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1.  Is Age of 80 Years a Threshold for Carotid Revascularization? 
Current Cardiology Reviews  2011;7(1):15-21.
Background and purpose:
Carotid Angioplasty and Stenting (CAS) has emerged as an alternative to Carotid Endarterectomy (CEA) in treatment of carotid stenotic disease. With increasing life expectancy clinicians are more often confronted with patients of higher age. Octogenarians were often excluded from randomized trials comparing CAS to CEA because they were considered high-risk for revascularization. Conflicting results on the peri-procedural outcome of carotid revascularization in these patients have been reported. In order to objectively evaluate whether age above 80 years should be an upper limit for indicating carotid revascularization we systematically reviewed the currently available literature.
Methods:
Literature was systematically reviewed between January 2000 and June 2010 using Pubmed and Embase, to identify all relevant studies concerning CAS and CEA in octogenarians. Inclusion criteria were 1) reporting outcome on either CEA or CAS; and 2) data subanalysis on treatment outcome by age. The 30-day Major Adverse Event (MAE) rate (disabling stroke, myocardial infarction or death) was extracted as well as demographic features of included patients.
Results:
After exclusion of 23 articles, 46 studies were included in this review, 18 involving CAS and 28 involving CEA. A total of 2.963 CAS patients and 14.365 CEA patients with an age >80 years were reviewed. The MAE rate was 6.9% (range 1.6 - 24.0%) following CAS and 4.2% (range 0 – 8.8%) following CEA.
A separate analysis in this review included the results of one major registry 140.376 patients) analyzing CEA in octogenarians only reporting on 30-day mortality and not on neurological or cardiac adverse events. When these data were included the MAE following CEA is 2.4% (range 0 – 8.8%)
Conclusions:
MAE rates after CEA in octogenarians are comparable with the results of large randomized trials in younger patients. Higher complication rates are described for CAS in octogenarians. In general, age > 80 years is not an absolute cut off point to exclude patients from carotid surgery. In our opinion, CEA should remain the golden standard in the treatment of significant carotid artery stenoses, even in the very elderly.
doi:10.2174/157340311795677716
PMCID: PMC3131710  PMID: 22294970
Carotid revascularization; angioplasty; stenting; octogenarians; demographic features; revascularization.
2.  An animal paired crossover ePTFE arteriovenous graft model 
Purpose
Previously, we developed a porcine model for Arterio Venous Graft (AVG) failure to allow assessment of new access strategies. This model was limited concerning graft length. In the present technical report, we describe a modification of our model allowing the assessment of long AVGs.
Technique
In 4 pigs, AVGs of 15 cm length were created bilaterally in a cross-over fashion between the carotid artery and the contralateral jugular vein. Two days (2 pigs) and two weeks (2 pigs) after AV shunting, graft patency was evaluated by angiography, showing all four grafts to be patent, with no sign of angiographic or macroscopic narrowing at the anastomoses sites.
Conclusions
In this modified pig AVG failure model, implantation of a bilateral cross-over long AVG is a feasible approach. The present model offers a suitable tool to study local interventions or compare various long graft designs aimed at improvement of AVG patency.
doi:10.1186/1750-1164-4-7
PMCID: PMC3006397  PMID: 21110903
3.  Leukotriene B4 Levels in Human Atherosclerotic Plaques and Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86522.
Background
Leukotriene B4 (LTB4) has been associated with the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis and abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) formation. However, associations of LTB4 levels with tissue characteristics and adverse clinical outcome of advanced atherosclerosis and AAA are scarcely studied. We hypothesized that LTB4 levels are associated with a vulnerable plaque phenotype and adverse clinical outcome. Furthermore, that LTB4 levels are associated with inflammatory AAA and adverse clinical outcome.
Methods
Atherosclerotic plaques and AAA specimens were selected from two independent databases for LTB4 measurements. Plaques were isolated during carotid endarterectomy from asymptomatic (n = 58) or symptomatic (n = 317) patients, classified prior to surgery. LTB4 levels were measured without prior lipid extraction and levels were corrected for protein content. LTB4 levels were related to plaque phenotype, baseline patient characteristics and clinical outcome within three years following surgery. Seven non-diseased mammary artery specimens served as controls. AAA specimens were isolated during open repair, classified as elective (n = 189), symptomatic (n = 29) or ruptured (n = 23). LTB4 levels were measured similar to the plaque measurements and were related to tissue characteristics, baseline patient characteristics and clinical outcome. Twenty-six non-diseased aortic specimens served as controls.
Results
LTB4 levels corrected for protein content were not significantly associated with histological characteristics specific for vulnerable plaques or inflammatory AAA as well as clinical presentation. Moreover, it could not predict secondary manifestations independently investigated in both databases. However, LTB4 levels were significantly lower in controls compared to plaque (p = 0.025) or AAA (p = 0.017).
Conclusions
LTB4 levels were not associated with a vulnerable plaque phenotype or inflammatory AAA or clinical presentation. This study does not provide supportive evidence for a role of LTB4 in atherosclerotic plaque destabilization or AAA expansion. However, these data should be interpreted with care, since LTB4 measurements were performed without prior lipid extractions.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086522
PMCID: PMC3903534  PMID: 24475136
4.  A gene-centric study of common carotid artery remodelling 
Atherosclerosis  2013;226(2):440-446.
Background
Expansive remodelling is the process of compensatory arterial enlargement in response to atherosclerotic stimuli. The genetic determinants of this process are poorly characterized.
Methods
Genetic association analyses of inter-adventitial common carotid artery diameter (ICCAD) in the IMPROVE study (n = 3427) using the Illumina 200k Metabochip was performed. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that met array-wide significance were taken forward for analysis in three further studies (n = 5704), and tested for association with Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA).
Results
rs3768445 on Chromosome 1q24.3, in a cluster of protein coding genes (DNM3, PIGC, C1orf105) was associated with larger ICCAD in the IMPROVE study. For each copy of the rare allele carried, ICCAD was on average 0.13 mm greater (95% CI 0.08–0.18 mm, P = 8.2 × 10−8). A proxy SNP (rs4916251, R2 = 0.99) did not, however, show association with ICCAD in three follow-up studies (P for replication = 0.29). There was evidence of interaction between carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) and rs4916251 on ICCAD in two of the cohorts studies suggesting that it plays a role in the remodelling response to atherosclerosis. In meta-analysis of 5 case–control studies pooling data from 5007 cases and 43,630 controls, rs4916251 was associated with presence of AAA 1.10, 95% CI 1.03–1.17, p = 2.8 × 10−3, I2 = 18.8, Q = 0.30). A proxy SNP, rs4916251 was also associated with increased expression of PIGC in aortic tissue, suggesting that this may the mechanism by which this locus affects vascular remodelling.
Conclusions
Common variation at 1q24.3 is associated with expansive vascular remodelling and risk of AAA. These findings support a hypothesis that pathways involved in systemic vascular remodelling play a role in AAA development.
Highlights
► In the IMPROVE study (n > 3000) variants at 1q24.3 were strongly associated with larger carotid diameters. ► The lead variant was associated with Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) in meta-analysis of 5 studies (n > 50,000). ► Variants at 1q24.3 appear to be associated with vascular remodelling and risk of AAA.
doi:10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2012.11.002
PMCID: PMC3573227  PMID: 23246012
Abdominal aortic aneurysm; Genome-wide association studies; Vascular remodelling; Carotid artery

Results 1-4 (4)