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1.  Relationship of CRP, IL-6, and Fibrinogen with Right Ventricular Structure and Function: The MESA-Right Ventricle Study 
International journal of cardiology  2013;168(4):3818-3824.
Inflammation contributes to the pathogenesis of disease associated with the left ventricle (LV); yet, our understanding of the effect of inflammation on the right ventricle (RV) is quite limited.
Methods and results
The relationships of C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and fibrinogen with RV morphology and function (from cardiac MRI) were examined in participants free of clinical cardiovascular disease (n=4,009) from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)-RV study. Multivariable regressions (linear, quantile [25th and 75th] and generalized additive models [GAM]) were used to examine the independent association of CRP, IL-6 and fibrinogen with RV mass, RV end-diastolic volume (RVEDV), RV end-systolic volume (RVESV), RV stroke volume (RVSV) and RV ejection fraction (RVEF). Unadjusted and adjusted analyses revealed strong inverse associations between both CRP and IL-6 with RV mass, RVEDV, RVESV and RVSV (all p<0.01); there were no associations with RVEF. These relationships remained significant after adjustment for the respective LV parameters and lung function. However, GAM models suggested that extreme values of CRP and IL-6 might have positive associations with RV parameters. Fibrinogen showed significant associations in unadjusted models, but no associations after adjustment or in sensitivity analyses.
Levels of CRP and IL-6 are independently associated with RV morphology even after adjustment for the respective LV measure in this multi-ethnic population free of cardiovascular disease. Systemic inflammation may contribute to RV structural changes independent of effects on the LV.
PMCID: PMC3805818  PMID: 23932860
Systemic inflammation; right ventricle; heart failure; Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis
2.  Mitral-Valve Repair versus Replacement for Severe Ischemic Mitral Regurgitation 
Ischemic mitral regurgitation is associated with a substantial risk of death. Practice guidelines recommend surgery for patients with a severe form of this condition but acknowledge that the supporting evidence for repair or replacement is limited.
We randomly assigned 251 patients with severe ischemic mitral regurgitation to undergo either mitral-valve repair or chordal-sparing replacement in order to evaluate efficacy and safety. The primary end point was the left ventricular end-systolic volume index (LVESVI) at 12 months, as assessed with the use of a Wilcoxon rank-sum test in which deaths were categorized below the lowest LVESVI rank.
At 12 months, the mean LVESVI among surviving patients was 54.6±25.0 ml per square meter of body-surface area in the repair group and 60.7±31.5 ml per square meter in the replacement group (mean change from baseline, −6.6 and −6.8 ml per square meter, respectively). The rate of death was 14.3% in the repair group and 17.6% in the replacement group (hazard ratio with repair, 0.79; 95% confidence interval, 0.42 to 1.47; P = 0.45 by the log-rank test). There was no significant between-group difference in LVESVI after adjustment for death (z score, 1.33; P = 0.18). The rate of moderate or severe recurrence of mitral regurgitation at 12 months was higher in the repair group than in the replacement group (32.6% vs. 2.3%, P<0.001). There were no significant between-group differences in the rate of a composite of major adverse cardiac or cerebrovascular events, in functional status, or in quality of life at 12 months.
We observed no significant difference in left ventricular reverse remodeling or survival at 12 months between patients who underwent mitral-valve repair and those who underwent mitral-valve replacement. Replacement provided a more durable correction of mitral regurgitation, but there was no significant between-group difference in clinical outcomes. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Canadian Institutes of Health; number, NCT00807040.)
PMCID: PMC4128011  PMID: 24245543
3.  Blood Transfusion and Infection After Cardiac Surgery 
The Annals of thoracic surgery  2013;95(6):2194-2201.
Cardiac surgery is the largest consumer of blood products in medicine; although believed life saving, transfusion carries substantial adverse risks. This study characterizes the relationship between transfusion and risk of major infection after cardiac surgery.
5,158 adults were prospectively enrolled to assess infections after cardiac surgery. The most common procedures were isolated coronary artery bypass grafting (31%) and isolated valve surgery (30%); 19% were reoperations. Infections were adjudicated by independent infectious disease experts. Multivariable Cox modeling was used to assess the independent effect of blood and platelet transfusions on major infections within 60±5 days of surgery.
Red blood cells (RBCs) and platelets were transfused in 48% and 31% of patients, respectively. Each RBC unit transfused was associated with a 29% increase in crude risk of major infection (P<0.001). Among RBC recipients, the most common infections were pneumonia (3.6%) and bloodstream infections (2%). Risk factors for infection included postoperative RBC units transfused, longer duration of surgery, and transplant or ventricular assist device implantation, in addition to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart failure, and elevated preoperative creatinine. Platelet transfusion decreased the risk of infection (P=.02).
Greater attention to management practices that limit RBC use, including cell salvage, small priming volumes, vacuum-assisted venous return with rapid autologous priming, and ultrafiltration, and pre- and intraoperative measures to elevate hematocrit could potentially reduce occurrence of major postoperative infections.
PMCID: PMC3992887  PMID: 23647857
Bleeding; reoperation; surgery; complications; cardiopulmonary bypass; CPB; CPB; cell saver; wound infection
4.  Risk Factors for Febrile Status Epilepticus: A Case-Control Study 
The Journal of pediatrics  2013;163(4):1147-51.e1.
To identify risk factors for developing a first febrile status epilepticus (FSE) among children with a first febrile seizure (FS).
Study design
Cases were children with a first FS that was FSE drawn from the Consequences of Prolonged Febrile Seizures in Childhood and Columbia cohorts. Controls were children with a first simple FS and separately, children with a first complex FS that was not FSE. Identical questionnaires were administered to family members of the 3 cohorts. Magnetic resonance imaging protocol and readings were consistent across cohorts, and seizure phenomenology was assessed by the same physicians. Risk factors were analyzed using logistic regression.
Compared with children with simple FS, FSE was associated with younger age, lower temperature, longer duration (1-24 hours) of recognized temperature before FS, female sex, structural temporal lobe abnormalities, and first-degree family history of FS. Compared with children with other complex FS, FSE was associated with low temperature and longer duration (1-24 hours) of temperature recognition before FS. Risk factors for complex FS that was not FSE were similar in magnitude to those for FSE but only younger age was significant.
Among children with a first FS, FSE appears to be due to a combination of lower seizure threshold (younger age and lower temperatures) and impaired regulation of seizure duration. Clinicians evaluating FS should be aware of these factors as many episodes of FSE go unnoticed. Further work is needed to develop strategies to prevent FSE.
PMCID: PMC3989363  PMID: 23809042
5.  Postoperative Radiotherapy for Elderly Patients with Stage III Lung Cancer 
Cancer  2012;118(18):4478-4485.
The potential role of postoperative radiation therapy (PORT) for patients with completely resected stage III non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with N2 disease remains controversial. Using population-based data, we compared survival of a concurrent cohort of elderly patients with N2 disease treated with and without PORT.
Using the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) registry linked to Medicare records we identified 1,307 cases of stage III NSCLC with N2 lymph node involvement diagnosed between 1992 and 2005. We used propensity score methods and instrumental variable analysis to compare survival of patients treated with and without PORT after controlling for selection bias.
Overall, 710 (54%) patients received PORT. Propensity score analysis showed that PORT was not associated with improved survival of patients with N2 disease (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.11; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.97–1.27). Analyses limited to patients treated with or without chemotherapy, intermediate or high complexity RT planning, or adjusting for time trends showed similar results. The instrumental variable estimator for the absolute improvement in 1- and 3-year survival with PORT was −0.04 (95% CI: −0.15 to 0.08) and −0.08 (95% CI:−0.24 to 0.15), respectively.
These data suggest that PORT is not associated with improved survival of elderly patients with N2 disease. These findings have important clinical implications given that SEER data shows that a large percentage of elderly patients are currently treated with PORT despite the lack of definitive evidence about its effectiveness. The potential effectiveness of PORT should be further evaluated in randomized control trials.
PMCID: PMC3355220  PMID: 22331818
Postoperative radiotherapy; N2 disease; lung cancer; survival
6.  Design and Phenomenology of the FEBSTAT Study 
Epilepsia  2012;53(9):1471-1480.
Febrile status epilepticus (FSE) has been associated with hippocampal injury and subsequent hipppocampal sclerosis (HS) and temporal lobe epilepsy. The FEBSTAT study was designed to prospectively examine the association between prolonged febrile seizures and development of HS and associated temporal lobe epilepsy, one of the most controversial issues in epilepsy. We report on the baseline phenomenology of the final cohorts as well as detailed aims and methodology.
The “Consequences of Prolonged Febrile Seizures in Childhood” (FEBSTAT) study is a prospective, multicenter study. Enrolled are children, aged 1 month to 6 years, presenting with a febrile seizure lasting 30 minutes or more based upon ambulance, emergency department, and hospital records, and parental interview. At baseline, procedures included an MRI and EEG done within 72 hours of FSE, and a detailed history and neurological examination. Baseline development and behavior are assessed at one month. The baseline assessment is repeated, with age- appropriate developmental testing at one and five years after enrollment as well as at the development of epilepsy and one year after that. Telephone calls every three months document further seizures. Two other groups of children are included: a ‘control’ group consisting of children with a first febrile seizure ascertained at Columbia University and with almost identical baseline and one year follow-up examinations and a pilot cohort of FSE from Duke University.
Key findings
The FEBSTAT cohort consists of 199 children with a median age at baseline of 16.0 months (Interquartile range (IQR)=12.0–24.0) and a median duration of FSE of 70.0 minutes (IQR=47.0–110.0). Seizures were continuous in 57.3% and behaviorally intermittent (without recovery in between) in 31.2%; most were partial (4;2.0%) or secondary generalized (65.8%), and almost all (98.0%) culminated in a generalized tonic clonic seizure. Of the 199 children, 86.4% had normal development and 20% had prior febrile seizures. In one third of cases, FSE was unrecognized in the emergency department.
The Duke existing cohort consists of 23 children with a median age of FSE onset of 18.0 months (IQR 14.0–28.0) and median duration of FSE of 90.0 minutes (IQR 50.0–170.0).
The Columbia control cohort consists of 159 children with a first febrile seizure who received almost the same work-up as the FEBSTAT cohort at baseline and at one-year. They were followed by telephone every 4 months for a median of 42 months. Among the control cohort, 64.2% had a first simple FS, 26.4% had a first complex FS that was not FSE, and 9.4% had FSE. Among the 15 with FSE, the median age at onset was 14.0 months (IQR 12.0–20.0) and the median duration of FSE was 43.0 minutes (IQR 35.0–75.0).
The FEBSTAT study presents an opportunity to prospectively study the relationship between FSE and acute hippocampal damage, the development of MTS, epilepsy (particularly TLE), and impaired hippocampal function in a large cohort. It is hoped that this study may illuminate a major mystery in clinical epilepsy today, and permit the development of interventions designed to prevent the sequelae of FSE.
PMCID: PMC3436982  PMID: 22742587
Febrile Seizures; Status Epilepticus; Epidemiology; Children
7.  Fetal Heart Rate Reactivity Differs by Women’s Psychiatric Status during Psychological Stress, but Not Paced Breathing 
Developmental psychobiology  2010;53(3):221-233.
Prenatal exposure to women’s mood dysregulation is associated with variation in neurobehavioral profiles in children. Few studies have assessed these relationships during the prenatal period.
In 113 women in the 36th – 38th gestational week (mean age 26.3 ± 5.4 years), electrocardiogram, blood pressure, respiration, salivary cortisol, and fetal heart rate (HR) were measured during baseline, a psychological challenge (Stroop color–word matching task), and a standardized paced breathing protocol. Subjects underwent the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV prior to testing and were grouped as: depressed, co–morbid for depression and anxiety, anxiety disorder only, and control.
There was a significant main effect of maternal diagnostic group on fetal HR only during the Stroop task: fetuses of women in the co–morbid group had a greater HR increase compared to controls (p < .05). Overall, fetuses showed robust increases in HR during paced breathing (p < .0001), but there was no significant difference by maternal diagnosis. For both tasks, changes in fetal HR were independent of women’s concurrent cardiorespiratory activity. Finally, although cortisol was higher in the co-morbid group (p <.05), independent of diagnosis, there was a trend for maternal baseline cortisol to be positively associated with average fetal HR (p = .08).
These findings indicate that variation in fetal HR reactivity — an index of emerging regulatory capacities — is likely influenced by multiple acute and chronic factors associated with women’s psychobiology.
PMCID: PMC3747960  PMID: 21400485
Fetal heart rate; fetal neurobehavioral development; antenatal depression; maternal stress; fetal programming
8.  Delayed Access and Survival in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis 
Rationale: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is often initially misdiagnosed. Delays in accessing subspecialty care could lead to worse outcomes among those with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
Objectives: To examine the association between delayed access to subspecialty care and survival time in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
Methods: We performed a prospective cohort study of 129 adults who met American Thoracic Society criteria for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis evaluated at a tertiary care center. Delay was defined as the time from the onset of dyspnea to the date of initial evaluation at a tertiary care center. We used competing risk survival methods to examine survival time and time to transplantation.
Measurements and Main Results: The mean age was 63 years and 76% were men. The median delay was 2.2 years (interquartile range 1.0–3.8 yr), and the median follow-up time was 1.1 years. Age and lung function at the time of evaluation did not vary by delay. A longer delay was associated with an increased risk of death independent of age, sex, forced vital capacity, third-party payer, and educational attainment (adjusted hazard ratio per doubling of delay was 1.3, 95% confidence interval 1.03 to 1.6). Longer delay was not associated with a lower likelihood of undergoing lung transplantation.
Conclusions: Delayed access to a tertiary care center is associated with a higher mortality rate in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis independent of disease severity. Early referral to a specialty center should be considered for those with known or suspected interstitial lung disease.
PMCID: PMC3208648  PMID: 21719755
access to healthcare; healthcare disparities; idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis; interstitial lung disease; survival
9.  A Randomized Clinical Trial of Aspirin and Simvastatin for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension: ASA-STAT 
Circulation  2011;123(25):2985-2993.
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a progressive disease which causes exercise limitation, heart failure, and death. We aimed to determine the safety and efficacy of aspirin and simvastatin in PAH.
Methods and Results
We performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled 2 × 2 factorial clinical trial of aspirin and simvastatin in patients with PAH receiving background therapy at four centers. A total of 92 patients with PAH were to be randomized to aspirin 81 mg or matching placebo and simvastatin 40 mg or matching placebo. The primary outcome was six-minute walk distance (6MWD) at six months. Sixty-five subjects were randomized when the trial was terminated by the DSMB after an interim analysis showed futility in reaching the primary end point for simvastatin. After adjustment for baseline 6MWD, there was no significant difference in the 6MWD at six months between aspirin (n = 32) and placebo (n = 33) [placebo-corrected difference = −0.5 m (95%CI, −28.4 – 27.4 m), p = 0.97] or between simvastatin (n = 32) and placebo (n = 33) [placebo-corrected difference = −27.6 m (95%CI, −59.6 – 4.3 m), p = 0.09]. There tended to be more major bleeding episodes with aspirin compared to placebo (4 events vs. 1 event, respectively, p = 0.17).
Neither aspirin nor simvastatin had a significant effect on the 6MWD, although patients randomized to simvastatin tended to have a lower 6MWD at six months. These results do not support the routine treatment of patients with PAH with these medications.
PMCID: PMC3427737  PMID: 21593252
pulmonary hypertension; clinical trial; anti-platelet agents; endothelial dysfunction
10.  Prolonged intracerebral convection-enhanced delivery of topotecan with a subcutaneously implantable infusion pump 
Neuro-Oncology  2011;13(8):886-893.
Intracerebral convection-enhanced delivery (CED) of chemotherapeutic agents currently requires an externalized catheter and infusion system, which limits its duration because of the need for hospitalization and the risk of infection. To evaluate the feasibility of prolonged topotecan administration by CED in a large animal brain with the use of a subcutaneous implantable pump. Medtronic Synchromed-II pumps were implanted subcutaneously for intracerebral CED in pigs. Gadodiamide (28.7 mg/mL), with or without topotecan (136 μM), was infused at 0.7 mL/24 h for 3 or 10 days. Pigs underwent magnetic resonance imaging before and at 6 times points after surgery. Enhancement and FLAIR+ volumes were calculated in a semi-automated fashion. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy-based topotecan signature was also investigated. Brain histology was analyzed by hematoxylin and eosin staining and with immunoperoxidase for a microglial antigen. CED of topotecan/gadolinium was well tolerated in all cases (n = 6). Maximum enhancement volume was reached at day 3 and remained stable if CED was continued for 10 days, but it decreased if CED was stopped at day 3. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy revealed a decrease in parenchymal metabolites in the presence of topotecan. Similarly, the combination of topotecan and gadolinium infusion led to a FLAIR+ volume that tended to be larger than that seen after the infusion of gadolinium alone. Histological analysis of the brains showed an area of macrophage infiltrate in the ipsilateral white matter upon infusion with topotecan/gadolinium. Intracerebral topotecan CED is well tolerated in a large animal brain for up to 10 days. Intracerebral long-term CED can be achieved with a subcutaneously implanted pump and provides a stable volume of distribution. This work constitutes a proof of principle for the safety and feasibility for prolonged CED, providing a means of continuous local drug delivery that is accessible to the practicing neuro-oncologist.
PMCID: PMC3145467  PMID: 21750007
brain tumor; convection-enhanced delivery; glioma; infusion; local delivery; topotecan
11.  Distribution Of Febrile Seizure Duration And Associations With Development 
Annals of neurology  2011;70(1):93-100.
In prior studies of febrile seizures (FS), prolonged FS are defined, absent empirical evidence, as lasting 10 or 15 minutes or more. We assessed the distribution of FS duration in a cohort with first FS, and the association between FS duration and baseline characteristics of the children.
We calculated the observed cumulative probability, S(t), that a FS would last at least t minutes, S(t) = exp(−t/ τ) . Data were also fit using a model obtained as the sum of two exponential distributions [S(t) = αexp(−t/τ1)+(1-α)exp(−t/τ2)]. After assessing the best fit, the cut off defining long FS was determined. Logisitic regression was used to examine associations between long FS and baseline characteristics, behavior and development.
In 158 children with a first FS, median duration was 4.0 minutes. Duration of FS was best fit by a two-component mixture exponential model. Using this model we identified one population that accounts for 82.3% of FS and has a mean duration of 3.8 minutes (short FS) and a second population that accounts for 17.7% of FS and has a mean duration of 39.8 minutes (long FS). Long FS were significantly associated with developmental delay (p=0.010) and delays and younger age at first FS (p=0.048).
Like the distribution of afebrile seizure duration in children, the distribution of first FS duration is best modeled by assuming two populations. Developmental delay and younger age are associated with prolonged FS. Our data lend further support to defining 10 minutes as the upper limit for a simple FS.
PMCID: PMC3134598  PMID: 21437934
Febrile Seizures; Epidemiology; Children
12.  The renin-angiotensin system and right ventricular structure and function: The MESA-Right Ventricle Study 
Pulmonary Circulation  2012;2(3):379-386.
The pulmonary vasculature is an important site of renin-angiotensin metabolism. While angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers (collectively AIABs) have a role in left ventricular (LV) disease, the impact of AIABs on right ventricular (RV) function is unknown. AIAB use was determined by medication inventory during the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis baseline examination. RV measures were obtained via cardiac magnetic resonance imaging. The relationship between AIAB use and RV measures was assessed using multivariable linear regression, stratified by race/ethnicity, and adjusted for multiple covariates. AIAB use was associated with lower RV mass (-0.7 g, 95% confidence interval [CI] -1.3 to -0.1, P=0.03) in African Americans (N=1012) after adjustment for multiple covariates including LV mass. Among Caucasians (N=1591), AIAB use was associated with larger RV end-diastolic volume (3.7 mL, 95% CI 0.7-6.8, P=0.02) after adjustment for LV volume. No significant associations were seen between AIAB use and other RV measures or in Hispanic or Chinese American participants. AIAB use was associated with RV morphology in a race-specific and LV-independent manner, suggesting the renin-angiotensin system may play a unique role in RV structure and function. The use of AIABs in those with RV dysfunction warrants further study.
PMCID: PMC3487307  PMID: 23130107
angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor; angiotensin II receptor blockers; right ventricle; epidemiology; renin-angiotensin system
13.  Sex and Race Differences in Right Ventricular Structure and Function: The MESA-Right Ventricle Study 
Circulation  2011;123(22):2542-2551.
Right ventricular (RV) morphology is an important predictor of outcomes in heart and lung disease, however determinants of RV anatomy have not been well-studied. We examined the demographic factors associated with RV morphology and function in a population-based multiethnic sample free of clinical cardiovascular disease.
Methods and Results
The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) performed cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) on 5098 participants. RV volumes and mass were available for 4204 participants. Normative equations for RV parameters were derived using an allometric approach. The study sample (N = 4123) was 61.5 ± 10.1 years old and 47.5% male. Older age was associated with lower RV mass (~5% lower mass per decade) with larger age-related decrements in men than in women (p for interaction < 0.05). Older age was also associated with higher RV ejection fraction (RVEF), an association which differed between races/ethnicities (p for interaction ≤ 0.01). Overall, men had greater RV mass (~8%) and larger RV volumes than women, but had lower RVEF (4% in absolute terms) (p < 0.001). African Americans had lower RV mass than Caucasians (p ≤ 0.002), whereas Hispanics had higher RV mass (p ≤ 0.02). Using the derived normative equations, 7.3% (95%CI, 6.5–8.1%) met criteria for RV hypertrophy and 5.9% (95%CI, 5.2–6.6%) had RV dysfunction.
In conclusion, age, sex, and race are associated with significant differences in RV mass, RV volumes and RVEF, potentially explaining distinct responses of the RV to cardiopulmonary disease.
PMCID: PMC3111939  PMID: 21646505
right ventricle; pulmonary heart disease; magnetic resonance imaging; pulmonary hypertension
14.  The Impact of Aerobic Training on Cardiovascular Reactivity to and Recovery from Challenge 
Psychosomatic Medicine  2011;73(2):134-141.
To test the hypothesis that aerobic but not strength training would lead to attenuated reactivity to and more rapid recovery from cognitive and orthostatic challenge and that deconditioning would reverse this effect.
We conducted a randomized controlled trial (RCT) contrasting the effects of aerobic vs. strength training on HR, 4 indices of RR interval variability (RRV), and blood pressure (BP) reactivity to and recovery from psychological and orthostatic challenge in 149 healthy, young, sedentary adults. Subjects were randomized to 12-week aerobic or strength training programs and studied before and after training and again after 4 weeks of sedentary deconditioning. The data were analyzed by performing a Group (aerobic vs. strength) by Session (study entry, post-training, and deconditioning), by Period (baseline, speech, Stroop, math, tilt) 3-way ANOVA with prespecified contrasts of the effect of group assignment on reactivity and recovery.
Aerobic capacity increased in response to conditioning and decreased after deconditioning in the aerobic but not the strength-training group. However, the two groups did not differ on HR, RRV, or BP reactivity to or recovery from laboratory challenge.
These findings, from the largest RCT to address this matter to date, raise doubts about attenuation of reactivity or enhancement of recovery as a putative mechanism underlying the cardioprotective effects of aerobic exercise.
PMCID: PMC3350788  PMID: 21257979
Exercise; heart rate; autonomic nervous system; reactivity; randomized controlled trial
15.  Rationale and design of a Phase II clinical trial of aspirin and simvastatin for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension: ASA-STAT 
Contemporary clinical trials  2010;32(2):280-287.
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a progressive disease which causes exercise limitation, heart failure, and death. Aspirin and simvastatin are highly effective and safe therapies for other cardiovascular diseases characterized by platelet activation and endothelial dysfunction, but have not been formally studied in PAH.
ASA-STAT is a Phase II, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled 2 × 2 factorial clinical trial of aspirin and simvastatin in patients with PAH. A total of 92 subjects were to be randomized to aspirin or aspirin placebo and simvastatin or simvastatin placebo. The primary outcome is the distance walked in six minutes at six months after randomization. Secondary measures include brachial artery flow-mediated dilation, circulating biomarkers of platelet and endothelial function, functional class, quality-of-life, and time to clinical end points. The incidence of adverse events will be compared between treatment groups.
Screening and Enrollment
We screened a total of 712 individuals with PAH. Sixty-five subjects were enrolled when the trial was terminated for futility in reaching the primary end point for simvastatin.
This study aims to determine whether aspirin or simvastatin have beneficial biologic or clinical effects in patients with PAH. The safety and side effects of these commonly prescribed cardiovascular drugs will also be assessed.
PMCID: PMC3034822  PMID: 21146637
Pulmonary hypertension; Endothelial dysfunction; platelets; Clinical trial
16.  Sex Hormones Are Associated with Right Ventricular Structure and Function 
Rationale: Sex hormones have effects on the left ventricle, but hormonal influences on the right ventricle (RV) are unknown.
Objectives: We hypothesized that sex hormones would be associated with RV morphology in a large cohort free of cardiovascular disease.
Methods: Sex hormones were measured by immunoassay and RV ejection fraction (RVEF), stroke volume (RVSV), mass, end-diastolic volume, and end-systolic volume (RVESV) were measured by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging in 1,957 men and 1,738 postmenopausal women. The relationship between each hormone and RV parameter was assessed by multivariate linear regression.
Measurements and Main Results: Higher estradiol levels were associated with higher RVEF (β per 1 ln[nmol/L], 0.88; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.32 to 1.43; P = 0.002) and lower RVESV (β per 1 ln[nmol/L], −0.87; 95% CI, −1.67 to −0.08; P = 0.03) in women using hormone therapy. In men, higher bioavailable testosterone levels were associated with higher RVSV (β per 1 ln[nmol/L], 1.97; 95% CI, 0.20 to 3.73; P = 0.03) and greater RV mass and volumes (P ≤ 0.01). Higher dehydroepiandrosterone levels were associated with higher RVSV (β per 1 ln[nmol/L], 1.37; 95% CI, 0.15 to 2.59; P = 0.03) and greater RV mass (β per 1 ln[nmol/L], 0.25; 95% CI, 0.00 to 0.49; P = 0.05) and volumes (P ≤ 0.001) in women.
Conclusions: Higher estradiol levels were associated with better RV systolic function in women using hormone therapy. Higher levels of androgens were associated with greater RV mass and volumes in both sexes.
PMCID: PMC3081282  PMID: 20889903
sex; sex hormones; right ventricle
17.  Seizure in People with Newly Diagnosed Active or Transitional Neurocysticercosis 
The aim of this study is to describe seizure as a presenting symptom in individuals with recently diagnosed neurocysticercosis (NCC).
Using logistic regression, we examined the probability of having seizures as a presenting symptom among those with active or transitional NCC by host age and gender, and by number of cysts, location of the cysts in the brain, and phase of evolution of the encysted parasite.
We found that the odds of having seizures as presenting symptom for those in the youngest age group (3–24 years old) were 12.9 times that of the oldest participants (age 55–82 years) (p=0.006). People with cysts in parenchymal locations had a significantly higher odds of seizures compared to those with all their cysts elsewhere (ventricles or subarachnoid) (OR=6.2, p=0.028); and the number of cysts was significantly associated with having seizures (OR=1.1, p=0.026). Host gender and cyst phase were not significantly associated with having seizures after adjusting for confounders and covariates.
Children, those with cysts in parenchymal locations, and those with a higher number of cysts appear to be more likely to experience seizure when they have NCC cysts in the active or transitional stage.
PMCID: PMC3057662  PMID: 21145263
neurocysticercosis; seizures; cysts; parenchymal location; extraparenchymal location
18.  Physical Activity and Right Ventricular Structure and Function 
Rationale: Intense exercise in elite athletes is associated with increased left ventricular (LV) and right ventricular (RV) mass and volumes. However, the effect of physical activity on the RV in an older community-based population is unknown.
Objectives: We studied the association between levels of physical activity in adults and RV mass and volumes.
Methods: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) performed cardiac magnetic resonance imaging on community-based participants without clinical cardiovascular disease. RV volumes were determined from manually contoured endocardial margins. RV mass was determined from the difference between epicardial and endocardial volumes multiplied by the specific gravity of myocardium. Metabolic equivalent–minutes/day were calculated from the self-reported frequency, duration, and intensity of physical activity.
Measurements and Main Results: The study sample (n = 1,867) was aged 61.8 ± 10 years, 48% male, 44% white, 27% African American, 20% Hispanic, and 9% Chinese. Higher levels of moderate and vigorous physical activity were linearly associated with higher RV mass (P = 0.02) after adjusting for demographics, anthropometrics, smoking, cholesterol, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and LV mass. Higher levels of intentional exercise (physical activity done for the sole purpose of conditioning or fitness) were nonlinearly associated with RV mass independent of LV mass (P = 0.03). There were similar associations between higher levels of physical activity and larger RV volumes.
Conclusions: Higher levels of physical activity in adults were associated with greater RV mass independent of the associations with LV mass; similar results were found for RV volumes. Exercise-associated RV remodeling may have important clinical implications.
PMCID: PMC3056232  PMID: 20813888
exercise; pulmonary heart disease; pulmonary hypertension; magnetic resonance imaging
19.  Matrix metalloproteinase-9 and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 are associated with right ventricular structure and function: The MESA-RV Study 
Elevated resistance and reduced compliance of the pulmonary vasculature increase right ventricular (RV) afterload. Local and systemic inflammation and haemostatic abnormalities are prominent in pulmonary vascular diseases. We hypothesized that plasma biomarker levels indicating greater inflammation and coagulability associated with pulmonary vascular disease would be associated with RV structure and function measured by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) performed cardiac MRI among participants aged 45–84 years without clinical cardiovascular disease. We assessed the associations of RV mass, RV end-diastolic volume (RVEDV), RV stroke volume (RVSV) and RV ejection fraction (RVEF) with plasma measures of inflammation (matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-3 and -9, intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1, tumour necrosis factor receptor (TNF-R1), and E-selectin) and thrombosis (plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI)-1, tissue factor, tissue factor pathway inhibitor and CD40 ligand).The study sample included 731 subjects. Higher MMP-9 levels were associated with lower RV mass before and after adjustment for left ventricular (LV) mass (p = 0.008 and p = 0.044, respectively). Higher levels of MMP-9 and PAI-1 were also associated with smaller RVEDV (p<0.05). Higher PAI-1 levels were associated with lower RVEF even after adjustment for LV ejection fraction (p = 0.017). In conclusion, MMP-9 and PAI-1 are associated with changes in RV structure and function which could be potentially related to a subclinical increase in pulmonary vascular resistance.
PMCID: PMC3045574  PMID: 20923324
Inflammation; thrombosis; hypertension; pulmonary
20.  Effectiveness of Radiation Therapy for Elderly Patients with Unresected Stage I and II Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer 
Rationale: Radiotherapy (RT) is considered the standard treatment for patients with stage I or II non–small lung cancer who are not surgical candidates because of comorbities or preferences against surgery.
Objectives: To compare the outcomes of patients treated with RT alone with those who were untreated to assess the effect of RT on survival.
Methods: Using the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) registry linked to Medicare files, we identified 6,065 unresected patients with histologically confirmed stage I and stage II non–small cell lung cancer, diagnosed between 1992 and 2002. We used propensity score methods and instrumental variable analysis to control for the possible effects of known as well as unmeasured confounders.
Measurements and Main Results: Overall, 59% of patients received RT. The overall and lung cancer–specific survival of unresected patients treated with RT was significantly better compared with the untreated cases (P < 0.0001 for both comparisons). RT was associated with a 6-month improvement in median overall survival. Propensity score analyses showed that RT was associated with improved overall (hazard ratio, 0.74; 95% confidence interval, 0.70–0.78) and lung cancer–specific survival (hazard ratio, 0.73; 95% confidence interval, 0.69–0.78). Instrumental variable analysis also indicated improved outcomes among patients treated with RT.
Conclusions: RT improves survival of elderly patients with unresected stage I or II lung cancer. These results should be confirmed in prospective trials.
PMCID: PMC2817815  PMID: 19892859
21.  Measuring Outcome in Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment Trials: Recommendations From the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinical Trials Network 
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) involves several aspects of a patient’s condition, including physical, mental, emotional, cognitive, social, and functional changes. Therefore, a clinical trial with individuals with TBI should consider outcome measures that reflect their global status.
We present the work of the National Institute of Child Health and Development–sponsored Traumatic Brain Injury Clinical Trials Network Outcome Measures subcommittee and its choice of outcome measures for a phase III clinical trial of patients with complicated mild to severe TBI.
On the basis of theoretical and practical considerations, the subcommittee recommended the adoption of a core of 9 measures that cover 2 different areas of recovery: functional and cognitive. These measures are the Extended Glasgow Outcome Scale; the Controlled Oral Word Association Test; the Trail Making Test, Parts A and B; the California Verbal Learning Test–II; the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale–III Digit Span subtest; the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale–III Processing Speed Index; and the Stroop Color-Word Matching Test, Parts 1 and 2.
The statistical methods proposed to analyze these measures using a global test procedure, along with research and methodological and regulatory issues involved with the use of multiple outcomes in a clinical trial, are discussed.
PMCID: PMC2939167  PMID: 20216459
clinical trial; global test procedure; outcome measures; traumatic brain injury

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