0.85, 95% confidence interval: 0.78–0.93 in men; 0.88, 0.80–0.98 in women) and CVD (men: 0.75, 0.63–0.90; women: 0.73, 0.60–0.92). Non-exercise testing cardiorespiratory fitness had a better discriminative ability than any of its components (CVD mortality c-statistic: NET-F = 0.70–0.74; BMI = 0.45–0.59; physical activity = 0.60–0.64; resting heart rate = 0.57–0.61). The sensitivity of the NET-F algorithm to predict events occurring in the highest risk quintile was better for CVD (0.49 in both sexes) than all-cause mortality (0.44 and 0.40 for men and women, respectively). The specificity for all-cause and CVD mortality ranged between 0.80 and 0.82. The net reclassification improvement of CVD mortality risk (vs. a standardized aggregate score of the modifiable components of NET-F) was 27.2 and 21.0% for men and women, respectively.
Conclusion
The CRF-estimating method NET-F that does not involve exercise testing showed consistent associations with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, and it had good discrimination and excellent risk reclassification improvement. As such, it merits further attention as a practical and potentially and useful risk prediction tool.
doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehs097
PMCID: PMC3590456  PMID: 22555215
Epidemiology; Non-exercise testing; Cardiorespiratory fitness; Cardiovascular disease; Physical activity; Health Survey for England
10.  Inflammatory and injury signals released from the post-stenotic human kidney 
European Heart Journal  2012;34(7):540-548.
Aims
The mechanisms mediating kidney injury and repair in humans with atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis (ARAS) remain poorly understood. We hypothesized that the stenotic kidney releases inflammatory mediators and recruits progenitor cells to promote regeneration.
Methods and results
Essential hypertensive (EH) and ARAS patients (n= 24 each) were studied during controlled sodium intake and antihypertensive treatment. Inferior vena cava (IVC) and renal vein (RV) levels of CD34+/KDR+ progenitor cells, cell adhesion molecules, inflammatory biomarkers, progenitor cell homing signals, and pro-angiogenic factors were measured in EH and ARAS, and their gradient and net release compared with systemic levels in matched normotensive controls (n= 24). Blood pressure in ARAS was similar to EH, but the glomerular filtration rate was lower. Renal vein levels of soluble E-Selectin, vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, and several inflammatory markers were higher in the stenotic kidney RV vs. normal and EH RV (P< 0.05), and their net release increased. Similarly, stem-cell homing factor levels increased in the stenotic kidney RV. Systemic CD34+/KDR+ progenitor cell levels were lower in both EH and ARAS and correlated with cytokine levels. Moreover, CD34+/KDR+ progenitor cells developed a negative gradient across the ARAS kidney, suggesting progenitor cell retention. The non-stenotic kidney also showed signs of inflammatory processes, which were more subtle than in the stenotic kidney.
Conclusion
Renal vein blood from post-stenotic human kidneys has multiple markers reflecting active inflammation that portends kidney injury and reduced function. CD34+/KDR+ progenitor cells sequestered within these kidneys may participate in reparative processes. These inflammation-related pathways and limited circulating progenitor cells may serve as novel therapeutic targets to repair the stenotic kidney.
doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehs197
PMCID: PMC3572435  PMID: 22771675
Renovascular hypertension; Progenitor cells; Inflammatory biomarkers; Renal artery stenosis; Cytokines
11.  The intriguing metabolically healthy but obese phenotype: cardiovascular prognosis and role of fitness 
European Heart Journal  2012;34(5):389-397.
Aims
Current knowledge on the prognosis of metabolically healthy but obese phenotype is limited due to the exclusive use of the body mass index to define obesity and the lack of information on cardiorespiratory fitness. We aimed to test the following hypotheses: (i) metabolically healthy but obese individuals have a higher fitness level than their metabolically abnormal and obese peers; (ii) after accounting for fitness, metabolically healthy but obese phenotype is a benign condition, in terms of cardiovascular disease and mortality.
Methods and results
Fitness was assessed by a maximal exercise test on a treadmill and body fat per cent (BF%) by hydrostatic weighing or skinfolds (obesity = BF% ≥25 or ≥30%, men or women, respectively) in 43 265 adults (24.3% women). Metabolically healthy was considered if meeting 0 or 1 of the criteria for metabolic syndrome. Metabolically healthy but obese participants (46% of the obese subsample) had a better fitness than metabolically abnormal obese participants (P < 0.001). When adjusting for fitness and other confounders, metabolically healthy but obese individuals had lower risk (30–50%, estimated by hazard ratios) of all-cause mortality, non-fatal and fatal cardiovascular disease, and cancer mortality than their metabolically unhealthy obese peers; while no significant differences were observed between metabolically healthy but obese and metabolically healthy normal-fat participants.
Conclusions
(i) Higher fitness should be considered a characteristic of metabolically healthy but obese phenotype. (ii) Once fitness is accounted for, the metabolically healthy but obese phenotype is a benign condition, with a better prognosis for mortality and morbidity than metabolically abnormal obese individuals.
doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehs174
PMCID: PMC3561613  PMID: 22947612
Cardiovascular diseases; Heart diseases; Metabolic syndrome; Mortality; Obesity; Physical fitness
12.  Real-time MRI-guided right heart catheterization in adults using passive catheters 
European Heart Journal  2012;34(5):380-389.
Aims
Real-time MRI creates images with superb tissue contrast that may enable radiation-free catheterization. Simple procedures are the first step towards novel interventional procedures. We aim to perform comprehensive transfemoral diagnostic right heart catheterization in an unselected cohort of patients entirely using MRI guidance.
Methods and results
We performed X-ray and MRI-guided transfemoral right heart catheterization in consecutive patients undergoing clinical cardiac catheterization. We sampled both cavae and both pulmonary arteries. We compared success rate, time to perform key steps, and catheter visibility among X-ray and MRI procedures using air-filled or gadolinium-filled balloon-tipped catheters. Sixteen subjects (four with shunt, nine with coronary artery disease, three with other) underwent paired X-ray and MRI catheterization. Complete guidewire-free catheterization was possible in 15 of 16 under both. MRI using gadolinium-filled balloons was at least as successful as X-ray in all procedure steps, more successful than MRI using air-filled balloons, and better than both in entering the left pulmonary artery. Total catheterization time and individual procedure steps required approximately the same amount of time irrespective of image guidance modality. Catheter conspicuity was best under X-ray and next-best using gadolinium-filled MRI balloons.
Conclusion
In this early experience, comprehensive transfemoral right heart catheterization appears feasible using only MRI for imaging guidance. Gadolinium-filled balloon catheters were more conspicuous than air-filled ones. Further workflow and device enhancement are necessary for clinical adoption.
doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehs189
PMCID: PMC3561614  PMID: 22855740
Catheterization; Magnetic resonance imaging; Interventional cardiovascular MRI; Pulmonary artery
13.  Gender-specific differences in left ventricular remodelling in obesity: insights from cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging 
European Heart Journal  2012;34(4):292-299.
Aims
As obesity-related cardiovascular mortality, although elevated when compared with normal weight, is lower in females than in males at every body mass index (BMI) level, we aimed to investigate gender-specific differences in left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy in obesity, which themselves have been shown to have varying prognostic value.
Method and results
In total, 741 subjects (female, n = 399) without identifiable cardiovascular risk factors (BMI 15.7–59.2 kg/m2) underwent cardiovascular magnetic resonance (1.5 T) to determine LV mass, end-diastolic volume (EDV, mL), and LV mass/volume ratio (LVM/VR). Across both sexes, there was a strong positive correlation between BMI and LV mass (male r = 0.44, female r = 0.57, both P < 0.001), with males showing a greater LV hypertrophic response (male +2.3 vs. female +1.6 g per BMI point increase, P = 0.001). Concentric hypertrophy was present in both sexes and LVM/VR positively correlated to BMI (male r = 0.45, female r = 0.29, both P < 0.001) on linear regression analysis. However, the degree of concentric hypertrophy was greater in males (male +0.13 vs. female +0.06 LVM/VR increase per BMI point increase, P = 0.001). On the other hand, females showed a greater LV cavity dilatory response (female +1.1 vs. male +0.3 mL per BMI point increase, P < 0.001). Indeed, in contrast to females, where BMI and LV-EDV were positively correlated (r = 0.38, P < 0.001), BMI did not correlate with EDV in men (r = 0.03, P = 0.62).
Conclusion
In the absence of traditional cardiovascular risk factors, obese men show predominantly concentric hypertrophy, whereas obese women exhibit both eccentric and concentric hypertrophy. As concentric hypertrophy is more strongly related to cardiovascular mortality than eccentric hypertrophy, our observations may explain the observed gender difference in obesity-related mortality.
doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehs341
PMCID: PMC3549525  PMID: 23053174
Gender; LV hypertrophy; Obesity; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging
14.  Left atrial structure and function and clinical outcomes in the general population 
European Heart Journal  2012;34(4):278-285.
Aims
Left atrial (LA) structural and functional abnormalities may be subclinical phenotypes, which identify individuals at increased risk of adverse outcomes.
Methods and results
Maximum LA volume (LAmax) and LA emptying fraction (LAEF) were measured via cardiac magnetic resonance imaging in 1802 participants in the Dallas Heart Study. The associations of LAEF and LAmax indexed to body surface area (LAmax/BSA) with traditional risk factors, natriuretic peptide levels, and left ventricular (LV) structure [end-diastolic volume (EDV) and concentricity0.67 (mass/EDV0.67)] and function (ejection fraction) were assessed using linear regression analysis. The incremental prognostic value of LAmax/BSA and LAEF beyond traditional risk factors, LV ejection fraction, and LV mass was assessed using the Cox proportional-hazards model. Both increasing LAmax/BSA and decreasing LAEF were associated with hypertension and natriuretic peptide levels (P < 0.05 for all). In multivariable analysis, LAmax/BSA was most strongly associated with LV end-diastolic volume/BSA, while LAEF was strongly associated with LV ejection fraction and concentricity0.67. During a median follow-up period of 8.1 years, there were 81 total deaths. Decreasing LAEF [hazard ratio (HR) per 1 standard deviation (SD) (8.0%): 1.56 (1.32–1.87)] but not increasing LAmax/BSA [HR per 1 SD (8.6 mL/m2): 1.14 (0.97–1.34)] was independently associated with mortality. Furthermore, the addition of LAEF to a model adjusting Framingham risk score, diabetes, race, LV mass, and ejection fraction improved the c-statistic (c-statistics: 0.78 vs. 0.77; P < 0.05, respectively), whereas the addition of LAmax/BSA did not (c-statistics: 0.76, P = 0.20).
Conclusion
In the general population, both LAmax/BSA and LAEF are important subclinical phenotypes but LAEF is superior and incremental to LAmax/BSA.
doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehs188
PMCID: PMC3549524  PMID: 22782941
Left atrial volume index; Left atrial systolic function; Population
15.  Emotional triggers in myocardial infarction: do they matter? 
European Heart Journal  2012;34(4):300-306.
Considerable excitement and interest have arisen recently concerning the role that acute emotional triggers may play in precipitating a myocardial infarction (MI). Observational studies have found repeatedly that patients report excessive anger, anxiety, sadness, grief, or acute stress immediately prior to onset of MI, and recent meta-analyses summarizing these findings reported strong associations between MI occurrence and many of these acute emotions. However, it is unclear whether and through what mechanisms acute emotional triggers might influence MI, and whether there is any clinical utility in knowing if or how emotions trigger MI. We debate whether emotional triggers matter by reviewing the recent evidence for the association between acute emotional triggers and MI and by describing the potential pathophysiological characteristics and mechanisms underlying this association and the preventive strategies that could be used to mitigate the risk of acute MI. We also examine whether the study of emotional triggers could influence clinical risk management or changes in clinical practice/management. We offer suggestions for research that might shed light on whether emotional triggers could initiate a paradigm shift in preventive cardiology, or whether acute emotional triggers are either intractable catalysts for, or merely an epiphenomenon of, some MIs.
doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehs398
PMCID: PMC3549526  PMID: 23178642
Myocardial infarction; Emotional triggers; Risk factors; Epidemiology
16.  Bioresorbable vascular scaffolds in acute ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction: a prospective multicentre study ‘Prague 19’ 
European Heart Journal  2014;35(12):787-794.
Aims
Bioresorbable vascular scaffolds (BVSs) have been studied in chronic coronary artery disease, but not in acute ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). This prospective multicentre study analysed the feasibility and safety of BVS implantation during primary percutaneous coronary intervention (p-PCI) in STEMI.
Methods and results
Bioresorbable vascular scaffold implantation became the default strategy for all consecutive STEMI patients between 15 December 2012 and 30 August 2013. A total of 142 patients underwent p-PCI; 41 of them (28.9%) fulfilled the inclusion/exclusion criteria for BVS implantation. The BVS device success was 98%, thrombolysis in myocardial infarction 3 flow was restored in 95% of patients, and acute scaffold recoil was 9.7%. An optical coherence tomography (OCT) substudy (21 patients) demonstrated excellent procedural results with only a 1.1% rate of scaffold strut malapposition. Edge dissections were present in a 38% of patients, but were small and clinically silent. Reference vessel diameter measured by quantitative coronary angiography was significantly lower than that measured by OCT by 0.29 (±0.56) mm, P = 0.028. Clinical outcomes were compared between BVS group and Control group; the latter was formed by patients who had implanted metallic stent and were in Killip Class I or II. Combined clinical endpoint was defined as death, myocardial infarction, or target vessel revascularization. Event-free survival was the same in both groups; 95% for BVS and 93% for Control group, P = 0.674.
Conclusion
Bioresorbable vascular scaffold implantation in acute STEMI is feasible and safe. The procedural results evaluated by angiography and OCT are excellent. The early clinical results are encouraging.
doi:10.1093/eurheartj/eht545
PMCID: PMC3969527  PMID: 24419808
Bioresorbable vascular scaffold; Biodegradable stent; Acute myocardial infarction; Primary PCI; Optical coherence tomography
17.  Influence of baseline left ventricular function on the clinical outcome of surgical ventricular reconstruction in patients with ischaemic cardiomyopathy 
European Heart Journal  2012;34(1):39-47.
Aims
The Surgical Treatment for Ischemic Heart Failure (STICH) trial demonstrated no overall benefit when surgical ventricular reconstruction (SVR) was added to coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) in patients with ischaemic cardiomyopathy. The present analysis was to determine whether, based on baseline left ventricular (LV) function parameters, any subgroups could be identified that benefited from SVR.
Methods and results
Among the 1000 patients enrolled, Core Lab measures of baseline LV function with adequate quality were obtained in 710 patients using echocardiography, in 352 using cardiovascular magnetic resonance, and in 344 using radionuclide imaging. The relationship between LV end-systolic volume index (ESVI), end-diastolic volume index, ejection fraction (EF), regional wall motion abnormalities, and outcome were first assessed only by echocardiographic measures, and then by 13 algorithms using a different hierarchy of imaging modalities and their quality. The median ESVI and EF were 78.0 (range: 22.8–283.8) mL/m2 and 28.0%, respectively. Hazard ratios comparing the randomized arms by subgroups of LVESVI and LVEF measured by echocardiography found that patients with smaller ventricles (LVESVI <60 mL/m2) and better LVEF (≥33%) may have benefitted by SVR, while those with larger ventricles (LVESVI >90 mL/m2) and lower LVEF (≤25%) did worse with SVR. Algorithms using all three imaging modalities found a weaker relationship between LV global function and the effects of SVR. The extent of regional wall motion abnormality did not influence the effects of SVR.
Conclusions
Subgroup analyses of the STICH trial suggest that patients with less dilated LV and better LVEF may benefit from SVR, while those with larger LV and poorer LVEF may do worse.
Clinical Trial Registration #: NCT00023595.
doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehs021
PMCID: PMC3533917  PMID: 22584648
STICH; Surgical ventricular reconstruction; Coronary disease; Heart failure
18.  Presentation, management, and outcomes of 25 748 acute coronary syndrome admissions in Kerala, India: results from the Kerala ACS Registry 
European Heart Journal  2012;34(2):121-129.
Aims
There are limited contemporary data on the presentation, management, and outcomes of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) admissions in India. We aimed to develop a prospective registry to address treatment and health systems gaps in the management of ACSs in Kerala, India.
Methods and results
We prospectively collected data on 25 748 consecutive ACS admissions from 2007 to 2009 in 125 hospitals in Kerala. We evaluated data on presentation, management, and in-hospital mortality and major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE). We created random-effects multivariate regression models to evaluate predictors of outcomes while accounting for confounders. Mean (SD) age at presentation was 60 (12) years and did not differ among ACS types [ST-segment myocardial infarction (STEMI) = 37%; non-STEMI = 31%; unstable angina = 32%]. In-hospital anti-platelet use was high (>90%). Thrombolytics were used in 41% of STEMI, 19% of non-STEMI, and 11% of unstable angina admissions. Percutaneous coronary intervention rates were marginally higher in STEMI admissions. Discharge medication rates were variable and generally suboptimal (<80%). In-hospital mortality and MACE rates were highest for STEMI (8.2 and 10.3%, respectively). After adjustment, STEMI diagnosis (vs. unstable angina) [odds ratio (OR) (95% confidence interval = 4.06 (2.36, 7.00)], symptom-to-door time >6 h [OR = 2.29 (1.73, 3.02)], and inappropriate use of thrombolysis [OR = 1.33 (0.92, 1.91)] were associated with higher risk of in-hospital mortality and door-to-needle time <30 min [OR = 0.44 (0.27, 0.72)] was associated with lower mortality. Similar trends were seen for risk of MACE.
Conclusion
These data represent the largest ACS registry in India and demonstrate opportunities for improving ACS care.
doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehs219
PMCID: PMC3538274  PMID: 22961945
Acute coronary syndrome; India; Registry; Outcomes
19.  Drug-induced arrhythmia: pharmacogenomic prescribing? 
European Heart Journal  2012;34(2):89-95.
Drug-induced Torsades de Pointes is a rare, unpredictable, and life-threatening serious adverse event. It can be caused by both cardiac and non-cardiac drugs and has become a major issue in novel drug development and for the regulatory authorities. This review describes the problem, predisposing factors, and the underlying genetic predisposition as it is understood currently. The future potential for pharmacogenomic-guided and personalized prescription to prevent drug-induced Torsades de Pointes is discussed. Database searches utilized reports from www.qtdrugs.org up to January 2012, case reports and articles from www.pubmed.com up to January 2012, and the British National Formulary edition at www.bnf.org.
doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehs351
PMCID: PMC3538275  PMID: 23091201
Torsades de pointes; Serious adverse events; Anti-arrhythmic drugs; Pharmacogenomics; Drug-induced arrhythmia; Acquired long QT syndrome
21.  Device-detected atrial fibrillation and risk for stroke: an analysis of >10 000 patients from the SOS AF project (Stroke preventiOn Strategies based on Atrial Fibrillation information from implanted devices) 
European Heart Journal  2013;35(8):508-516.
Objective
The aim of this study was to assess the association between maximum daily atrial fibrillation (AF) burden and risk of ischaemic stroke.
Background
Cardiac implanted electronic devices (CIEDs) enhance detection of AF, providing a comprehensive measure of AF burden.
Design, setting, and patients
A pooled analysis of individual patient data from five prospective studies was performed. Patients without permanent AF, previously implanted with CIEDs, were included if they had at least 3 months of follow-up. A total of 10 016 patients (median age 70 years) met these criteria. The risk of ischaemic stroke associated with pre-specified cut-off points of AF burden (5 min, 1, 6, 12, and 23 h, respectively) was assessed.
Results
During a median follow-up of 24 months, 43% of 10 016 patients experienced at least 1 day with at least 5 min of AF burden and for them the median time to the maximum AF burden was 6 months (inter-quartile range: 1.3–14). A Cox regression analysis adjusted for the CHADS2 score and anticoagulants at baseline demonstrated that AF burden was an independent predictor of ischaemic stroke. Among the thresholds of AF burden that we evaluated, 1 h was associated with the highest hazard ratio (HR) for ischaemic stroke, i.e. 2.11 (95% CI: 1.22–3.64, P = 0.008).
Conclusions
Device-detected AF burden is associated with an increased risk of ischaemic stroke in a relatively unselected population of CIEDs patients. This finding may add to the basis for timely and clinically appropriate decision-making on anticoagulation treatment.
doi:10.1093/eurheartj/eht491
PMCID: PMC3930873  PMID: 24334432
Atrial fibrillation; Anticoagulation; Implantable defibrillator; Pacemaker; Stroke
22.  Interleukin-7 induces recruitment of monocytes/macrophages to endothelium 
European Heart Journal  2011;33(24):3114-3123.
Aims
Interleukin-7 (IL-7) is a master regulator of T-cell development and homoeostasis. Increased IL-7 levels are associated with inflammatory diseases. The aims of this study were to determine whether IL-7 is a biomarker for inflammatory conditions or an active participant in atherogenesis.
Methods and results
Advanced atherosclerotic lesions in Apoe−/− mice were regressed by long-term cholesterol lowering through treatment with a helper-dependent adenovirus expressing apolipoprotein E (n= 6–10). Using this model, gene expression patterns in the aorta were analysed at an early phase of regression by microarray. After stringent statistical analysis, we found that IL-7 expression is significantly reduced in response to lowering of cholesterol (n= 6). To understand the importance of IL-7 down-regulation for atherosclerotic regression, we studied the effects and mechanisms of action of IL-7 on endothelial cells (ECs) in vitro as well as in vivo. Our major findings are: (i) IL-7 up-regulates cell adhesion molecules and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 in ECs and promotes monocyte adhesion to ECs; (ii) this regulation is mediated by phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT-dependent and -independent activation of NF-κB; (iii) elevation of plasma IL-7 induces recruitment of monocytes/macrophages to endothelium without affecting plasma cholesterol (n= 5, 6); and (4) lack of IL-7 in bone marrow-derived cells reduces migration of monocytes/macrophages to the lesions (n= 5, 6).
Conclusion
These results suggest that IL-7 inflames endothelium via PI3K/AKT-dependent and -independent activation of NF-κB and recruits monocytes/macrophages to the endothelium, thus playing an active role in atherogenesis.
doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehr245
PMCID: PMC3598429  PMID: 21804111
Atherosclerosis; Cell adhesion molecules; Chemokine; Endothelium
23.  All-cause mortality benefit of coronary revascularization vs. medical therapy in patients without known coronary artery disease undergoing coronary computed tomographic angiography: results from CONFIRM (COronary CT Angiography EvaluatioN For Clinical Outcomes: An InteRnational Multicenter Registry) 
European Heart Journal  2012;33(24):3088-3097.
Aims
To date, the therapeutic benefit of revascularization vs. medical therapy for stable individuals undergoing invasive coronary angiography (ICA) based upon coronary computed tomographic angiography (CCTA) findings has not been examined.
Methods and results
We examined 15 223 patients without known coronary artery disease (CAD) undergoing CCTA from eight sites and six countries who were followed for median 2.1 years (interquartile range 1.4–3.3 years) for an endpoint of all-cause mortality. Obstructive CAD by CCTA was defined as a ≥50% luminal diameter stenosis in a major coronary artery. Patients were categorized as having high-risk CAD vs. non-high-risk CAD, with the former including patients with at least obstructive two-vessel CAD with proximal left anterior descending artery involvement, three-vessel CAD, and left main CAD. Death occurred in 185 (1.2%) patients. Patients were categorized into two treatment groups: revascularization (n = 1103; 2.2% mortality) and medical therapy (n = 14 120, 1.1% mortality). To account for non-randomized referral to revascularization, we created a propensity score developed by logistic regression to identify variables that influenced the decision to refer to revascularization. Within this model (C index 0.92, χ2 = 1248, P < 0.0001), obstructive CAD was the most influential factor for referral, followed by an interaction of obstructive CAD with pre-test likelihood of CAD (P = 0.0344). Within CCTA CAD groups, rates of revascularization increased from 3.8% for non-high-risk CAD to 51.2% high-risk CAD. In multivariable models, when compared with medical therapy, revascularization was associated with a survival advantage for patients with high-risk CAD [hazards ratio (HR) 0.38, 95% confidence interval 0.18–0.83], with no difference in survival for patients with non-high-risk CAD (HR 3.24, 95% CI 0.76–13.89) (P-value for interaction = 0.03).
Conclusion
In an intermediate-term follow-up, coronary revascularization is associated with a survival benefit in patients with high-risk CAD by CCTA, with no apparent benefit of revascularization in patients with lesser forms of CAD.
doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehs315
PMCID: PMC3598430  PMID: 23048194
Computed tomography; Coronary revascularization; Medical therapy; Coronary artery disease
24.  Osteocalcin positive CD133+/CD34−/KDR+ progenitor cells as an independent marker for unstable atherosclerosis 
European Heart Journal  2012;33(23):2963-2969.
Aims
For the characterization of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), commonly the markers CD34 and KDR have been used. CD133+/CD34−/KDR+ cells may represent more immature ‘early’ progenitors. In patients with coronary artery disease (CAD), a large fraction of EPCs carry the osteoblastic marker osteocalcin (OCN), which may mediate vascular calcification and abnormal repair. The aim of this study was to evaluate the expression of OCN+ ‘early’ EPCs in patients with risk factors (RFs) and a history of stable (history of stenting/coronary artery bypass grafting) or unstable CAD (myocardial infarction).
Methods and results
Medical history and blood samples from 282 patients (age 58 ± 16 years) with CAD or at least one RF (mean 2.5 ± 1.5) were analysed. For the analysis of EPC markers (CD133, CD34, KDR) and OCN, the flow cytometry of peripheral blood mononuclear cells was performed. Circulating OCN+/CD133+/CD34−/KDR+ cells (median counts [interquartile range] per 100 000 events) were 15 [4–41] in patients with RF (n = 199), 26 [1–136] in those with a history of stable (n = 57), and 246 [105–308] in those with a history of unstable CAD (n = 26; P < 0.001). The association with unstable CAD remained highly significant even after multivariate adjusting for RFs and the different characteristics of the groups. Osteocalcin positive ‘early’ EPCs trend to predict further events [HR for each doubling of the cell number: 1.20 (95% CI: 1.00–1.46), P = 0.06].
Conclusion
Circulating OCN+ ‘early’ EPCs are strongly associated with unstable CAD. Therefore, this particular subset of EPCs could mediate abnormal vascular repair and may help identifying patients with a more unstable phenotype of atherosclerosis.
doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehs234
PMCID: PMC3511794  PMID: 22855739
Coronary artery disease; Arthrosclerosis; Endothelial progenitor cells; Marker; Osteocalcin
25.  A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicentre study to assess haemodynamic effects of serelaxin in patients with acute heart failure 
European Heart Journal  2013;35(7):431-441.
Aims
The aim of this study was to evaluate the haemodynamic effects of serelaxin (30 µg/kg/day 20-h infusion and 4-h post-infusion period) in patients with acute heart failure (AHF).
Methods and results
This double-blind, multicentre study randomized 71 AHF patients with pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (PCWP) ≥18 mmHg, systolic blood pressure (BP) ≥115 mmHg, and estimated glomerular filtration rate ≥30 mL/min/1.73 m2 to serelaxin (n = 34) or placebo (n = 37) within 48 h of hospitalization. Co-primary endpoints were peak change from baseline in PCWP and cardiac index (CI) during the first 8 h of infusion. Among 63 patients eligible for haemodynamic analysis (serelaxin, n = 32; placebo, n = 31), those treated with serelaxin had a significantly higher decrease in peak PCWP during the first 8 h of infusion (difference vs. placebo: −2.44 mmHg, P = 0.004). Serelaxin showed no significant effect on the peak change in CI vs. placebo. Among secondary haemodynamic endpoints, a highly significant reduction in pulmonary artery pressure (PAP) was observed throughout the serelaxin infusion (largest difference in mean PAP vs. placebo: −5.17 mmHg at 4 h, P < 0.0001). Right atrial pressure, systemic/pulmonary vascular resistance, and systolic/diastolic BP decreased from baseline with serelaxin vs. placebo and treatment differences reached statistical significance at some time points. Serelaxin administration improved renal function and decreased N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide levels vs. placebo. Treatment with serelaxin was well tolerated with no apparent safety concerns.
Conclusion
The haemodynamic effects of serelaxin observed in the present study provide plausible mechanistic support for improvement in signs and symptoms of congestion observed with this agent in AHF patients.
ClinicalTrials.gov identifier NCT01543854.
doi:10.1093/eurheartj/eht459
PMCID: PMC3924183  PMID: 24255129
Serelaxin; Acute heart failure; Haemodynamics; Clinical trial

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