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1.  QTc interval prolongation in HIV-infected patients: a case–control study by 24-hour Holter ECG recording 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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).
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-124
PMCID: PMC3543166  PMID: 23259665
Cardiac autonomic function; HIV; Holter ECG; QTc interval
2.  Wearable defibrillator use in heart failure (WIF): results of a prospective registry 
Background
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.
Methods
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).
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-123
PMCID: PMC3574049  PMID: 23234574
Heart failure; Wearable cardioverter defibrillator; Sudden cardiac death
3.  Early repolarization with horizontal ST segment may be associated with aborted sudden cardiac arrest: a retrospective case control study 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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).
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-122
PMCID: PMC3585746  PMID: 23227992
Sudden cardiac death; Early repolarization; ST segment
4.  Family history as a risk factor for recurrent hospitalization for lone atrial fibrillation: a nationwide family study in Sweden 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-121
PMCID: PMC3523073  PMID: 23227964
Atrial fibrillation; Family history; Risk factors; Genetics
5.  A systematic review of patient reported factors associated with uptake and completion of cardiovascular lifestyle behaviour change 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-120
PMCID: PMC3522009  PMID: 23216627
Health behavior; Primary health care; Cardiovascular diseases; Primary prevention; Lifestyle; Secondary prevention
6.  Prevalence of arterial stiffness in North China, and associations with risk factors of cardiovascular disease: a community-based study 
Background
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).
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-119
PMCID: PMC3523088  PMID: 23217203
Brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity; Arterial stiffness; Risk factor; Cardiovascular disease
7.  Dosing practice of low molecular weight heparins and its efficacy and safety in cardiovascular inpatients: a retrospective study in a Chinese teaching hospital 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-118
PMCID: PMC3538057  PMID: 23217192
Low molecular weight heparin; Dosing practice; Cardiovascular inpatients; Efficacy; Safety
8.  Association between hyperuricemia, prediabetes, and prehypertension in the Croatian adult population - a cross-sectional study 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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).
Conclusion
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.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN31857696
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-117
PMCID: PMC3532093  PMID: 23206588
Hyperuricemia; Prediabetes; Prehypertension; Purine-rich food; Prevalence
9.  SPECT myocardial perfusion imaging as an adjunct to coronary calcium score for the detection of hemodynamically significant coronary artery stenosis 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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%.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-116
PMCID: PMC3527199  PMID: 23206557
Computed tomography coronary calcium scoring; Single photon emission computed tomography myocardial perfusion imaging; Invasive coronary angiography; Coronary artery disease
10.  The in vivo performance of small-caliber nanofibrous polyurethane vascular grafts 
Background
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.
Methods
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).
Results
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.
Conclusions
Small-caliber nanofibrous PU vascular grafts facilitate the endothelialization process, prevent excessive neointimal hyperplasia, and improve patency rates.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-115
PMCID: PMC3523977  PMID: 23206536
Nanofibers; Polyurethane; Small-caliber vascular grafts; Animal study
11.  Incidence of hypertension in a prospective cohort study of adults from Porto, Portugal 
Background
During the past 30 years, Portugal has been described as one of the countries with highest median blood pressure levels in Europe, but the incidence of hypertension is unknown. The aim of this study was to estimate the incidence of hypertension, according to socio-demographic characteristics and lifestyles.
Methods
A population-based cohort of randomly selected dwellers from Porto, Portugal, aged ≥18 years, was assembled in 1999–2003 (EPIPorto study) and 796 hypertension-free individuals (62.6% women) were reassessed after a median of 3.8 years. Hypertension was defined as blood pressure ≥140/90 mmHg and/or antihypertensive drug therapy. Incidence rate ratios (IRR) were estimated using Poisson regression.
Results
The overall incidence rate was 47.3 [95% confidence interval (95% CI): 40.5-55.5] per 1000 person-years. Among women, the incidence was 43.4 (35.6-53.1) and among men 52.7 (41.3-68.0) per 1000 person-years. The incidence was lower in women up to 60 years and much higher among women above 60 (110.0 vs. 64.4 per 1000 person-years among men, p for age-sex interaction=0.032). Participants with higher education had a lower risk of becoming hypertensive (≥13 years vs. ≤4 years: RR=0.70, 95% CI, 0.46-1.08, p for linear trend <0.001), independently of age and sex. Overweight and obesity were associated with a 1.67-fold and 2.44-fold increased risk of hypertension, respectively, independently of age, sex and education.
Conclusions
In this urban Portuguese population the incidence rate of hypertension was high, with new cases occurring predominantly among older subjects, the less educated and those with overweight-obesity. Despite recent progresses in blood pressure related outcomes, the risk of hypertension remains higher in Portugal than in other developed countries.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-114
PMCID: PMC3529102  PMID: 23190867
Adults; Hypertension; Incidence; Portugal
12.  Prevalence and associated factors of hypertension among adults in Gondar, Northwest Ethiopia: a community based cross-sectional study 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-113
PMCID: PMC3519757  PMID: 23186560
Hypertension; Prevalence; Blood Pressure; Ethiopia
13.  Rheumatic Fever Follow-Up Study (RhFFUS) protocol: a cohort study investigating the significance of minor echocardiographic abnormalities in Aboriginal Australian and Torres Strait Islander children 
Background
In Australia, rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is almost exclusively restricted to Aboriginal Australian and Torres Strait Islander people with children being at highest risk. International criteria for echocardiographic diagnosis of RHD have been developed but the significance of minor heart valve abnormalities which do not reach these criteria remains unclear. The Rheumatic Fever Follow-Up Study (RhFFUS) aims to clarify this question in children and adolescents at high risk of RHD.
Methods/design
RhFFUS is a cohort study of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children and adolescents aged 8–17 years residing in 32 remote Australian communities. Cases are people with non-specific heart valve abnormalities detected on prior screening echocardiography. Controls (two per case) are age, gender, community and ethnicity-matched to cases and had a prior normal screening echocardiogram. Participants will have echocardiography about 3 years after initial screening echocardiogram and enhanced surveillance for any history suggestive of acute rheumatic fever (ARF). It will then be determined if cases are at higher risk of (1) ARF or (2) developing progressive echocardiography-detected valve changes consistent with RHD.
The occurrence and timing of episodes of ARF will be assessed retrospectively for 5 years from the time of the RhFFUS echocardiogram. Episodes of ARF will be identified through regional surveillance and notification databases, carer/subject interviews, primary healthcare history reviews, and hospital separation diagnoses.
Progression of valvular abnormalities will be assessed prospectively using transthoracic echocardiography and standardized operating and reporting procedures. Progression of valve lesions will be determined by specialist cardiologist readers who will assess the initial screening and subsequent RhFFUS screening echocardiogram for each participant. The readers will be blinded to the initial assessment and temporal order of the two echocardiograms.
Discussion
RhFFUS will determine if subtle changes on echocardiography represent the earliest changes of RHD or mere variations of normal heart anatomy. In turn it will inform criteria to be used in determining whether secondary antibiotic prophylaxis should be utilized in individuals with no clear history of ARF and minor abnormalities on echocardiography. RhFFUS will also inform the ongoing debate regarding the potential role of screening echocardiography for the detection of RHD in this setting.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-111
PMCID: PMC3536578  PMID: 23186515
Rheumatic heart disease; Acute rheumatic fever; Screening; Aboriginal; Torres Strait Islander; Indigenous; Diagnosis; Prevention; Australia; Echocardiography
14.  Electrocardiogram features of premature ventricular contractions/ventricular tachycardia originating from the left ventricular outflow tract and the treatment outcome of radiofrequency catheter ablation 
Background
Radiofrequency catheter ablation (RFCA) has been used for the ablation of premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) or ventricular tachycardia (VT). To date, the mapping and catheter ablation of the arrhythmias originating from the left ventricular outflow tract (LVOT) has not been specified. This study investigates the electrocardiogram (ECG) feature of PVCs or VT originating from the LVOT. Moreover, the treatment outcome of RFCA is analyzed.
Methods
Mapping and ablation were performed on the supravalvular or subvalvular aorta in 52 cases with PVCs/VT originating from the LVOT. The data were compared with those from 104 patients with PVCs/VT originating from the right ventricular outflow tract (RVOT). A differential procedure was prepared based on the comparison of the ECG features of PVCs/VT originating from the RVOT, LVOT, and their different parts.
Results
Among 52 cases with PVCs originating from the LVOT, 47 were successfully treated by RFCA, with a success rate of 90.38%. Several differences among the 12-lead ECG features were observed from the RVOT and LVOT in the left and right coronary sinus groups, as well as under the left coronary sinus group (left fibrous trigone): (1) If the precordial leads transition 0 are considered as the diagnostic parameters of PVCs/VT originating from the LVOT, then the sensitivity, specificity, as well as positive and negative predictive values are 94.12%, 93.00%, 87.27%, and 96.88%, respectively; (2) The analysis of different subgroups of the LVOT are as follows: (a) A mainly positive wave of r or m pattern was recorded in the lead I in 72.73% of patients in the right coronary sinus group, versus 12.90% of patients in the left coronary sinus group, and 0% in the under left coronary sinus group. (b) All patients in the right coronary sinus group presented waves of RII>RIII and QSaVR>QSaVL, whereas most patients in the other two groups showed waves of RIII>RII and QSaVL>QSaVR. (c) Most patients in the under left coronary sinus group in lead V1 had a mainly positive wave (R) (77.78%), whereas those in the right (81.82%) and left (62.50%) coronary sinus groups had mainly negative waves (rS).
Conclusions
RFCA is a safe and effective curative therapy for PVCs/VT originating from the LVOT. The 12-lead ECG features of the LVOT from different origins exhibit certain distinctions.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-112
PMCID: PMC3571934  PMID: 23186541
Electrophysiology; Ventricular arrhythmia; Left ventricular outflow; Catheter ablation; Radiofrequency current
15.  Rescue pulmonary vein isolation for hemodynamically unstable atrial fibrillation storm in a patient with an acute extensive myocardial infarction 
Background
New-onset atrial fibrillation in patients hospitalized for an acute myocardial infarction often leads to hemodynamic deterioration and has serious adverse prognostic implications; mortality is particularly high in patients with congestive heart failure and/or a reduced left ventricular ejection fraction. The mechanism of atrial fibrillation in the context of an acute myocardial infarction has not been well characterized and an effective treatment other than optimal medical therapy and mechanical hemodynamic support are expected.
Case presentation
A 71 year-old male with an acute myocardial infarction due to an occlusion of the left main coronary artery was treated with percutaneous coronary intervention. He had developed severe congestive heart failure with a left ventricular ejection fraction of 34%. The systemic circulation was maintained with an intraaortic balloon pump, continuous hemodiafiltration, and mechanical ventilation until atrial fibrillation occurred on day 3 which immediately led to cardiogenic shock. Because atrial fibrillation was refractory to intravenous amiodarone, beta-blockers, and a total of 15 electrical cardioversions, the patient underwent emergent radiofrequency catheter ablation on day 4. Soon after electrical cardioversion, ectopies from the right superior pulmonary vein triggered the initiation of atrial fibrillation. The right pulmonary veins were isolated during atrial fibrillation. Again, atrial fibrillation was electrically cardioverted, then, sinus rhythm was restored. Subsequently, the left pulmonary veins were isolated. The stabilization of the hemodynamics was successfully achieved with an increase in the blood pressure and urine volume. Hemodiafiltration and amiodarone were discontinued. The patient had been free from atrial fibrillation recurrence until he suddenly died due to ventricular fibrillation on day 9.
Conclusions
To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of pulmonary vein isolation for a rescue purpose applied in a patient with hemodymically unstable atrial fibrillation complicated with an acute myocardial infarction. This case demonstrates that ectopic activity in the pulmonary veins may be responsible for triggering atrial fibrillation in the critical setting of an acute myocardial infarction and thus pulmonary vein isolation could be an effective therapeutic option.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-110
PMCID: PMC3518170  PMID: 23181393
Atrial fibrillation; Acute myocardial infarction; Cardiogenic shock; Catheter ablation; Congestive heart failure; Pulmonary vein isolation
16.  Assessment of left ventricular geometrical patterns and function among hypertensive patients at a tertiary hospital, Northern Tanzania 
Background
With hypertension, the cardiovascular system changes to adapt to the varying neuro-humoral and hemodynamic changes and this may lead to the development of different left ventricular geometric patterns, each carrying a different risk profile for major adverse cardiovascular events.
Methods
Using a consecutive sampling technique, a cross-sectional, prospective, hospital based study was done and two hundred and twenty seven (227) hypertensive patients were studied.
Results
The distribution of different abnormal LV geometrical patterns was 19.8%, 28.2%, 22% for concentric remodelling, concentric hypertrophy and eccentric hypertrophy respectively. With echocardiographic criteria, the proportion of patients with left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) was higher when left ventricular mass (LVM) was indexed to height2.7 than to body surface area (70.0% vs. 52.9%). Duration of hypertension markedly influenced the type of LV geometry with normal LV geometry predominating in early hypertension and abnormal geometrical patterns predominating in late hypertension. The left ventricular fractional shortening decreased with duration of hypertension and was common in patients with eccentric hypertrophy. Age of the patient, systolic blood pressure, duration of hypertension and body mass index were found to be independent predictors left ventricular hypertrophy.
Conclusion
About 70% of hypertensive patients had abnormal geometry existing in different patterns. Eccentric hypertrophy had more of clinical and echocardiographic features suggestive of reduced left ventricular systolic function. Hypertensive patients should be recognized as a heterogeneous population and therefore stratifying them into their respective LV geometrical patterns is useful as way of assessing their risk profile as well as instituting appropriate management.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-109
PMCID: PMC3528419  PMID: 23173763
Echocardiography; Essential hypertension; Left ventricular hypertrophy; Left ventricular geometry; Left ventricular mass index; Left ventricular function
17.  Gout and subsequent increased risk of cardiovascular mortality in non-diabetics aged 50 and above: a population-based cohort study in Taiwan 
Background
Limited data are available on the risk ratios for fatal cardiovascular disease (CVD) outcome from gout and chronic kidney disease (CKD) in non-diabetic individuals.
Methods
Nationwide population-based retrospective prospective study with a 5-year follow-up to investigate the association between physician-diagnosed gout and CKD in non-diabetics aged 50 and above who had no pre-existing serious CVD and the subsequent risk of death from CVD. Hazard ratios (HR) of CVD mortality were adjusted for gender, age, smoking- and alcoholism-related diagnoses, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, atrial fibrillation and Charlson’s comorbidity index score.
Results
A case cohort (n=164,463) having gout and a control cohort (n= 3,694,377) having no gout were formed. The prevalence of gout in this study was 4.26% whereas that of gout plus CKD was 8.17%. Male to female ratio among the individuals with gout was 3.2:1. The relative risk (RR) of subsequent cardiovascular mortality between the case and control cohort was 1.71 (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.66-1.75). The presence of CKD in nondiabetic subjects with no gout (control group) has a RR of CVD mortality at 3.05 (95% CI, 2.94-3.15). The presence of gout has protective effect on subjects with CKD with a RR of 1.84 (95% CI, 1.71-1.98). As compared with individuals with no gout, the adjusted HR (aHR) for CVD mortality among the individuals with gout was 1.10 (95% CI 1.07-1.13). In a Cox model, when compared with subjects having neither gout nor CKD, the aHR in subjects with no gout but with CKD is 1.76 (95% CI, 1.70-1.82); in subjects with gout but without CKD, 1.10 (1.07-1.13); interestingly, the aHR is attenuated in subjects with concomitant gout plus CKD which is 1.38 (1.29-1.48).
Conclusions
Among non-diabetic individuals aged 50 years or above who had no preceding serious CVD, those with gout were 1.1 times more likely to die from CVD as were individuals without gout. The presence of gout appears to attenuate the risk of subsequent CV mortality in subjects with CKD. Further studies should focus on finding an explanation for the protective effect of gout on CV mortality in patients with CKD.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-108
PMCID: PMC3556493  PMID: 23170782
18.  Upstream therapy with statin and recurrence of atrial fibrillation after electrical cardioversion. Review of the literature and meta-analysis 
Background
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained arrhythmia observed in clinical practice. Electrical cardioversion (EC) is commonly used to restore and maintain sinus rhythm but it is characterized by high rate of recurrences. Several trials analyzed the effects of statins to reduce the recurrences in AF with contradictory results.
Methods
We performed a meta-analysis of the interventional trials with statins in patients with persistent AF to evaluate recurrences after EC. Only randomized controlled trials were included in the analysis. Data sources included: Medline, ISI Web of Science, SCOPUS and Cochrane database (up to June 2012). Data extraction was performed by three authors. Study-specific odds ratios (ORs) were combined using fixed-effects model.
Results
Six studies with 515 patients were included in the analysis. Statins used in the selected trials were: atorvastatin (at dosages ranging from 10 to 80 mg/day), pravastatin (40 mg/day) and rosuvastatin (20 mg/day). AF recurrence after EC occurred in 108/258 (41.8%) of patients treated with statins and in 132/257 (51.3%) patients not on treatment with statins. Compared with control, recurrences were significantly reduced with statin treatment (O.R.: 0.662; 95% C.I., 0.45-0.96; p=0.03); statin treatment was associated with an absolute risk reduction of 0.095 and a number needed to treat of 11.
Conclusions
This review suggests that statin therapy was significantly associated with a decreased risk of recurrence in patients with persistent AF after EC.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-107
PMCID: PMC3511171  PMID: 23171447
Atrial fibrillation; Statin; Electrical cardioversion
19.  Prevalence and severity of atherosclerosis in extra cranial carotid arteries in Nigeria: an autopsy study 
Background
There has been a paucity of autopsy studies on atherosclerotic lesions in Nigerians, the last one conducted at our centre being more than four decades ago. There has also been considerable epidemiological transition. The objective of the study was to determine the frequency, severity, pattern and distribution of atherosclerotic lesions in extra cranial carotid arteries (ECCA) in Nigerians at autopsy.
Methods
ECCA of 30 consecutive Nigerian patients undergoing autopsy at a University teaching hospital were examined using the American Heart Association (AHA) histological grading and classification of atherosclerosis.
Results
Atherosclerotic lesions of ECCA were present in 73.3% of the subjects with the right and the left carotid bifurcations (28.3%) being the most frequently affected sites. Using the AHA classification of atherosclerosis, a total of 176(73.3%) lesions were found in the 240 histological sections of blood vessels examined. Of these, 22.5% were types I, 22.5% were types II, 15.4% were type V, and 7.5% were type III. The VII to type IX lesions were rare. When these atherosclerotic lesions were grouped into mild, moderate and severe, 52.5% were mild lesions (types I-III); 18.3% were moderate lesions (types IV and V); and 2.5% were severe lesions (types VI to IX). The severe lesions were most frequently observed in the left carotid bifurcation (50%) and they first appeared in the age group 45–49 years. Age, hypertension and diabetes mellitus were strong risk factors for atherosclerosis.
Conclusions
Compared with four decades ago there has been an apparent increase in severity and extent of ECCA atherosclerosis especially after the age of 45 years in autopsies from our centre. This change in the amount of atherosclerosis over time is possibly due to the epidemiologic transition. This may worsen the rise in stoke incidence within this community and as such, great effort should be made to follow-up and manage CVD risk factors within the community.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-106
PMCID: PMC3511262  PMID: 23153371
Extra cranial atherosclerosis; Plaques; Nigerians; Autopsy; Cardiovascular risk factors
20.  Heart rate variability and target organ damage in hypertensive patients 
Background
We evaluated the association between linear standard Heart Rate Variability (HRV) measures and vascular, renal and cardiac target organ damage (TOD).
Methods
A retrospective analysis was performed including 200 patients registered in the Regione Campania network (aged 62.4 ± 12, male 64%). HRV analysis was performed by 24-h holter ECG. Renal damage was assessed by estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), vascular damage by carotid intima-media thickness (IMT), and cardiac damage by left ventricular mass index.
Results
Significantly lower values of the ratio of low to high frequency power (LF/HF) were found in the patients with moderate or severe eGFR (p-value < 0.001). Similarly, depressed values of indexes of the overall autonomic modulation on heart were found in patients with plaque compared to those with a normal IMT (p-value <0.05). These associations remained significant after adjustment for other factors known to contribute to the development of target organ damage, such as age. Moreover, depressed LF/HF was found also in patients with left ventricular hypertrophy but this association was not significant after adjustment for other factors.
Conclusions
Depressed HRV appeared to be associated with vascular and renal TOD, suggesting the involvement of autonomic imbalance in the TOD. However, as the mechanisms by which abnormal autonomic balance may lead to TOD, and, particularly, to renal organ damage are not clearly known, further prospective studies with longitudinal design are needed to determine the association between HRV and the development of TOD.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-105
PMCID: PMC3536621  PMID: 23153340
Heart Rate Variability; Target organ damage; Hypertension
21.  Left atrial endocarditis as a rare complication of mitral valve endocarditis: a clinical case 
Background
Infective Endocarditis (IE) is considered as a multifaceted problem in every aspect from etiology and presentation to diagnosis and management. Early recognition of this disease and especially its complications, remain a critical task for the cardiologist. Atrial endocarditis is a rare and sometimes unrecognized complication of mitral valve endocarditis.
Case presentation
We present a 48 year-old male patient who was admitted to our clinic because of recent onset of malaise, fever, jaundice and peripheral edema. Important physical findings were peripheral stigmata of IE in addition to holosystolic murmur over the left sternal border. Transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiophy revealed a severe eccentric MR due to a flailed posterior mitral valve caused by IE. The presence of atrial septal endocarditis caused by jet streaming was also observed. Blood culture was positive for streptococcus oralis and antibiotic therapy was immediately initiated. Considering the large burden of infective tissue, the patient was planned for an early surgical intervention. A minimally invasive resection of the atrial mass, direct closure of the defect, resection of the diseased portions of mitral leaflets and implantation of a biological mitral valve prosthesis was performed. Intra-operative and histological findings confirmed provisional diagnosis by echocardiography.
Conclusions
Together with comprehensive echocardiographic evaluation, attention should be placed on mural vegetations and excluded among all cases of mitral valve endocarditis, particularly those with severe eccentric regurgitant jets.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-103
PMCID: PMC3507814  PMID: 23151277
22.  Prognostic value of admission heart rate in patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction: Role of Type 2 diabetes mellitus 
Background
It’s unknown whether the prognostic value of admission heart rate (HR) was different in patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) with or without concomitant type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).
Methods
Consecutive STEMI patients who presented within 12 hours of symptom onset were recruited from 274 hospitals in China. Participants were stratified into quartiles by admission HR. Baseline characteristics, current therapeutic recommenda- tions, laboratory biochemical tests, 30-day all-cause mortality and Cardiovascular Events (CVE, including all-cause death, reinfarction and stroke) were compared across admission HR quartiles.
Results
We evaluated 7294 STEMI patients, of these 820 (11.2%) had known T2DM. The admission HR quartile stratification was significantly associated with all-cause mortality and CVE regardless of T2DM status (P < 0.001 both for survival and CVE). After adjusted other risk factors, in patients without T2DM, comparing with HR <66 b.p.m., the increase of HR level was associated with worse prognosis (P < 0.05). In patients with T2DM, the hazard ratios for 30-day CVE were 1.75 (95%CI), 1.92 (95%CI), 3.00 (95%CI) in the HR of 66–76 b.p.m., 77–88 b.p.m., and >88 b.p.m., respectively. Results were similar for 30-day all-cause mortality, but the hazard ratios in Q2 (P = 0.139 and P =0.086 for survival and CVE, respectively) and Q3 groups were non-significant (P = 0.072 and P =0.033 for survival and CVE, respectively). There was a significant interaction effect of HR and T2DM on 30-day CVE mortality (P = 0.035), which was not found on all-cause mortality (P = 0.126).
Conclusion
Admission heart rate was an important risk factor of 30-day all-cause mortality and CVE in patients with STEMI with or without T2DM. However, the predictive effect was modified by T2DM.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-104
PMCID: PMC3521170  PMID: 23153317
Heart rate; ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction; Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus; Prognosis
23.  Obesity, metabolic syndrome, impaired fasting glucose, and microvascular dysfunction: a principal component analysis approach 
Background
We aimed to evaluate the multivariate association between functional microvascular variables and clinical-laboratorial-anthropometrical measurements.
Methods
Data from 189 female subjects (34.0±15.5 years, 30.5±7.1 kg/m2), who were non-smokers, non-regular drug users, without a history of diabetes and/or hypertension, were analyzed by principal component analysis (PCA). PCA is a classical multivariate exploratory tool because it highlights common variation between variables allowing inferences about possible biological meaning of associations between them, without pre-establishing cause-effect relationships. In total, 15 variables were used for PCA: body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, systolic and diastolic blood pressure (BP), fasting plasma glucose, levels of total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c), triglycerides (TG), insulin, C-reactive protein (CRP), and functional microvascular variables measured by nailfold videocapillaroscopy. Nailfold videocapillaroscopy was used for direct visualization of nutritive capillaries, assessing functional capillary density, red blood cell velocity (RBCV) at rest and peak after 1 min of arterial occlusion (RBCVmax), and the time taken to reach RBCVmax (TRBCVmax).
Results
A total of 35% of subjects had metabolic syndrome, 77% were overweight/obese, and 9.5% had impaired fasting glucose. PCA was able to recognize that functional microvascular variables and clinical-laboratorial-anthropometrical measurements had a similar variation. The first five principal components explained most of the intrinsic variation of the data. For example, principal component 1 was associated with BMI, waist circumference, systolic BP, diastolic BP, insulin, TG, CRP, and TRBCVmax varying in the same way. Principal component 1 also showed a strong association among HDL-c, RBCV, and RBCVmax, but in the opposite way. Principal component 3 was associated only with microvascular variables in the same way (functional capillary density, RBCV and RBCVmax). Fasting plasma glucose appeared to be related to principal component 4 and did not show any association with microvascular reactivity.
Conclusions
In non-diabetic female subjects, a multivariate scenario of associations between classic clinical variables strictly related to obesity and metabolic syndrome suggests a significant relationship between these diseases and microvascular reactivity.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-102
PMCID: PMC3534385  PMID: 23148545
Microcirculation; Capillaries; Obesity; Metabolic syndrome; Impaired fasting glucose; Principal component analysis
24.  A case report of type VI dual left anterior descending coronary artery anomaly presenting with non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction 
Background
Type VI dual left anterior descending artery (LAD) is a rare coronary anomaly, the first case of which has recently been described. This is the first report of type VI dual LAD anomaly in which the patient presented with non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction and percutaneous coronary intervention was performed in the anomalously originating LAD.
Case presentation
A 52-year-old man with diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia presented with chest pain without ST elevation on EKG, although the patient’s troponin I level was elevated. Coronary angiography revealed a short LAD originating from the left main coronary artery and a long LAD originating from the proximal portion of the right coronary artery (RCA). Three-dimensional reconstruction of computed tomography of images revealed that the long LAD originated from the proximal RCA and coursed between the right ventricular outflow tract (RVOT) and the aortic root before entering the mid anterior interventricular groove. The high take-off RCA originated underneath the RVOT, pointing downwards and forming an acute angle with the proximal portion of the long LAD. The anomalous long LAD displayed significant stenosis. We performed successful percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) in the anomalous artery.
Conclusion
With accurate understanding of the coronary anatomy and appropriate hardware selection, successful PCI can be performed in the in the long LAD in patients with type VI dual LAD anomaly.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-101
PMCID: PMC3509398  PMID: 23148519
Type VI dual LAD anomaly; Percutaneous coronary intervention; Computed tomographic coronary angiography
25.  Left atrial volume index and aortic stiffness index in adult hemodialysed patients - link between compliance and pressure mediated by endothelium dysfunction; a cross-sectional study 
Background
This study was performed to investigate the relationship between elastic properties of aorta and left atrium volume index (LAVI) in hemodialyzed (HD) patients.
Methods
Study group was consisted of 73 patients (age 51,6 ± 7,6 years) treated by hemodialysis. In all patients standard echocardiography was performed. Aortic stiffness index (ASI) was calculated using formula: ASI = log (SBP/DBP)/[(Aomax-Aomin)/Aomin]. LAVI was calculated according to the formula: LAVI = [π/6 x (LAmax x LAshort x LAlong)]/m2. Additionally several indices were calculated: left ventricle mass (LVM), left ventricle mass index (LVMI), midwall fractional shortening (mFS), endsystolic stress (ESS), mFS/ESS. Additionally the laboratory parameters including lipidogram, troponin T (cTnT), NT-proBNP and asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) were measured.
Results
The ASI was strong and significantly correlated with left atrium volume (LAV) and LAVI (respectively: 0,601; p < 0,001 and 0,598; p < 0,001). The ASI was independently and markedly associated with ADMA, cTnT, CRP, T-chol, and LDL-chol. The LAVI was independently and significantly correlated with NT-proBNP and cTnT.
Conclusions
There is correlation between ASI and ADMA, marker of endothelium dysfunction. There is also association between LAVI and NT-proBNP, signs of elevated left atrium pressure. The strong correlation between ASI and LAVI, improved by associations of specific biochemical markers with these echocardiographic indices, suggests there is the link between elastic properties of aorta and left atrium pressure in hemodialysed patients mediated by endothelial dysfunction.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-100
PMCID: PMC3519803  PMID: 23122326
Left atrium volume index; Aortic stiffness; NT-pro BNP; Asymmetric dimethylarginine; End-stage renal disease; Hemodialysis

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