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1.  Safety and economic considerations of argatroban use in critically ill patients: a retrospective analysis 
Background
Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) causes thromboembolic complications which threaten life and limb. Heparin is administered to virtually every critically ill patient as a protective measure against thromboembolism. Argatroban is a promising alternative anticoagulant agent. However, a safe dose which still provides effective thromboembolic prophylaxis without major bleeding still needs to be identified.
Methods
Critically ill patients (n = 42) diagnosed with HIT at a tertiary medical center intensive care unit from 2005 to 2010 were included in this retrospective analysis. Patient records were perused for preexisting history of HIT, heparin dosage before HIT, argatroban dosage, number of transfusions required, thromboembolic complications and length of ICU stay (ICU LOS). Patients were allocated to Simplified Acute Physiology Scores above and below 30 (SAPS >30, SAPS <30), respectively. For calculations, patients (n = 19) without previous history of HIT were compared to patients (n = 23) with a history of HIT before initiation of argatroban.
Results
The mean initial argatroban dosage was below 0.4 mcg/kg/min regardless of SAPS score. Maintenance dosage had to be increased in patients with SAPS <30 to 0.54 ± 0.248 mcg/kg/min (p >0.05) to achieve effective anticoagulation. No thromboembolic complications were encountered. Argatroban had to be discontinued temporarily in 16 patients for a total of 57 times due to diagnostic or surgical procedures, supratherapeutic aPTT and bleeding without increasing the number of transfusions. A history of HIT was associated with a shorter ICU LOS and significantly reduced transfusion need when compared to patients with no history of HIT. Cost calculation favour argatroban due to increased transfusion needs during heparin administration and increase ICU LOS.
Conclusion
Argatroban can be used at doses < 0.4 mcg/kg/min without an increase in transfusion requirements and at a reduced overall treatment cost compared to heparin.
doi:10.1186/s13019-015-0214-0
PMCID: PMC4332969
Argatroban; Heparin induced thrombocytopenia; Critical care
2.  Impact of smoking on early clinical outcomes in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting surgery 
Background
To evaluate the impact of persistent smoking versus smoking cessation over one month prior to surgery on early clinical outcomes in Chinese patients undergoing isolated coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery in a retrospective study.
Methods
The peri-operative data of consecutive well-documented patients undergoing isolated CABG surgery from January 2007 to December 2013 were investigated and retrospectively analyzed. All included patients were divided into either a non-smoking group or a smoking group according to preoperative smoking records. Furthermore, smokers were divided into either a former smoking subgroup (smokers with smoking cessation over 1 month before surgery) or a current smoking subgroup (persistent smokers).
Results
A total of 3730 consecutive patients (3207 male patients and mean 63.6 ± 9.5 years) undergoing isolated CABG surgery were analyzed. Persistent smokers had significantly higher incidence of postoperative pulmonary complications as compared to non-smokers (7.8% vs. 4.5%, p = 0.0002). No significantly differences in both surgical mortality and major postoperative morbidities between smokers with smoking cessation over 1 month before surgery and non-smokers were found. In multiple logistic regression analysis, the risk of postoperative pulmonary complications in persistent smokers was 2.41 times than that in non-smokers, whereas the risk of postoperative pulmonary complications in smokers with smoking cessation over 1 month before surgery was similar to non-smokers.
Conclusions
Persistent smokers had a higher incidence of pulmonary complications following CABG as compared to non-smokers. Smoking cessation more than 1 month before surgery was expected to reduce early major morbidities following CABG surgery.
doi:10.1186/s13019-015-0216-y
PMCID: PMC4322818  PMID: 25654995
Persistent smoking; Smoking cessation; Early clinical outcomes; Coronary artery bypass grafting surgery
3.  How to make an aortic root replacement simulator at home 
There is a paucity of low-fidelity and cost-efficient simulators for training cardiac surgeons in the aspects of aortic root/valve replacement. In this study we addressed this training challenge by creating a low-fidelity, low-cost but, at the same time, anatomically realistic aortic root replacement simulator for training purposes. We used readily available, low cost materials such as lint roller tubes, foam sheet, press-and-seal bags, glue, plywood sheet, heat-shrink sleeving tubes and condoms as the basic material to create a low-fidelity, aortic root, training simulator. We constructed a multi-purpose, anatomically realistic aortic root simulator using the above materials, both time- and cost-efficiently, using the minimum of surgical equipment. This simulator is easy to construct and enables self-training in major techniques of aortic root replacement as well as in stentless valve implantation for trainees in cardiac surgery.
doi:10.1186/s13019-015-0223-z
PMCID: PMC4323132  PMID: 25655133
Education; Aortic root replacement; Aortic valve
4.  Surveillance of moderate-size aneurysms of the thoracic aorta 
Background
There are no evidence based guidelines for the surveillance of patients with moderate-sized (<5 cm) thoracic aortic aneurysms (MTAA), who do not warrant surgical intervention. The purpose of this study was to review the MTAA patient surveillance strategy used currently at the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center, to assess outcomes over time and accrue data to develop guidelines to optimize MTAA patients’ follow-up.
Methods
The study group included veterans referred to the Thoracic Surgery clinic for the management of moderate-sized (<5 cm) thoracic aortic aneurysms (MTAA) not warranting immediate surgical repair.
As a pilot study, all MTAA patients’ charts from 2005–2013 were reviewed to describe imaging practices and evaluate patient-specific long-term outcomes. An adverse composite endpoint was defined if a patient’s aneurysm grew substantially (≥0.5 cm/year or reached 5.5 cm) or a MTAA-related event (surgery or death) occurred.
Additionally, number of CT scans obtained during the follow up period were documented.
Results
For 110 MTAA patients, the average presenting index size was 4.45 ± 0.4 cm with average growth of 0.04 cm total (0.03 cm/year). Fourteen (13%) patients met the adverse composite endpoint, with no MTAA-related deaths. Patients achieving the adverse composite endpoint had higher index sizes (4.81 vs. 4.40 cm, p = 0.001) and higher average growth rates as compared to non-endpoint patients (0.16 vs. 0.01 cm, p = 0.0009). Optimizing the negative likelihood ratio defined a new “not-at-risk” population with aneurysm index size < 4.3 cm. A shorter time to adverse event for “at-risk” patients was found versus “not-at-risk” patients (p = 0.02). On average, there were 4.8 CT scans/patient and estimated cumulative radiation dose of 34 mSv/patient. Only one “not-at-risk” patient had substantive MTAA growth (≥0.5 cm/year) over the 8 year follow-up period.
Conclusion and relevance
Annual imaging of MTAA “not-at-risk” patients appears unwarranted, resulting in potentially excessive radiation exposure. Although additional research is necessary for validation, longer surveillance imaging intervals (beyond one year) seem appropriate for MTAA patients presenting with < 4.3 cm index aneurysms.
doi:10.1186/s13019-015-0220-2
PMCID: PMC4331418  PMID: 25655070
Moderate thoracic aortic aneurysms; Surveillance strategy; Radiation exposure
5.  Full-root aortic valve replacement with stentless xenograft achieves superior regression of left ventricular hypertrophy compared to pericardial stented aortic valves 
Background
Full-root aortic valve replacement with stentless xenografts has potentially superior hemodynamic performance compared to stented valves. However, a number of cardiac surgeons are reluctant to transform a classical stented aortic valve replacement into a technically more demanding full-root stentless aortic valve replacement. Here we describe our technique of full-root stentless aortic xenograft implantation and compare the early clinical and midterm hemodynamic outcomes to those after aortic valve replacement with stented valves.
Methods
We retrospectively compared the pre-operative characteristics of 180 consecutive patients who underwent full-root replacement with stentless aortic xenografts with those of 80 patients undergoing aortic valve replacement with stented valves. In subgroups presenting with aortic stenosis, we further analyzed the intra-operative data, early postoperative outcomes and mid-term regression of left ventricular mass index.
Results
Patients in the stentless group were younger (62.6 ± 13 vs. 70.3 ± 11.8 years, p < 0.0001) but had a higher Euroscore (9.14 ± 3.39 vs.6.83 ± 2.54, p < 0.0001) than those in the stented group. In the subgroups operated for aortic stenosis, the ischemic (84.3 ± 9.8 vs. 62.3 ± 9.4 min, p < 0.0001) and operative times (246.3 ± 53.6 vs. 191.7 ± 53.2 min, p < 0.0001) were longer for stentless versus stented valve implantation. Nevertheless, early mortality (0% vs. 3%, p < 0.25), re-exploration for bleeding (0% vs. 3%, p < 0.25) and stroke (1.8% vs. 3%, p < 0.77) did not differ between stentless and stented groups. One year after the operation, the mean transvalvular gradient was lower in the stentless versus stented group (5.8 ± 2.9 vs. 13.9 ± 5.3 mmHg, p < 0.0001), associated with a significant regression of the left ventricular mass index in the stentless (p < 0.0001) but not in the stented group (p = 0.2).
Conclusion
Our data support that full-root stentless aortic valve replacement can be performed without adversely affecting the early morbidity or mortality in patients operated on for aortic valve stenosis provided that the coronary ostia are not heavily calcified. The additional time necessary for the full-root stentless compared to the classical stented aortic valve replacement is therefore not detrimental to the early clinical outcomes and is largely rewarded in patients with aortic stenosis by lower transvalvular gradients at mid-term and a better regression of their left ventricular mass index.
doi:10.1186/s13019-015-0219-8
PMCID: PMC4322600  PMID: 25643748
Full-root stentless aortic xenograft; Left ventricular mass index
6.  “V” aortoplasty of the proximal descending aorta in the elephant trunk procedure 
Complex pathology of the aorta, especially in patients presenting an aneurysm involving the entire aortic arch and proximal descending aorta has been approached in one or two stages. Surgical management of those with an extremely wide diameter of the proximal descending aorta is not yet well defined. The patient in this case was an asymptomatic 47-year-old female with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) associated with aneurysm of the ascending aorta, whose aortic arch and descending aorta had presented only overall weakness (examination by inspection and palpation without histological verification). The imaging identified a giant aorta arising at the level of the sinotubular junction (STJ), ending up immediately below the diaphragm. In the first stage she underwent surgical replacement of the entire ascending aorta, aortic arch and proximal part of the descending aorta by combining the elephant trunk with a new type of aortoplasty. In the second stage an endovascular stent graft was inserted into the elephant trunk in the descending aorta. The patient continues to do well 20 months following the repair. In this manuscript type we describe a novel technique of “V” aortoplasty of the proximal descending aorta in order to facilitate the performing of anastomosis between the Dacron graft and aortic aneurysm.
doi:10.1186/s13019-015-0217-x
PMCID: PMC4318449  PMID: 25637000
Aortic aneurysm; Elephant trunk; Aortoplasty
7.  Long term biventricular support with Berlin Heart Excor in a Septuagenarian with giant-cell myocarditis 
Giant-cell myocarditis (GCM) is known as a rare, rapidly progressive, and frequently fatal myocardial disease in young and middle-aged adults. We report about a 76 year old male patient who underwent implantation with a biventricular Berlin Heart Excor system at the age of 74 due to acute biventricular heart failure caused by giant-cell myocarditis. The implantation was without any surgical problems; however, a difficulty was the immunosuppressive therapy after implantation. Meanwhile the patient is 76 years old and lives with circulatory support for about 3 years without major adverse events. Also, in terms of mobility in old age there are no major limitations. It seems that in even selected elderly patients an implantation of a long term support with the biventricular Berlin Heart Excor is a useful therapeutic option with an acceptable outcome.
doi:10.1186/s13019-015-0218-9
PMCID: PMC4320566  PMID: 25637129
8.  Novel hemostatic patch achieves sutureless epicardial wound closure during complex cardiac surgery, a case report 
Treatment of damaged cardiac tissue in patients with high bleeding tendency can be very challenging, damaged myocardial tissue has a high rupture risk when being sutured subsequently on-going bleeding is a major risk factor for poor clinical outcome. We present a case demonstrating the feasibility in using a novel haemostatic collagen sponge for the management of a myocardial wound. This report is the first description in cardiac surgery where Hemopatch® sponges are used to successfully seal a left ventricle wound. Our patient was diagnosed with endocarditis, had a low pre-operative haemoglobin count and underwent cardiac surgery for multiple valve repairs. The procedure was performed on cardiopulmonary bypass, which meant our patient had to be heparinized. Despite these major risk factors for bleeding Hemopatch® managed to contain bleeding and seal the wound, no sutures were needed.
doi:10.1186/s13019-015-0215-z
PMCID: PMC4311444  PMID: 25622592
Hemostasis; Epicardial wound closure; Sutureless repair
9.  Long-term survival after mitral valve surgery for post-myocardial infarction papillary muscle rupture 
Background
Papillary muscle rupture (PMR) is a rare, but dramatic mechanical complication of myocardial infarction (MI), which can lead to rapid clinical deterioration and death. Immediate surgical intervention is considered the optimal and most rational treatment, despite high risks. In this study we sought to identify overall long-term survival and its predictors for patients who underwent mitral valve surgery for post-MI PMR.
Methods
Fifty consecutive patients (mean age 64.7 ± 10.8 years) underwent mitral valve repair (n = 10) or replacement (n = 40) for post-MI PMR from January 1990 through May 2014. Clinical data, echocardiographic data, catheterization data, and surgical data were stored in a dedicated database. Follow-up was obtained in June of 2014; mean follow-up was 7.1 ± 6.8 years (range 0.0-22.2 years). Univariate and multivariate Cox proportional hazard regression analyses were performed to identify predictors of long-term survival. Kaplan-Meier curves were compared with the log-rank test.
Results
Kaplan-Meier cumulative survival at 1, 5, 10, 15, and 20 years was 71.9 ± 6.4%, 65.1 ± 6.9%, 49.5 ± 7.6%, 36.1 ± 8.0% and 23.7 ± 9.2%, respectively. Univariate and multivariate analyses revealed logistic EuroSCORE ≥40% and EuroSCORE II ≥25% as strong independent predictors of a lower overall long-term survival. After removal of the EuroSCOREs from the model, preoperative inotropic drug support and mitral valve replacement (MVR) without (partial or complete) preservation of the subvalvular apparatus were independent predictors of a lower overall long-term survival.
Conclusions
Logistic EuroSCORE ≥40%, EuroSCORE II ≥25%, preoperative inotropic drug support and MVR without (partial or complete) preservation of the subvalvular apparatus are strong independent predictors of a lower overall long-term survival in patients undergoing mitral valve surgery for post-MI PMR. Whenever possible, the subvalvular apparatus should be preserved in these patients.
doi:10.1186/s13019-015-0213-1
PMCID: PMC4320582  PMID: 25622516
Myocardial infarction; Papillary muscle (rupture); Mitral regurgitation; Mitral valve repair; Mitral valve replacement; Outcome
11.  New technique of local ischemic preconditioning induction without repetitive aortic cross-clamping in cardiac surgery 
Background
Several studies have demonstrated that local ischemic preconditioning can reduce myocardial ischemia–reperfusion injury in cardiac surgery patients; however, preconditioning has not become a standard cardioprotective intervention, primarily because of the increased risk of atheroembolism during repetitive aortic cross-clamping. In the present study, we aimed to describe and validate a novel technique of preconditioning induction.
Methods
Patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting (12 women and 78 men; mean age, 56 ± 11 years) were randomized into 3 groups: (1) Controls (n = 30), (2) Perfusion (n = 30), and (3) Preconditioning (n = 30). All patients were operated under cardiopulmonary bypass using normothermic blood cardioplegia. Preconditioning was induced by subjecting the hemodynamically unloaded heart to 2 cycles of 3 min of ischemia and 3 min of reperfusion with normokalemic blood prior to cardioplegia. In the Perfusion group, the heart perfusion remained unaffected for 12 min. Troponin I (TnI) levels were analyzed before surgery, and 12, 24, 48 h, and 7 days after surgery. The secondary endpoints included the cardiac index, plasma natriuretic peptide level, and postoperative use of inotropes.
Results
Preconditioning resulted in a significant reduction in the TnI level on the 7th postoperative day only (0.10 ± 0.05 and 0.33 ± 0.88 ng/ml in Preconditioning and Perfusion groups, respectively, P < 0.05). In addition, cardiac index was significantly higher in the Preconditioning group than in the Control and Perfusion groups just after weaning from cardiopulmonary bypass. The number of patients requiring inotropic support with ≥ 2 agents after surgery was significantly lower in the Preconditioning and Perfusion group than in the Control group (P < 0.05). No complications of the procedure were recorded in the Preconditioning group.
Conclusions
The preconditioning procedure described can be performed safely in cardiac surgery patients. The application of this technique of preconditioning was associated with certain benefits, including improved left ventricular function after weaning from cardiopulmonary bypass and a reduced need for inotropic support. However, the infarct-limiting effect of preconditioning in the early postoperative period was not evident. The procedure does not involve repetitive aortic cross-clamping, thus avoiding possible embolic complications.
doi:10.1186/s13019-015-0206-0
PMCID: PMC4307141  PMID: 25608502
Local ischemic Preconditioning; Myocardial ischemia–reperfusion; Cardioplegia; Cardiopulmonary bypass; Troponin I; Cardiac index
12.  3D transesophageal echocardiography is a decision-making tool for the management of cardiogenic shock following a large postinfarction ventricular defect 
Postinfarction ventricular septal defect (PIVSD) is a devastating mechanical complication following acute myocardial infarction. The management of this pathology is quite challenging, especially in case of complicated cardiogenic shock. The difficulties lie in the timing and type of intervention. Debates exist with regard to immediate versus deferring repair, as well as open repair versus percutaneous closure. The anatomic characteristics and hemodynamic consequence of PIVSD are important elements determining which strategy to adopt, since large septal defect (>15 mm) cannot be appropriately treated by percutaneous occluder devices limiting by their available size, while compromised hemodynamics usually require emergent repair or mechanical support “bridging to surgery”. Herein, we report our experience of successful management of a case of cardiogenic shock complicating large PIVSD (38 mm) by delayed surgical repair bridged with Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) during 7 days. We emphasize the importance of 3-dimensional transesophageal echocardiography as a decision-making tool.
doi:10.1186/s13019-015-0208-y
PMCID: PMC4312472  PMID: 25603876
Postinfarction ventricular septal defect; 3-Dimensional transesophageal echocardiography; Percutaneous closure; Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
13.  Myocardial conditioning techniques in off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting 
Off-pump coronary artery bypass surgery by avoiding cardioplegic arrest seems to reduce the risk of ischemic myocardial injury. However, even short-term regional ischemic periods, hemodynamic instability and arrhythmias associated with the procedure can be responsible for myocardial damage. Conditioning, a potential cardio-protective tool during on-pump cardiac surgery, has hardly been investigated in the context of off-pump surgery. There are virtually no large trials on remote ischemic preconditioning and the majority of reports have focused on central ischemic conditioning. Similarly, volatile anesthetic agents with conditioning effect like ischemic preconditioning have been shown to reduce cardiac injury during on-pump procedures but have not been validated in the off-pump scenario. Here, we review the available evidence on myocardial conditioning, either with ischemia/reperfusion or volatile anesthetic agents in patients undergoing off-pump coronary artery surgery.
doi:10.1186/s13019-014-0204-7
PMCID: PMC4304196  PMID: 25599579
Off-pump coronary artery bypass; Ischemic preconditioning; Volatile anaesthetics
14.  Successful trans-apical aortic valve implantation for a high risk patient with aortic stenosis using a new second-generation TAVI device — J-Valve™ system 
Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) has evolved as a routine procedure to treat selected high-risk patients with severe aortic stenosis. The new J-Valve™ prosthesis is designed for antegrade transapical implantation, it is characterized by a porcine aortic prosthesis attaching to a self-expandable Nitinol stent. The key feature of the device are three U-shape anatomically oriented devices - “graspers” which could facilitate intuitive ‘self-positioning’ valve implantation. Hereby, we report a successful case of trans-apical TAVI in an elderly high-risk patient with severe aortic stenosis using J-Valve™ system.
doi:10.1186/s13019-015-0207-z
PMCID: PMC4299398  PMID: 25595419
Trans-catheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI); Severe aortic stenosis; J-Valve™ system; High risk patient; Second generation TAVI device
15.  Long-term results of surgical angioplasty for left main coronary artery stenosis: 18-year follow-up 
Background
The aim of this study was to determine the long-term outcomes of surgical angioplasty for left main coronary artery (SA-LMCA) stenosis.
Methods
We retrospectively analyzed data from 24 consecutive patients (mean age, 55 years; male/female, 12/12) who underwent a surgical angioplasty for the left main coronary artery (LMCA) stenosis at our institution between 1995 and 2002. We used autologous pericardium in 7 patients and bovine pericardium in 17 patients as a patch. We evaluated the late mortality and major adverse cardiac events (MACE) rate.
Results
There was no operative mortality. Control coronary angiography exhibited wide open and funnel-shaped LMCA in all patients. One patient was lost to follow-up. During the mean follow-up of 167 months, there were 3 sudden cardiac deaths, 4 non-cardiac related deaths, and 9 MACE with one death at reoperation. The Kaplan-Meier method identified freedom from cardiac death in 95.7, 87.0, and 82.4% of the patients, and freedom from MACE in 91.3, 69.6, and 57.7% of the patients at 5, 10, and 15 years, respectively.
Conclusions
This study demonstrated that the long-term outcomes of SA-LMCA with a pericardial patch are acceptable compared to those of coronary artery bypass grafting, despite the controversy over the indications and the patch material used.
doi:10.1186/s13019-015-0209-x
PMCID: PMC4299293  PMID: 25595512
Coronary artery disease; Coronary artery bypass; Angioplasty; Pericardium
16.  Time-dependent changes of plasma inflammatory biomarkers in type A aortic dissection patients without optimal medical management 
Objectives
To investigate the time-dependent changes in plasma levels of interleukin-6, C-reactive protein, and tumor necrosis factor-α in patients with type A aortic dissection (TAAD) who received unoptimal medical management since the onset of dissections.
Design and methods
Plasma levels of interleukin-6, C-reactive protein, and tumor necrosis factor-α were detected by ELISA and immuno-turbidimetric assay in 92 TAAD patients at hospital admission. Blood samples from 78 patients with uncontrolled hypertension and 82 healthy volunteers were also analyzed as controls. The occurrence of TAAD-related complication and its relationship with the plasma levels of these inflammatory biomarkers was also investigated.
Results
The concentrations of inflammatory mediators were significant higher in TAAD than those in the uncontrolled hypertension and the healthy group. The time to peak plasma level of IL-6.and TNF-α was shorter than that of CRP in TAAD group. In the TAAD group, 51 patients suffered TAAD-related complications, and their plasma level of CRP was significantly higher than that in patients without TAAD-related complications (94.5 ± 58.8 mg/L versus 47.4 ± 47.8 mg/L, p < 0.001). Also, CRP levels strongly correlated with the value of PaO2/FiO2 ratio (r = −0.69, p < 0.001) and creatinine (r = 0.60, p < 0.001). The time to the peak level of CRP was shorter and the duration of persistently high CRP level was longer in the complication group than those in the complication-free group.
Conclusions
Elevated and persistently high levels of plasma CRP, IL-6 and TNF-α were associated with progressively development of the TAAD. The changing pattern of CRP might be a marker for diagnosis and prophylactic treatment of complications. Our findings suggested a critical role of the inflammation in the progression of dissection and TAAD-related complications.
doi:10.1186/s13019-014-0199-0
PMCID: PMC4302155  PMID: 25592634
Type A aortic dissection; Inflammatory mediator; Interleukin-6; C-reactive protein; Tumor necrosis factor-α; Complication
17.  Security and cost comparison of INR self-testing and conventional hospital INR testing in patients with mechanical heart valve replacement 
Background
International normalized ratio (INR) self-testing can improve the management of anticoagulation therapy with warfarin for the patients following mechanical heart valve replacement. Several reviews and studies have demonstrated self-management as an option to improve patient’s outcome considerably after mechanical heart valve replacement. We sought to analyze the security, economy and discuss the prospect of self-testing of anticoagulation therapy in patients following mechanical heart valve replacement in China, and evaluate the accuracy and stability of CoaguChek XS portable INR-testing device.
Methods
This was a prospective self-controlled clinical study conducted with 526 patients receiving oral warfarin anticoagulation therapy after mechanical heart valve replacement in the period of Mar.1, 2012 – Nov.1, 2012 in Cardiovascular Surgery Department of West China Hospital of Sichuan University. The same patient performed INR testing with CoaguChek XS portable coagulometer (group1) and central lab (group 2) in parallel. The follow-up time was 6 months. Meanwhile, a questionnaire was handed out to survey the expenses required for the re-examination visits to the hospital, time, and anticoagulation complications.
Results
No severe anticoagulation complications occurred in all the patients. No significant difference of the INR results were observed between group 1 and group 2, they showed significant relevance, r = 0.953(p < 0.05). Compared with the conventional method of INR testing in hospital, the portable coagulometer is convenient, quick and less traumatic. Self-testing of anticoagulation therapy reduced the cost and the time required for re-examination.
Conclusions
Results of CoaguChek XS monitor are precise and have a good consistency and stability as compared with traditional laboratory testing. For the patients receiving anticoagulation therapy after mechanical heart valve replacement, the self-testing of anticoagulation therapy with portable coagulometer is a safe choice, and it has a promising future application in China.
doi:10.1186/s13019-015-0205-1
PMCID: PMC4308889  PMID: 25592732
Heart valve replacement; Anticoagulation therapy; Portable coagulometer; Self-testing; Cost
18.  Early and midterm results of transapical and right axillary artery cannulation for acute aortic dissection 
Background
We combined transapical cannulation and right axillary artery cannulation in the repair of acute type A aortic dissection in order to reduce mortality and morbidity in the presence of risk of malperfusion. Early and midterm outcomes were evaluated.
Methods
Between October 2009 and March 2012, 23 aortic dissection patients (age, 54.3 ± 13.5 years) received graft replacement using a combination of transapical and right axillary artery cannulation. Preoperative malperfusion was present in 16 patients (69.6%). Cardiopulmonary bypass was initiated with axillary artery cannulation applied via the right axilla and right atrial drainage, then aotric cannulation applied via the left ventricular apex. We retrospectively investigated mortality and morbidity as well as cardiac function, which were evaluated echocardiographically during hospitalization and once a year postoperatively.
Results
All patients received total arch replacement. In-hospital mortality was 4.3%, and no patient developed intraoperative malperfusion. Intraoperative stroke occurred in one patient (4.3%), and three patients (13.0%) suffered from delayed stroke (10–24 days). These delayed strokes might have resulted from cardiogenic thrombus, although no intracardiac thrombus was found. Mean ejection fraction was 66.1 ± 10.9% in the early postoperative period and 73.1 ± 8.7% midterm. There was no left ventricular asynergy or intracardiac thrombus seen on either early or midterm echocardiography.
Conclusion
Transapical cannulation with right axillary artery cannulation is a safe and effective procedure that can reduce operative risk associated with aortic dissection. Although transapical cannulation does not appear to impair cardiac function, it may confer a risk of delayed stroke.
doi:10.1186/s13019-014-0202-9
PMCID: PMC4296545  PMID: 25573690
Aortic dissection; Cannulation; Aortic surgery; Complication
19.  A pilot randomized controlled trial comparing CABG surgery performed with total arterial grafts or without 
Objective
To date only a few randomized controlled studies have compared grafting strategies in patients with multi-vessel coronary disease. This study represents a pilot RCT designed to test the feasibility of a trial comparing conventional CABG performed with a LIMA-LAD plus saphenous vein grafts (LIMA+SVG) and CABG performed with total arterial grafting (TAG).
Methods
Consenting patients undergoing non-redo isolated CABG surgery at a single institution were randomized to TAG or LIMA+SVG groups. Exclusion criteria included prior CABG, emergent procedure, concomitant procedure, varicose veins and renal dysfunction. The primary endpoints were: enrolment >20% and completion of CT coronary angiography at 6 months >80%. Statistical investigation was performed on an intention to treat analysis.
Results
Of 421 eligible patients, 60 were enrolled and 2 withdrew (n = 30 in TAG, n = 28 LIMA+SVG) for 14% enrolment rate. Patient characteristics were similar in each group. No patients died in hospital and adverse events such as MI, stroke and deep sternal wound infection were not significantly different between groups. Clinical follow-up was complete in 100% of patients, with 44/58 (76%) undergoing CT coronary angio at 6 months. Graft occlusion occurred in 2 patients in each group for patency rates of 89% (TAG) and 91% (LIMA+SVG).
Conclusions
We provide evidence that an RCT comparing grafting strategy is possible but also show that achieving recruitment or follow-up CT may be difficult. Given the excellent patency results and little difference between groups, our findings suggest that the sample size required may make it infeasible to compare graft patency at 6 months as a study end-point.
Trial registration
Randomized Controlled Trial number: ISRCTN80270323.
Ultra-mini abstract
Few RCT’s exist comparing conventional CABG performed with a LIMA-LAD plus saphenous vein grafts (LIMA+SVG) compared to CABG performed with total arterial grafting (TAG). This study is a pilot RCT designed to test the feasibility of such a trial and identify pitfalls.
doi:10.1186/s13019-014-0203-8
PMCID: PMC4299408  PMID: 25567131
CABG artery; Arteries; CABG; Outcomes
20.  A retrospective analysis of myocardial preservation techniques during coronary artery bypass graft surgery: are we protecting the heart? 
Background
Retrograde perfusion into coronary sinus during coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery reduces the need for cardioplegic interruptions and ensures the distribution of cardioplegia to stenosed vessel territories, therefore enhancing the delivery of cardioplegia to the subendocardium. Peri-operative myocardial injury (PMI), as measured by the rise of serum level of cardiac biomarkers, has been associated with short and long-term clinical outcomes. We conducted a retrospective analysis to investigate whether the combination of antegrade and retrograde techniques of cardioplegia delivery is associated with a reduced PMI than that observed with the traditional methods of myocardial preservation.
Methods
Fifty-four consecutive patients underwent CABG surgery using either antegrade cold blood cardioplegia (group 1, n = 28) or cross-clamp fibrillation (group 2, n = 16) or antegrade retrograde warm blood cardioplegia (group 3, n = 10). The study primary end-point was PMI, evaluated with total area under the curve (AUC) of high-sensitivity Troponin-T (hsTnT), measured pre-operatively and at 6, 12, 24, 48 and 72 hours post-surgery. Secondary endpoints were acute kidney injury (AKI) and inotrope scores, length of intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital stay, new onset atrial fibrillation (AF) and clinical outcomes at 6 weeks (death, non-fatal myocardial infarction, coronary artery revascularization, stroke).
Results
There was evidence that mean total AUC of hsTnT was different among the three groups (P = 0.050). In particular mean total AUC of hsTnT was significantly lower in group 3 compared to both group 1 (-16.55; 95% CI: -30.08, -3.01; P = 0.018) with slightly weaker evidence of a lower mean hsTnT in group 3 when compared to group 2 (-15.13; 95% CI -29.87, -0.39; P = 0.044). There was no evidence of a difference when comparing group 2 to group 1 (-1.42,; 95% CI: -12.95, 10.12, P = 0.806).
Conclusions
Our retrospective analysis suggests that, compared to traditional methods of myocardial preservation, antegrade retrograde cardioplegia may reduce PMI in patients undergoing first time CABG surgery.
doi:10.1186/s13019-014-0184-7
PMCID: PMC4301898  PMID: 25551585
Coronary artery bypass graft surgery; Peri-operative myocardial injury; Antegrade cardioplegia; Retrograde cardioplegia; Cross-clamp fibrillation
21.  Hemodynamic behavior of stentless aortic valves in long term follow-up 
Objectives
Stentless aortic valve replacements show improved hemodynamics due to larger orifice area and lower transvalvular gradients in short and mid-term follow-up. Hemodynamic long-term behavior and the adaptation of the left ventricle as well as valve-durability in patients aged ≤60 years remains unclear.
Methods
7 to 16 years after aortic valve replacement, 54 patients (mean age at operation 53.1 ± years) received echocardiography and clinical examination. Mean follow-up time was 10.8 ± 2.2 years. Evaluated were NYHA class, transvalvular gradients, estimated aortic valve orifice area, degree of aortic valve insufficiency, left ventricular mass and function.
Results
At follow-up only one patient presented with NYHA class III. All other patients were in NYHA class I or II. Maximum and mean pressure gradients of the prostheses were 16.3 ± 7.4 mmHg and 9.1 ± 4.2 mmHg, respectively. Compared to echocardiography at discharge the mean pressure gradients dropped 18.0% (2.0 ± 0.9 mmHg) and stayed stable until 14 years after the operation. Only 5 patients showed relevant regurgitation (at 13–16 years after valve replacement), 49 showed no or trivial regurgitation. Left ventricular mass had decreased 26.5% (107.9 ± 18.5 g). Left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) had increased in most patients and decreased in only one. For patients with preoperatively impaired left ventricular function an increase of LVEF of 13.1 ± 3.1% was seen.
Conclusion
Porcine stentless aortic valves provide excellent hemodynamic long-term results without significant rise of transvalvular pressure gradients or relevant insufficiencies until 14 years after implantation, leading to sustained decrease of left ventricular mass and improvement of left ventricular function.
doi:10.1186/s13019-014-0197-2
PMCID: PMC4297443  PMID: 25527116
22.  Safety and efficacy of biocompatible perfusion strategy in a contemporary series of patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting – a two-center study 
Objective
The profile of patients referred for coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is continuously changing to include older patients with multiple comorbidities. We assessed the safety and efficacy of a biocompatible perfusion strategy (BPS) in a contemporary series of patients undergoing isolated CABG.
Methods
BPS consisted of a membrane oxygenator, tip-to-tip closed-system heparin-bonded cardiopulmonary bypass circuits without a cardiotomy reservoir, low systemic anticoagulation (target ACT – 250-300 sec) using heparin titration curves, low prime volume, avoidance of systemic cooling, and routine use of cell saver and anti-fibrinolytics. Data were prospectively collected using the American Society of Thoracic Surgeons National Adult Cardiac Surgery Database definitions.
Results
964 consecutive patients (mean age 66 ± 11 years, 83% male) undergoing CABG between 2008 and 2012 were enrolled. 30-day mortality was 1.4%. Rates of postoperative stroke, myocardial infarction, sternal infection and reoperation for bleeding were 0.9%, 1.3%, 1.9% and 4.2%, respectively. Average 24-hour chest tube drainage was 440 ± 280 ml. Blood products were used in 34% of patients (total donor exposure of 1.7 ± 4.7 units/patient). Predictors of hospital mortality in multivariable analysis were left main disease and preoperative treatment with anti-arrhythmic or immunosuppressive medications. Predictors of allogeneic blood transfusions included older age, small body surface area, female gender, increased serum creatinine, lower preoperative LVEF and hematocrit. Priority of surgery, dual antiplatelet therapy and cardiopulmonary bypass time were not predictors of adverse outcomes or blood transfusions.
Conclusions
In a contemporary cohort of patients undergoing CABG, the use of BPS is safe and effective. It is associated with excellent clinical outcomes and reduced allogeneic blood transfusions.
doi:10.1186/s13019-014-0196-3
PMCID: PMC4274677  PMID: 25519179
Cardiopulmonary Bypass; Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting; Biocompatible; Clinical outcomes; Blood Transfusions
23.  Case report: paravalvular leak as a complication of percutaneous catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation 
An increasing number of reports reveal the safety and efficacy of catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation therapy even in patients with a history of prosthetic heart valve. This case report presents a 60 year old female patient who had a prosthetic mitral paravalvular leak as a complication of radiofrequency ablation. Surgery revealed a 15 mm hole and three broken knots in the posterolateral mitral annulus. This report demonstrates radiofrequency ablation for atrial fibrillation in patients with prosthetic mitral valve may cause a paravalvular leak likely as a result of thermal injury. Moreover, patient can be asymptomatic at first. The clinician should keep in mind such complication and the patient should be evaluated in terms of paravalvular leakage.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13019-014-0187-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s13019-014-0187-4
PMCID: PMC4279701  PMID: 25515423
Paravalvular leak; Percutaneous catheter ablation; Prosthetic heart valve
24.  Migration of a fractured inferior vena cava filter strut to the right ventricle of the heart: a case report 
A 23 year old woman presented with sudden onset retrosternal chest pain following an attempt to move a heavy object from her vehicle. Multiple fractured struts of an inferior vena cava filter were identified in the distal right and left pulmonary artery branches, and in the free wall of the right ventricle. A small pericardial effusion was noted. Because of the depth of penetration into the right ventricle, it was perceived not to be amenable to endovascular retrieval. Over several days of observation, she continued to have progressive retrosternal and left shoulder pain. She underwent exploratory sternotomy and extraction of a strut that was partially protruding from the right ventricle and abrading the diaphragmatic pericardium. The patient recovered quite well and was discharged on the third postoperative day.
doi:10.1186/s13019-014-0183-8
PMCID: PMC4299290  PMID: 25496694
IVC filter migration; IVC filter fracture; Bard Recovery; Pericardial effusion; Ventricular perforation
25.  Contemporary outcomes of open repair of thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm in young patients 
Background
Endovascular technology now permits total endovascular thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm (TAAA) repair with high volume centres reporting encouraging results. The long-term durability of such stent grafts is unknown, leading to concerns regarding their use in younger patients. This study reports contemporary outcomes of open repair in young patients.
Methods
Outcomes for patients age 60 or younger undergoing open TAAA repair between June 1999 and August 2013 with prospective collected data were analysed retrospectively.
Results
Thirty-seven patients (31 men, 84%) with a median age of 56 (range 22–60) were identified with a median TAAA diameter of 6.9 cm (range 5.6-11). Aneurysm aetiology included degenerative change (18), dilation of chronic dissection (10), connective tissue disease (7) and mycotic degeneration (2). Crawford Type IV TAAA were most commonly treated (17), followed by Type II (10), Type III (7) and Type I (3). Two (5%) patients died in hospital, one from multiple organ failure and one from respiratory failure. Three patients (8%) developed temporary paraplegia, all of whom made a complete recovery and 4 (11%) patients required temporary renal replacement therapy. Median critical care stay was 5 days (range 2–28) with an in-hospital stay of 14 days (range 7–83). During a median follow-up of 72 months (range 13–171), no patient subsequently required any further aneurysm related surgical or radiological intervention. The mean (SEM) survival time was 138.5 (11) months. The 5 year survival was 79.7% (8.3) including early deaths, with no aneurysm related complications.
Conclusions
The outcome of open TAAA repair in patients aged less than 60 years is favorable. It is against these results that evolving endovascular interventions must be compared.
doi:10.1186/s13019-014-0195-4
PMCID: PMC4269840  PMID: 25491157
Thoracoabdominal; Aorta; Aneurysm; Young

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