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1.  Common mechanisms of pain and depression: are antidepressants also analgesics? 
Neither pain, nor depression exist as independent phenomena per se, they are highly subjective inner states, formed by our brain and built on the bases of our experiences, cognition and emotions. Chronic pain is associated with changes in brain physiology and anatomy. It has been suggested that the neuronal activity underlying subjective perception of chronic pain may be divergent from the activity associated with acute pain. We will discuss the possible common pathophysiological mechanism of chronic pain and depression with respect to the default mode network of the brain, neuroplasticity and the effect of antidepressants on these two pathological conditions. The default mode network of the brain has an important role in the representation of introspective mental activities and therefore can be considered as a nodal point, common for both chronic pain and depression. Neuroplasticity which involves molecular, cellular and synaptic processes modifying connectivity between neurons and neuronal circuits can also be affected by pathological states such as chronic pain or depression. We suppose that pathogenesis of depression and chronic pain shares common negative neuroplastic changes in the central nervous system (CNS). The positive impact of antidepressants would result in a reduction of these pathological cellular/molecular processes and in the amelioration of symptoms, but it may also increase survival times and quality of life of patients with chronic cancer pain.
PMCID: PMC3971163  PMID: 24723864
chronic pain; depression; antidepressants; default mode network; neuroplasticity; stress; cytokines
2.  Comparison of outcomes in ST-segment depression and ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction patients treated with emergency PCI: data from a multicentre registry 
Cardiovascular Journal of Africa  2012;23(9):495-500.
Traditionally, acute myocardial infarction (AMI) has been described as either STEMI (ST-elevation myocardial infarction) or non-STEMI myocardial infarction. This classification is historically related to the use of thrombolytic therapy, which is effective in STEMI. The current era of widespread use of coronary angiography (CAG), usually followed by primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) puts this classification system into question.
To compare the outcomes of patients with STEMI and ST-depression myocardial infarction (STDMI) who were treated with emergency PCI.
This multicentre registry enrolled a total of 6 602 consecutive patients with AMI. Patients were divided into the following subgroups: STEMI (n = 3446), STDMI (n = 907), left bundle branch block (LBBB) AMI (n = 241), right bundle branch block (RBBB) AMI (n = 338) and other electrocardiographic (ECG) AMI (n = 1670). Baseline and angiographic characteristics were studied, and revascularisation therapies and in-hospital mortality were analysed.
Acute heart failure was present in 29.5% of the STDMI vs 27.4% of the STEMI patients (p < 0.001). STDMI patients had more extensive coronary atherosclerosis than patients with STEMI (three-vessel disease: 53.1 vs 30%, p < 0.001). The left main coronary artery was an infract-related artery (IRA) in 6.0% of STDMI vs 1.1% of STEMI patients (p < 0.001). TIMI flow 0–1 was found in 35.0% of STDMI vs 66.0% of STEMI patients (p < 0.001). Primary PCI was performed in 88.1% of STEMI (with a success rate of 90.8%) vs 61.8% of STDMI patients (with a success rate of 94.5%) (p = 0.012 for PCI success rates). In-hospital mortality was not significantly different (STDMI 6.3 vs STEMI 5.4%, p = 0.330).
These data suggest that similar strategies (emergency CAG with PCI whenever feasible) should be applied to both these types of AMI.
PMCID: PMC3721943  PMID: 23108517
coronary artery disease; acute myocardial infarction; primary PCI
3.  Age – related treatment strategy and long-term outcome in acute myocardial infarction patients in the PCI era 
Older age, as a factor we cannot affect, is consistently one of the main negative prognostic values in patients with acute myocardial infarction. One of the most powerful factors that improves outcomes in patients with acute coronary syndromes is the revascularization preferably performed by percutaneous coronary intervention. No data is currently available for the role of age in large groups of consecutive patients with PCI as the nearly sole method of revascularization in AMI patients. The aim of this study was to analyze age-related differences in treatment strategies, results of PCI procedures and both in-hospital and long-term outcomes of consecutive patients with acute myocardial infarction.
Retrospective multicenter analysis of 3814 consecutive acute myocardial infarction patients divided into two groups according to age (1800 patients ≤ 65 years and 2014 patients > 65 years). Significantly more older patients had a history of diabetes mellitus and previous myocardial infarctions.
The older population had a significantly lower rate of coronary angiographies (1726; 95.9% vs. 1860; 92.4%, p < 0.0001), PCI (1541; 85.6% vs. 1505; 74.7%, p < 0.001), achievement of optimal final TIMI flow 3 (1434; 79.7% vs. 1343; 66.7%, p < 0.001) and higher rate of unsuccessful reperfusion with final TIMI flow 0-1 (46; 2.6% vs. 78; 3.9%, p = 0.022). A total of 217 patients (5.7%) died during hospitalization, significantly more often in the older population (46; 2.6% vs. 171; 8.5%, p < 0.001). The long-term mortality (data for 2847 patients from 2 centers) was higher in the older population as well (5 years survival: 86.1% vs. 59.8%). Though not significantly different and in contrast with PCI, the presence of diabetes mellitus, previous MI, final TIMI flow and LAD, as the infarct-related artery, had relatively lower impact on the older patients. Severe heart failure on admission (Killip III-IV) was associated with the worst prognosis in the whole group of patients, though its significance was higher in the youngers (HR 6.04 vs. 3.14, p = 0.051 for Killip III and 12.24 vs. 5.65, p = 0.030 for Killip IV). We clearly demonstrated age as a strong discriminator for the whole population of AMI patients.
In a consecutive AMI population, the older group (>65 years) was associated with a less pronounced impact of risk factors on long-term outcome. To ascertain the coronary anatomy by coronary angiography and proceed to PCI if suitable regardless of age is crucial in all patients, though the primary success rate of PCI in the older age is lower. Age, when viewed as a risk factor, was a dominant discriminating factor in all patients.
PMCID: PMC3407529  PMID: 22533539
4.  Primary angioplasty in acute myocardial infarction with right bundle branch block: should new onset right bundle branch block be added to future guidelines as an indication for reperfusion therapy? 
European Heart Journal  2011;33(1):86-95.
The current guidelines recommend reperfusion therapy in acute myocardial infarction (AMI) with ST-segment elevation or left bundle branch block (LBBB). Surprisingly, the right bundle branch block (RBBB) is not listed as an indication for reperfusion therapy. This study analysed patients with AMI presenting with RBBB [with or without left anterior hemiblock (LAH) or left posterior hemiblock (LPH)] and compared them with those presenting with LBBB or with other electrocardiographic (ECG) patterns. The aim was to describe angiographic patterns and primary angioplasty use in AMI patients with RBBB.
Methods and results
A cohort of 6742 patients with AMI admitted to eight participating hospitals was analysed. Baseline clinical characteristics, ECG patterns, coronary angiographic, and echocardiographic data were correlated with the reperfusion therapies used and with in-hospital outcomes. Right bundle branch block was present in 6.3% of AMI patients: 2.8% had RBBB alone, 3.2% had RBBB + LAH, and 0.3% had RBBB + LPH. TIMI flow 0 in the infarct-related artery was present in 51.7% of RBBB patients vs. 39.4% of LBBB patients (P = 0.023). Primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) was performed in 80.1% of RBBB patients vs. 68.3% of LBBB patients (P< 0.001). In-hospital mortality of RBBB patients was similar to LBBB (14.3 vs. 13.1%, P = 0.661). Patients with new or presumably new blocks had the highest (LBBB 15.8% and RBBB 15.4%) incidence of cardiogenic shock from all ECG subgroups. Percutaneous coronary intervention was done more frequently (84.8%) in patients with new or presumably new RBBB when compared with other patients with blocks (old RBBB 66.0%, old LBBB 62.3%, new or presumably new LBBB 73.0%). In-hospital mortality was highest (18.8%) among patients presenting with new or presumably new RBBB, followed by new or presumably new LBBB (13.2%), old LBBB (10.1%), and old RBBB (6.4%). Among 35 patients with acute left main coronary artery occlusion, 26% presented with RBBB (mostly with LAH) on the admission ECG.
Acute myocardial infarction with RBBB is frequently caused by the complete occlusion of the infarct-related artery and is more frequently treated with primary PCI when compared with AMI + LBBB. In-hospital mortality of patients with AMI and RBBB is highest from all ECG presentations of AMI. Restoration of coronary flow by primary PCI may lead to resolution of the conduction delay on the discharge ECG. Right bundle branch block should strongly be considered for listing in future guidelines as a standard indication for reperfusion therapy, in the same way as LBBB.
PMCID: PMC3249219  PMID: 21890488
Acute myocardial infarction; Right bundle branch block; Left bundle branch block; Primary angioplasty; Reperfusion
5.  The influence of pre-emptive analgesia on postoperative analgesia and its objective evaluation 
The evaluation of pain intensity is still a subject of research. Mostly psychological evaluations are used. We started to conduct biochemical evaluation in animal experiments. Now we present biochemical evaluation in postoperative pain in man.
Material and methods
In 67 patients herniotomy was done. For pre-emptive analgesia morphine and pethidine were used and the following indicators were measured: visual analogue scale (VAS), measurement of lipid spectra, saccharides and proteins, thioredoxin, super-oxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and NAD(P)H-oxidase (NOX), and free radicals using electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR). Blood samples were taken and tested: before pre-medication and intervention, 4 h after and 24 h after intervention.
Free radicals (FR) increased in individual samples during the postoperative course in pethidine and without pre-medication. After application of morphine the FR were insignificantly reduced. Statistically significant differences were found in albumin, prealbumin, apolipoprotein A, total cholesterol, atherosclerotic index, CRP, glucose, and thioredoxin (p ≤ 0.001). A greater difference was seen in VAS values between morphine and pethidine premedications (p ≤ 0.001).
It was proved that the biochemical markers of lipid, protein and saccharide metabolisms and free radicals as well as singlet oxygen can serve as very good indicators of the intensity of pain and nociception. In patients it was proved that pre-emptive analgesia plays an important role in reducing the intensity of postoperative pain. From the three modalities of pre-emptive analgesia morphine represents the best solution.
PMCID: PMC3298347  PMID: 22419937
postoperative pain; objective evaluation; pre-emptive analgesia; morphin; pethidin; VAS
6.  Mild to Moderate Functional Tricuspid Regurgitation: Retrospective Comparison of Surgical and Conservative Treatment 
Background. Unoperated severe tricuspid regurgitation (TR) leads to the right ventricle (RV) failure. We wanted to determine if there was near-term postoperative progression of noncorrected mild to moderate functional TR in patients who underwent mitral valve surgery for chronic significant mitral regurgitation (MR) and if RV size and function were affected. Methods and Results. We compared two groups of patients retrospectively. In the first group (TVA+, n = 45), tricuspid valve annuloplasty (TVA) had been performed in conjunction with either mitral valve replacement (MVR) or mitral valve repair (MVP). The second group (TVA−, n = 22) underwent MVP or MVR without TVA. TVA+ group revealed a significant decrease in TR and right ventricle diameter. In the TVA− group, 7 patients (32%) showed a significant progression, by one or more grades, of noncorrected TR together with dilatation and decreased ejection fraction of the right ventricle. Conclusions. Tricuspid annuloplasty performed concurrently with MVP or MVR can prevent subsequent progression of tricuspid regurgitation along with right ventricular dilatation and systolic dysfunction in the near-term postoperative period.
PMCID: PMC2929528  PMID: 20811608
7.  Linking soluble vascular adhesion molecule-1 level to calcific aortic stenosis in patients with coronary artery disease 
Calcific aortic stenosis (AS) is an atherosclerosis-related process and the most common cause of valve disease requiring surgery.
To assess the association of inflammatory markers with AS in advanced atherosclerosis.
Consecutive patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) associated with AS were prospectively identified (mean transvalvular aortic gradient of 30 mmHg or greater). Subjects with aortic sclerosis (mean transvalvular aortic gradient of 10 mmHg or less) served as controls. All patients underwent clinical evaluation, echocardiography and coronary angiography.
One hundred twenty-two patients with AS (85 men) and 101 with aortic sclerosis (76 men) of similar CAD severity were enrolled. The AS patients were older (mean [± SD] 71±7 years versus 66±7 years; P<0.001), had higher soluble vascular adhesion molecule-1 (s-VCAM-1) levels (1533±650 μg/L versus 1157±507 μg/L; P<0.001), but lower soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (s-ICAM-1) (254±81 μg/L versus 293±84 μg/L; P<0.01) and soluble E-selectin (53±28 μg/L versus 62±29 μg/L; P<0.05) levels. The two groups did not differ with respect to C-reactive protein level (3±2.9 mg/L versus 3.4±2.6 mg/L; P not significant). Higher s-VCAM-1 (OR 1.09, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.14; P<0.001) and lower s-ICAM-1 (OR 0.82, 95% CI 0.72 to 0.94; P<0.001) levels were associated with AS after adjustment for age.
Increased s-VCAM-1 levels were associated with calcific AS in patients with significant CAD.
PMCID: PMC2807782  PMID: 20098573
Adhesion molecules; Aortic stenosis; Calcification; VCAM-1

Results 1-7 (7)