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1.  Atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis is prevalent in cardiorenal patients but not associated with left ventricular function and myocardial fibrosis as assessed by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging 
Background
Atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis (ARAS) is common in cardiovascular diseases and associated with hypertension, renal dysfunction and/or heart failure. There is a paucity of data about the prevalence and the role of ARAS in the pathophysiology of combined chronic heart failure (CHF) and chronic kidney disease (CKD). We investigated the prevalence in patients with combined CHF/CKD and its association with renal function, cardiac dysfunction and the presence and extent of myocardial fibrosis.
Methods
The EPOCARES study (ClinTrialsNCT00356733) investigates the role of erythropoietin in anaemic patients with combined CHF/CKD. Eligible subjects underwent combined cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (cMRI), including late gadolinium enhancement, with magnetic resonance angiography of the renal arteries (MRA).
Results
MR study was performed in 37 patients (median age 74 years, eGFR 37.4 ± 15.6 ml/min, left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) 43.3 ± 11.2%), of which 21 (56.8%) had ARAS (defined as stenosis >50%). Of these 21 subjects, 8 (21.6%) had more severe ARAS >70% and 8 (21.6%) had a bilateral ARAS >50% (or previous bilateral PTA). There were no differences in age, NT-proBNP levels and medication profile between patients with ARAS versus those without. Renal function declined with the severity of ARAS (p = 0.03), although this was not significantly different between patients with ARAS versus those without. Diabetes mellitus was more prevalent in patients without ARAS (56.3%) against those with ARAS (23.8%) (p = 0.04). The presence and extent of late gadolinium enhancement, depicting myocardial fibrosis, did not differ (p = 0.80), nor did end diastolic volume (p = 0.60), left ventricular mass index (p = 0.11) or LVEF (p = 0.15). Neither was there a difference in the presence of an ischemic pattern of late enhancement in patients with ARAS versus those without.
Conclusions
ARAS is prevalent in combined CHF/CKD and its severity is associated with a decline in renal function. However, its presence does not correlate with a worse LVEF, a higher left ventricular mass or with the presence and extent of myocardial fibrosis. Further research is required for the role of ARAS in the pathophysiology of combined chronic heart and renal failure.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-76
PMCID: PMC3470969  PMID: 22989293
Cardiorenal failure; Atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis; Magnetic resonance imaging; Late gadolinium enhancement
2.  Ultrasound enhanced prehospital thrombolysis using microbubbles infusion in patients with acute ST elevation myocardial infarction: Rationale and design of the Sonolysis study 
Trials  2008;9:72.
Background -
Experimental studies have shown that ultrasound contrast agents enhance the effectiveness of thrombolytic agents in the presence of ultrasound in vitro and in vivo. Recently, we have launched a clinical pilot study, called "Sonolysis", to study this effect in patients with ST-elevation myocardial infarction based on proximal lesions of the infarct-related artery.
Methods/design -
In our multicenter, randomized, placebo controlled clinical trial we will include patients between 18 and 80 years of age with their first ST-elevation myocardial infarction based on a proximal lesion of the infarct-related artery. After receiving a single bolus alteplase 50 mg IV (Actilyse® Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH), a loading dose of aspirin 500 mg, and heparin 5000 IU in the ambulance according to the prehospital thrombolysis protocol, patients, following oral informed consent, are randomized to undergo 15 minutes of pulsatile ultrasound with intravenous administration of ultrasound contrast agent or placebo without ultrasound. Afterwards coronary angiography and, if indicated, percutaneous coronary intervention will take place. A total of 60 patients will be enrolled in approximately 1 year.
The primary endpoints are based on the coronary angiogram and consist of TIMI flow, corrected TIMI frame count, and myocardial blush grade. Follow-up includes 12-lead ECG, 2D-echocardiography, cardiac MRI, and enzyme markers to obtain our secondary endpoints, including the infarct size, wall motion abnormalities, and the global left ventricular function.
Discussion -
The Sonolysis study is the first multicenter, randomized, placebo controlled clinical trial investigating the therapeutic application of ultrasound and microbubbles in acute ST-elevation myocardial infarction patients. A positive finding may stimulate further research and technical innovations to implement the treatment in the ambulance and maybe obtain even more patency at an earlier stage.
Trial registration -
Trialregister NTR161
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-9-72
PMCID: PMC2614934  PMID: 19068143

Results 1-2 (2)