The use of ionizing radiation in cardiovascular imaging has generated considerable discussion. Radiation should not be considered in isolation, but rather in the context of a careful examination of the benefits, risks, and costs of cardiovascular imaging. Such consideration requires an understanding of some fundamental aspects of the biology, physics, epidemiology, and terminology germane to radiation, as well as principles of radiological protection. This paper offers a concise, contemporary perspective on these areas by addressing pertinent questions relating to radiation and its application to cardiac imaging.
Cardiac imaging; Ionizing radiation
Delayed lipoprotein clearance is associated with atherosclerosis. This study examined whether chronic intermittent hypoxia (CIH), a hallmark of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), can lead to hyperlipidaemia by inhibiting clearance of triglyceride rich lipoproteins (TRLP).
Methods and results
Male C57BL/6J mice on high-cholesterol diet were exposed to 4 weeks of CIH or chronic intermittent air (control). FIO2 was decreased to 6.5% once per minute during the 12 h light phase in the CIH group. After the exposure, we measured fasting lipid profile. TRLP clearance was assessed by oral gavage of retinyl palmitate followed by serum retinyl esters (REs) measurements at 0, 1, 2, 4, 10, and 24 h. Activity of lipoprotein lipase (LpL), a key enzyme of lipoprotein clearance, and levels of angiopoietin-like protein 4 (Angptl4), a potent inhibitor of the LpL activity, were determined in the epididymal fat pads, skeletal muscles, and heart. Chronic intermittent hypoxia induced significant increases in levels of total cholesterol and triglycerides, which occurred in TRLP and LDL fractions (P< 0.05 for each comparison). Compared with control mice, animals exposed to CIH showed increases in REs throughout first 10 h after oral gavage of retinyl palmitate (P< 0.05), indicating that CIH inhibited TRLP clearance. CIH induced a >5-fold decrease in LpL activity (P< 0.01) and an 80% increase in Angptl4 mRNA and protein levels in the epididymal fat, but not in the skeletal muscle or heart.
CIH decreases TRLP clearance and inhibits LpL activity in adipose tissue, which may contribute to atherogenesis observed in OSA.
Intermittent hypoxia; Sleep apnoea; Dyslipidemia; Lipoprotein clearance; Atherosclerosis
During the past two decades, numerous disease-causing genes for different cardiomyopathies have been identified. These discoveries have led to better understanding of disease pathogenesis and initial steps in the application of mutation analysis in the evaluation of affected individuals and their family members. As knowledge of the genetic abnormalities, and insight into cellular and organ biology has grown, so has appreciation of the level of complexity of interaction between genotype and phenotype across disease states. What were initially thought to be one-to-one gene-disease correlates have turned out to display important relational plasticity dependent in large part on the genetic and environmental backgrounds into which the genes of interest express. The current state of knowledge with regard to genetics of cardiomyopathy represents a starting point to address the biology of disease, but is not yet developed sufficiently to supplant clinically based classification systems or, in most cases, to guide therapy to any significant extent. Future work will of necessity be directed towards elucidation of the biological mechanisms of both rare and common gene variants and environmental determinants of plasticity in the genotype–phenotype relationship with the ultimate goal of furthering our ability to identify, diagnose, risk stratify, and treat this group of disorders which cause heart failure and sudden death in the young.
To examine the relations between genetic loci, plasma lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)] levels, and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk among diabetic patients and compare with the observations in the general population.
Methods and results
In two prospective cohorts of patients with type 2 diabetes (n= 2308) from the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professional Follow-Up Study, we performed (i) genome-wide association (GWA) scans for plasma Lp(a); (ii) prospective analysis of plasma Lp(a) for CVD risk and mortality; and (iii) genetic association analysis for CVD risk and mortality. Meta-analysis of the two GWA scans yielded 71 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on chromosome 6q associated with plasma Lp(a) levels at a genome-wide significance level (P< 5 × 10−8). The SNP rs10455872 in LPA was most strongly associated with Lp(a) (P= 4.60 × 10−39). Forward-selection analysis indicated that rs10455872 and other five SNPs in a region encompassing LPA, PLG, SLC22A3, and LPAL2 genes were independently associated with Lp(a) levels and jointly explained ∼20% of variation in diabetic patients. In prospective analysis, we did not find any significant association between plasma levels and CVD incidence; the relative risk for coronary heart disease (CHD), CVD, and CVD death was 1.05 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.95–1.15], 1.05 (0.96–1.15), and 1.21 (0.99–1.47) per 1-SD higher log-transformed Lp(a) levels, respectively. Consistently, none of the Lp(a) SNPs were associated with CVD risk or mortality (all P> 0.09). For the best SNP rs10455872 for plasma Lp(a) levels, the OR for CHD, CVD, and CVD death was 0.94 (95% CI: 0.69–1.28), 0.97 (0.72–1.29), and 1.23 (0.79–1.92), respectively. The genetic effect on CHD risk showed a significant heterogeneity between the diabetic and the general populations (P= 0.006).
Our data indicate that the effect of Lp(a) on CVD risk among diabetic patients might be different from that in the general population. Diabetes status may attenuate the relation between Lp(a) and cardiovascular risk.
Cardiovascular disease; Genome-wide association; Lipoprotein(a); Type 2 diabetes
Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found abundantly in fish oil, exert pleiotropic cardiometabolic effects with a diverse range of actions. The results of previous studies raised a lot of interest in the role of fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids in primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular diseases. The present review will focus on the current clinical uses of omega-3 fatty acids and provide an update on their effects. Since recently published trials in patients with coronary artery diseases or post-myocardial infarction did not show an effect of omega-3 fatty acids on major cardiovascular endpoints, this review will examine the limitations of those data and suggest recommendations for the use of omega-3 fatty acids.
Fish oils; Cardiovascular disease
Increasing evidence supports a role for inflammation in promoting atrial fibrillation (AF) and statins have anti-inflammatory effects that may be relevant for the prevention of AF. However, studies of statin therapy and incident AF have yielded mixed results and not focused on individuals with an underlying pro-inflammatory response. We studied whether high-sensitivity C-reactive protein is associated with incident AF and whether treatment with rosuvastatin is associated with a lower incidence of AF compared with placebo.
Methods and results
We randomized men and women with LDL cholesterol <130 mg/dL and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein ≥2 mg/L to receive either rosuvastatin 20 mg daily or placebo. Atrial fibrillation was determined from treatment-blind adverse event reports. Among 17 120 participants without prior history of arrhythmia, each increasing tertile of baseline high-sensitivity C-reactive protein was associated with a 36% increase in the risk of developing AF (95% CI: 1.16–1.60; P-trend < 0.01). Allocation to rosuvastatin when compared with placebo was associated with a 27% reduction in the relative risk of developing AF during the trial period; specifically, AF was reported among 138 participants in the placebo group and 100 in the rosuvastatin group (incidence rate 0.78 vs. 0.56/100 person-years, HR: 0.73, 95% CI: 0.56–0.94, P = 0.01). The exclusion of participants who developed a major cardiovascular event prior to the report of AF yielded similar results.
Within the JUPITER trial cohort of individuals selected for underlying inflammation, increasing levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein were associated with an increased risk of incident AF and random allocation to rosuvastatin significantly reduced that risk.
C-reactive protein; Atrial fibrillation; Statins
Although pharmacological interventions that mobilize stem cells and enhance their homing to damaged tissue can limit adverse post-myocardial infarction (MI) remodelling, cardiomyocyte renewal with this approach is limited. While experimental cell cycle induction can promote cardiomyocyte renewal following MI, this process must compete with the more rapid processes of scar formation and adverse remodelling. The current study tested the hypothesis that the combination of enhanced stem cell mobilization/homing and cardiomyocyte cell cycle induction would result in increased myocardial renewal in injured hearts.
Methods and results
Myocardial infarction was induced by coronary artery ligation in adult MHC-cycD2 transgenic mice (which exhibit constitutive cardiomyocyte cell cycle activity) and their non-transgenic littermates. Mice were then treated with saline or with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) plus the dipeptidylpeptidase-IV (DPP-IV) inhibitor Diprotin A (DipA) for 7 days. Infarct thickness and cardiomyocyte number/infarct/section were significantly improved in MHC-cycD2 mice with G-CSF plus DipA treatment when compared with MHC-cycD2 transgene expression or G-CSF plus DipA treatment alone. Echocardiographic analyses revealed that stem cell mobilization/homing and cardiomyocyte cell cycle activation had an additive effect on functional recovery.
These data strongly suggest that G-CSF plus DPP-IV inhibition, combined with cardiomyocyte cell cycle activation, leads to enhanced myocardial regeneration following MI. The data are also consistent with the notion that altering adverse post-injury remodelling renders the myocardium more permissive for cardiomyocyte repopulation.
DPP-IV/CD26 inhibition; Stem-cell mobilization; Cardiomyocyte proliferation
Carotid intima–media thickness (CIMT) and plaque information can improve coronary heart disease (CHD) risk prediction when added to traditional risk factors (TRF). However, obtaining adequate images of all carotid artery segments (A-CIMT) may be difficult. Of A-CIMT, the common carotid artery intima–media thickness (CCA-IMT) is relatively more reliable and easier to measure. We evaluated whether CCA-IMT is comparable to A-CIMT when added to TRF and plaque information in improving CHD risk prediction in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study.
Methods and results
Ten-year CHD risk prediction models using TRF alone, TRF + A-CIMT + plaque, and TRF + CCA-IMT + plaque were developed for the overall cohort, men, and women. The area under the receiver operator characteristic curve (AUC), per cent individuals reclassified, net reclassification index (NRI), and model calibration by the Grønnesby–Borgan test were estimated. There were 1722 incident CHD events in 12 576 individuals over a mean follow-up of 15.2 years. The AUC for TRF only, TRF + A-CIMT + plaque, and TRF + CCA-IMT + plaque models were 0.741, 0.754, and 0.753, respectively. Although there was some discordance when the CCA-IMT + plaque- and A-CIMT + plaque-based risk estimation was compared, the NRI and clinical NRI (NRI in the intermediate-risk group) when comparing the CIMT models with TRF-only model, per cent reclassified, and test for model calibration were not significantly different.
Coronary heart disease risk prediction can be improved by adding A-CIMT + plaque or CCA-IMT + plaque information to TRF. Therefore, evaluating the carotid artery for plaque presence and measuring CCA-IMT, which is easier and more reliable than measuring A-CIMT, provide a good alternative to measuring A-CIMT for CHD risk prediction.
CIMT; Plaque; Risk prediction
Lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2) generates proinflammatory and proatherogenic compounds in the arterial vascular wall and is a potential therapeutic target in coronary heart disease (CHD). We searched for genetic loci related to Lp-PLA2 mass or activity by a genome-wide association study as part of the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) Consortium.
Methods and results
In meta-analyses of findings from five population-based studies, comprising 13 664 subjects, variants at two loci (PLA2G7, CETP) were associated with Lp-PLA2 mass. The strongest signal was at rs1805017 in PLA2G7 [P = 2.4 × 10−23, log Lp-PLA2 difference per allele (beta): 0.043]. Variants at six loci were associated with Lp-PLA2 activity (PLA2G7, APOC1, CELSR2, LDL, ZNF259, SCARB1), among which the strongest signals were at rs4420638, near the APOE–APOC1–APOC4–APOC2 cluster [P = 4.9 × 10−30; log Lp-PLA2 difference per allele (beta): −0.054]. There were no significant gene–environment interactions between these eight polymorphisms associated with Lp-PLA2 mass or activity and age, sex, body mass index, or smoking status. Four of the polymorphisms (in APOC1, CELSR2, SCARB1, ZNF259), but not PLA2G7, were significantly associated with CHD in a second study.
Levels of Lp-PLA2 mass and activity were associated with PLA2G7, the gene coding for this protein. Lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 activity was also strongly associated with genetic variants related to low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels.
Genome-wide association; Inflammation; Lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2
The ECOST trial examined prospectively the long-term safety and effectiveness of home monitoring (HM) of implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD).
Methods and results
The trial's primary objective was to randomly compare the proportions of patients experiencing ≥1 major adverse event (MAE), including deaths from all causes, and cardiovascular, procedure-related, and device-related MAE associated with HM (active group) vs. ambulatory follow-ups (control group) in a sample of 433 patients. The 221 patients assigned to the active group were seen once a year, unless HM reported an ICD dysfunction or a clinical event requiring an ambulatory visit, while the 212 patients in the control group underwent ambulatory visits every 6 months. The characteristics of the study groups were similar. Over a follow-up of 24.2 months, 38.5% of patients in the active and 41.5% in the control group experienced ≥1 MAE (P < 0.05 for non-inferiority). The overall number of shocks delivered was significantly lower in the active (n = 193) than in the control (n = 657) group (P < 0.05) and the proportion of patients who received inappropriate shocks was 52% lower in the active (n = 11) than in the control (n = 22) group (P < 0.05). At the end of the follow-up, the battery longevity was longer in the active group because of a lower number of capacitor charges (499 vs. 2081).
Our observations indicate that long-term HM of ICD is at least as safe as standard ambulatory follow-ups with respect to a broad spectrum of MAE. It also lowered significantly the number of appropriate and inappropriate shocks delivered, and spared the device battery.
Clinical trials registration
Telemedicine; Remote monitoring; Implantable cardioverter defibrillator
Sudden cardiac death is common and accounts largely for the excess mortality of patients on maintenance dialysis. It is unknown whether aldosterone and cortisol increase the incidence of sudden cardiac death in dialysis patients.
Methods and results
We analysed data from 1255 diabetic haemodialysis patients participating in the German Diabetes and Dialysis Study (4D Study). Categories of aldosterone and cortisol were determined at baseline and patients were followed for a median of 4 years. By Cox regression analyses, hazard ratios (HRs) were determined for the effect of aldosterone, cortisol, and their combination on sudden death and other adjudicated cardiovascular outcomes. The mean age of the patients was 66 ± 8 years (54% male). Median aldosterone was <15 pg/mL (detection limit) and cortisol 16.8 µg/dL. Patients with aldosterone levels >200 pg/mL had a significantly higher risk of sudden death (HR: 1.69; 95% CI: 1.06–2.69) compared with those with an aldosterone <15 pg/mL. The combined presence of high aldosterone (>200 pg/mL) and high cortisol (>21.1 µg/dL) levels increased the risk of sudden death in striking contrast to patients with low aldosterone (<15 pg/mL) and low cortisol (<13.2 µg/dL) levels (HR: 2.86, 95% CI: 1.32–6.21). Furthermore, all-cause mortality was significantly increased in the patients with high levels of both hormones (HR: 1.62, 95% CI: 1.01–2.62).
The joint presence of high aldosterone and high cortisol levels is strongly associated with sudden cardiac death as well as all-cause mortality in haemodialysed type 2 diabetic patients. Whether a blockade of the mineralocorticoid receptor decreases the risk of sudden death in these patients must be examined in future trials.
Aldosterone; Cortisol; Sudden cardiac death; Cardiovascular events; Mortality; Kidney disease
To identify women who benefit from aspirin 100 mg on alternate days for primary prevention of vascular events by using treatment effect prediction based on individual patient characteristics.
Methods and results
Randomized controlled trial data from the Women's Health Study were used to predict treatment effects for individual women in terms of absolute risk reduction for major cardiovascular events (i.e. myocardial infarction, stroke, or cardiovascular death). Predictions were based on existing risk scores, i.e. Framingham (FRS), and Reynolds (RRS), and on a newly developed prediction model. The net benefit of different aspirin treatment-strategies was compared: (i) treat no one, (ii) treat everyone, (iii) treatment according to the current guidelines (i.e. selective treatment of women >65 years of age or having >10% FRS), and (iv) prediction-based treatment (i.e. selective treatment of patients whose predicted treatment effect exceeds a given decision threshold). The predicted reduction in 10-year absolute risk for major cardiovascular events was <1% in 97.8% of 27 939 study subjects when based on the refitted FRS, in 97.0% when based on the refitted RRS, and in 90.0% when based on the newly developed model. Of the treatment strategies considered, only prediction-based treatment using the newly developed model and selective treatment of women >65 years of age yielded more net benefit than treating no one, provided that the 10-year number-willing-to-treat (NWT) to prevent one cardiovascular event was above 50.
Aspirin was ineffective or even harmful in the majority of patients. Age was positively related to treatment effect, whereas current smoking and baseline risk for cardiovascular events were not. When the NWT is 50 or lower, the aspirin treatment strategy that is associated with optimal net benefit in primary prevention of vascular events in women is to treat none.
Trial registration information: Clinicaltrials.gov identifier number: NCT00000479.
Aspirin; Primary prevention; Treatment effect prediction; Net benefit
An association has been described between death from arrhythmia and early repolarization, an electrocardiogram pattern characterized by elevation of the QRS–ST junction (J-point). Little is known about this relationship in non-white populations. This study examines the relationship between J-point elevation (JPE) and sudden cardiac death (SCD) and whether this relationship differs by race or sex.
Methods and results
A total of 15 141 middle-aged subjects from the prospective, population-based Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study were included in this analysis. The primary endpoint was physician-adjudicated SCD occurring from baseline (1987–1989) through December 2002, secondary endpoints were fatal and non-fatal coronary events and all-cause mortality occurring through December 2007. J-point elevation was defined as J-point amplitude ≥0.1 mV. Pre-specified subgroup analyses by sex and race were conducted. J-point elevation in any lead was present in 1866 subjects (12.3%). After adjustment for demographic, clinical, lifestyle, and laboratory variables, JPE was not significantly related to SCD in the overall sample [adjusted hazard ratio (HR), 1.23; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.87–1.75]. However, significant interactions were present between race and JPE (P = 0.006) and between sex and JPE (P = 0.020). J-point elevation was significantly predictive of SCD in whites (adjusted HR, 2.03; 95% CI, 1.28–3.21) and in females (adjusted HR, 2.54; 95% CI, 1.34–4.82).
Our results suggest that JPE is associated with an increased risk of SCD in whites and in females, but not in blacks or males. Further studies are needed to clarify which subgroups of individuals with JPE are at increased risk for adverse cardiac events.
Electrocardiography; Sudden cardiac death; J-point elevation; Epidemiology
Negative psychological states such as stress and depression are associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), but it is unclear whether some positive states are protective. We investigated satisfaction with specific life domains as predictors of incident CHD.
Methods and results
Coronary risk factors and satisfaction within seven life domains (e.g. job and family) were assessed in 7956 initially healthy members of the Whitehall II cohort. Incident CHD (angina, non-fatal myocardial infarction, or death from CHD) was ascertained from medical screening, hospital data, and registry linkage over five person-years of follow-up. Satisfaction averaged across domains was associated with reduced CHD risk (HR: 0.87; 95% CI: 0.78–0.98), controlling for demographic characteristics, health behaviours, blood pressure, and metabolic functioning. Associations with CHD risk were evident for satisfaction in four life domains—one's job, family, sex life, and self, but not one's love relationship, leisure activities, or standard of living. When examining CHD outcomes separately, average domain satisfaction was associated with angina but not myocardial infarction or coronary death.
Satisfaction in most life domains was associated with reduced CHD risk, with definite angina being mostly responsible for this association. These findings suggest that satisfaction with life may promote heart health. Further research should examine whether interventions to enhance life satisfaction in specific domains reduce CHD risk and whether life satisfaction is primarily associated with atherosclerosis rather than thrombotic factors associated with plaque rupture.
Coronary heart disease; Angina; Life satisfaction; Domain satisfaction; Well-being
A potential role for cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors in the aetiology of suicide has not been comprehensively examined. In addition to being small in scale and poorly characterized, existing studies very rarely sample Asian populations in whom risk factor–suicide relationships may plausibly differ to Caucasian groups. We examined the association between a series of CVD risk factors and future mortality from suicide.
Methods and results
The Korean Cancer Prevention Study is a prospective cohort study comprising 1 234 927 individuals (445 022 women) aged 30–95 years with extensive measurement of established CVD risk factors at baseline and subsequent mortality surveillance. Fourteen years of follow-up gave rise to 472 deaths (389 in men and 83 in women) from suicide. After adjustment for a range of covariates, in men, smoking hazard ratio; 95% CI: (current vs. never: 1.69; 1.27, 2.24), alcohol intake (1–24 g/day vs. none: 1.29; 1.00, 1.66), blood cholesterol (≥240 vs. <200 mg/dL: 0.54; 0.36, 0.80), body mass index (underweight vs. normal weight: 2.08; 1.26, 3.45), stature [quartile 1(lowest) vs. 4: 1.68; 1.23, 2.30], socioeconomic status [quartile 1(lowest) vs. 4: 1.65; 1.21, 2.24], and martial status (unmarried vs. other: 1.60; 0.83, 3.06) were related to suicide mortality risk. These associations were generally apparent in women, although of lower magnitude. Exercise and blood pressure were not associated with completed suicide.
In this cohort of Korean men and women, a series of CVD risk factors were associated with an elevated risk of future suicide mortality.
Cardiovascular disease; Risk factors; Epidemiology; Suicide
A family history of premature coronary artery disease (CAD) in an apparently healthy individual conveys an increased risk of future CAD. The extent to which inducible myocardial ischaemia exists and is associated with long-term incident CAD in apparently healthy siblings of early-onset CAD patients is unknown.
Methods and results
Asymptomatic siblings (n = 1287, aged 30–59 years) of patients with onset of CAD <60 years of age underwent risk factor screening and maximal graded treadmill testing with nuclear perfusion imaging, and were followed for incident CAD events for up to 25 years. Incident CAD occurred in 15.2% of siblings (68% acute coronary syndromes); mean time to first CAD event was 8.2 ± 5.2 years. Inducible ischaemia was highly prevalent in male siblings (26.9%), and was independently associated with incident CAD. Male siblings ≥40 years of age who were low or intermediate risk by traditional risk assessment, had a prevalence of inducible ischaemia and a 10-year risk of incident CAD that were near or ≥20%. In female siblings ≥40 years of age, the presence of inducible ischaemia was also independently associated with incident CAD, but the prevalence of inducible ischaemia was markedly lower, as was the risk of incident CAD.
Inducible ischaemia is highly prevalent in male siblings, suggesting a previously unknown long quiescent period before the occurrence of a clinical event. While inducible ischaemia is associated with a worse prognosis, male siblings with negative tests still bear a high risk of incident disease, such that we propose that in male siblings over 40 years of age, aggressive primary prevention interventions be instituted without nuclear testing. For women, the prevalence of ischaemia was so low as to not warrant screening, but the incidence of CAD was high enough to at least warrant lifestyle interventions.
Ischaemia; Coronary artery disease; Outcomes; Asymptomatic; Primary prevention; Risk assessment; Family; Sibling
Immunoadsorption with subsequent immunoglobulin G substitution (IA/IgG) represents a novel therapeutic approach in the treatment of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) which leads to the improvement of left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF). However, response to this therapeutic intervention shows wide inter-individual variability. In this pilot study, we tested the value of clinical, biochemical, and molecular parameters for the prediction of the response of patients with DCM to IA/IgG.
Methods and results
Forty DCM patients underwent endomyocardial biopsies (EMBs) before IA/IgG. In eight patients with normal LVEF (controls), EMBs were obtained for clinical reasons. Clinical parameters, negative inotropic activity (NIA) of antibodies on isolated rat cardiomyocytes, and gene expression profiles of EMBs were analysed. Dilated cardiomyopathy patients displaying improvement of LVEF (≥20 relative and ≥5% absolute) 6 months after IA/IgG were considered responders. Compared with non-responders (n = 16), responders (n = 24) displayed shorter disease duration (P = 0.006), smaller LV internal diameter in diastole (P = 0.019), and stronger NIA of antibodies. Antibodies obtained from controls were devoid of NIA. Myocardial gene expression patterns were different in responders and non-responders for genes of oxidative phosphorylation, mitochondrial dysfunction, hypertrophy, and ubiquitin–proteasome pathway. The integration of scores of NIA and expression levels of four genes allowed robust discrimination of responders from non-responders at baseline (BL) [sensitivity of 100% (95% CI 85.8–100%); specificity up to 100% (95% CI 79.4–100%); cut-off value: −0.28] and was superior to scores derived from antibodies, gene expression, or clinical parameters only.
Combined assessment of NIA of antibodies and gene expression patterns of DCM patients at BL predicts response to IA/IgG therapy and may enable appropriate selection of patients who benefit from this therapeutic intervention.
Dilated cardiomyopathy; Immunoadsorption; Gene expression; Negative inotropic activity of antibodies; Prediction of outcome; Biomarker signature; Pilot study
Iron is a micronutrient essential for cellular energy and metabolism, necessary for maintaining body homoeostasis. Iron deficiency is an important co-morbidity in patients with heart failure (HF). A major factor in the pathogenesis of anaemia, it is also a separate condition with serious clinical consequences (e.g. impaired exercise capacity) and poor prognosis in HF patients. Experimental evidence suggests that iron therapy in iron-deficient animals may activate molecular pathways that can be cardio-protective. Clinical studies have demonstrated favourable effects of i.v. iron on the functional status, quality of life, and exercise capacity in HF patients. It is hypothesized that i.v. iron supplementation may become a novel therapy in HF patients with iron deficiency.
Heart failure; Iron deficiency; Soluble transferrin receptor; Hepcidin; Prognosis; Exercise capacity
The cascade of events leading to compromised mitochondrial integrity in response to stress is mediated by various combinatorial interactions of pro- and anti-apoptotic molecules. Nur77, an immediate early gene that encodes a nuclear orphan receptor, translocates from the nucleus to mitochondria to induce cytochrome c release and apoptosis in cancer cells in response to various pro-apoptotic treatments. However, the role of Nur77 in the cardiac setting is still unclear. The objective of this study is to determine the physiological relevance and pathophysiological importance of Nur77 in cardiomyocytes.
Methods and results
Myocardial Nur77 is upregulated following cardiomyopathic injury and, while expressed in the postnatal myocardium, declines in level within weeks after birth. Nur77 is localized predominantly in cardiomyocyte nuclei under normal conditions where it is not apoptotic, but translocates to mitochondria in response to oxidative stress both in vitro and in vivo. Mitochondrial localization of Nur77 induces cytochrome c release and typical morphological features of apoptosis, including chromatin condensation and DNA fragmentation. Knockdown of Nur77 rescued hydrogen peroxide-induced cardiomyocyte apoptosis.
Translocation of Nur77 from the nucleus to the mitochondria in cardiomyocytes results in the loss of mitochondrial integrity and subsequent apoptosis in response to ischaemia/reperfusion injury. Our findings identify Nur77 as a novel mediator of cardiomyocyte apoptosis and warrants further investigation of mitochondrial Nur77 translocation as a mechanism to control cell death in the treatment of ischaemic heart diseases.
Nur77; Mitochondria; Cardiomyocyte; Apoptosis
To test whether N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) was independently associated with, and improved the prediction of, cardiovascular disease (CVD) in a primary prevention cohort.
Methods and results
In the West of Scotland Coronary Prevention Study (WOSCOPS), a cohort of middle-aged men with hypercholesterolaemia at a moderate risk of CVD, we related the baseline NT-proBNP (geometric mean 28 pg/mL) in 4801 men to the risk of CVD over 15 years during which 1690 experienced CVD events. Taking into account the competing risk of non-CVD death, NT-proBNP was associated with an increased risk of all CVD [HR: 1.17 (95% CI: 1.11–1.23) per standard deviation increase in log NT-proBNP] after adjustment for classical and clinical cardiovascular risk factors plus C-reactive protein. N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide was more strongly related to the risk of fatal [HR: 1.34 (95% CI: 1.19–1.52)] than non-fatal CVD [HR: 1.17 (95% CI: 1.10–1.24)] (P= 0.022). The addition of NT-proBNP to traditional risk factors improved the C-index (+0.013; P < 0.001). The continuous net reclassification index improved with the addition of NT-proBNP by 19.8% (95% CI: 13.6–25.9%) compared with 9.8% (95% CI: 4.2–15.6%) with the addition of C-reactive protein. N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide correctly reclassified 14.7% of events, whereas C-reactive protein correctly reclassified 3.4% of events. Results were similar in the 4128 men without evidence of angina, nitrate prescription, minor ECG abnormalities, or prior cerebrovascular disease.
N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide predicts CVD events in men without clinical evidence of CHD, angina, or history of stroke, and appears related more strongly to the risk for fatal events. N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide also provides moderate risk discrimination, in excess of that provided by the measurement of C-reactive protein.
Clinical trial registration
WOSCOPS was carried out and completed prior to the requirement for clinical trial registration.
NT-proBNP; Natriuretic peptides; Risk factors; Epidemiology
Mitochondrial disease refers to a heterogenous group of genetic disorders that result
from dysfunction of the final common pathway of energy metabolism. Mitochondrial DNA
mutations affect key components of the respiratory chain and account for the majority of
mitochondrial disease in adults. Owing to critical dependence of the heart on oxidative
metabolism, cardiac involvement in mitochondrial disease is common and may occur as the
principal clinical manifestation or part of multisystem disease. Recent advances in our
understanding of the clinical spectrum and genetic aetiology of cardiac involvement in
mitochondrial DNA disease have important implications for cardiologists in terms of the
investigation and multi-disciplinary management of patients.
Mitochondrial DNA disease; Cardiac involvement; Cardiomyopathy; Conduction system disease; Ventricular pre-excitation
Surgical ablation procedure can restore sinus rhythm (SR) in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) undergoing cardiac surgery. However, it is not known whether it has any impact on long-term clinical outcomes.
Methods and results
This multicentre study randomized 224 patients with AF scheduled for valve and/or coronary surgery: group A (left atrial surgical ablation, n = 117) vs. group B (no ablation, n = 107). The primary efficacy outcome was the SR presence (without any AF episode) during a 24 h electrocardiogram (ECG) after 1 year. The primary safety outcome was the combined endpoint of death/myocardial infarction/stroke/renal failure at 30 days. A Holter-ECG after 1 year revealed SR in 60.2% of group A patients vs. 35.5% in group B (P = 0.002). The combined safety endpoint at 30 days occurred in 10.3% (group A) vs. 14.7% (group B, P = 0.411). All-cause 1-year mortality was 16.2% (A) vs. 17.4% (B, P = 0.800). Stroke occurred in 2.7% (A) vs. 4.3% (B) patients (P = 0.319). No difference (A vs. B) in SR was found among patients with paroxysmal (61.9 vs. 58.3%) or persistent (72 vs. 50%) AF, but ablation significantly increased SR prevalence in patients with longstanding persistent AF (53.2 vs. 13.9%, P < 0.001).
Surgical ablation improves the likelihood of SR presence post-operatively without increasing peri-operative complications. However, the higher prevalence of SR did not translate to improved clinical outcomes at 1 year. Further follow-ups (e.g. 5-year) are warranted to show any potential clinical benefit which might occur later.
Atrial fibrillation; Surgical ablation; Maze; Cardiac surgery
We explored the effect of treatment with ivabradine, a pure heart rate-slowing agent, on recurrent hospitalizations for worsening heart failure (HF) in the SHIFT trial.
Methods and results
SHIFT was a double-blind clinical trial in which 6505 patients with moderate-to-severe HF and left ventricular systolic dysfunction, all of whom had been hospitalized for HF during the preceding year, were randomized to ivabradine or to placebo on a background of guideline-recommended HF therapy (including maximized β-blockade). In total, 1186 patients experienced at least one additional HF hospitalization during the study, 472 suffered at least two, and 218 suffered at least 3. Patients with additional HF hospitalizations had more severe disease than those without. Ivabradine was associated with fewer total HF hospitalizations [902 vs. 1211 events with placebo; incidence rate ratio, 0.75, 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.65–0.87, P = 0.0002] during the 22.9-month median follow-up. Ivabradine-treated patients evidenced lower risk for a second or third additional HF hospitalization [hazard ratio (HR): 0.66, 95% CI, 0.55–0.79, P < 0.001 and HR: 0.71, 95% CI, 0.54–0.93, P = 0.012, respectively]. Similar observations were made for all-cause and cardiovascular hospitalizations.
Treatment with ivabradine, on a background of guidelines-based HF therapy, is associated with a substantial reduction in the likelihood of recurrent hospitalizations for worsening HF. This benefit can be expected to improve the quality of life and to substantially reduce health-care costs.
Heart failure; Hospitalization; Ivabradine; Left ventricular systolic dysfunction; Heart rate
Men and women differ in terms of presentation and management in coronary artery disease (CAD). Whether these differences translate into different clinical outcomes in stable CAD is unclear. We analysed data from the international prospective CLARIFY registry to compare cardiovascular clinical outcomes in men and women with stable CAD.
Methods and results
We analysed 1-year outcomes in 30 977 outpatients with stable CAD [23 975 (77.4%) men; 7002 (22.6%) women]. Women were older than men, more likely to have hypertension and diabetes, and less likely to exercise or smoke. They had more frequent angina, but were less likely to have undergone diagnostic non-invasive testing or coronary angiography. Women received less optimized treatment for stable CAD. One-year outcomes were similar for men and women for the composite of cardiovascular death, non-fatal myocardial infarction, or stroke [adjusted rates 1.7 vs. 1.8%, respectively, odds ratio (OR) 0.93, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.75–1.15]; all-cause death (adjusted 1.5 vs. 1.6%, OR: 0.91, 95% CI: 0.72–1.13); fatal or non-fatal myocardial infarction (adjusted 1.0 vs. 0.9%, OR: 0.81, 95 CI: 0.60–1.08); and cardiovascular death or non-fatal myocardial infarction (adjusted 1.4 vs. 1.4%, OR: 0.89, 95% CI: 0.70–1.12). Fewer women underwent revascularization (2.6 vs. 2.2%, OR: 0.77, 95% CI: 0.64–0.93), although appropriateness was not analysed.
The risk profiles of women and men with stable CAD differ substantially. However, 1-year outcomes were similar. Fewer women underwent revascularization. Further research is needed to better understand gender determinants of outcome and devise strategies to minimize bias in the management and treatment of women.
CAD; CLARIFY; Gender; Prognosis; Registry; Women