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1.  Thrombotic and Bleeding Complications Following Orthopedic Surgery 
American heart journal  2013;165(3):427-433.e1.
Thrombotic and bleeding complications are major concerns during orthopedic surgery. Given the frequency of orthopedic surgical procedures and the limited data in the literature, we sought to investigate the incidence and risk factors for thrombotic (myocardial necrosis and infarction) and bleeding events in patients undergoing orthopedic surgery.
Methods and Results
We performed a retrospective cohort analysis of 3,082 consecutive subjects ≥ 21 years of age undergoing hip, knee, or spine surgery between November 1, 2008, and December 31, 2009. Patient characteristics were ascertained using ICD-9 diagnosis coding and retrospective review of medical records, and laboratory/blood bank databases. In-hospital outcomes included myocardial necrosis (elevated troponin), major bleeding, coded myocardial infarction (MI), and coded hemorrhage as defined by ICD-9 coding. Of the 3,082 subjects, mean age was 60.8 ± 13.3 years and 59% were female. Myocardial necrosis, coded MI, major bleeding, and coded hemorrhage occurred in 179 (5.8%), 20 (0.7%), 165 (5.4%), and 26 (0.8%) subjects, respectively. Increasing age (P<0.001), CAD (P<0.001), cancer (P=0.004), and chronic kidney disease (P=0.01) were independent predictors of myocardial necrosis, while procedure type (P<0.001), cancer (P<0.001), female sex (P<0.001), CAD (P<0.001), and COPD (P=0.01) were independent predictors of major bleeding.
There is a delicate balance between thrombotic and bleeding events in the perioperative period following orthopedic surgery. Perioperative risk of both thrombosis and bleeding deserve careful attention in preoperative evaluation and future prospective studies aimed at attenuating this risk are warranted.
PMCID: PMC3595114  PMID: 23453114
arterial thrombosis; major bleeding; perioperative management
2.  Platelet Aggregation Unchanged by Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2 Inhibition: Results from an In Vitro Study and Two Randomized Phase I Trials 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e83094.
We explored the theorized upregulation of platelet-activating factor (PAF)– mediated biologic responses following lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2) inhibition using human platelet aggregation studies in an in vitro experiment and in 2 clinical trials.
Methods and Results
Full platelet aggregation concentration response curves were generated in vitro to several platelet agonists in human plasma samples pretreated with rilapladib (selective Lp-PLA2 inhibitor) or vehicle. This was followed by a randomized, double-blind crossover study in healthy adult men (n = 26) employing a single-agonist dose assay of platelet aggregation, after treatment of subjects with 250 mg oral rilapladib or placebo once daily for 14 days. This study was followed by a second randomized, double-blind parallel-group trial in healthy adult men (n = 58) also treated with 250 mg oral rilapladib or placebo once daily for 14 days using a full range of 10 collagen concentrations (0–10 µg/ml) for characterizing EC50 values for platelet aggregation for each subject. Both clinical studies were conducted at the GlaxoSmithKline Medicines Research Unit in the Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney, Australia. EC50 values derived from multiple agonist concentrations were compared and no pro-aggregant signals were observed during exposure to rilapladib in any of these platelet studies, despite Lp-PLA2 inhibition exceeding 90%. An increase in collagen-mediated aggregation was observed 3 weeks post drug termination in the crossover study (15.4% vs baseline; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.9–27.0), which was not observed during the treatment phase and was not observed in the parallel-group study employing a more robust EC50 examination.
Lp-PLA2 inhibition does not enhance platelet aggregation.
Trial Registration
1) Study 1: NCT01745458 2) Study 2: NCT00387257
PMCID: PMC3903475  PMID: 24475026
3.  Mean Platelet Volume and Long-Term Mortality in Patients Undergoing Percutaneous Coronary Intervention 
The American journal of cardiology  2012;111(2):185-189.
Increased platelet activity is associated with adverse cardiovascular events. Mean platelet volume (MPV) correlates with platelet activity but the relationship between MPV and long-term mortalityin patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention(PCI) is not well established. Furthermore, the role of change in MPV over time has not been previously evaluated. We evaluatedMPV at baseline, 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, 1 year, 2 years, and 3 years post-procedure in 1,512 patients who underwent PCI. The speed of change in MPV was estimated using slope of linear regression. Mortality was determined by query of social security death index. Over a median of 8.7 years, mortality was 49.3% post-PCI. There was no significant difference in mortality when stratified by MPV quartiles (1stquartile 50.1%, 2nd quartile 47.7%, 3rd quartile 51.3%, 4thquartile 48.3%, p=0.74). In patients with available data to determine a change in MPV over time post-PCI (n=839), mortality was 49.1% and significantly higher in patients with an increase (52.9%) compared to those with a decrease (44.2%) or no change (49.1%) in MPV over time (p<0.0001). In conclusion, there was no association between baseline MPV and long-term mortality in patients undergoing PCI. However, there was increased mortality when MPV increasedover time post-PCI. Monitoring MPV after coronary revascularization may play a role in risk stratification.
PMCID: PMC3538911  PMID: 23102880
Mean platelet volume; percutaneous coronary intervention; long-term mortality
4.  Hyperreactive platelet phenotypes: Relationship to altered serotonin transporter number, transport kinetics and intrinsic response to adrenergic co-stimulation 
Thrombosis and haemostasis  2012;109(1):85-92.
The mechanism underlying a hyperreactive platelet phenotype remains unknown. Since serotonin has been shown to influence platelet biology and atherothrombosis, we sought to investigate the association of platelet serotonin transporter number, binding affinity, and uptake kinetics to platelet aggregation. A total of 542 healthy volunteers had light transmittance platelet aggregometry measured in response to varying concentrations of epinephrine, serotonin, epinephrine plus serotonin, ADP and collagen. Transporter-dependent serotonin uptake rate was determined (Vmax), as were serotonin transporter number (Bmax) and binding affinity (Kd) using 3H paroxetine binding in a homologous displacement assay, nonlinear regression and validated algorithms for kinetic modeling. Stimulation with submaximal (2 μM) epinephrine concentration elicited a distinct, bimodal pattern of platelet aggregation in this population. In contrast, subjects exhibited minimal aggregation in response to serotonin alone. Co-stimulation with submaximal epinephrine and serotonin induced platelet aggregation to a level beyond that observed with either agonist alone and maintained a bimodal response distribution. Subjects with heightened (>60%) platelet aggregation to both epinephrine alone and epinephrine plus serotonin exhibited increased platelet serotonin uptake, and transporter number and affinity. In a population of healthy subjects, co-stimulation with submaximal concentrations of epinephrine and serotonin identifies a subset of individuals with a hyperreactive platelet aggregation profile that is associated with changes in platelet serotonin function.
PMCID: PMC3582386  PMID: 23223800
Platelets; platelet activity; serotonin; epinephrine; transporter
5.  Peripheral artery disease, biomarkers, and darapladib 
American heart journal  2011;161(5):972-978.
Subjects with peripheral artery disease (PAD) are at increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, perhaps in part, related to increased levels of inflammation, platelet activity, and lipids. We therefore sought to investigate the relationship between PAD and levels of inflammatory, platelet, and lipid biomarkers and the treatment effect of darapladib, a novel lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2) inhibitor.
This is a post hoc analysis of the 959 patients with coronary disease or their risk equivalent receiving atorvastatin who were randomized to receive darapladib or placebo to examine the effects of an Lp-PLA2 inhibitor on the biomarkers of cardiovascular risk. We conducted an exploratory analysis evaluating the levels of biomarkers in subjects with PAD (n = 172) compared with those without PAD (n = 787).
After adjustment for age, sex, smoking, body mass index, and diabetes, subjects with PAD had greater levels of matrix metalloproteinase-9 (between group comparisons 22%, 95% confidence interval [10–31], P < .01), myeloperoxidase (12% [2–20], P = .01), interleukin-6 (13% [4–21], P = .01), adiponectin (17% [7–26], P < .01), intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (7% [2–11], P < .01), osteoprotegrin (6% [1–10], P = .02), CD40 ligand (15% [1–28], P = .04), high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (17% [1–31], P = .04), and triglycerides (11% [0.2–21], P = .05). No significant difference was detected for Lp-PLA2 activity, P-selectin, urinary 11-dehydrothroboxane B2, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol between subjects with and without PAD. Darapladib produced highly significant inhibition of Lp-PLA2 activity when compared with placebo at weeks 4 and 12 (P < .01) in patients with and without PAD.
Subjects with PAD had elevated levels of matrix metalloproteinase-9, myeloperoxidase, interleukin-6, adiponectin, intercellular adhesion molecule-1, osteoprotegrin, CD40 ligand, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, and triglycerides compared with those without PAD. Darapladib, a novel Lp-PLA2 inhibitor, was equally effective in reducing Lp-PLA2 activity levels in subjects with and without PAD.
PMCID: PMC3750980  PMID: 21570531
6.  Mean platelet volume and prevalence of peripheral artery disease, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999–2004 
Atherosclerosis  2010;213(2):586-591.
We sought to determine whether mean platelet volume (MPV) is associated with the prevalence of peripheral artery disease (PAD).
Platelets play a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and PAD. MPV, a measure of platelet size available in every blood count, is increasingly recognized as an important marker of platelet activity.
We analyzed data from 6354 participants aged 40 years and older from the 1999 to 2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a nationally representative sample of the US population. PAD was defined as an ankle brachial index ≤0.90 in either leg. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were estimated by logistic regression.
The prevalence of PAD in the cohort was 5.7%. MPV was significantly associated with PAD prevalence (tertile 1 – 4.4%, tertile 2 – 6.1%, tertile 3 – 7.0%, P for trend = 0.003). After adjustment for age, sex, and race, the odds ratio of PAD comparing the highest tertile to the lowest tertile was 1.57 (95% confidence interval 1.15–2.13). After further adjustment for smoking status, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, glomerular filtration rate, body mass index, and platelet count the corresponding odds ratio was 1.58 (95% confidence interval 1.14–2.19). The addition of triglycerides, hemoglobin A1c, and C-reactive protein did not affect the results. The significant association between MPV and PAD was unchanged when MPV was used as a continuous variable.
Mean platelet volume is independently associated with PAD. These findings support the hypothesis that platelet size is an independent predictor of increased risk for PAD.
PMCID: PMC3739454  PMID: 20940069
Mean platelet volume; Platelets; Peripheral artery disease; Epidemiology
7.  The Relationship Between Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, and Platelet Activity as Measured by Mean Platelet Volume 
Diabetes Care  2012;35(5):1074-1078.
The association between platelet activity, diabetes, and glucometabolic control is uncertain. We aim to investigate mean platelet volume (MPV), a marker of platelet size and platelet activity, with the prevalence of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and degree of glycemic control.
This is a retrospective analysis of 13,021 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999 to 2004. Prevalence of diabetes was defined as nonfasting glucose >200 mg/dL, fasting glucose ≥126 mg/dL, or treatment with hypoglycemic agents. Presence of metabolic syndrome was determined by the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III definition. Odds ratios and 95% CIs were estimated by logistic regression.
MPV was significantly higher in subjects with diabetes (8.20 vs. 8.06 femtoliter [fL], P < 0.01) but not in subjects with metabolic syndrome (8.09 vs. 8.07 fL, P = 0.24). For the metabolic syndrome components, MPV was significantly higher in abdominal obesity (P = 0.03) and low HDL (P = 0.04), and not different in high blood pressure (P = 0.07), abnormal glucose metabolism (P = 0.71), or hypertriglyceridemia (P = 0.46). There was a significant correlation between MPV and glucose (P < 0.0001) and between MPV and hemoglobin A1c (P < 0.0001) in subjects with diabetes. These correlations were no longer significant in those without diabetes. The adjusted odds of diabetes rose with increasing MPV levels and were most pronounced in subjects with MPV levels exceeding the 90th percentile (≥9.31 fL). The association between MPV and diabetes was most apparent in those with the poorest glucose control.
Mean platelet volume is strongly and independently associated with the presence and severity of diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3329806  PMID: 22410814
8.  Lipid and Lipoprotein Biomarkers and the Risk of Ischemic Stroke in Postmenopausal Women 
Few studies simultaneously investigated lipids and lipoprotein biomarkers as predictors of ischemic stroke. The value of these biomarkers as independent predictors of ischemic stroke remains controversial.
We conducted a prospective nested case-control study among postmenopausal women from the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study to assess the relationship between fasting lipids (total cholesterol, LDL-C, HDL-C, and triglycerides), lipoproteins (LDL, HDL and VLDL particle number and size, IDL particle number, and lipoprotein [a]) and risk of ischemic stroke. Among women free of stroke at baseline, 774 ischemic stroke patients were matched according to age and race to controls using a 1:1 ratio.
In bivariate analysis, baseline triglycerides (P<0.001), IDL particles (P<0.01), LDL particles (P<0.01), VLDL triglyceride (P<0.001), VLDL particles (P<0.01), VLDL size (P<0.001), LDL size (P=0.03), and total/HDL cholesterol ratio (P<0.01) were significantly higher among women with incident ischemic stroke, while levels of HDL-C (P<0.01) and HDL size (P<0.01) were lower. No significant baseline difference for total cholesterol (P=0.15), LDL-C (P=0.47), and lipoprotein (a) (P=0.11) was observed. In multivariable analysis, triglycerides, (OR for the highest vs lowest quartile, 1.56; 95% CI, 1.13-2.17, P for trend =0.02), VLDL size (OR 1.59, 95% CI, 1.10-2.28, P for trend =0.03) and IDL particle number (OR 1.46, 95% CI, 1.04-2.04, P for trend =0.02) were significantly associated with ischemic stroke.
Among a panel of lipid and lipoprotein biomarkers, baseline triglycerides, VLDL size and IDL particle number were significantly associated with incident ischemic stroke in postmenopausal women.
PMCID: PMC3547588  PMID: 22308251
Lipids; Lipoproteins; Ischemic Stroke; Women; Triglycerides
9.  Centrifugation Speed Affects Light Transmission Aggregometry 
Light transmission aggregometry (LTA) is considered the gold-standard for investigating platelet activity ex vivo. However, LTA protocols are not standardized and differences in LTA procedure are a potential source of variance in results. Centrifugation speed is an essential component of platelet preparation in LTA, has yet to be standardized, and may affect platelet aggregation results. We sought to investigate the effect of relative centrifugal force (RCF) intensity on LTA results.
Ten healthy controls had venous blood drawn and centrifuged at 150g, 200g, 300g, and 500g for 10 minutes. Cell counts in whole blood and PRP were measured using a hematology analyzer. LTA was performed using 1.0uM ADP and 0.4uM epinephrine as an agonist. Aggregation (%) was compared at 60, 120, 180, and 300 seconds (s) and at maximum aggregation.
Centrifugation speed was associated with decreasing platelet count (P<0.001) and decreasing MPV (P<0.001) in platelet rich plasma. Maximum aggregation decreased with increasing speeds for ADP 1.0uM (150g-89%, 200g-93%, 300g-71%, 500g-17%; P<0.001). Similar findings were noted at 120s (150g-69%, 200g-50%, 300g-35%, 500g-12%; P<0.001), 180s (150g-82%, 200g-74%, 300g-44%, 500g-13%; P<0.001), and 300s (150g-85%, 200g-88%, 300g-55%, 500g-14%; P<0.001). Consistently, platelet aggregation in response to epinephrine 0.4uM decreased significantly with increasing centrifuge RCF at 60s, 120s, 180s, 300s, and at maximum aggregation (P<0.05 for each comparison).
Our data demonstrate the importance of centrifugation speed in the interpretation of LTA results, supporting the need for standardization of centrifugation RCF in LTA protocols.
PMCID: PMC3209490  PMID: 21794095
Light transmission aggregometry; Methodology; Centrifuge; Platelets
10.  A Prospective Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effects of Vitamin D Supplementation on Cardiovascular Disease Risk 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e36617.
Vitamin D (VitD) supplementation has been advocated for cardiovascular risk reduction; however, supporting data are sparse. The objective of this study was to determine whether VitD supplementation reduces cardiovascular risk. Subjects in this prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of post-menopausal women with serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations >10 and <60 ng/mL were randomized to Vitamin D3 2500 IU or placebo, daily for 4 months. Primary endpoints were changes in brachial artery flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD), carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV), and aortic augmentation index (AIx). The 114 subjects were mean (standard deviation) 63.9 (3.0) years old with a 25-hydroxyvitamin D level of 31.3 (10.6) ng/mL. Low VitD (<30 ng/mL) was present in 47% and was associated with higher body-mass index, systolic blood pressure, glucose, CRP, and lower FMD (all p<0.05). After 4 months, 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels increased by 15.7 (9.3) ng/mL on vitamin D3 vs. −0.2 (6.1) ng/mL on placebo (p<0.001). There were no significant differences between groups in changes in FMD (0.3 [3.4] vs. 0.3 [2.6] %, p = 0.77), PWV (0.00 [1.06] vs. 0.05 [0.92] m/s, p = 0.65), AIx (2.7 [6.3] vs. 0.9 [5.6] %, p = 0.10), or CRP (0.3 [1.9] vs. 0.3 [4.2] mg/L, p = 0.97). Multivariable models showed no significant interactions between treatment group and low VitD status (<30 ng/mL) for changes in FMD (p = 0.65), PWV (p = 0.93), AIx (p = 0.97), or CRP (p = 0.26).In conclusion, VitD supplementation did not improve endothelial function, arterial stiffness, or inflammation. These observations do not support use of VitD supplementation to reduce cardiovascular disease risk.
Trial Registration NCT00690417
Trial Registration NCT01049048
PMCID: PMC3346736  PMID: 22586483
11.  Growth in Height in Childhood and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Adult Men and Women 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e30476.
Adult height is inversely associated with the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), but it is still unknown which phase of the human growth period is critical for the formation of this association. We investigated the association between growth in height from 7 to 13 years of age and the risk of CHD in adulthood.
Methods and Findings
The heights of almost all children born 1930 through 1976 who attended school in the Copenhagen municipality (232,063 children) were measured annually from 7 to 13 years of age. Birth weight data were available since 1936. Fatal and non-fatal CHD events were ascertained by register linkage until 2008 (25,214 cases). Hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated by Cox proportional hazards regression for height z-scores (standard deviation units) and change in height z-scores. Height z-scores were inversely related to the risk of CHD. The association was strongest at 7 years of age (HR = 0.91, CI 0.90–0.92 in boys and 0.88, CI 0.86–0.90 in girls) and steadily weakened thereafter, yet it still remained at 13 years of age (HR = 0.95, CI 0.94–0.97 and 0.91, CI 0.89–0.93, boys and girls respectively). The associations were not modified by birth weight. Independent of the age-specific risk, rapid growth was associated with an increased CHD risk, most pronounced between 9 and 11 years in girls (HR = 1.22, CI 1.14–1.31) and between 11 and 13 years in boys (HR = 1.28, CI 1.22–1.33) per unit increase in z-score. Adjustment for body mass index somewhat strengthened the associations of CHD risk with height and weakened the association with growth.
Risk of CHD in adulthood is inversely related to height at ages 7 through 13 years, but strongest in the youngest, and, independently hereof, the risk increased by growth velocity.
PMCID: PMC3265486  PMID: 22291964
12.  Relationship Express: A Pilot Program to Teach Anesthesiology Residents Communication Skills 
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education requires residency programs to teach 6 core competencies and to provide evidence of effective standardized training through objective measures. George Washington University's Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine implemented a pilot program to address the interpersonal and communication skill competency. In this program, we aimed to pilot the Relationship Express model, a series of exercises in experiential learning to teach anesthesiology residents to build effective relationships with patients in time-limited circumstances. The purpose of this paper is to describe the application of this model for anesthesiology training.
A total of 7 first-year clinical anesthesiology residents participated in this pilot study, and 4 residents completed the entire program for analysis purposes. Relationship Express was presented in three 1.5-hour sessions: (1) introduction followed by 2-case, standardized patient pretest with feedback to residents from faculty observers; (2) interpersonal and communication skills didactic workshop with video behavior modeling; and (3) review discussion followed by 2-case, standardized patient posttest and evaluation.
Modified Brookfield comments revealed the following themes: (1) time constraints were realistic compared with clinical practice; (2) admitting errors with patients was difficult; (3) patients were more aware of body language than anticipated; (4) residents liked the group discussions and the video interview; (5) standardized patients were convincing; and (6) residents found the feedback from faculty and standardized patients helpful.
Resident retrospective self-assessment and learning comments confirm the potential value of the Relationship Express model. This program will require further assessment and refinement with a larger number of residents.
PMCID: PMC3010947  PMID: 22132285
13.  Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in Renal Patients and Healthy Subjects 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e22360.
The first goal of this study was to measure the oxidative stress (OS) and relate it to lipoprotein variables in 35 renal patients before dialysis (CKD), 37 on hemodialysis (HD) and 63 healthy subjects. The method for OS was based on the ratio of cholesteryl esters (CE) containing C18/C16 fatty acids (R2) measured by gas chromatography (GC) which is a simple, direct, rapid and reliable procedure. The second goal was to investigate and identify a triacylglycerol peak on GC, referred to as TG48 (48 represents the sum of the three fatty acids carbon chain lengths) which was markedly increased in renal patients compared to healthy controls. We measured TG48 in patients and controls. Mass spectrometry (MS) and MS twice in tandem were used to analyze the fatty acid composition of TG48. MS showed that TG48 was abundant in saturated fatty acids (SFAs) that were known for their pro-inflammatory property. TG48 was significantly and inversely correlated with OS. Renal patients were characterized by higher OS and inflammation than healthy subjects. Inflammation correlated strongly with TG, VLDL-cholesterol, apolipoprotein (apo) C-III and apoC-III bound to apoB-containing lipoproteins, but not with either total cholesterol or LDL-cholesterol.
In conclusion, we have discovered a new inflammatory factor, TG48. It is characterized with TG rich in saturated fatty acids. Renal patients have increased TG48 than healthy controls.
PMCID: PMC3145638  PMID: 21829457
14.  Maternal Arterial Stiffness in Women Who Subsequently Develop Pre-Eclampsia 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(5):e18703.
Pre-eclampsia (PE) is associated with profound changes in the maternal cardiovascular system. The aim of the present study was to assess whether alterations in the maternal arterial stiffness precede the onset of PE in at risk women.
Methodology/Principal Findings
This was a cross sectional study involving 70 pregnant women with normal and 70 women with abnormal uterine artery Doppler examination at 22–24 weeks of gestation. All women had their arterial stiffness (augmentation index and pulse wave velocity of the carotid-femoral and carotid-radial parts of the arterial tree) assessed by applanation tonometry in the second trimester of pregnancy, at the time of the uterine artery Doppler imaging. Among the 140 women participating in the study 29 developed PE (PE group) and 111 did not (non-PE group). Compared to the non-PE group, women that developed PE had higher central systolic (94.9±8.6 mmHg vs 104.3±11.1 mmHg; p = <0.01) and diastolic (64.0±6.0 vs 72.4±9.1; p<0.01) blood pressures. All the arterial stiffness indices were adjusted for possible confounders and expressed as multiples of the median (MoM) of the non-PE group. The adjusted median augmentation index was similar between the two groups (p = 0.84). The adjusted median pulse wave velocities were higher in the PE group compared to the non-PE group (carotid-femoral: 1.10±0.14 MoMs vs 0.99±0.11 MoMs; p<0.01 and carotid-radial: 1.08±0.12 MoMs vs 1.0±0.11 MoMs; p<0.01).
Increased maternal arterial stiffness, as assessed by pulse wave velocity, predates the development of PE in at risk women.
PMCID: PMC3086903  PMID: 21559278
15.  Smoking, Clopidogrel, and Mortality in Patients with Established Cardiovascular Disease 
Circulation  2009;120(23):2337.
Smoking increases platelet aggregability, and the degree of platelet inhibition by clopidogrel on ex vivo platelet function tests. Whether smoking status affects the relationship between clopidogrel and clinical outcomes is unknown.
Methods and Results
We evaluated the relationship between smoking status (current smoker (CS), former smoker (FS), and never smoker (NS)) and treatment with clopidogrel on the risk of all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality among the 12,152 participants from the CHARISMA trial with established cardiovascular disease. Current smoking was associated with an increase in all-cause (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 2.58, [1.85–3.60]), cardiovascular (HR 2.26, [1.48–3.45]), and cancer mortality (HR 4.16, [2.46–7.03]) compared to NS. The impact of clopidogrel and mortality differed by smoking status (P for interaction = 0.018 for current smokers). Among CS, clopidogrel was associated with a reduction in all-cause mortality (HR 0.68, [0.49–0.94]); clopidogrel did not reduce all cause mortality among FS (HR 0.95, [0.75–1.19]) or NS (HR 1.14, [0.83–1.58]). A similar pattern was noted for cardiovascular mortality. As expected, no relationship was observed between clopidogrel and cancer mortality by smoking status. The risk of bleeding seemed to differ according to smoking status; randomized clopidogrel was associated with a significantly increased hazard of severe or moderate bleeding (HR 1.62, P=0.04) among CS, but a smaller and nonsignificant increase among NS (HR 1.31, P=0.15).
Clopidogrel therapy may be more effective, but with a greater bleeding risk in CS than in patients who are not smokers. Further studies are needed to investigate this possibility.
PMCID: PMC2814172  PMID: 19933933
Smoking; Clopidogrel; Mortality; Cardiovascular disease
16.  Sex Differences in Mortality Following Acute Coronary Syndromes 
There is conflicting information about whether sex-differences modulate short-term mortality following acute coronary syndromes (ACS).
To investigate the relationship between sex and 30-day mortality in ACS, and determine whether this relationship is modified by clinical syndrome or coronary anatomy using a large database across the spectrum of ACS and adjusting for potentially confounding clinical covariates.
Design Setting and Participants
Data from 11 ACS trials from 1993 to 2006 were pooled. Of 136,247 patients, 38,048 (28%) were women; 102,004 (26% women) STEMI, 14,466 (29% women) NSTEMI and 19,777 (40% women) unstable angina (UA).
Main Outcome Measure
Thirty-day mortality following ACS.
Mortality at 30 days was 9.6% in women and 5.3% in men (odds ratio [OR] 1.91, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.83–2.00). After multivariable adjustment, mortality was not significantly different between women and men (adjusted OR 1.06, 95% CI 0.99–1.15). Importantly, a significant sex by type of ACS interaction was demonstrated (P<0.001). In STEMI, 30-day mortality was higher among women (adjusted OR 1.15, 95% CI 1.06–1.24), whereas NSTEMI (adjusted OR 0.77, 95% CI 0.63–0.95), and UA mortality was lower among women (adjusted OR 0.55, 95% CI 0.43–0.70). In a cohort of 35,128 patients with angiographic data, women more often had non-obstructive (15% vs. 8%,) and less often had 2-vessel (25% vs. 28%) and 3-vessel (23% vs. 26%) coronary disease regardless of ACS type. After additional adjustment for angiographic disease severity, 30-day mortality among women was not significantly different than men, regardless of ACS type. The relationship between sex and 30-day mortality was similar across the levels of angiographic disease severity (p-value for interaction =0.70),
Sex-based differences exist in 30-day mortality among ACS patients and vary depending on clinical presentation. However, these differences are markedly attenuated following adjustment for clinical differences and angiographic data.
PMCID: PMC2778841  PMID: 19706861
17.  Anticoagulation after Anterior Myocardial Infarction and the Risk of Stroke 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(8):e12150.
Survivors of anterior MI are at increased risk for stroke with predilection to form ventricular thrombus. Commonly patients are discharged on dual antiplatelet therapy. Given the frequency of early coronary reperfusion and risk of bleeding, it remains uncertain whether anticoagulation offers additional utility. We examined the effectiveness of anticoagulation therapy for the prevention of stroke after anterior MI.
Methods and Findings
We performed a population-based cohort analysis of 10,383 patients who survived hospitalization for an acute MI in Ontario, Canada from April 1, 1999 to March 31, 2001. The primary outcome was four-year ischemic stroke rates compared between anterior and non-anterior MI patients. Risk factors for stroke were assessed by multivariate Cox proportional-hazards analysis. Warfarin use was determined at discharge and followed for 90 days among a subset of patients aged 66 and older (n = 1483). Among the 10,383 patients studied, 2,942 patients survived hospitalization for an anterior MI and 20% were discharged on anticoagulation therapy. Within 4 years, 169 patients (5.7%) were admitted with an ischemic stroke, half of which occurred within 1-year post-MI. There was no significant difference in stroke rate between anterior and non-anterior MI patients. The use of warfarin up to 90 days was not associated with stroke protection after anterior MI (hazard ratio [HR], 0.68; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.37–1.26). The use of angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors (HR, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.44–0.95) and beta-blockers (HR, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.41–0.87) were associated with a significant decrease in stroke risk. There was no significant difference in bleeding-related hospitalizations in patients who used warfarin for up to 90 days post-MI.
Many practitioners still consider a large anterior-wall MI as high risk for potential LV thrombus formation and stroke. Among a cohort of elderly patients who survived an anterior MI there was no benefit from the use of warfarin up to 90 days post-MI to prevent ischemic stroke. Our data suggests that routine anticoagulation of patients with anterior-wall MI may not be indicated. Prospective randomized trials are needed to determine the optimal antithrombin strategy for preventing this common and serious adverse outcome.
PMCID: PMC2921337  PMID: 20730096
18.  Aspirin Use, Dose, and Clinical Outcomes in Postmenopausal Women with Stable Cardiovascular Disease: The Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study 
Despite compelling evidence that aspirin reduces fatal and non-fatal vascular events among the overall population in various settings, women have frequently been underrepresented and their data underreported. We sought to evaluate the relationship between aspirin use, dose (81 or 325mg) and clinical outcomes among postmenopausal women with stable cardiovascular disease.
Women with cardiovascular disease (n=8928) enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study were used for this analysis. The primary outcome was the incidence of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular events (myocardial infarction, stroke and cardiovascular death).
Among 8928 women with stable cardiovascular disease, 4101 (46%) reported taking aspirin, of whom 30% were on 81 and 70% were on 325mg. At 6.5 years of follow-up, no significant association was noted for aspirin use and all-cause mortality or cardiovascular events. However, after multivariate adjustment, aspirin use was associated with a significantly lower all-cause (adjusted HR 0.86, [0.75-0.99], P=0.04) and cardiovascular related mortality (adjusted HR 0.75, [0.60-0.95], P=0.01) compared with no aspirin. Aspirin use was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular events (adjusted HR 0.90, [0.78-1.04], P=0.14) which did not meet statistical significance. Compared with 325mg, use of 81mg was not significantly different for all-cause mortality, cardiovascular events or any individual endpoint.
After multivariate adjustment, aspirin use was associated with significantly lower risk of all-cause mortality, specifically cardiovascular mortality, among postmenopausal women with stable cardiovascular disease. No significant difference was noted between 81 and 325mg of aspirin. Overall, aspirin use was low in this cohort of women with stable cardiovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC2801891  PMID: 20031819
Aspirin; Dose; Women; Cardiovascular Disease; Observational Study
19.  Socioeconomic Status and Subclinical Coronary Disease in the Whitehall II Epidemiological Study 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(1):e8874.
There are pronounced socioeconomic disparities in coronary heart disease, but the extent to which these primarily reflect gradients in underlying coronary artery disease severity or in the clinical manifestation of advanced disease is uncertain. We measured the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) as indexed by grade of employment and coronary artery calcification (CAC) in the Whitehall II epidemiological cohort, and tested the contribution of lifestyle, biological and psychosocial factors in accounting for this association.
Methods and Findings
CAC was assessed in 528 asymptomatic men and women aged 53–76 years, stratified into higher, intermediate and lower by grade of employment groups. Lifestyle (smoking, body mass index, alcohol consumption, physical activity), biological (blood pressure, lipids, fasting glucose, inflammatory markers) and psychosocial factors (work stress, financial strain, social support, depression, hostility, optimism) were also measured. Detectable CAC was present in 293 participants (55.5%). The presence of calcification was related to lifestyle and biological risk factors, but not to grade of employment. But among individuals with detectable calcification, the severity of CAC was inversely associated with grade of employment (p = 0.010), and this relationship remained after controlling for demographic, lifestyle, biological and psychosocial factors. Compared with the higher grade group, there was a mean increase in log Agatston scores of 0.783 (95% C.I. 0.265–1.302, p = 0.003) in the intermediate and 0.941 (C.I. 0.226–1.657, p = 0.010) in the lower grade of employment groups, after adjustment for demographic, lifestyle, biological and psychosocial factors.
Low grade of employment did not predict the presence of calcification in this cohort, but was related to the severity of CAC. These findings suggest that lower SES may be particularly relevant at advanced stages of subclinical coronary artery disease, when calcification has developed.
PMCID: PMC2810334  PMID: 20111604
20.  Angiogenic and Inflammatory Markers of Cardiopulmonary Changes in Children and Adolescents with Sickle Cell Disease 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(11):e7956.
Pulmonary hypertension and left ventricular diastolic dysfunction are complications of sickle cell disease. Pulmonary hypertension is associated with hemolysis and hypoxia, but other unidentified factors are likely involved in pathogenesis as well.
Design and Methods
Plasma concentrations of three angiogenic markers (fibroblast growth factor, platelet derived growth factor–BB [PDGF-BB], vascular endothelial growth factor [VEGF]) and seven inflammatory markers implicated in pulmonary hypertension in other settings were determined by Bio-Plex suspension array in 237 children and adolescents with sickle cell disease at steady state and 43 controls. Tricuspid regurgitation velocity (which reflects systolic pulmonary artery pressure), mitral valve E/Edti ratio (which reflects left ventricular diastolic dysfunction), and a hemolytic component derived from four markers of hemolysis and hemoglobin oxygen saturation were also determined.
Plasma concentrations of interleukin-8, interleukin-10 and VEGF were elevated in the patients with sickle cell disease compared to controls (P≤0.003). By logistic regression, greater values for PDGF-BB (P = 0.009), interleukin-6 (P = 0.019) and the hemolytic component (P = 0.026) were independently associated with increased odds of elevated tricuspid regurgitation velocity while higher VEGF concentrations were associated with decreased odds (P = 0.005) among the patients with sickle cell disease. These findings, which are consistent with reports that PDGF-BB stimulates and VEGF inhibits vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation, did not apply to E/Etdi.
Circulating concentrations of angiogenic and pro-Inflammatory markers are altered in sickle cell disease children and adolescents with elevated tricuspid regurgitation velocity, a subgroup that may be at risk for developing worsening pulmonary hypertension. Further studies to understand the molecular changes in these children are indicated.
PMCID: PMC2776981  PMID: 19956689
21.  Common Polymorphisms Influencing Serum Uric Acid Levels Contribute to Susceptibility to Gout, but Not to Coronary Artery Disease 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(11):e7729.
Recently, a large meta-analysis including over 28,000 participants identified nine different loci with association to serum uric acid (UA) levels. Since elevated serum UA levels potentially cause gout and are a possible risk factor for coronary artery disease (CAD) and myocardial infarction (MI), we performed two large case-control association analyses with participants from the German MI Family Study. In the first study, we assessed the association of the qualitative trait gout and ten single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) markers that showed association to UA serum levels. In the second study, the same genetic polymorphisms were analyzed for association with CAD.
Methods and Findings
A total of 683 patients suffering from gout and 1,563 healthy controls from the German MI Family Study were genotyped. Nine SNPs were identified from a recently performed genome-wide meta-analysis on serum UA levels (rs12129861, rs780094, rs734553, rs2231142, rs742132, rs1183201, rs12356193, rs17300741 and rs505802). Additionally, the marker rs6855911 was included which has been associated with gout in our cohort in a previous study. SNPs rs734553 and rs6855911, located in SLC2A9, and SNP rs2231142, known to be a missense polymorphism in ABCG2, were associated with gout (p = 5.6*10−7, p = 1.1*10−7, and p = 1.3*10−3, respectively). Other SNPs in the genes PDZK1, GCKR, LRRC16A, SLC17A1-SLC17A3, SLC16A9, SLC22A11 and SLC22A12 failed the significance level. None of the ten markers were associated with risk to CAD in our study sample of 1,473 CAD cases and 1,241 CAD-free controls.
SNP markers in SLC2A9 and ABCG2 genes were found to be strongly associated with the phenotype gout. However, not all SNP markers influencing serum UA levels were also directly associated with the clinical manifestation of gout in our study sample. In addition, none of these SNPs showed association with the risk to CAD in the German MI Family Study.
PMCID: PMC2766838  PMID: 19890391
22.  Low Adiponectin Levels Are an Independent Predictor of Mixed and Non-Calcified Coronary Atherosclerotic Plaques 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(3):e4733.
Atherosclerosis is the primary cause of coronary artery disease (CAD). There is increasing recognition that lesion composition rather than size determines the acute complications of atherosclerotic disease. Low serum adiponectin levels were reported to be associated with coronary artery disease and future incidence of acute coronary syndrome (ACS). The impact of adiponectin on lesion composition still remains to be determined.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We measured serum adiponectin levels in 303 patients with stable typical or atypical chest pain, who underwent dual-source multi-slice CT-angiography to exclude coronary artery stenosis. Atherosclerotic plaques were classified as calcified, mixed or non-calcified. In bivariate analysis adiponectin levels were inversely correlated with total coronary plaque burden (r = −0.21, p = 0.0004), mixed (r = −0.20, p = 0.0007) and non-calcified plaques (r = −0.18, p = 0.003). No correlation was seen with calcified plaques (r = −0.05, p = 0.39). In a fully adjusted multivariate model adiponectin levels remained predictive of total plaque burden (estimate: −0.036, 95%CI: −0.052 to −0.020, p<0.0001), mixed (estimate: −0.087, 95%CI: −0.132 to −0.042, p = 0.0001) and non-calcified plaques (estimate: −0.076, 95%CI: −0.115 to −0.038, p = 0.0001). Adiponectin levels were not associated with calcified plaques (estimate: −0.021, 95% CI: −0.043 to −0.001, p = 0.06). Since the majority of coronary plaques was calcified, adiponectin levels account for only 3% of the variability in total plaque number. In contrast, adiponectin accounts for approximately 20% of the variability in mixed and non-calcified plaque burden.
Adiponectin levels predict mixed and non-calcified coronary atherosclerotic plaque burden. Low adiponectin levels may contribute to coronary plaque vulnerability and may thus play a role in the pathophysiology of ACS.
PMCID: PMC2649379  PMID: 19266101
23.  Carotid Artery Intima-Media Thickness, Carotid Plaque and Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke in Chinese 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(10):e3435.
Our aim was to prospectively investigate the association between carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT) as well as carotid plaque and incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke in Chinese, among whom data are limited.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a community-based cohort study composed of 2190 participants free of cardiovascular disease at baseline in one community. During a median 10.5-year follow up, we documented 68 new cases of coronary heart disease and 94 cases of stroke. The multivariate relative risks (RRs) associated with a change of 1 standard deviation of maximal common carotid IMT were 1.38 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.12–1.70) for CHD and 1.47 (95% CI, 1.28–1.69) for stroke. The corresponding RRs with internal carotid IMT were 1.47 (95% CI, 1.21–1.79) for CHD and 1.52 (95% CI, 1.31–1.76) for stroke. Carotid plaque measured by the degree of diameter stenosis was also significantly associated with increased risk of CHD (p for trend<0.0001) and stroke (p for trend<0.0001). However, these associations were largely attenuated when adjusting for IMT measurements.
This prospective study indicates a significant association between carotid IMT and incidence of CHD and stroke in Chinese adults. These measurements may be useful for cardiovascular risk assessment and stratification in Chinese.
PMCID: PMC2562458  PMID: 18927612
24.  A Randomised Controlled Trial of Triple Antiplatelet Therapy (Aspirin, Clopidogrel and Dipyridamole) in the Secondary Prevention of Stroke: Safety, Tolerability and Feasibility 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(8):e2852.
Aspirin, dipyridamole and clopidogrel are effective in secondary vascular prevention. Combination therapy with three antiplatelet agents might maximise the benefit of antiplatelet treatment in the secondary prevention of ischaemic stroke.
Methodology/Principal Findings
A randomised, parallel group, observer-blinded phase II trial compared the combination of aspirin, clopidogrel and dipyridamole with aspirin alone. Adult patients with ischaemic stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA) within 5 years were included. The primary outcome was tolerability to treatment assessed as the number of patients completing randomised treatment. Recruitment was halted prematurely after publication of the ESPRIT trial (which confirmed that combined aspirin and dipyridamole is more effective than aspirin alone). 17 patients were enrolled: male 12 (71%), mean age 62 (SD 13) years, lacunar stroke syndrome 12 (71%), median stroke/TIA onset to randomisation 8 months. Treatment was discontinued in 4 of 9 (44%) patients receiving triple therapy vs. none of 8 taking aspirin (p = 0.08). One recurrent stroke occurred in a patient in the triple group who was noncompliant of all antiplatelet medications. The number of patients with adverse events and bleeding complications, and their severity, were significantly greater in the triple therapy group (p<0.01).
Long term triple antiplatelet therapy was asociated with a significant increase in adverse events and bleeding rates, and their severity, and a trend to increased discontinuations. However, the patients had a low risk of recurrence and future trials should focus on short term therapy in high risk patients characterised by a very recent event or failure of dual antiplatelet therapy.
Trial Registration ISRCTN83673558
PMCID: PMC2481397  PMID: 18682741
25.  Competency in Chest Radiography 
Accurate interpretation of chest radiographs (CXR) is essential as clinical decisions depend on readings.
We sought to evaluate CXR interpretation ability at different levels of training and to determine factors associated with successful interpretation.
Ten CXR were selected from the teaching file of the internal medicine (IM) department. Participants were asked to record the most important diagnosis, their certainty in that diagnosis, interest in a pulmonary career and adequacy of CXR training. Two investigators independently scored each CXR on a scale of 0 to 2.
Participants (n = 145) from a single teaching hospital were third year medical students (MS) (n = 25), IM interns (n = 44), IM residents (n = 45), fellows from the divisions of cardiology and pulmonary/critical care (n = 16), and radiology residents (n = 15).
The median overall score was 11 of 20. An increased level of training was associated with overall score (MS 8, intern 10, IM resident 13, fellow 15, radiology resident 18, P<.001). Overall certainty was significantly correlated with overall score (r = .613, P<.001). Internal medicine interns and residents interested in a pulmonary career scored 14 of 20 while those not interested scored 11 (P = .027). Pneumothorax, misplaced central line, and pneumoperitoneum were diagnosed correctly 9%, 26%, and 46% of the time, respectively. Only 20 of 131 (15%) participants felt their CXR training sufficient.
We identified factors associated with successful CXR interpretation, including level of training, field of training, interest in a pulmonary career and overall certainty. Although interpretation improved with training, important diagnoses were missed.
PMCID: PMC1484801  PMID: 16704388
education; medical; radiography; thoracic; clinical competence; educational measurement

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