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1.  Duration of clopidogrel treatment and risk of mortality and recurrent myocardial infarction among 11 680 patients with myocardial infarction treated with percutaneous coronary intervention: a cohort study 
Background
The optimal duration of clopidogrel treatment after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is unclear. We studied the risk of death or recurrent myocardial infarction (MI) in relation to 6- and 12-months clopidogrel treatment among MI patients treated with PCI.
Methods
Using nationwide registers of hospitalizations and drug dispensing from pharmacies we identified 11 680 patients admitted with MI, treated with PCI and clopidogrel. Clopidogrel treatment was categorized in a 6-months and a 12-months regimen. Rates of death, recurrent MI or a combination of both were analyzed by the Kaplan Meier method and Cox proportional hazards models. Bleedings were compared between treatment regimens.
Results
The Kaplan Meier analysis indicated no benefit of the 12-months regimen compared with the 6-months in all endpoints. The Cox proportional hazards analysis confirmed these findings with hazard ratios for the 12-months regimen (the 6-months regimen used as reference) for the composite endpoint of 1.01 (confidence intervals 0.81-1.26) and 1.24 (confidence intervals 0.95-1.62) for Day 0-179 and Day 180-540 after discharge. Bleedings occurred in 3.5% and 4.1% of the patients in the 6-months and 12-months regimen (p = 0.06).
Conclusions
We found comparable rates of death and recurrent MI in patients treated with 6- and 12-months' clopidogrel. The potential benefit of prolonged clopidogrel treatment in a real-life setting remains uncertain.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-10-6
PMCID: PMC2837608  PMID: 20113477
2.  Association of iron overload based quantitative T2* MRI technique and carotid intima-media thickness in patients with beta-thalassemia: A cross-sectional study 
Background
Body iron status has been implicated in atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. The main hypothesis is that high iron status is associated with increased risk of atherosclerosis. We investigated the potential role of iron as an additional risk factor promoting atherosclerosis among beta-thalassemic patients.
Methods
In this cross-sectional study, the liver iron load was assessed by quantitative T2* MRI technique and intima-media thickness (IMT) of the common carotid artery by high-resolution ultrasound among 119 patients (62 male, 57 female) with beta-thalassemia (major and intermediate) whose age ranged from 10 to 50 years with a mean of 25.6 years. The patients were divided into three groups according to the severity of iron loading, obtained by T2*MRI technique: group I (normal), group II (mild) and group III (moderate and severe) iron load.
For elimination of the effect of age on carotid IMT values, the patients also were divided into four age groups (10-19 y, 20-29 y, 30-39 y and 40-50 y). Mean carotid IMT based on the severity of iron loading were compared at different age groups, using one way ANOVA analysis for assessing the effect of iron loading on carotid IMT. Pearson's coefficient of correlation were used to assess the degree of correlation between studied variables (liver T2*, IMT, age).
Results
There were significant differences in mean carotid IMT based on the severity of iron loading at different age groups, with P = 0.003 at 20-29 y, P = 0.006 at 30-39 y and p = 0.037 at 40-50 y. Age (p = 0.001) and liver T2*(p = 0.003) had significant correlation with mean carotid IMT independently.
At the age group of 10-19 years, there were not significant differences in mean carotid IMT based on the liver iron loading (p = 0.661).
No significant differences also are seen in mean carotid IMT between male and female (p = 0.41).
Conclusions
This study identified a relationship between body iron status and carotid IMT. This relationship support to the hypothesis of a link between body iron load and atherosclerosis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-10-62
PMCID: PMC3022787  PMID: 21194437
3.  The impact of a 6-year comprehensive community trial on the awareness, treatment and control rates of hypertension in Iran: experiences from the Isfahan healthy heart program 
Objectives
We aimed to evaluate the changes over time in the prevalence, awareness, treatment, and control rate of hypertension in intervention and reference areas of a comprehensive community trial with reference area.
Methods
Data from independent sample surveys before and after implementation of the program (2001 vs.2007) were used to compare differences in the intervention and references areas over time. Hypertension was defined as blood pressure ≥140/90 mmHg in non-diabetic patients and ≥130/80 mmHg in diabetic individuals and or taking antihypertensive medications. Interventional activities included educational strategies at population level as well as for hypertensive patients, their families and health professionals.
Results
The study population of the baseline survey included 6175 (48.7% males) in the interventional area and 6339 (51.3% male) in the reference area. The corresponding figures in the post-intervention phase was 4717 (49.3% male) in the interventional area and 4853 (50.7% male) individuals in the reference area. The prevalence of hypertension had a non-significant decrease from 20.5%to 19.6%, in the interventional area whereas in the reference area, it increased from 17.4% to 19.6% (P = 0.003). If we consider Bp ≥ 140/90 in diabetic and non-diabetic patients as hypertension definition, the prevalence of hypertension in the interventional areas had a non-significant decrease from 18.9% in 2001 to 17.8% in 2007, whereas in the reference area, it had a significant rise from 15.7% to 17.9% (P = 0.002) respectively. Awareness, treatment and control rates of hypertension had better improvement in urban and rural part of the interventional area compared to reference area. The awareness, treatment, and control rates of hypertension increased significantly in the age groups of more than 40 years, as well as in all groups of body mass index in interventional areas without significant change in the reference area. Mean systolic blood pressure of study population in the interventional area decreased from 116.13 ±19.37 to 112.92 ± 18.27 mmHg (P < 0.001) without significant change in reference area.
Conclusions
This comprehensive and integrated program of interventions was effective in tackling with the prevalence of hypertension, and may improve the awareness, treatment and control rates of this disorder in a developing country setting.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-10-61
PMCID: PMC3023732  PMID: 21172033
4.  ACE gene insertion/deletion polymorphism has a mild influence on the acute development of left ventricular dysfunction in patients with ST elevation myocardial infarction treated with primary PCI 
Background
We evaluated the associations among angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) gene insertion/deletion (I/D) polymorphism, ACE activity and post-myocardial infarction (MI) left ventricular dysfunction and acute heart failure (AHF) early after presentation with MI with ST-segment elevation (STEMI).
Methods
A total of 556 patients with STEMI treated by primary PCI (421 patients without AHF and 135 patients with AHF) were the study population. The activity of BNP, NT-ProBNP and ACE were measured at hospital admission and 24 h after MI onset. Left ventricular angiography was done before PCI; echocardiography was undertaken between the third and fifth day after MI.
Results
In comparison with the II genotypes group, the DD/ID group had a higher level of ACE activity upon hospital admission (p < 0.001). We found a significantly higher level of ACE activity in patients with moderate LV dysfunction (EF 40-54%) in comparison both with patients with preserved LV function (EF ≥55%) and with patients with severe LV dysfunction (p = 0.028). A non-significant trend towards a higher incidence of mild AHF (22.1% vs. 16.02%, p = 0,093), a significantly higher value of end-systolic volume (ESV/BSA) (30.0 ± 12.3 vs. 28.5 ± 13.0; p < 0.05) and lower EF (50.2 ± 11.1 vs. 52.7 ± 11.7; p < 0.05) in the DD/ID genotypes group was noted. Even after multiple adjustments according to multivariate models, the EF for the DD/ID group remained significantly lower (p = 0,033). The DD/ID genotypes were associated with a significantly higher risk of EF <45% (OR 2.04 [95% CI 1.28; 3.25]).
Conclusions
These results suggest that the I/D polymorphism of ACE is associated with the development of LV dysfunction in the acute phase after STEMI. We demonstrated for the first time an association of the low ACE activity with the severe LV dysfunction, although patients with moderate LV dysfunction had higher level ACE activity than patients with preserved LV function.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-10-60
PMCID: PMC3022786  PMID: 21162760
5.  The effect of tobacco smoking and treatment strategy on the one-year mortality of patients with acute non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction 
Background
The aim of the present study was to investigate whether a previously shown survival benefit resulting from routine early invasive management of unselected patients with acute non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI) may differ according to smoking status and age.
Methods
Post-hoc analysis of a prospective observational cohort study of consecutive patients admitted for NSTEMI in 2003 (conservative strategy cohort [CS]; n = 185) and 2006 (invasive strategy cohort [IS]; n = 200). A strategy for transfer to a high-volume invasive center and routine early invasive management was implemented in 2005. Patients were subdivided into current smokers and non-smokers (including ex-smokers) on admission.
Results
The one-year mortality rate of smokers was reduced from 37% in the CS to 6% in the IS (p < 0.001), and from 30% to 23% for non-smokers (p = 0.18). Non-smokers were considerably older than smokers (median age 80 vs. 63 years, p < 0.001). The percentage of smokers who underwent revascularization (angioplasty or coronary artery bypass grafting) within 7 days increased from 9% in the CS to 53% in the IS (p < 0.001). The corresponding numbers for non-smokers were 5% and 27% (p < 0.001). There was no interaction between strategy and age (p = 0.25), as opposed to a significant interaction between strategy and smoking status (p = 0.024). Current smoking was an independent predictor of one-year mortality (hazard ratio 2.61, 95% confidence interval 1.43-4.79, p = 0.002).
Conclusions
The treatment effect of an early invasive strategy in unselected patients with NSTEMI was more pronounced among smokers than non-smokers. The benefit for smokers was not entirely explained by differences in baseline confounders, such as their younger age.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-10-59
PMCID: PMC3009612  PMID: 21159165
6.  The dynamics of mortality in follow-up time after an acute myocardial infarction, lower extremity arterial disease and ischemic stroke 
Background
Most studies providing data on survival in patients with atherosclerosis only address a single disease site: heart, brain or legs. Therefore, our objective was to determine risk of death after first hospital admission for atherosclerotic disease located at different sites.
Methods
A nationwide cohort of patients hospitalized for the first time for acute myocardial infarction (AMI), peripheral arterial disease of the lower extremities (PAD) or ischemic stroke was identified through linkage of national registers. The mortality rate in AMI patients was compared to mortality rate in ischemic stroke and PAD patients by estimating relative risks (with 95%CI). Cox's proportional hazard models were used to estimate sex differences in risk of death.
Results
Case fatality was high for ischemic stroke patients (men:21.0%, women:23.8%) and AMI patients (men:12.7%, women:20.9%) though low for PAD patients (men:2.4%, women:3.5%). The five-year risk of death was similar for male AMI compared to PAD patients (men: RR1.04; 95%CI 0.98-1.11). The risk of death for ischemic stroke patients remained the highest though the differences with AMI and PAD patients attenuated.
Conclusions
The dynamics of mortality over follow-up time clearly differ between atherosclerotic diseases, located at different vascular beds. The risk of death increases considerably over follow-up time for PAD patients, and 5 years after first hospital admission the differences in risks of death between AMI- and PAD patients and between AMI- and ischemic stroke patients have largely attenuated. Clinicians should be aware of these dynamics of mortality over follow-up time to provide optimal secondary prevention treatment.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-10-57
PMCID: PMC3003625  PMID: 21106115
7.  Association of health behaviour with heart rate variability: a population-based study 
Background
Reduced heart rate variability (HRV), a non-invasive marker of autonomic dysfunction, and an unhealthy lifestyle are associated with an increased morbidity and mortality of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). The autonomic dysfunction is a potential mediator of the association of behavioural risk factors with adverse health outcomes. We studied the association of HRV with behavioural risk factors in an elderly population.
Methods
This analysis was based on the cross-sectional data of 1671 participants (age range, 45-83 years) of the prospective, population-based Cardiovascular Disease, Living and Ageing in Halle (CARLA) Study. Physical activity, smoking habits, alcohol consumption and dietary patterns were assessed in standardized interviews. Time and frequency domain measures of HRV were computed from 5-min segments of highly standardized 20-min electrocardiograms. Their association with behavioural risk factors was determined by linear and non-parametric regression modelling.
Results
There were only weak and inconsistent associations of higher physical activity, moderate consumption of alcohol, and non-smoking with higher time and frequency domain HRV in both sexes, and no association with dietary pattern. Results changed only marginally by excluding subjects with CVD, diabetes mellitus and use of cardioactive medication.
Conclusion
We hypothesized that HRV is associated with behavioural factors and therefore might be a mediator of the effect of behavioural risk factors on CVD, but this hypothesis was not confirmed by our results. These findings support the interpretation that there may be no true causal association of behavioural factors with HRV.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-10-58
PMCID: PMC3004825  PMID: 21108803
8.  Distribution, size, shape, growth potential and extent of abdominal aortic calcified deposits predict mortality in postmenopausal women 
Background
Aortic calcification is a major risk factor for death from cardiovascular disease. We investigated the relationship between mortality and the composite markers of number, size, morphology and distribution of calcified plaques in the lumbar aorta.
Methods
308 postmenopausal women aged 48-76 were followed for 8.3 ± 0.3 years, with deaths related to cardiovascular disease, cancer, or other causes being recorded. From lumbar X-rays at baseline the number (NCD), size, morphology and distribution of aortic calcification lesions were scored and combined into one Morphological Atherosclerotic Calcification Distribution (MACD) index. The hazard ratio for mortality was calculated for the MACD and for three other commonly used predictors: the EU SCORE card, the Framingham Coronary Heart Disease Risk Score (Framingham score), and the gold standard Aortic Calcification Severity score (AC24) developed from the Framingham Heart Study cohorts.
Results
All four scoring systems showed increasing age, smoking, and raised triglyceride levels were the main predictors of mortality after adjustment for all other metabolic and physical parameters. The SCORE card and the Framingham score resulted in a mortality hazard ratio increase per standard deviation (HR/SD) of 1.8 (1.51-2.13) and 2.6 (1.87-3.71), respectively. Of the morphological x-ray based measures, NCD revealed a HR/SD >2 adjusted for SCORE/Framingham. The MACD index scoring the distribution, size, morphology and number of lesions revealed the best predictive power for identification of patients at risk of mortality, with a hazard ratio of 15.6 (p < 0.001) for the 10% at greatest risk of death.
Conclusions
This study shows that it is not just the extent of aortic calcification that predicts risk of mortality, but also the distribution, shape and size of calcified lesions. The MACD index may provide a more sensitive predictor of mortality from aortic calcification than the commonly used AC24 and SCORE/Framingham point card systems.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-10-56
PMCID: PMC2996339  PMID: 21067610
9.  Association between different measurements of blood pressure variability by ABP monitoring and ankle-brachial index 
Background
Blood pressure (BP) variability has been associated with cardiovascular outcomes, but there is no consensus about the more effective method to measure it by ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM). We evaluated the association between three different methods to estimate BP variability by ABPM and the ankle brachial index (ABI).
Methods and Results
In a cross-sectional study of patients with hypertension, BP variability was estimated by the time rate index (the first derivative of SBP over time), standard deviation (SD) of 24-hour SBP; and coefficient of variability of 24-hour SBP. ABI was measured with a doppler probe. The sample included 425 patients with a mean age of 57 ± 12 years, being 69.2% women, 26.1% current smokers and 22.1% diabetics. Abnormal ABI (≤ 0.90 or ≥ 1.40) was present in 58 patients. The time rate index was 0.516 ± 0.146 mmHg/min in patients with abnormal ABI versus 0.476 ± 0.124 mmHg/min in patients with normal ABI (P = 0.007). In a logistic regression model the time rate index was associated with ABI, regardless of age (OR = 6.9, 95% CI = 1.1- 42.1; P = 0.04). In a multiple linear regression model, adjusting for age, SBP and diabetes, the time rate index was strongly associated with ABI (P < 0.01). None of the other indexes of BP variability were associated with ABI in univariate and multivariate analyses.
Conclusion
Time rate index is a sensible method to measure BP variability by ABPM. Its performance for risk stratification of patients with hypertension should be explored in longitudinal studies.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-10-55
PMCID: PMC2991275  PMID: 21050495
10.  Cor Triatriatum Sinister diagnosed in adult life with three dimensional transesophageal echocardiography 
Background
Cor triatriatum is a very rare congenital abnormality, usually symptomatic during childhood, diagnosis in adult age is less common.
Case Presentation
We report the case of a 40 years old woman referred to our hospital for atrial flutter ablation, transthoracic cardiac bidimensional echocardiography showed an abnormal membrane bisecting the left atrium, the diagnosis of cor triatriatum was fully made via three dimensional transesophageal echocardiography. More interstingly three other cardiac anomalies were associated: ostium secundum atrial septal defect, dilated coronary sinus due probably to persistent left superior vena cava and normally functioning bicuspid aortic valve.
Conclusions
Cor triatriatum sinister in adult life is important to recognize because it may be easily surgically correctable when hemodynamically significant. Three Dimensional transesophageal echocardiography is a minimally invasive and highly sensitive diagnostic modality.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-10-54
PMCID: PMC2987901  PMID: 21029431
11.  Manual versus mechanical cardiopulmonary resuscitation. An experimental study in pigs 
Background
Optimal manual closed chest compressions are difficult to give. A mechanical compression/decompression device, named LUCAS, is programmed to give compression according to the latest international guidelines (2005) for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The aim of the present study was to compare manual CPR with LUCAS-CPR.
Methods
30 kg pigs were anesthetized and intubated. After a base-line period and five minutes of ventricular fibrillation, manual CPR (n = 8) or LUCAS-CPR (n = 8) was started and run for 20 minutes. Professional paramedics gave manual chest compression's alternating in 2-minute periods. Ventilation, one breath for each 10 compressions, was given to all animals. Defibrillation and, if needed, adrenaline were given to obtain a return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC).
Results
The mean coronary perfusion pressure was significantly (p < 0.01) higher in the mechanical group, around 20 mmHg, compared to around 5 mmHg in the manual group. In the manual group 54 rib fractures occurred compared to 33 in the LUCAS group (p < 0.01). In the manual group one severe liver injury and one pressure pneumothorax were also seen. All 8 pigs in the mechanical group achieved ROSC, as compared with 3 pigs in the manual group.
Conclusions
LUCAS-CPR gave significantly higher coronary perfusion pressure and significantly fewer rib fractures than manual CPR in this porcine model.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-10-53
PMCID: PMC2987900  PMID: 21029406
12.  Limiting esophageal temperature in radiofrequency ablation of left atrial tachyarrhythmias results in low incidence of thermal esophageal lesions 
Background
Atrio-esophageal fistula formation following radiofrequency ablation of left atrial tachyarrhythmias is a rare but devastating complication. Esophageal injuries are believed to be precursors of fistula formation and reported to occur in up to 47% of patients. This study investigates the incidence of esophageal lesions when real time esophageal temperature monitoring and temperature limitation is used.
Methods
184 consecutive patients underwent open irrigated radiofrequency ablation of left atrial tachyarrhythmias. An esophageal temperature probe consisting of three independent thermocouples was used for temperature monitoring. A temperature limit of 40°C was defined to interrupt energy delivery. All patients underwent esophageal endoscopy the next day.
Results
Endoscopy revealed ulcer formation in 3/184 patients (1.6%). No patient developed atrio-esophageal fistula. Patient and disease characteristics had no influence on ulcer formation. The temperature threshold of 40°C was reached in 157/184 patients. A temperature overshoot after cessation of energy delivery was observed frequently. The mean maximal temperature was 40.8°C. Using a multiple regression analysis creating a box lesion that implies superior- and inferior lines at the posterior wall connecting the right and left encircling was an independent predictor of temperature. Six month follow-up showed an overall success rate of 78% documented as sinus rhythm in seven-day holter ECG.
Conclusion
Limitation of esophageal temperature to 40°C is associated with the lowest incidence of esophageal lesion formation published so far. This approach may contribute to increase the safety profile of radiofrequency ablation in the left atrium.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-10-52
PMCID: PMC2987899  PMID: 20977747
13.  Drug-induced mild therapeutic hypothermia obtained by administration of a transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 agonist 
Background
The use of mechanical/physical devices for applying mild therapeutic hypothermia is the only proven neuroprotective treatment for survivors of out of hospital cardiac arrest. However, this type of therapy is cumbersome and associated with several side-effects. We investigated the feasibility of using a transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1) agonist for obtaining drug-induced sustainable mild hypothermia.
Methods
First, we screened a heterogeneous group of TRPV1 agonists and secondly we tested the hypothermic properties of a selected candidate by dose-response studies. Finally we tested the hypothermic properties in a large animal. The screening was in conscious rats, the dose-response experiments in conscious rats and in cynomologus monkeys, and the finally we tested the hypothermic properties in conscious young cattle (calves with a body weight as an adult human). The investigated TRPV1 agonists were administered by continuous intravenous infusion.
Results
Screening: Dihydrocapsaicin (DHC), a component of chili pepper, displayed a desirable hypothermic profile with regards to the duration, depth and control in conscious rats. Dose-response experiments: In both rats and cynomologus monkeys DHC caused a dose-dependent and immediate decrease in body temperature. Thus in rats, infusion of DHC at doses of 0.125, 0.25, 0.50, and 0.75 mg/kg/h caused a maximal ΔT (°C) as compared to vehicle control of -0.9, -1.5, -2.0, and -4.2 within approximately 1 hour until the 6 hour infusion was stopped. Finally, in calves the intravenous infusion of DHC was able to maintain mild hypothermia with ΔT > -3°C for more than 12 hours.
Conclusions
Our data support the hypothesis that infusion of dihydrocapsaicin is a candidate for testing as a primary or adjunct method of inducing and maintaining therapeutic hypothermia.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-10-51
PMCID: PMC2966451  PMID: 20932337
14.  The prevalence of angina symptoms and association with cardiovascular risk factors, among rural, urban and rural to urban migrant populations in Peru 
Background
Rural-to-urban migration in low- and middle-income countries causes an increase in individual cardiovascular risk. Cost-effective interventions at early stages of the natural history of coronary disease such as angina may stem an epidemic of premature coronary deaths in these countries. However, there are few data on the prevalence of angina in developing countries, whilst the understanding the aetiology of angina is complicated by the difficulty in measuring it across differing populations.
Methods
The PERU MIGRANT study was designed to investigate differences between rural-to-urban migrant and non-migrant groups in specific cardiovascular disease risk factors. Mass-migration seen in Peru from 1980s onwards was largely driven by politically motivated violence resulting in less 'healthy migrant' selection bias. The Rose angina questionnaire was used to record chest pain, which was classified definite, possible and non-exertional. Mental health was measured using the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). Mantel-Haenszel odds ratios (adjusted for age, sex, cardiovascular disease risk factors and mental health) were used to assess the risk of chest pain in the migrant and urban groups compared to the rural group, and further to assess the relationship (age and sex-adjusted) between risk factors, mental health and chest pain.
Results
Compared to the urban group, rural dwellers had a greatly increased likelihood of possible/definite angina (multi-adjusted OR 2.82 (1.68- 4.73)). Urban and migrant groups had higher levels of risk factors (e.g. smoking - 20.1% urban, 5.5% rural). No diabetes was seen in the rural dwellers who complained of possible/definite angina. Rural dwellers had a higher prevalence of mood disorder and the presence of a mood disorder was associated with possible/definite angina in all three groups, but not consistently with non-exertional chest pain.
Conclusion
Rural groups had a higher prevalence of angina as measured by Rose questionnaire than migrants and urban dwellers, and a higher prevalence of mood disorder. The presence of a mood disorder was associated with angina. The Rose angina questionnaire may not be of relevance to rural populations in developing countries with a low pre-test probability of coronary disease and poor mental health.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-10-50
PMCID: PMC2964551  PMID: 20932298
15.  Increasing walking in patients with intermittent claudication: Protocol for a randomised controlled trial 
Background
People with intermittent claudication are at increased risk of death from heart attack and stroke compared to matched controls. Surgery for intermittent claudication is for symptom management and does not reduce the risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Increasing physical activity can reduce claudication symptoms and may improve cardiovascular health. This paper presents the pilot study protocol for a randomised controlled trial to test whether a brief psychological intervention leads to increased physical activity, improvement in quality of life, and a reduction in the demand for surgery, for patients with intermittent claudication.
Methods/Design
We aim to recruit 60 patients newly diagnosed with intermittent claudication, who will be randomised into two groups. The control group will receive usual care, and the treatment group will receive usual care and a brief 2-session psychological intervention to modify illness and walking beliefs and develop a walking action plan. The primary outcome will be walking, measured by pedometer. Secondary outcomes will include quality of life and uptake of surgery for symptom management. Participants will be followed up after (a) 4 months, (b) 1 year and (c) 2 years.
Discussion
This study will assess the acceptability and efficacy of a brief psychological intervention to increase walking in patients with intermittent claudication, both in terms of the initiation, and maintenance of behaviour change. This is a pilot study, and the results will inform the design of a larger multi-centre trial.
Trial Registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN28051878
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-10-49
PMCID: PMC2958933  PMID: 20929555
16.  Ventricular septal defect in a child with Alport syndrome: a case report 
Background
Alport syndrome (AS) is a rare inherited disorder characterized by an inflammation of the kidneys and damage to the glomerular capillaries, ultimately leading to renal failure at an early age. To date, rare reports of cardiac involvement in AS have been described, due in the majority of cases to the higher risk of heart conduction abnormalities in these patients, at times requiring implantation of a transcutaneous pacemaker. An increased risk of hypertension is likewise commonly featured.
Case presentation
We report the case of a 17-year-old female affected by a very severe early form of AS. A previously unreported association of the syndrome with congenital heart disease (CHD), (in this case membranous ventricular septal defect), is also reported. A possible pathophysiological mechanism underlying the concomitant manifestation of these two disorders is suggested. Complications implicated in surgical treatment of CHD are described. Clinical and therapeutic management of AS with cardiovascular involvement are discussed, and a short literature review performed.
Conclusions
This first report of a cardiovascular association highlights the possible involvement of collagen mutations in the two pathologies. Even when drug-resistance appears to be responsible for the failure to control secondary hypertension in AS, clonidine may represent a safe, effective option in the normalization of high blood pressure.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-10-48
PMCID: PMC2958932  PMID: 20920374
17.  Hypotheses, rationale, design, and methods for prognostic evaluation in type 2 diabetic patients with angiographically normal coronary arteries. The MASS IV-DM Trial 
Background
The MASS IV-DM Trial is a large project from a single institution, the Heart Institute (InCor), University of São Paulo Medical School, Brazil to study ventricular function and coronary arteries in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Methods/Design
The study will enroll 600 patients with type 2 diabetes who have angiographically normal ventricular function and coronary arteries. The goal of the MASS IV-DM Trial is to achieve a long-term evaluation of the development of coronary atherosclerosis by using angiograms and coronary-artery calcium scan by electron-beam computed tomography at baseline and after 5 years of follow-up. In addition, the incidence of major cardiovascular events, the dysfunction of various organs involved in this disease, particularly microalbuminuria and renal function, will be analyzed through clinical evaluation. In addition, an effort will be made to investigate in depth the presence of major cardiovascular risk factors, especially the biochemical profile, metabolic syndrome inflammatory activity, oxidative stress, endothelial function, prothrombotic factors, and profibrinolytic and platelet activity. An evaluation will be made of the polymorphism as a determinant of disease and its possible role in the genesis of micro- and macrovascular damage.
Discussion
The MASS IV-DM trial is designed to include diabetic patients with clinically suspected myocardial ischemia in whom conventional angiography shows angiographically normal coronary arteries. The result of extensive investigation including angiographic follow-up by several methods, vascular reactivity, pro-thrombotic mechanisms, genetic and biochemical studies may facilitate the understanding of so-called micro- and macrovascular disease of DM.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-10-47
PMCID: PMC2956708  PMID: 20920271
18.  Association of an INSIG2 obesity allele with cardiovascular phenotypes is gender and age dependent 
Background
The INSIG2 gene has been implicated in cholesterol metabolism and a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) near INSIG2 has been shown to be associated with obesity. We sought to determine the relationship of the INSIG2 SNP to cardiovascular disease (CVD) related phenotypes.
Methods and Results
Nine hundred forty six patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) in wave 5 of the multicenter NHLBI Dynamic Registry were genotyped using RT-PCR/TaqMan/allelic discrimination for the rs7566605 SNP near the INSIG2 gene. Clinical variables analyzed include demographics, medical history, and procedural details. The prevalence of peripheral vascular disease (PVD) was significantly higher in older men (≥65 years) who were either homozygous or carriers of the obesity/lipid risk allele ("C") compared to non-carriers (odds ratio 3.4, p = 0.013) using a logistic regression model incorporating history of hypercholesterolemia, history of hypertension, cerebrovascular disease, history of diabetes, and BMI. A similar relationship with cerebrovascular disease was found in older (>65) women (odds ratio 3.4, p = 0.013). The INSIG2 SNP was not associated with BMI, nor with other clinical variables.
Conclusion
Age and gender may influence the association of the INSIG2 obesity SNP with PVD and cerebrovascular disease in patients with pre-existing CVD.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-10-46
PMCID: PMC2958931  PMID: 20920244
19.  Efficacy of a brief multifactorial adherence-based intervention on reducing the blood pressure of patients with poor adherence: protocol for a randomized clinical trial 
Background
Lowering of blood pressure by antihypertensive drugs reduces the risks of cardiovascular events, stroke, and total mortality. However, poor adherence to antihypertensive medications reduces their effectiveness and increases the risk of adverse events. In terms of relative risk reduction, an improvement in medication adherence could be as effective as the development of a new drug.
Methods/Design
The proposed randomized controlled trial will include patients with a low adherence to medication and uncontrolled blood pressure. The intervention group will receive a multifactorial intervention during the first, third, and ninth months, to improve adherence. This intervention will include motivational interviews, pill reminders, family support, blood pressure self-recording, and simplification of the dosing regimen.
Measurement
The primary outcome is systolic blood pressure. The secondary outcomes are diastolic blood pressure, proportion of patients with adequately controlled blood pressure, and total cost.
Discussion
The trial will evaluate the impact of a multifactorial adherence intervention in routine clinical practice. Ethical approval was given by the Ethical Committee on Human Research of Balearic islands, Spain (approval number IB 969/08 PI).
Trial registration
Current controlled trials ISRCTN21229328
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-10-44
PMCID: PMC2955598  PMID: 20868531
20.  Treatment with the C5a receptor antagonist ADC-1004 reduces myocardial infarction in a porcine ischemia-reperfusion model 
Background
Polymorphonuclear neutrophils, stimulated by the activated complement factor C5a, have been implicated in cardiac ischemia/reperfusion injury. ADC-1004 is a competitive C5a receptor antagonist that has been shown to inhibit complement related neutrophil activation. ADC-1004 shields the neutrophils from C5a activation before they enter the reperfused area, which could be a mechanistic advantage compared to previous C5a directed reperfusion therapies. We investigated if treatment with ADC-1004, according to a clinically applicable protocol, would reduce infarct size and microvascular obstruction in a large animal myocardial infarct model.
Methods
In anesthetized pigs (42-53 kg), a percutaneous coronary intervention balloon was inflated in the left anterior descending artery for 40 minutes, followed by 4 hours of reperfusion. Twenty minutes after balloon inflation the pigs were randomized to an intravenous bolus administration of ADC-1004 (175 mg, n = 8) or saline (9 mg/ml, n = 8). Area at risk (AAR) was evaluated by ex vivo SPECT. Infarct size and microvascular obstruction were evaluated by ex vivo MRI. The observers were blinded to the treatment at randomization and analysis.
Results
ADC-1004 treatment reduced infarct size by 21% (ADC-1004: 58.3 ± 3.4 vs control: 74.1 ± 2.9%AAR, p = 0.007). Microvascular obstruction was similar between the groups (ADC-1004: 2.2 ± 1.2 vs control: 5.3 ± 2.5%AAR, p = 0.23). The mean plasma concentration of ADC-1004 was 83 ± 8 nM at sacrifice. There were no significant differences between the groups with respect to heart rate, mean arterial pressure, cardiac output and blood-gas data.
Conclusions
ADC-1004 treatment reduces myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury and represents a novel treatment strategy of myocardial infarct with potential clinical applicability.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-10-45
PMCID: PMC2955599  PMID: 20875134
21.  Mid term results after bone marrow laser revascularization for treating refractory angina 
Background
To evaluate the midterm results of patients with angina and diffuse coronary artery disease treated with transmyocardial revascularization in combination with autologous stem cell therapy.
Methods
Nineteen patients with diffuse coronary artery disease and medically refractory class III/IV angina were evaluated between June 2007 and December 2009 for sole therapy TMR combined with intramyocardial injection of concentrated stem cells. At the time of surgery, autologous bone marrow (120cc) was aspirated from the iliac crest. A cardiac MRI and an isotopic test were performed before and after the procedure. Follow-up was performed by personal interview.
Results
There were no perioperative adverse events including no arrhythmias. Mean number of laser channels was 20 and the mean total number of intramyocardially injected cells per milliliter were: total mononuclear cells(83.6 × 106), CD34+ cells(0.6 × 106), and CD133+ cells(0.34 × 106). At 12 months mean follow-up average angina class was significantly improved (3.4 ± 0.5 vs 1.4 ± 0.6; p = 0.004). In addition, monthly cardiovascular medication usage was significantly decreased (348 ± 118 vs. 201 ± 92; p = 0.001). At six months follow up there was a reduction in the number of cardiac hospital readmissions (2.9 ± 2.3 vs. 0.5 ± 0.8; p < 0.001). MRI showed no alterations regarding LV volumes and a 3% improvement regarding ejection fraction.
Conclusions
The stem cell isolator efficiently concentrated autologous bone marrow derived stem cells while the TMR/stem cell combination delivery device worked uneventfully. An improvement in clinical status was noticed in the midterm follow-up. Images test showed no morphological alterations in the left ventricle after the procedure.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-10-42
PMCID: PMC2949625  PMID: 20849586
22.  Local erythropoietin and endothelial progenitor cells improve regional cardiac function in acute myocardial infarction 
Background
Expanded endothelial progenitor cells (eEPC) improve global left ventricular function in experimental myocardial infarction (MI). Erythropoietin beta (EPO) applied together with eEPC may improve regional myocardial function even further by anti-apoptotic and cardioprotective effects. Aim of this study was to evaluate intramyocardial application of eEPCs and EPO as compared to eEPCs or EPO alone in experimental MI.
Methods and Results
In vitro experiments revealed that EPO dosed-dependently decreased eEPC and leukocyte apoptosis. Moreover, in the presence of EPO mRNA expression in eEPC of proangiogenic and proinflammatory mediators measured by TaqMan PCR was enhanced. Experimental MI was induced by ligation and reperfusion of the left anterior descending coronary artery of nude rats (n = 8-9). After myocardial transplantation of eEPC and EPO CD68+ leukocyte count and vessel density were enhanced in the border zone of the infarct area. Moreover, apoptosis of transplanted CD31 + TUNEL + eEPC was decreased as compared to transplantation of eEPCs alone. Regional wall motion of the left ventricle was measured using Magnetic Resonance Imaging. After injection of eEPC in the presence of EPO regional wall motion significantly improved as compared to injection of eEPCs or EPO alone.
Conclusion
Intramyocardial transplantation of eEPC in the presence of EPO during experimental MI improves regional wall motion. This was associated with an increased local inflammation, vasculogenesis and survival of the transplanted cells. Local application of EPO in addition to cell therapy may prove beneficial in myocardial remodeling.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-10-43
PMCID: PMC2954875  PMID: 20849606
23.  The GPIIIA PlA2 polymorphism is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular adverse events 
Background
The clinical impact of PlA2 polymorphism has been investigated in several diseases, but the definition of its specific role on thrombotic cardiovascular complications has been challenging. We aimed to explore the effect of PlA2 polymorphism on outcome in patients with atherosclerosis.
Methods
We studied 400 consecutive patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention. A replication study was conducted in 74 hypertensive patients with cerebrovascular events while a group of 100 healthy subjects was included as control population. PlA genotype was determined by PCR-RFLP on genomic DNA from peripheral blood cells. Major adverse cardiac events (MACE), were considered as end points, and recorded at a mean follow up of 24 ± 4.3 months.
Results
The frequencies of PlA2 polymorphism was similar between groups and genotype distribution was in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. In patients with CAD, the presence of PlA2 allele was associated with higher incidence of cardiac death (13.1% vs. 1.5%, p = 0.0001), myocardial infarction (10.7% vs. 2.6%, p = 0.004) and needs of new revascularization (34.8% vs. 17.7%, p = 0.010). Accordingly, the Kaplan-Meier analysis for event free survival in patients harboring the PlA2 allele showed worse long-term outcome for these patients (p = 0.015). Cox regression analysis identified the presence of PlA2 as an independent predictor of cardiac death (OR: 9.594, 95% CI: 2.6 to 35.3, p = 0.002) and overall MACE (OR: 1.829, 95% CI: 1.054 to 3.176, p = 0.032). In the replication study, the PlA2 polymorphism increased the risk of stroke (OR: 4.1, 95% CI: 1.63-12.4, p = 0.02) over TIA and was identified as an independent risk factor for stroke (B:-1.39; Wald: 7.15; p = 0.001).
Conclusions
Our study demonstrates that in patients with severe atherosclerosis the presence of PlA2 allele is associated with thrombotic cardiovascular complications.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-10-41
PMCID: PMC2954874  PMID: 20846430
24.  Evaluation of the consequences associated with diffuse vascular disease history in patients diagnosed with peripheral arterial disease: estimates from Saskatchewan health data 
Background
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is caused by narrowing of the arteries in the lower extremities. Limited data exist concerning the impact of diffuse vascular disease (DVD) on prognosis and costs. Thus, the objective of this study is to estimate the impact of DVD on morbidity, mortality and costs.
Methods
PAD was identified between 1985 and 1995 and classified by extent of DVD at diagnosis: none (PAD only, reference group), prior myocardial infarction (MI), prior stroke, prior MI and stroke (MI + stroke), prior transient ischemic attack (TIA). Deaths and hospitalizations were identified through December 2000. Hospitalization costs were estimated from the Ontario Case Cost Project, reported in 2002 $CAD. Proportional hazards analyses measured the impact of vascular involvement on mortality while controlling for risk factors (e.g., age, cardiovascular history).
Results
Overall, 16,439 patients with PAD were included; 14.8% had a prior MI, 10.2% a prior stroke, 2.6% prior MI + stroke, 6.4% prior TIA, two-thirds had PAD only. Median survival was shorter for patients with prior MI (9.3 yrs), TIA (6.3), stroke (4.7), and MI+stroke (4.1) versus the reference group (9.9, p < 0.05, all comparisons). Analyses revealed that the death risk was 60% higher in patients with prior stroke and 84% higher for MI + stroke. Atherothrombotic and bleeding event-related costs were $712, $337, $268, and $170 higher per patient/year of follow-up in patients with a history of MI+stroke, MI, stroke, and TIA, respectively.
Conclusion
Patients diagnosed with PAD with DVD have higher risk of poor outcomes and increased costs.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-10-40
PMCID: PMC2940788  PMID: 20813057
25.  Increased susceptibility to cardiovascular effects of dihydrocapcaicin in resuscitated rats. Cardiovascular effects of dihydrocapsaicin 
Background
Survivors of a cardiac arrest often have persistent cardiovascular derangements following cardiopulmonary resuscitation including decreased cardiac output, arrhythmias and morphological myocardial damage. These cardiovascular derangements may lead to an increased susceptibility towards the external and internal environment of the cardiovascular system as compared to the healthy situation.
Methods
Here we tested the hypothesis that the cardiovascular system in healthy rats and rats resuscitated from a cardiac arrest may be differentially affected by a transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 agonist, by continuous intravenous infusion of dihydrocapsaicin (DHC).
Results
Compared to baseline, infusion of DHC caused an initial increase in mean arterial blood pressure in both healthy and resuscitated rats of 25% and 10%, respectively. Also, we observed an initial response of tachycardia in both healthy and resuscitated rats of 30% and 20%, respectively. Then, at high levels of DHC infusion (> 2.0 mg/kg/hr) we observed two single episodes of transient bradycardia and hypotension in 33% of the healthy rats, which was consistent with a TRPV1 agonist induced Bezold-Jarisch reflex. In contrast, in resuscitated rats we observed multiple episodes of bradycardia/hypotension in 100% of the rats and at a dose of DHC of 0.65 mg/kg/hr. Notably, this DHC effect could be completely blocked in the resuscitated rats by pre-treatment with atropine, a muscarinic acetylcholine antagonist.
Conclusions
Our results indicate that the susceptibility of the rats towards TRPV1 agonist induced Bezold-Jarisch reflex is increased in those resuscitated from cardiac arrest compared to the healthy situation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-10-39
PMCID: PMC2939536  PMID: 20807439

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