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1.  Quick identification of acute chest pain patients study (QICS) 
Background
Patients with acute chest pain are often referred to the emergency ward and extensively investigated. Investigations are costly and could induce unnecessary complications, especially with invasive diagnostics. Nevertheless, chest pain patients have high mortalities. Fast identification of high-risk patients is crucial. Therefore several strategies have been developed including specific symptoms, signs, laboratory measurements, and imaging.
Methods/Design
The Quick Identification of acute Chest pain Study (QICS) will investigate whether a combined use of specific symptoms and signs, electrocardiography, routine and new laboratory measures, adjunctive imaging including electron beam (EBT) computed tomography (CT) and contrast multislice CT (MSCT) will have a high diagnostic yield for patients with acute chest pain. All patients will be investigated according a standardized protocol in the Emergency Department. Serum and plasma will be frozen for future analysis for a wide range of biomarkers at a later time point. The primary endpoint is the safe recognition of low-risk chest pain patients directly at presentation. Secondary endpoint is the identification of a wide range of sensitive predictive clinical markers, chemical biomarkers and radiological markers in acute chest pain patients. Chemical biomarkers will be compared to quantitative CT measurements of coronary atherosclerosis as a surrogate endpoint. Chemical biomarkers will also be compared in head to head comparison and for their additional value.
Discussion
This will be a very extensive investigation of a wide range of risk predictors in acute chest pain patients. New reliable fast and cheap diagnostic algorithm resulting from the test results might improve chest pain patients' prognosis, and reduce unnecessary costs and diagnostic complications.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-9-24
PMCID: PMC2704169  PMID: 19527487
2.  The role of coronary artery calcification score in clinical practice 
Background
Coronary artery calcification (CAC) measured by electron-beam computed tomography (EBCT) has been well studied in the prediction of coronary artery disease (CAD). We sought to evaluate the impact of the CAC score in the diagnostic process immediately after its introduction in a large tertiary referral centre.
Methods
598 patients with no history of CAD who underwent EBCT for evaluation of CAD were retrospectively included into the study. Ischemia detection test results (exercise stress test, single photon emission computed tomography or ST segment analysis on 24 hours ECG detection), as well as the results of coronary angiography (CAG) were collected.
Results
The mean age of the patients was 55 ± 11 years (57% male). Patients were divided according to CAC scores; group A < 10, B 10 – 99, C 100 – 399 and D ≥ 400 (304, 135, 89 and 70 patients respectively). Ischemia detection tests were performed in 531 (89%) patients; negative ischemia results were found in 362 patients (183 in group A, 87 in B, 58 in C, 34 in D). Eighty-eight percent of the patients in group D underwent CAG despite negative ischemia test results, against 6% in group A, 16% in group B and 29% in group C. A positive ischemia test was found in 74 patients (25 in group A, 17 in B, 16 in C, 16 in D). In group D 88% (N = 14) of the patients with a positive ischemia test were referred for CAG, whereas 38 – 47% in group A-C.
Conclusion
Our study showed that patients with a high CAC score are more often referred for CAG. The CAC scores can be used as an aid in daily cardiology practice to determine further decision making.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-8-38
PMCID: PMC2628861  PMID: 19091061
3.  The importance of left ventricular function for long-term outcome after primary percutaneous coronary intervention 
Background
In the present study we sought to determine the long-term prognostic value of left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), assessed by planar radionuclide ventriculography (PRV), after ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) treated with primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PPCI).
Methods
In total 925 patients underwent PRV for LVEF assessment after PPCI for myocardial infarction before discharge from the hospital. PRV was performed with a standard dose of 500 Mbq of 99mTc-pertechnetate. Average follow-up time was 2.5 years.
Results
Mean (± SD) age was 60 ± 12 years. Mean (± SD) LVEF was 45.7 ± 12.2 %. 1 year survival was 97.3 % and 3 year survival was 94.2 %. Killip class, multi vessel-disease, previous cardiovascular events, peak creatin kinase and its MB fraction, age and LVEF proved to be univariate predictors of mortality. When entered in a forward conditional Cox regression model age and LVEF were independent predictors of 1 and 3 year mortality.
Conclusion
LVEF assessed by PRV is a powerful independent predictor of long term mortality after PPCI for STEMI.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-8-4
PMCID: PMC2278125  PMID: 18294397
4.  Boussignac continuous positive airway pressure for the management of acute cardiogenic pulmonary edema: prospective study with a retrospective control group 
Background
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment for acute cardiogenic pulmonary edema can have important benefits in acute cardiac care. However, coronary care units are usually not equipped and their personnel not adequately trained for applying CPAP with mechanical ventilators. Therefore we investigated in the coronary care unit setting the feasibility and outcome of the simple Boussignac mask-CPAP (BCPAP) system that does not need a mechanical ventilator.
Methods
BCPAP was introduced in a coronary care unit where staff had no CPAP experience. All consecutive patients transported to our hospital with acute cardiogenic pulmonary edema, a respiratory rate > 25 breaths/min and a peripheral arterial oxygen saturation of < 95% while receiving oxygen, were included in a prospective BCPAP group that was compared with a historical control group that received conventional treatment with oxygen alone.
Results
During the 2-year prospective BCPAP study period 108 patients were admitted with acute cardiogenic pulmonary edema. Eighty-four of these patients (78%) were treated at the coronary care unit of which 66 (61%) were treated with BCPAP. During the control period 66 patients were admitted over a 1-year period of whom 31 (47%) needed respiratory support in the intensive care unit. BCPAP treatment was associated with a reduced hospital length of stay and fewer transfers to the intensive care unit for intubation and mechanical ventilation. Overall estimated savings of approximately € 3,800 per patient were achieved with the BCPAP strategy compared to conventional treatment.
Conclusion
At the coronary care unit, BCPAP was feasible, medically effective, and cost-effective in the treatment of acute cardiogenic pulmonary edema. Endpoints included mortality, coronary care unit and hospital length of stay, need of ventilatory support, and cost (savings).
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-7-40
PMCID: PMC2233641  PMID: 18096038
5.  Measurement of coronary calcium scores or exercise testing as initial screening tool in asymptomatic subjects with ST-T changes on the resting ECG: an evaluation study 
Background
Asymptomatic subjects at intermediate coronary risk may need diagnostic testing for risk stratification. Both measurement of coronary calcium scores and exercise testing are well established tests for this purpose. However, it is not clear which test should be preferred as initial diagnostic test. We evaluated the prevalence of documented coronary artery disease (CAD) according to calcium scores and exercise test results.
Methods
Asymptomatic subjects with ST-T changes on a rest ECG were selected from the population based PREVEND cohort study and underwent measurement of calcium scores by electron beam tomography and exercise testing. With calcium scores ≥10 or a positive exercise test, myocardial perfusion imaging (MPS) or coronary angiography (CAG) was recommended. The primary endpoint was documented obstructive CAD (≥50% stenosis).
Results
Of 153 subjects included, 149 subjects completed the study protocol. Calcium scores ≥400, 100–399, 10–99 and <10 were found in 16, 29, 18 and 86 subjects and the primary endpoint was present in 11 (69%), 12 (41%), 0 (0%) and 1 (1%) subjects, respectively. A positive, nondiagnostic and negative exercise test was present in 33, 27 and 89 subjects and the primary endpoint was present in 13 (39%), 5 (19%) and 6 (7%) subjects, respectively. Receiver operator characteristics analysis showed that the area under the curve, as measure of diagnostic yield, of 0.91 (95% CI 0.84–0.97) for calcium scores was superior to 0.74 (95% CI 0.64–0.83) for exercise testing (p = 0.004).
Conclusion
Measurement of coronary calcium scores is an appropriate initial non-invasive test in asymptomatic subjects at increased coronary risk.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-7-19
PMCID: PMC1959245  PMID: 17629903
6.  The effect of electrical neurostimulation on collateral perfusion during acute coronary occlusion 
Background
Electrical neurostimulation can be used to treat patients with refractory angina, it reduces angina and ischemia. Previous data have suggested that electrical neurostimulation may alleviate myocardial ischaemia through increased collateral perfusion. We investigated the effect of electrical neurostimulation on functional collateral perfusion, assessed by distal coronary pressure measurement during acute coronary occlusion. We sought to study the effect of electrical neurostimulation on collateral perfusion.
Methods
Sixty patients with stable angina and significant coronary artery disease planned for elective percutaneous coronary intervention were split in two groups. In all patients two balloon inflations of 60 seconds were performed, the first for balloon dilatation of the lesion (first episode), the second for stent delivery (second episode). The Pw/Pa ratio (wedge pressure/aortic pressure) was measured during both ischaemic episodes. Group 1 received 5 minutes of active neurostimulation before plus 1 minute during the first episode, group 2 received 5 minutes of active neurostimulation before plus 1 minute during the second episode.
Results
In group 1 the Pw/Pa ratio decreased by 10 ± 22% from 0.20 ± 0.09 to 0.19 ± 0.09 (p = 0.004) when electrical neurostimulation was deactivated. In group 2 the Pw/Pa ratio increased by 9 ± 15% from 0.22 ± 0.09 to 0.24 ± 0.10 (p = 0.001) when electrical neurostimulation was activated.
Conclusion
Electrical neurostimulation induces a significant improvement in the Pw/Pa ratio during acute coronary occlusion.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-7-18
PMCID: PMC1925118  PMID: 17597524
7.  Are patients with non-ST elevation myocardial infarction undertreated? 
Background
The worse prognosis in patients without ST-elevation (non-STEMI) as compared to ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), may be due to treatment differences. We aimed to evaluate the differences in characteristics, treatment and outcome in patients with non-STEMI versus STEMI in an unselected patient population.
Methods
Individual patient data from all patients in our hospital with a discharge diagnosis of MI between Jan 2001 and Jan 2002 were evaluated. Follow-up data were obtained until December 2004. Patients were categorized according to the presenting electrocardiogram into non-STEMI or STEMI.
Results
A total of 824 patients were discharged with a diagnosis of MI, 29% with non-STEMI and 71% with STEMI. Patients with non-STEMI were significantly older and had a higher cardiovascular risk profile. They underwent less frequently coronary angiography and revascularization and received less often clopidogrel and ACE-inhibitor on discharge. Long-term mortality was significantly higher in the non-STEMI patients as compared to STEMI patients, 20% vs. 12%, p = 0.006, respectively. However, multivariate analysis showed that age, diabetes, hypertension and no reperfusion therapy (but not non-STEMI presentation) were independent and significant predictors of long-term mortality.
Conclusion
In an unselected cohort of patients discharged with MI, there were significant differences in baseline characteristics, and (invasive) treatment between STEMI and non-STEMI. Long-term mortality was also different, but this was due to differences in baseline characteristics and treatment. More aggressive treatment may improve outcome in non-STEMI patients.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-7-8
PMCID: PMC1832214  PMID: 17338808

Results 1-7 (7)