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1.  Impact of Shocks on Mortality in Patients with Ischemic or Dilated Cardiomyopathy and Defibrillators Implanted for Primary Prevention 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e63911.
Background
Emerging interest is seen in the paradox of defibrillator shocks for ventricular tachyarrhythmia and increased mortality risk. Particularly in patients with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), the prognostic importance of shocks is unclear. The purpose of this study was to compare the outcome after shocks in patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy (ICM) or DCM and defibrillators (ICD) implanted for primary prevention.
Methods and Results
Data of 561 patients were analyzed (mean age 68.6±10.6 years, mean left ventricular ejection fraction 28.6±7.3%). During a median follow-up of 49.3 months, occurrence of device therapies and all-cause mortality were recorded. 74 out of 561 patients (13.2%) experienced ≥1 appropriate and 51 out of 561 patients (9.1%) ≥1 inappropriate shock. All-cause mortality was 24.2% (136 out of 561 subjects). Appropriate shock was associated with a trend to higher mortality in the overall patient population (HR 1.48, 95% CI 0.96–2.28, log rank p = 0.072). The effect was significant in ICM patients (HR 1.61, 95% CI 1.00–2.59, log rank p = 0.049) but not in DCM patients (HR 1.03, 95% CI 0.36–2.96, log rank p = 0.96). Appropriate shocks occurring before the median follow-up revealed a much stronger impact on mortality (HR for the overall patient population 2.12, 95% CI 1.24–3.63, p = 0.005). The effect was driven by ICM patients (HR 2.48, 95% CI 1.41–4.37, p = 0.001), as appropriate shocks again did not influence survival of DCM patients (HR 0.63, 95% CI 0.083–4.75, p = 0.65). Appropriate shocks occurring after the median follow-up and inappropriate shocks occurring at any time revealed no impact on survival in any of the groups (p = ns).
Conclusion
Appropriate shocks are associated with reduced survival in patients with ICM but not in patients with DCM and ICDs implanted for primary prevention. Furthermore, the negative effect of appropriate shocks on survival in ICM patients is only evident within the first 4 years after device implantation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063911
PMCID: PMC3651165  PMID: 23675514
2.  Alterations of leptin in the course of inflammation and severe sepsis 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:217.
Background
The adipokine leptin regulates energy expenditure, vascular function, bone and cartilage growth as well as the immune system and systemic inflammatory response. Several activating effects towards T cells, monocytes, endothelium cells and cytokine production have been reported suggesting a protective role of leptin in the setting of an acute systemic inflammation. However, the pathophysiological role of leptin during severe sepsis is currently not elucidated in detail. This study aims to investigate leptin expression in cultured human adipocytes within an inflammatory model and in patients suffering from severe sepsis and evaluates treatment effects of drotrecogin alpha (activated) (DAA), the recombinant form of human activated protein C.
Methods
In an in-vitro inflammatory model of adipocyte cell-culture the effect of DAA on leptin mRNA expression was evaluated. Synthesis of mRNA was measured by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Additionally, supernatants of these adipocytes as well as serum levels of adiponectin were measured in blood of 104 severe septic patients by ELISA-method. 26 patients were treated with DAA (DAA+), 78 patients were not treated with DAA (DAA-).
Results
Stimulation of human adipocytes with TNF alpha over 6 and 24 hours resulted in a significant decrease by 46% and 59% of leptin mRNA transcripts compared to un-stimulated controls (p < 0.05). Leptin levels of supernatants of adipocyte culture decreased by 25% and 23% (p < 0.05) after incubation with TNF alpha after 6 and 24 hours. Incubation with DAA at 50 ng/ml DAA and 5 μg/ml doubled mRNA expression significantly at 24 hours (p < 0.05) but not at 6 hours. From day 1 to day 3 of sepsis, leptin levels increased in DAA+ compared to DAA- patients (p<0.10).
Conclusions
Leptin appears to be involved in the pathogenesis of a systemic inflammatory response during sepsis. Administration of DAA significantly increased leptin expression. The specific mechanism or even benefit of DAA towards leptin needs further ongoing research.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-217
PMCID: PMC3462137  PMID: 22973876
Adipocytes; Drotrecogin alpha (activated); Leptin; mRNA; Sepsis; Supernatants
3.  Incidence and Severity of Coronary Artery Disease in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation Undergoing First-Time Coronary Angiography 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(9):e24964.
Background
In standard reference sources, the incidence of coronary artery disease (CAD) in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) ranged between 24 and 46.5%. Since then, the incidence of cardiovascular risk factors (CRF) has increased and modern treatment strategies (“pill in the pocket”) are only applicable to patients without structural heart disease. The aim of this study was to investigate the incidence and severity of CAD in patients with AF.
Methods
From January 2005 until December 2009, we included 261 consecutive patients admitted to hospital with paroxysmal, persistent or permanent AF in this prospective study. All patients underwent coronary angiography and the Framingham risk score (FRS) was calculated. Patients with previously diagnosed or previously excluded CAD were excluded.
Results
The overall incidence of CAD in patients presenting with AF was 34%; in patients >70 years, the incidence of CAD was 41%. The incidence of patients undergoing a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) or coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) was 21%. Patients with CAD were older (73±8 years vs 68±10 years, p = 0.001), had significantly more frequent hypercholesterolemia (60% vs 30%, p<0.001), were more frequent smokers (26% vs 13%, p = 0.017) and suffered from angina more often (37% vs 2%, p<0.001). There was a significant linear trend among the FRS categories in percentage and the prevalence of CAD and PCI/CABG (p<0.0001).
Conclusions
The overall incidence of CAD in patients presenting with AF was relatively high at 34%; the incidence of PCI/CABG was 21%. Based upon increasing CRF in the western world, we recommend a careful investigation respecting the FRS to either definitely exclude or establish an early diagnosis of CAD – which could contribute to an early and safe therapeutic strategy considering type Ic antiarrhythmics and oral anticoagulation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0024964
PMCID: PMC3177852  PMID: 21957469
4.  Expansion of the Multi-Link Frontier™ Coronary Bifurcation Stent: Micro-Computed Tomographic Assessment in Human Autopsy and Porcine Heart Samples 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e21778.
Background
Treatment of coronary bifurcation lesions remains challenging, beyond the introduction of drug eluting stents. Dedicated stent systems are available to improve the technical approach to the treatment of these lesions. However dedicated stent systems have so far not reduced the incidence of stent restenosis. The aim of this study was to assess the expansion of the Multi-Link (ML) Frontier™ stent in human and porcine coronary arteries to provide the cardiologist with useful in-vitro information for stent implantation and selection.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Nine ML Frontier™ stents were implanted in seven human autopsy heart samples with known coronary artery disease and five ML Frontier™ stents were implanted in five porcine hearts. Proximal, distal and side branch diameters (PD, DD, SBD, respectively), corresponding opening areas (PA, DA, SBA) and the mean stent length (L) were assessed by micro-computed tomography (micro-CT). PD and PA were significantly smaller in human autopsy heart samples than in porcine heart samples (3.54±0.47 mm vs. 4.04±0.22 mm, p = 0.048; 10.00±2.42 mm2 vs. 12.84±1.38 mm2, p = 0.034, respectively) and than those given by the manufacturer (3.54±0.47 mm vs. 4.03 mm, p = 0.014). L was smaller in human autopsy heart samples than in porcine heart samples, although data did not reach significance (16.66±1.30 mm vs. 17.30±0.51 mm, p = 0.32), and significantly smaller than that given by the manufacturer (16.66±1.30 mm vs. 18 mm, p = 0.015).
Conclusions/Significance
Micro-CT is a feasible tool for exact surveying of dedicated stent systems and could make a contribution to the development of these devices. The proximal diameter and proximal area of the stent system were considerably smaller in human autopsy heart samples than in porcine heart samples and than those given by the manufacturer. Special consideration should be given to the stent deployment procedure (and to the follow-up) of dedicated stent systems, considering final intravascular ultrasound or optical coherence tomography to visualize (and if necessary optimize) stent expansion.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021778
PMCID: PMC3140974  PMID: 21814552

Results 1-4 (4)