The editors of BMC Cardiovascular Disorders would like to thank all our reviewers who have contributed to the journal in Volume 12 (2012).
We compared aortic stiffness, aortic impedance and pressure from wave reflections in the setting of bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) to the tricuspid aortic valve (TAV) in the absence of proximal aortic dilation. We hypothesized BAV is associated with abnormal arterial stiffness.
Ten BAV subjects (47 ± 4 years, 6 male) and 13 TAV subjects (46 ± 4 years, 10 male) without significant aortic valve disease were prospectively recruited. Characteristic impedance (Zc) was derived from echocardiographic images and pulse wave Doppler of the left ventricular outflow tract. Applanation tonometry was performed to obtain pulse wave velocity (PWV) at several sites as measures of arterial stiffness and augmentation index (AIx) as a measure of wave reflection.
There were no significant differences between BAV and TAV subjects with regard to heart rate or blood pressure. Zc was similar between BAV and TAV subjects (p=0.25) as was carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cf-PWV) and carotid-radial PWV (cr-PWV) between BAV and TAV subjects (p=0.99). Carotid AIx was significantly higher in BAV patients compared with TAV patients (14.3 ± 4.18% versus -3.02 ± 3.96%, p=0.007).
Aortic stiffness and impedance is similar between subjects with BAV and TAV with normal aortic dimensions. The significantly higher carotid AIx in BAV, a proxy of increased pressure from wave reflections, may reflect abnormal vascular function distal to the aorta.
Bicuspid aortic valve; Arterial stiffness; Augmentation index; Pulse wave velocity
Venous thromboembolism comprising pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis is a common condition with an incidence of approximately 1 per 1,000 per annum causing both mortality and serious morbidity. The principal aim of treatment of a venous thromboembolism with heparin and warfarin is to prevent extension or recurrence of clot. However, the recurrence rate following a deep vein thrombosis remains approximately 10% per annum following treatment cessation irrespective of the duration of anticoagulation therapy. Patients with raised D-dimer levels after discontinuing oral anticoagulation treatment have also been shown to be at high risk of recurrence.
Post thrombotic syndrome is a complication of a deep vein thrombosis which can lead to chronic venous insufficiency and ulceration. It has a cumulative incidence after 2 years of around 25% and it has been suggested that extended oral anticoagulation should be investigated as a possible preventative measure.
Patients with a first idiopathic venous thromboembolism will be recruited through anticoagulation clinics and randomly allocated to either continuing or discontinuing warfarin treatment for a further 2 years and followed up on a six monthly basis. At each visit D-dimer levels will be measured using a Roche Cobas h 232 POC device. In addition a venous sample will be taken for laboratory D-dimer analysis at the end of the study. Patients will be examined for signs and symptoms of PTS using the Villalta scale and complete VEINES and EQ5D quality of life questionnaires.
The primary aim of the study is to investigate whether extending oral anticoagulation treatment (prior to discontinuing treatment) beyond 3–6 months for patients with a first unprovoked proximal deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism prevents recurrence. The study will also determine the role of extending anticoagulation for patients with elevated D-dimer levels prior to discontinuing treatment and identify the potential of D-dimer point of care testing for identification of high risk patients within a primary care setting.
Venous thromboembolism; Deep vein thrombosis; Pulmonary embolism; Extended warfarin; Post thrombotic syndrome; D-dimer
Increased levels of cardio-enriched microRNAs (miRNAs) have been described in patients with myocardial infarction (MI). We wanted to evaluate the diagnostic and prognostic potential of cardio-enriched miRNAs in patients presenting with a suspected acute coronary syndrome (ACS).
Cardio-enriched miRNAs (miR-1, miR-208b and miR-499-5p) were measured using real time PCR in plasma samples from 424 patients with suspected ACS treated in a coronary care unit. miRNAs were assessed for discrimination of a clinical diagnosis of myocardial infarction and for association with 30-day mortality and diagnosis of heart failure. Correlation with left ventricular systolic dysfunction as measured by the ejection fraction (LVEF) was also assessed. To confirm myocardial origin miRNA was measured during coronary artery bypass surgery.
miRNAs were higher in MI patients and correlated with LVEF (p < 0.001). Discrimination of MI was accurate for miR-208b (AUC = 0.82) and miR-499-5p (AUC = 0.79) but considerable lower than for Troponin T (AUC = 0.95). Increased miRNA levels were strongly associated with increased risk of mortality or heart failure within 30 days for miR-208b (OR 1.79, 95% CI = 1.38-2.23, p = 1 × 10-5) and miR-499-5p (OR 1.70, 95% CI = 1.31-2.20, p = 5 × 10-5) but the association was lost when adjusting for Troponin T. During surgery miR-208b and miR-499-5p was released in the coronary sinus after cardioplegia-reperfusion to markedly higher levels than in a peripheral vein.
Our findings confirm increased levels of cardio-enriched miRNAs in the blood of MI patients and establish association of increased miRNA levels with reduced systolic function after MI and risk of death or heart failure.
MiRNA; Myocardial infarction; Acute coronary syndrome; Biomarker; Prognosis
The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between postprandial glucose level and atherosclerosis in patients without diabetes and cardiovascular disease by determining carotid ultrasonographic variables and serum levels of 1,5-anhydroglucitol (1,5-AG).
The subjects were 72 patients without diabetes and cardiovascular disease being treated for hypertension or dyslipidemia. The clinical characteristics of all subjects, including the serum level of 1,5-AG, which appears to be well suited for monitoring postprandial hyperglycemia, were evaluated after an overnight fast. The average intima-media thickness (IMT) and the average pulsatility index (PI) of the right and left common carotid arteries were determined with high-resolution ultrasonography and used as ultrasonographic variables. The subjects were divided into a Lower 1,5-AG group (n = 36) and a Higher 1,5-AG group (n = 36). We evaluated the relationship between clinical characteristics and ultrasonographic variables of the carotid artery in both groups.
The average PI in the Lower 1,5-AG group was significantly higher than that in the Higher 1,5-AG group, but the average IMT did not differ between the groups. Linear regression analysis, with the ultrasonographic variables as the dependent variables, with 1,5-AG as the independent variable, and adjusted for other clinical characteristics, showed significant correlation between 1,5-AG and the PI but not between 1,5-AG and IMT.
Our results suggest that postprandial hyperglycemia increases carotid artery stiffness, but not morphological change, in patients without diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
1,5-anhydroglucitol; Pulsatility index; Postprandial glucose; Nondiabetic patients
Recent increases in cardiovascular risk-factor prevalences have led to new national policy recommendations of universal screening for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in Malaysia. This study assessed whether the current national policy recommendation of universal screening was optimal, by comparing the effectiveness and impact of various cardiovascular screening strategies.
Data from a national population based survey of 24 270 participants aged 30 to 74 was used. Five screening strategies were modelled for the overall population and by gender; universal and targeted screening (four age cut-off points). Screening strategies were assessed based on the ability to detect high cardiovascular risk populations (effectiveness), incremental effectiveness, impact on cardiovascular event prevention and cost of screening.
26.7% (95% confidence limits 25.7, 27.7) were at high cardiovascular risk, men 34.7% (33.6, 35.8) and women 18.9% (17.8, 20). Universal screening identified all those at high-risk and resulted in one high-risk individual detected for every 3.7 people screened, with an estimated cost of USD60. However, universal screening resulted in screening an additional 7169 persons, with an incremental cost of USD115,033 for detection of one additional high-risk individual in comparison to targeted screening of those aged ≥35 years. The cost, incremental cost and impact of detection of high-risk individuals were more for women than men for all screening strategies. The impact of screening women aged ≥45 years was similar to universal screening in men.
Targeted gender- and age-specific screening strategies would ensure more optimal utilisation of scarce resources compared to the current policy recommendations of universal screening.
Cardiovascular risk; Cardiovascular disease; Policy; Screening
Adiponectin, paradoxically reduced in obesity and with lower levels in African Americans (AA), modulates several cardiometabolic risk factors. Because abdominal visceral adipose tissue (VAT), known to be reduced in AA, and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) compartments may confer differential metabolic risk profiles, we investigated the associations of VAT and SAT with serum adiponectin, separately by gender, with the hypothesis that VAT is more strongly inversely associated with adiponectin than SAT.
Participants from the Jackson Heart Study, an ongoing cohort of AA (n = 2,799; 64% women; mean age, 55 ± 11 years) underwent computer tomography assessment of SAT and VAT volumes, and had stored serum specimens analyzed for adiponectin levels. These levels were examined by gender in relation to increments of VAT and SAT.
Compared to women, men had significantly lower mean levels of adiponectin (3.9 ± 3.0 μg/mL vs. 6.0 ± 4.4 μg/mL; p < 0.01) and mean volume of SAT (1,721 ± 803 cm3 vs. 2,668 ± 968 cm3; p < 0.01) but significantly higher mean volume of VAT (884 ± 416 cm3 vs. 801 ± 363 cm3; p < 0.01). Among women, a one standard deviation increment in VAT was inversely associated with adiponectin (β = − 0.13; p < 0.0001) after controlling for age, systolic blood pressure, fasting plasma glucose, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, education, pack-years of smoking and daily intake of alcohol. The statistically significant inverse association of VAT and adiponectin persisted after additionally adjusting for SAT, body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC), suggesting that VAT provides significant information above and beyond BMI and WC. Among men, after the same multivariable adjustment, there was a direct association of SAT and adiponectin (β = 0.18; p = 0.002) that persisted when controlling for BMI and WC, supporting a beneficial effect of SAT. Insulin resistance mediated the association of SAT with adiponectin in women.
In African Americans, abdominal visceral adipose tissue had an inverse association with serum adiponectin concentrations only among women. Abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue appeared as a protective fat depot in men.
Recent studies have demonstrated that myocardial calpain triggers caspase-3 activation and myocardial apoptosis in models of sepsis, whereas the inhibition of calpain activity down-regulates myocardial caspase-3 activation and apoptosis. However, the mechanism underlying this pathological process is unclear. Therefore, in this study, our aim was to explore whether the Hsp90/Akt signaling pathway plays a role in the induction of myocardial calpain activity, caspase-3 activation and apoptosis in the septic mice.
Adult male C57 mice were injected with lipopolysaccharide (LPS, 4 mg/kg, i.p.) to induce sepsis. Next, myocardial caspase-3 activity and the levels of Hsp90/p-Akt (phospho-Akt) proteins were detected, and apoptotic cells were assessed by performing the TUNEL assay.
In the septic mice, there was an increase in myocardial calpain and caspase-3 activity in addition to an increase in the number of apoptotic cells; however, there was a time-dependent decrease in myocardial Hsp90/p-Akt protein levels. The administration of calpain inhibitors (calpain inhibitor-Ш or PD150606) prevented the LPS-induced degradation of myocardial Hsp90/p-Akt protein and its expression in cardiomyocytes in addition to inhibiting myocardial caspase-3 activation and apoptosis. The inhibition of Hsp90 by pretreatment with 17-AAG induced p-Akt degradation, and the inhibition of Akt activity by pretreatment with wortmannin resulted in caspase-3 activation in wildtype C57 murine heart tissues.
Myocardial calpain induces myocardial caspase-3 activation and apoptosis in septic mice via the activation of the Hsp90/Akt pathway.
Calpain; Hsp90/Akt; Caspase-3 activation; Apoptosis; Sepsis
Catheter ablation has been established as a curative treatment strategy for ventricular arrhythmias. The standard procedure of most ventricular arrhythmias originating from the right ventricle is performed via the femoral vein. However, a femoral vein access may not achieve a successful ablation in some patients.
We reported a case of a 29-year old patient with symptomatic premature ventricular contractions was referred for catheter ablation. Radiofrequency energy application at the earliest endocardial ventricular activation site via the right femoral vein could not eliminate the premature ventricular contractions. Epicardial mapping could not obtain an earlier ventricular activation when compared to the endocardial mapping, and at the earliest epicardial site could not provide an identical pace mapping. Finally, we redeployed the ablation catheter via the right subclavian vein by a long sheath. During mapping of the subvalvular area of the right ventricle, a site with a good pace mapping and early ventricular activation was found, and premature ventricular contractions were eliminated successfully.
Ventricular arrhythmias originating from the subtricuspid annulus may be successfully abolished via a trans-subclavian approach and a long sheath. Although access via the right subclavian vein for mapping and ablation is an effective alternative, it is not a routine approach.
Premature ventricular contractions; Tricuspid annulus; Radiofrequency catheter ablation
Reperfusion therapy reduces both morbidity and mortality in myocardial infarction, but the effectiveness depends on how fast the patient receives treatment. Despite the time-dependent effectiveness of reperfusion therapy, many patients with myocardial infarction have delays in seeking medical care. The aim of this study was to describe pre-hospital delay in a first myocardial infarction among men and women with and without diabetes and to describe the association between pre-hospital delay time and diabetes, sex, age, symptoms and size of residential area as a proxy for distance to hospital.
This population based study was based on data from 4266 people aged 25–74 years, with a first myocardial infarction registered in the Northern Sweden MONICA myocardial infarction registry between 2000 and 2008.
The proportion of patients with delay times ≥ 2 h was 64% for patients with diabetes and 58% for patients without diabetes. There was no difference in delay time ≥ 2 h between men and women with diabetes. Diabetes, older age and living in a town or rural areas were factors associated with pre-hospital delay times ≥ 2 h. Atypical symptoms were not a predictor for pre-hospital delay times ≥ 2 h, OR 0.59 (0.47; 0.75).
A higher proportion of patients with diabetes have longer pre-hospital delay in myocardial infarction than patients without diabetes. There are no differences in pre-hospital delay between men and women with diabetes. The largest risk difference for pre-hospital delay ≥ 2 h is between women with and without diabetes. Diabetes, older age and living in a town or rural area are predictors for pre-hospital delay ≥ 2 h.
Myocardial infarction; Diabetes mellitus; Pre-hospital delay; Sex differences
Atrial arrhythmia (AA) is the most common complication after coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). Only beta-blockers and amiodarone have been convincingly shown to decrease its incidence. The effectiveness of magnesium on this complication is still controversial. This meta-analysis was performed to evaluate the effect of magnesium as a sole or adjuvant agent in addition to beta-blocker on suppressing postoperative AA after CABG.
We searched the PubMed, Medline, ISI Web of Knowledge, Cochrane library databases and online clinical trial database up to May 2012. We used random effects model when there was significant heterogeneity between trials and fixed effects model when heterogeneity was negligible.
Five randomized controlled trials were identified, enrolling a total of 1251 patients. The combination of magnesium and beta-blocker did not significantly decrease the incidence of postoperative AA after CABG versus beta-blocker alone (odds ratio (OR) 1.12, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.86-1.47, P = 0.40). Magnesium in addition to beta-blocker did not significantly affect LOS (weighted mean difference −0.14 days of stay, 95% CI −0.58 to 0.29, P = 0.24) or the overall mortality (OR 0.59, 95% CI 0.08-4.56, P = 0.62). However the risk of postoperative adverse events was higher in the combination of magnesium and beta-blocker group than beta-blocker alone (OR 2.80, 95% CI 1.66-4.71, P = 0.0001).
This meta-analysis offers the more definitive evidence against the prophylactic administration of intravenous magnesium for prevention of AA after CABG when beta-blockers are routinely administered, and shows an association with more adverse events in those people who received magnesium.
Magnesium; Beta-blocker; Postoperative atrial arrhythmia; Meta-analysis
Atherosclerosis (AT) is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by the accumulation of inflammatory cells, lipoproteins and fibrous tissue in the walls of arteries. AT is the primary cause of heart attacks and stroke and is the leading cause of death in Western countries. To date, the pathogenesis of AT is not well-defined. Studies have shown that the dedifferentiation of contractile and quiescent vascular smooth muscle cells (SMC) to the proliferative, migratory and synthetic phenotype in the intima is pivotal for the onset and progression of AT. To further delineate the mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of AT, we analyzed the early molecular pathways and networks involved in the SMC phenotype transformation.
Quiescent human coronary artery SMCs were treated with minimally-oxidized LDL (moxLDL), for 3 hours and 21 hours, respectively. Transcriptomic data was generated for both time-points using microarrays and was subjected to pathway analysis using Gene Set Enrichment Analysis, GeneMANIA and Ingenuity software tools. Gene expression heat maps and pathways enriched in differentially expressed genes were compared to identify functional biological themes to elucidate early and late molecular mechanisms of moxLDL-induced SMC dedifferentiation.
Differentially expressed genes were found to be enriched in cholesterol biosynthesis, inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, growth factors, cell cycle control and myogenic contraction themes. These pathways are consistent with inflammatory responses, cell proliferation, migration and ECM production, which are characteristic of SMC dedifferentiation. Furthermore, up-regulation of cholesterol synthesis and dysregulation of cholesterol metabolism was observed in moxLDL-induced SMC. These observations are consistent with the accumulation of cholesterol and oxidized cholesterol esters, which induce proinflammatory reactions during atherogenesis. Our data implicate for the first time IL12, IFN-α, HGF, CSF3, and VEGF signaling in SMC phenotype transformation. GPCR signaling, HBP1 (repressor of cyclin D1 and CDKN1B), and ID2 and ZEB1 transcriptional regulators were also found to have important roles in SMC dedifferentiation. Several microRNAs were observed to regulate the SMC phenotype transformation via an interaction with IFN-γ pathway. Also, several “nexus” genes in complex networks, including components of the multi-subunit enzyme complex involved in the terminal stages of cholesterol synthesis, microRNAs (miR-203, miR-511, miR-590-3p, miR-346*/miR- 1207-5p/miR-4763-3p), GPCR proteins (GPR1, GPR64, GPRC5A, GPR171, GPR176, GPR32, GPR25, GPR124) and signal transduction pathways, were found to be regulated.
The systems biology analysis of the in vitro model of moxLDL-induced VSMC phenotype transformation was associated with the regulation of several genes not previously implicated in SMC phenotype transformation. The identification of these potential candidate genes enable hypothesis generation and in vivo functional experimentation (such as gain and loss-of-function studies) to establish causality with the process of SMC phenotype transformation and atherogenesis.
Carbonic anhydrase enzymes (CA) catalyze the reversible hydration of carbon dioxide to bicarbonate in mammalian cells. Trans-membrane transport of CA-produced bicarbonate contributes significantly to cellular pH regulation. A body of evidence implicates pH-regulatory processes in the hypertrophic growth pathway characteristic of hearts as they fail. In particular, Na+/H+ exchange (NHE) activation is pro-hypertrophic and CA activity activates NHE. Recently Cardrase (6-ethoxyzolamide), a CA inhibitor, was found to prevent and revert agonist-stimulated cardiac hypertrophy (CH) in cultured cardiomyocytes. Our goal thus was to determine whether hypertrophied human hearts have altered expression of CA isoforms.
We measured CA expression in hypertrophied human hearts to begin to examine the role of carbonic anhydrase in progression of human heart failure. Ventricular biopsies were obtained from patients undergoing cardiac surgery (CS, n = 14), or heart transplantation (HT, n = 13). CS patients presented mild/moderate concentric left ventricular hypertrophy and normal right ventricles, with preserved ventricular function; ejection fractions were ~60%. Conversely, HT patients with failing hearts presented CH or ventricular dilation accompanied by ventricular dysfunction and EF values of 20%. Non-hypertrophic, non-dilated ventricular samples served as controls.
Expression of atrial and brain natriuretic peptide (ANP and BNP) were markers of CH. Hypertrophic ventricles presented increased expression of CAII, CAIV, ANP, and BNP, mRNA levels, which increased in failing hearts, measured by quantitative real-time PCR. CAII, CAIV, and ANP protein expression also increased approximately two-fold in hypertrophic/dilated ventricles.
These results, combined with in vitro data that CA inhibition prevents and reverts CH, suggest that increased carbonic anhydrase expression is a prognostic molecular marker of cardiac hypertrophy.
Heart failure; Carbonic anhydrase; pH regulation; Gene expression; Heart transplant; Cardiac hypertrophy
Antibodies against cardiolipin (aCL) are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). We here determine the role of antibodies against oxidized CL (aOxCL).
One third of sixty-year olds from the Stockholm County were screened (2039 men, 2193 women), where 211 incident CVD-cases and 633 age- and sex-matched controls were identified (5–7 year follow-up). Antibodies were determined by ELISA and uptake of oxLDL in macrophages by FACScan.
IgM aOxCL was lower among CVD cases than controls (p=0.024). aOxCL-levels were divided in quartiles with the highest quartile set as the reference group. After adjustment for smoking, BMI, type II diabetes, hypercholesterolaemia and hypertension, an increased risk was determined in the lowest quartile of IgM aOxCL (OR: 1.80, CI: 1.12–2.91, p=0.0159); OR for men in the lowest quartile was 2.46 (CI 1.34–4.53, p=0.0037) for CVD and for stroke: 12.28 (CI: 1.48-101.77, p=0.02). IgG aOxCL levels did not differ between quartiles in CVD-risk. High levels of IgM aOxCL (reaching significance above 86th) and IgG aOxCL (above 95th percentile) were associated with decreased risk of CVD (OR: 0.485, CI: 0.283-0.829; p=0.0082 and OR: 0.23, CI: 0.07-0.69; p=0.0091). aCL were not associated with CVD. oxCL but not CL competed out uptake of OxLDL in macrophages, and aOxLDL recognized oxCL but not CL. In contrast to aCL, aOxCL was not dependent on co-factor Beta2-glycoprotein-I.
aOxCL is a novel risk/protection marker for CVD, with therapeutic implications. OxCL competes with oxLDL for uptake in macrophages and the possibility that aOxCL inhibits such uptake by interfering with same or similar epitopes in oxCL and oxLDL should be further studied.
Cardiovascular disease; Cardiolipin; Oxidation; Antibodies
Aim of the study was to assess QTc interval by a 24-hour ECG recording in a group of HIV-infected individuals with a basal prolonged QTc. The risk factors associated with QTc prolongation and the indices of cardiovascular autonomic control were also evaluated.
A case–control study was performed using as cases 32 HIV-infected patients with prolonged (>440 msec) QTc interval as assessed by Holter ECG, and as controls 64 HIV-infected subjects with normal QTc interval. Autonomic function was evaluated by heart rate variability analysis during 24-hour recording.
Duration of HIV disease was significantly longer among cases than among controls (p=0.04). Waist/hip ratio was also higher among cases than among controls (p=0.05). Frequency domain analysis showed the absence of physiologic decrease of low frequency (LF) in the night period in both cases and controls. The LF night in cases showed a statistically significant reduction when compared with controls (p=0.007).
In our study group, QTc interval prolongation was associated with a longer duration of HIV infection and with a greater waist/hip ratio. HIV patients with QTc interval prolongation and with a longer duration of HIV infection were more likely to have an impairment of parasympathetic and sympathetic cardiac component.
Cardiac autonomic function; HIV; Holter ECG; QTc interval
Heart failure (HF) patients have a high risk of death, and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) are effective in preventing sudden cardiac death (SCD). However, a certain percentage of patients may not be immediate candidates for ICDs, particularly those having a short duration of risk or an uncertain amount of risk. This includes the newly diagnosed patients, as well as those on the cardiac transplant list or NYHA class IV heart failure patients who do not already have an ICD. In these patients, a wearable cardioverter defibrillator (WCD) may be used until long term risk of SCD is defined. The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence of SCD in this population, and the efficacy of early defibrillation by a WCD.
Ten enrolling centers identified 89 eligible HF patients who were either listed for cardiac transplantation, diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, or receiving inotropic medications. Data collected included medical history, device records, and outcomes (including 90 day mortality).
Out of 89 patients, final data on 82 patients has been collected. Patients wore the device for 75±58 days. Mean age was 56.8±13.2, and 72% were male. Most patients (98.8%) were diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy with a low ejection fraction (<40%) and twelve were listed for cardiac transplantation. Four patients were on inotropes. There were no sudden cardiac arrests or deaths during the study. Interestingly, 41.5% of patients were much improved after WCD use, while 34.1% went on to receive an ICD.
In conclusion, the WCD monitored HF patients until further assessment of risk. The leading reasons for end of WCD use were improvement in left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) or ICD implantation if there was no significant improvement in LVEF.
Heart failure; Wearable cardioverter defibrillator; Sudden cardiac death
Risk stratification of the early repolarization pattern (ERP) is needed to identify malignant early repolarization. J-point elevation with a horizontal ST segment was recently suggested as a malignant feature of the ERP. In this study, the prevalence of the ERP with a horizontal ST segment was examined among survivors of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) without structural heart disease to evaluate the value of ST-segment morphology in risk stratification of the ERP.
We reviewed the data of 83 survivors of SCA who were admitted from August 2005 to August 2010. Among them, 25 subjects without structural heart disease were included. The control group comprised 60 healthy subjects who visited our health promotion center; all control subjects were matched for age, sex, and underlying disease (diabetes mellitus, hypertension). Early repolarization was defined as an elevation of the J point of at least 0.1 mV above the baseline in at least two continuous inferior or lateral leads that manifested as QRS slurring or notching. An ST-segment pattern of <0.1 mV within 100 ms after the J point was defined as a horizontal ST segment.
The SCA group included 17 men (64%) with a mean age of 49.7 ± 14.5 years. The corrected QTc was not significantly different between the SCA and control groups (432.7 ± 37.96 vs. 420.4 ± 26.3, respectively; p = 0.089). The prevalence of ERP was not statistically different between the SCA and control groups (5/25, 20% vs. 4/60, 6.7%, respectively; p = 0.116). The prevalence of early repolarization with a horizontal ST segment was more frequent in the SCA than in the control group (20% vs. 3.3%, respectively; p = 0.021). Four SCA subjects (16%) and one control subject (1.7%) had a J-point elevation of >2 mm (p = 0.025). Four SCA subjects (16%) and one (1.7%) control subject had an ERP in the inferior lead (p = 0.025).
The prevalence of ERP with a horizontal ST segment was higher in patients with aborted SCA than in matched controls. This result suggests that ST morphology has value in the recognition of malignant early repolarization.
Sudden cardiac death; Early repolarization; ST segment
Although the heritability of atrial fibrillation (AF) has been determined, the relevance of family history of AF for the likelihood of recurrent hospitalization for AF is unknown. The aim of this nationwide study was to determine whether family history of AF is a risk factor of recurrent hospitalization for lone AF (LAF), i.e., AF with unknown etiology. The familial risk for first time LAF hospitalization was also determined and compared to the risk of recurrent hospitalization for LAF.
We examined whether family history of AF is a risk factor for recurrent hospitalization for LAF in the whole Swedish population. We linked Multigeneration Register data on individuals aged 0–60 years to Hospital Discharge Register data for the period 1987–2009 to compare LAF recurrent hospitalization risk among individuals with and without parental or sibling history of AF. We calculated hazard ratios (HRs) to determine the familial HR of recurrent hospitalization for LAF. Odds ratios (OR) were calculated for familial risk of first time LAF hospitalization.
The risk of recurrent LAF hospitalization was 1.23 (95% CI 1.17-1.30) for individuals with affected parents compared to 1.30 (95% CI 1.22-1.38) for those with affected siblings. After 10 years of follow up 50% of those without and 60% of those with family history had recurrent hospitalization for LAF. The risk of recurrent LAF hospitalization in individuals with two affected parents was 1.65 (95% CI 1.44-1.90). There was an interaction between age and family history, with family history having a weaker effect on LAF hospitalization risk in older age groups. The OR for first time LAF hospitalization was 2.08 (95% CI 2.02-2.15) for offspring with affected parents and 3.23 (95% CI 3.08-3.39) for individuals with affected siblings.
Family history of AF is a novel risk factor for recurrent LAF hospitalization. The higher recurrence hospitalization risk in multiplex families and younger individuals suggests a genetic contribution. However, the familial risk for recurrent LAF hospitalization was much lower than the risk for first time LAF hospitalization, suggesting that familial and possibly genetic factors are more important for first time LAF hospitalization than recurrent LAF hospitalization.
Atrial fibrillation; Family history; Risk factors; Genetics
Healthy lifestyles are an important facet of cardiovascular risk management. Unfortunately many individuals fail to engage with lifestyle change programmes. There are many factors that patients report as influencing their decisions about initiating lifestyle change. This is challenging for health care professionals who may lack the skills and time to address a broad range of barriers to lifestyle behaviour. Guidance on which factors to focus on during lifestyle consultations may assist healthcare professionals to hone their skills and knowledge leading to more productive patient interactions with ultimately better uptake of lifestyle behaviour change support. The aim of our study was to clarify which influences reported by patients predict uptake and completion of formal lifestyle change programmes.
A systematic narrative review of quantitative observational studies reporting factors (influences) associated with uptake and completion of lifestyle behaviour change programmes. Quantitative observational studies involving patients at high risk of cardiovascular events were identified through electronic searching and screened against pre-defined selection criteria. Factors were extracted and organised into an existing qualitative framework.
374 factors were extracted from 32 studies. Factors most consistently associated with uptake of lifestyle change related to support from family and friends, transport and other costs, and beliefs about the causes of illness and lifestyle change. Depression and anxiety also appear to influence uptake as well as completion. Many factors show inconsistent patterns with respect to uptake and completion of lifestyle change programmes.
There are a small number of factors that consistently appear to influence uptake and completion of cardiovascular lifestyle behaviour change. These factors could be considered during patient consultations to promote a tailored approach to decision making about the most suitable type and level lifestyle behaviour change support.
Health behavior; Primary health care; Cardiovascular diseases; Primary prevention; Lifestyle; Secondary prevention
Brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV), which reflects the stiffness of both central and peripheral muscular arteries, has been frequently used as a simple index for assessing arterial stiffness. The aim of the present study was to investigate the prevalence of arterial stiffness in North China based on baPWV measurements, and explore the associations between increased arterial stiffness and risk factors of cardiovascular diseases (CVD).
Twenty-three community populations were established in North China. For each participant, parameters for calculating baPWV, including blood pressures and pressure waveforms, were measured using a non-invasive automatic device. All participants were required to respond to an interviewer-led questionnaire including medical histories and demographic data, and to receive blood tests on biochemical indictors.
A total of 2,852 participants were finally investigated. Among them, 1,201 people with low burden of CVD risk factors were chosen to be the healthy reference sample. The cut-off point of high baPWV was defined as age-specific 90th percentile of the reference sample. Thus, the prevalence of high baPWV was found to be 22.3% and 26.4% in men and women respectively. After adjusted for age, heart rate (HR), systolic blood pressure (SBP), fasting glucose level, and smoking were significantly associated with high baPWV in men; while level of serum total cholesterol (TC), HR, SBP, and diabetes were significantly associated with high baPWV in women.
Based on the age-specific cut-off points, the middle-aged population has a higher prevalence of high baPWV in North China. There exists a difference between men and women in terms of the potential risk factors associated with arterial stiffness.
Brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity; Arterial stiffness; Risk factor; Cardiovascular disease
Low-molecular-weight heparins (LMWHs) are safe and effective anticoagulant options for cardiovascular patients when applied as body weight-adjusted doses. However, there are some barriers that make it difficult to implement weight-adjusted doses in clinical practice. Therefore, it is vital to learn the dosing practices of LMWH and its efficacy and safety in clinical practice.
A retrospective study was conducted in cardiovascular inpatients who had received at least one dose of LMWH during a 6-month period. Appropriateness of LMWH dosing was determined and major clinical outcomes (major adverse vascular events and major bleeding) during hospitalization were evaluated.
A total of 376 admissions representing 364 patients received LMWH treatment. Of these, 17.0% (64/376) of admissions did not have body weight records. Of the 312 admissions included for the outcome study, only 34 cases (10.9%) received the recommended doses of LMWH, while 51 cases (16.3%) received mild underdoses, 223 cases (71.5%) received major underdoses and 4 (1.3%) received excess doses. There were 10 major adverse vascular events, which occurred more often in patients receiving excess doses of LMWH than in patients receiving recommended, mild or major underdoses (50%, 2.9%, 2.0% and 2.7%, respectively, P < 0.001). After multivariable analysis, severe renal insufficiency was an independent risk factor for major adverse vascular events [odds ratio (OR), 31.93; 95% confidence interval (CI), 5.99-170.30; P < 0.001]. No major bleeding was recorded.
Underdose of LMWH is commonly used in cardiovascular inpatients, which was suboptimal according to guidelines. Using LMWH at a fixed, low dose for treatment purposes in patients without severe renal insufficiency was not associated with a higher risk of adverse vascular events in the current study, though larger studies with extended follow-ups are required to fully assess the long-term consequences of LMWH underdosing.
Low molecular weight heparin; Dosing practice; Cardiovascular inpatients; Efficacy; Safety
Coronary artery calcifications (CAC) are markers of coronary atherosclerosis, but do not correlate well with stenosis severity. This study intended to evaluate clinical situations where a combined approach of coronary calcium scoring (CS) and nuclear stress test (SPECT-MPI) is useful for the detection of relevant CAD.
Patients with clinical indication for invasive coronary angiography (ICA) were included into our study during 08/2005-09/2008. At first all patients underwent CS procedure as part of the study protocol performed by either using a multidetector computed tomography (CT) scanner or a dual-source CT imager. CAC were automatically defined by dedicated software and the Agatston score was semi-automatically calculated. A stress-rest SPECT-MPI study was performed afterwards and scintigraphic images were evaluated quantitatively. Then all patients underwent ICA. Thereby significant CAD was defined as luminal stenosis ≥75% in quantitative coronary analysis (QCA) in ≥1 epicardial vessel. To compare data lacking Gaussian distribution an unpaired Wilcoxon-Test (Mann–Whitney) was used. Otherwise a Students t-test for unpaired samples was applied. Calculations were considered to be significant at a p-value of <0.05.
We consecutively included 351 symptomatic patients (mean age: 61.2±12.3 years; range: 18–94 years; male: n=240) with a mean Agatston score of 258.5±512.2 (range: 0–4214). ICA verified exclusion of significant CAD in 66/67 (98.5%) patients without CAC. CAC was detected in remaining 284 patients. In 132/284 patients (46.5%) with CS>0 significant CAD was confirmed by ICA, and excluded in 152/284 (53.5%) patients. Sensitivity for CAD detection by CS alone was calculated as 99.2%, specificity was 30.3%, and negative predictive value was 98.5%. An additional SPECT in patients with CS>0 increased specificity to 80.9% while reducing sensitivity to 87.9%. Diagnostic accuracy was 84.2%.
In patients without CS=0 significant CAD can be excluded with a high negative predictive value by CS alone. An additional SPECT-MPI in those patients with CS>0 leads to a high diagnostic accuracy for the detection of CAD while reducing the number of patients needing invasive diagnostic procedure.
Computed tomography coronary calcium scoring; Single photon emission computed tomography myocardial perfusion imaging; Invasive coronary angiography; Coronary artery disease
The association between hyperuricemia, hypertension, and diabetes has been proved to have strong association with the risk for cardiovascular diseases, but it is not clear whether hyperuricemia is related to the early stages of hypertension and diabetes. Therefore, in this study we investigated the association between hyperuricemia, prediabetes, and prehypertension in Croatian adults, as well as that between purine-rich diet and hyperuricemia, prediabetes, or prehypertension.
A stratified random representative sample of 64 general practitioners (GP) was selected. Each GP systematically chose participants aged ≥ 40 year (up to 55 subjects) . Recruitment occurred between May and September 2008. The medical history, anthropometric, and laboratory measures were obtained for each participant.
59 physicians agreed to participate and recruited 2485 subjects (response rate 77%; average age (± standard deviation) 59.2 ±10.6; 61.9% women. In bivariate analysis we found a positive association between hyperuricemia and prediabetes (OR 1.66, 95% CI 1.09–2.53), but not for prehypertension (OR 1.68, 95% CI 0.76–3.72). After controlling for known confounders for cardiovascular disease (age, gender, body mass index, alcohol intake, diet, physical activity, waist to hip ratio, total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein, high density lipoprotein, and triglycerides), in multivariate analysis HU ceased to be an independent predictor(OR 1.33, CI 0.98–1.82, p = 0.069) for PreDM. An association between purine-rich food and hyperuricemia was found (p<0.001) and also for prediabetes (p=0.002), but not for prehypertension (p=0.41). The prevalence of hyperuricemia was 10.7% (15.4% male, 7.8% female), 32.5% for prediabetes (35.4% male, 30.8% female), and 26.6% for prehypertension (27.2% male, 26.2% female).
Hyperuricemia seems to be associated with prediabetes but not with prehypertension. Both, hyperuricemia and prediabetes were associated with purine-rich food and patients need to be advised on appropriate diet.
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN31857696
Hyperuricemia; Prediabetes; Prehypertension; Purine-rich food; Prevalence
In a previous in vitro study, we confirmed that small-caliber nanofibrous polyurethane (PU) vascular grafts have favorable mechanical properties and biocompatibility. In the present study, we examined the in vivo biocompatibility and stability of these grafts.
Forty-eight adult male beagle dogs were randomly divided into two groups receiving, respectively, polyurethane (PU) or polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) grafts (n = 24 animals / group). Each group was studied at 4, 8, 12, and 24 weeks after graft implantation. Blood flow was analyzed by color Doppler ultrasound and computed tomography angiography. Patency rates were judged by animal survival rates. Coverage with endothelial and smooth muscle cells was characterized by hematoxylin-eosin and immunohistological staining, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM).
Patency rates were significantly higher in the PU group (p = 0.02 vs. PTFE group). During the first 8 weeks, endothelial cells gradually formed a continuous layer on the internal surface of PU grafts, whereas coverage of PTFE graft by endothelial cells was inhomogeneous. After 12 weeks, neointimal thickness remained constant in the PU group, while PTFE group showed neointimal hyperplasia. At 24 weeks, some anastomotic sites of PTFE grafts became stenotic (p = 0.013 vs. PU group). Immunohistological staining revealed a continuous coverage by endothelial cells and an orderly arrangement of smooth muscle cells on PU grafts. Further, SEM showed smooth internal surfaces in PU grafts without thrombus or obvious neointimal hyperplasia.
Small-caliber nanofibrous PU vascular grafts facilitate the endothelialization process, prevent excessive neointimal hyperplasia, and improve patency rates.
Nanofibers; Polyurethane; Small-caliber vascular grafts; Animal study
Hypertension is a growing public health problem in many developing countries including Ethiopia. However, its prevention and control has not yet received due attention. This study aimed to determine the prevalence and associated factors of hypertension among adults in Gondar city, North-West Ethiopia.
A community based cross-sectional study was conducted in April 2012 in Gondar city. Participants aged 35 years and older were recruited using multi-stage random sampling technique. Data were collected by face-to-face interview technique after verbal informed consent. Additionally, weight, height and Blood Pressure (BP) of participants were measured following standard procedures. Hypertension was defined as having Systolic BP ≥140 mmHG or Diastolic BP≥ 90mmHG or reported use of regular anti-hypertensive medications prescribed by professionals for raised BP. Data were collected by clinical nurses and then entered into a computer using Epi Info version 3.5.3 and exported to SPSS version 20 for analysis. Multiple logistic regressions were fitted and Odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals were calculated to identify associated factors.
A total of 679 participants were included in this study. About one in –five participants (21.0%) were aged 65 years or older. Obesity among all participants was 5.6%. Hundred ninety two (28.3%) were hypertensive of whom more than a third (37.0%) did not know they had hypertension. Family history of hypertension (AOR = 2.71, 95%CI; 1.37-5.36), obesity (AOR = 5.50, 95%CI; 2.07-14.62), self reported diabetes (AOR = 4.15, 95%CI; 1.77-9.72), age ≥ 55 years (AOR=3.33, 95%CI; 1.88-5.90) and not continuously walking for 10 minutes per day (AOR = 2.86, 95%CI; 1.15-7.12) were factors associated with hypertension.
There was a high prevalence of hypertension probably indicating a hidden epidemic in this community. Age ≥ 55 years, obesity, family history of hypertension, physical inactivity and self reported diabetes were associated with hypertension. Hence, we recommend the design and implementation of community based screening programs.
Hypertension; Prevalence; Blood Pressure; Ethiopia