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1.  Gender-related differences in the prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors and their correlates in urban Tanzania 
Background
Urban areas in Africa suffer a serious problem with dual burden of infectious diseases and emerging chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and diabetes which pose a serious threat to population health and health care resources. However in East Africa, there is limited literature in this research area. The objective of this study was to examine the prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors and their correlates among adults in Temeke, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Results of this study will help inform future research and potential preventive and therapeutic interventions against such chronic diseases.
Methods
The study design was a cross sectional epidemiological study. A total of 209 participants aged between 44 and 66 years were included in the study. A structured questionnaire was used to evaluate socioeconomic and lifestyle characteristics. Blood samples were collected and analyzed to measure lipid profile and fasting glucose levels. Cardiovascular risk factors were defined using World Health Organization criteria.
Results
The age-adjusted prevalence of obesity (BMI ≥ 30) was 13% and 35%, among men and women (p = 0.0003), respectively. The prevalence of abdominal obesity was 11% and 58% (p < 0.0001), and high WHR (men: >0.9, women: >0.85) was 51% and 73% (p = 0.002) for men and women respectively. Women had 4.3 times greater odds of obesity (95% CI: 1.9–10.1), 14.2–fold increased odds for abdominal adiposity (95% CI: 5.8–34.6), and 2.8 times greater odds of high waist-hip-ratio (95% CI: 1.4–5.7), compared to men. Women had more than three-fold greater odds of having metabolic syndrome (p = 0.001) compared to male counterparts, including abdominal obesity, low HDL-cholesterol, and high fasting blood glucose components. In contrast, female participants had 50% lower odds of having hypertension, compared to men (95%CI: 0.3–1.0). Among men, BMI and waist circumference were significantly correlated with blood pressure, triglycerides, total, LDL-, and HDL-cholesterol (BMI only), and fasting glucose; in contrast, only blood pressure was positively associated with BMI and waist circumference in women.
Conclusion
The prevalence of CVD risk factors was high in this population, particularly among women. Health promotion, primary prevention, and health screening strategies are needed to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in Tanzania.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-9-30
PMCID: PMC2723083  PMID: 19615066
2.  Methodological limitations of psychosocial interventions in patients with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) A systematic review 
Background
Despite the potentially life-saving benefits of the implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), a significant group of patients experiences emotional distress after ICD implantation. Different psychosocial interventions have been employed to improve this condition, but previous reviews have suggested that methodological issues may limit the validity of such interventions. Aim: To review the methodology of previously published studies of psychosocial interventions in ICD patients, according to CONSORT statement guidelines for non-pharmacological interventions, and provide recommendations for future research.
Methods
We electronically searched the PubMed, PsycInfo and Cochrane databases. To be included, studies needed to be published in a peer-reviewed journal between 1980 and 2008, to involve a human population aged 18+ years and to have an experimental design.
Results
Twelve studies met the eligibility criteria. Samples were generally small. Interventions were very heterogeneous; most studies used cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and exercise programs either as unique interventions or as part of a multi-component program. Overall, studies showed a favourable effect on anxiety (6/9) and depression (4/8). CBT appeared to be the most effective intervention. There was no effect on the number of shocks and arrhythmic events, probably because studies were not powered to detect such an effect. Physical functioning improved in the three studies evaluating this outcome. Lack of information about the indication for ICD implantation (primary vs. secondary prevention), limited or no information regarding use of anti-arrhythmic (9/12) and psychotropic (10/12) treatment, lack of assessments of providers' treatment fidelity (12/12) and patients' adherence to the intervention (11/12) were the most common methodological limitations.
Conclusions
Overall, this review supports preliminary evidence of a positive effect of psychosocial interventions on anxiety and physical functioning in ICD patients. However, these initial findings must be interpreted cautiously because of important methodological limitations. Future studies should be designed as large RCTs, whose design takes into account the specific challenges associated with the evaluation of behavioural interventions.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-9-56
PMCID: PMC2809039  PMID: 20040100
3.  Lipids and carotid plaque in the Northern Manhattan Study (NOMAS) 
Background
Lipids, particularly low-density (LDL) and high-density (HDL) lipoproteins, are associated with increased risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease, probably due to atherosclerosis. The objective of this cross-sectional analysis was to investigate the relation between blood lipids and carotid plaque.
Methods
As part of a prospective population-based study to determine the incidence and risk factors of stroke in a multiethnic population, we evaluated 1804 participants with lipid measurements and B-mode ultrasound of carotid arteries (mean age 69 +/- 10 years; 40% men; 51% Hispanic, 26% black, 23% white). The association between lipid parameters and carotid plaque was analyzed by multiple logistic regression.
Results
Plaque was present in 61% of participants. Mean total cholesterol was 202 +/- 41 mg/dl. After controlling for other lipid parameters, demographics, and risk factors, the only cholesterol subfraction associated with carotid plaque was LDL (OR per standard deviation (SD) = 1.14, 95% CI 1.02-1.27). Neither HDL nor triglycerides independently predicted carotid plaque. Apolipoprotein B (ApoB) was also associated with risk of plaque (OR per SD = 1.29, 95% CI 1.03-1.60). Apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-1) was associated with a decrease in multiple plaques (OR per SD = 0.76, 95% CI 0.60-0.97), while lipoprotein a was associated with an increased risk of multiple plaques (OR per SD = 1.31, 95% CI 1.03-1.66). ApoB:ApoA-I had the strongest relation with carotid plaque (OR per SD = 1.35, 95% CI 1.08-1.69).
Conclusions
Among the common lipid parameters, LDL has the strongest relation with carotid plaque. Other lipid precursor proteins such as ApoB and ApoA-I may be stronger predictors of subclinical atherosclerosis, however, and better targets for treatment to reduce plaque formation and risk of cerebrovascular disease.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-9-55
PMCID: PMC2804671  PMID: 20028534
4.  Visualization of anomalous origin and course of coronary arteries in 748 consecutive symptomatic patients by 64-slice computed tomography angiography 
Background
Coronary artery anomalies (CAAs) are currently undergoing profound changes in understanding potentially pathophysiological mechanisms of disease. Aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of anomalous origin and course of coronary arteries in consecutive symptomatic patients, who underwent cardiac 64-slice multidetector-row computed tomography angiography (MDCTA).
Methods
Imaging datasets of 748 consecutive symptomatic patients referred for cardiac MDCTA were analyzed and CAAs of origin and further vessel course were grouped according to a recently suggested classification scheme by Angelini et al.
Results
An overall of 17/748 patients (2.3%) showed CAA of origin and further vessel course. According to aforementioned classification scheme no Subgroup 1- (absent left main trunk) and Subgroup 2- (anomalous location of coronary ostium within aortic root or near proper aortic sinus of Valsalva) CAA were found. Subgroup 3 (anomalous location of coronary ostium outside normal "coronary" aortic sinuses) consisted of one patient with high anterior origin of both coronary arteries. The remaining 16 patients showed a coronary ostium at improper sinus (Subgroup 4). Latter group was subdivided into a right coronary artery arising from left anterior sinus with separate ostium (subgroup 4a; n = 7) and common ostium with left main coronary artery (subgroup 4b; n = 1). Subgroup 4c consisted of one patient with a single coronary artery arising from the right anterior sinus (RAS) without left circumflex coronary artery (LCX). In subgroup 4d, LCX arose from RAS (n = 7).
Conclusions
Prevalence of CAA of origin and further vessel course in a symptomatic consecutive patient population was similar to large angiographic series, although these patients do not reflect general population. However, our study supports the use of 64-slice MDCTA for the identification and definition of CAA.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-9-54
PMCID: PMC2799381  PMID: 20003347
5.  Evaluation of early coronary graft patency after coronary artery bypass graft surgery using multislice computed tomography angiography 
Background
Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery is the standard of care in the treatment of advanced coronary artery disease, and its long-term results are affected by the failure of bypass grafts. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the early patency rate in coronary bypass grafts.
Methods
A total of 107 consecutive patients who underwent CABG were included in this study. Early graft patency was evaluated via computed tomography (CT) angiography in the first week after surgery.
Results
There were a total of 366 grafts, comprised of 250 venous grafts and 116 arterial grafts. Multi-slice CT detected acute graft occlusions in 32 (8.7%) of all the grafts, including 26 (10%) of the 250 venous grafts and 6 (5%) of the 116 arterial grafts. The patency rates obtained were 97.3% for the left internal mammary (IMA) grafts, 50% for the radial artery grafts, and 50% for the right IMA grafts. Additionally, 107 (96.4%) grafts to the left anterior descending artery (LAD) were classified as patent, whereas 1 (30%) of the 3 grafts in the left circumflex (LCX) region and 1 (50%) of the 2 grafts in the right coronary artery (RCA) territory were found to be occluded. In the venous category, 8 (13.7%) of the 58 grafts to LAD were found to be occluded. In the LCX region, 9 (8.5%) of the 106 grafts were classified as occluded, while the remaining 97 (91.5%) grafts were patent. The venous grafts to RCA were occluded in 9 (10.4%) of the 86 grafts. Amongst the multiple preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative factors, pump time was significantly longer in the patients with occluded grafts than in those with patent grafts (P = 0.04).
Conclusion
The IMA grafts had the highest early patency rate amongst the coronary bypass grafts. However, the other arterial grafts were associated with a high rate of acute occlusions.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-9-53
PMCID: PMC2796644  PMID: 19995414
6.  Characterisation of heart failure with normal ejection fraction in a tertiary hospital in Nigeria 
Background
The study aimed to determine the frequency and characteristics of heart failure with normal EF in a native African population with heart failure.
Methods
It was a hospital cohort study. Subjects were 177 consecutive individuals with heart failure and ninety apparently normal control subjects. All the subjects underwent transthoracic echocardiography. The group with heart failure was further subdivided into heart failure with normal EF (EF ≥ 50) (HFNEF) and heart failure with low EF(EF <50)(HFLEF).
Results
The subjects with heart failure have a mean age of 52.3 ± 16.64 years vs 52.1 ± 11.84 years in the control subjects; p = 0.914. Other baseline characteristics except blood pressure parameters and height were comparable between the group with heart failure and the control subjects. The frequency of HFNEF was 39.5%. Compared with the HFLEF group, the HFNEF group have a smaller left ventricular diameter (in diastole and systole): (5.2 ± 1.22 cm vs 6.2 ± 1.39 cm; p < 0.0001 and 3.6 ± 1.24 cm vs 5.4 ± 1.35 cm;p < 0.0001) respectively, a higher relative wall thickness and deceleration time of the early mitral inflow velocity: (0.4 ± 0.12 vs 0.3 ± 0.14 p < 0.0001 and 149.6 ± 72.35 vs 110.9 ± 63.40 p = 0.001) respectively.
The two groups with heart failure differed significantly from the control subjects in virtually all echocardiographic measurements except aortic root diameter, LV posterior wall thickness(HFLEF), and late mitral inflow velocity(HFNEF). HFNEF accounted for 70(39.5%) of cases of heart failure in this study.
Hypertension is the underlying cardiovascular disease in 134(75.7%) of the combined heart failure population, 58 (82.9%) of the subjects with HFNEF group and 76(71%) of the HFLEF group. Females accounted for 44 (62.9%) of the subjects with HFNEF against 42(39.3%) in the HFLEF group (p = 0.002).
Conclusion
The frequency of heart failure with normal EF in this native African cohort with heart failure is comparable with the frequency in other populations. These groups of patients are more likely female, hypertensive with concentric pattern of left ventricular hypertrophy.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-9-52
PMCID: PMC2785749  PMID: 19922629
7.  The impact of renal insufficiency and anaemia on survival in patients with cardiovascular disease: a cohort study 
Background
The simultaneous occurrence of cardiovascular disease (CVD), kidney disease, and anaemia is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. In the community setting, little data exists about the risk associated with milder levels of anaemia when it is present concurrently with CVD and chronic kidney disease (CKD). The aim of this study was to establish the prevalence of CKD and anaemia in patients with CVD in the community and to examine whether the presence of anaemia was associated with increased morbidity and mortality.
Methods
This study was designed as a retrospective cohort study and involved a random sample of 35 general practices in the West of Ireland. A practice-based sample of 1,609 patients with established cardiovascular disease was generated in 2000/2001 and followed for five years. The primary endpoint was death from any cause. Statistical analysis involved using one-way ANOVA and Chi-squared tests for baseline data and Cox proportional-hazards models for mortality data.
Results
Of the study sample of 617 patients with blood results, 33% (n = 203) had CKD while 6% (n = 37) had CKD and anaemia. The estimated risk of death from any cause, when compared to patients with cardiovascular disease only, was almost double (HR = 1.98, 95% CI 0.99 to 3.98) for patients with both CVD and CKD and was over 4 times greater (HR = 4.33, 95% CI 1.76 to 10.68) for patients with CVD, CKD and anaemia.
Conclusion
In patients with cardiovascular disease in the community, chronic kidney disease and anaemia occur commonly. The presence of chronic kidney disease carries an increased mortality risk which increases in an additive way with the addition of anaemia. These results suggest that early primary care diagnosis and management of this high risk group may be worthwhile.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-9-51
PMCID: PMC2779784  PMID: 19909540
8.  Beta-2 adrenergic receptor gene polymorphisms Gln27Glu, Arg16Gly in patients with heart failure 
Background -
Beta-2 adrenergic receptor gene polymorphisms Gln27Glu, Arg16Gly and Thr164Ile were suggested to have an effect in heart failure. We evaluated these polymorphisms relative to clinical characteristics and prognosis of alarge cohort of patients with heart failure of different etiologies.
Methods -
We studied 501 patients with heart failure of different etiologies. Mean age was 58 years (standard deviation 14.4 years), 298 (60%) were men. Polymorphisms were identified by polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism.
Results -
During the mean follow-up of 12.6 months (standard deviation 10.3 months), 188 (38%) patients died. Distribution of genotypes of polymorphism Arg16Gly was different relative to body mass index (χ2 = 9.797;p = 0.04). Overall the probability of survival was not significantly predicted by genotypes of Gln27Glu, Arg16Gly, or Thr164Ile. Allele and haplotype analysis also did not disclose any significant difference regarding mortality. Exploratory analysis through classification trees pointed towards a potential association between the Gln27Glu polymorphism and mortality in older individuals.
Conclusion -
In this study sample, we were not able to demonstrate an overall influence of polymorphisms Gln27Glu and Arg16Gly of beta-2 receptor gene on prognosis. Nevertheless, Gln27Glu polymorphism may have a potential predictive value in older individuals.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-9-50
PMCID: PMC2777849  PMID: 19886995
9.  Cardiac insulin-like growth factor-1 and cyclins gene expression in canine models of ischemic or overpacing cardiomyopathy 
Background
Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) and cyclins are thought to play a role in myocardial hypertrophic response to insults. We investigated these signaling pathways in canine models of ischemic or overpacing-induced cardiomyopathy.
Methods
Echocardiographic recordings and myocardial sampling for measurements of gene expressions of IGF-1, its receptor (IGF-1R), TGFβ and of cyclins A, B, D1, D2, D3 and E, were obtained in 8 dogs with a healed myocardial infarction, 8 dogs after 7 weeks of overpacing and in 7 healthy control dogs.
Results
Ischemic cardiomyopathy was characterized by moderate left ventricular systolic dysfunction and eccentric hypertrophy, with increased expressions of IGF-1, IGF-1R and cyclins B, D1, D3 and E. Tachycardiomyopathy was characterized by severe left ventricular systolic dysfunction and dilation with no identifiable hypertrophic response. In the latter model, only IGF-1 was overexpressed while IGF-1R, cyclins B, D1, D3 and E stayed unchanged as compared to controls. The expressions of TGFβ, cyclins A and D2 were comparable in the 3 groups. The expression of IGF-1R was correlated with the thickness of the interventricular septum, in systole and diastole, and to cyclins B, D1, D3 and E expression.
Conclusion
These results agree with the notion that IGF-1/IGF-1R and cyclins are involved in the hypertrophic response observed in cardiomyopathies.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-9-49
PMCID: PMC2763849  PMID: 19818143
10.  Variation in the human soluble epoxide hydrolase gene and risk of restenosis after percutaneous coronary intervention 
Background
Restenosis represents the major limiting factor for the long-term efficacy of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). Several genetic factors involved in the regulation of the vascular system have been described to play a role in the pathogenesis of restenosis. We investigated whether the EPHX2 K55R polymorphism, previously linked to significantly higher risk for coronary heart disease (CHD), was associated with the occurrence of restenosis after PCI. The association with incident CHD should have been confirmed and a potential correlation of the EPHX2 K55R variant to an increased risk of hypertension was analysed.
Methods
An overall cohort of 706 patients was studied: This cohort comprised of 435 CHD patients who had undergone successful PCI. Follow-up coronary angiography in all patients was performed 6 months after intervention. Another 271 patients in whom CHD had been excluded by coronary angiography served as controls. From each patient EDTA-blood was drawn at the baseline ward round. Genomic DNA was extracted from these samples and genotyping was performed by real-time PCR and subsequent melting curve analysis.
Results
In CHD patients 6 month follow-up coronary angiography revealed a restenosis rate of 29.4%, classified as late lumen loss as well as lumen re-narrowing ≥ 50%.
Statistical analysis showed an equal genotype distribution in restenosis patients and non-restenosis patients (A/A 82.0% and A/G + G/G 18.0% versus A/A 82.1% and A/G + G/G 17.9%). Moreover, neither a significant difference in the genotype distribution of CHD patients and controls nor an association with increased risk of hypertension was found.
Conclusion
The results of the present study indicate that the EPHX2 K55R polymorphism is not associated with restenosis after PCI, with incidence of CHD, or with an increased risk of hypertension and therefore, can not serve as a predictor for risk of CHD or restenosis after PCI.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-9-48
PMCID: PMC2767343  PMID: 19814804
11.  Rationale and study design of a cross sectional study documenting the prevalence of Heart Failure amongst the minority ethnic communities in the UK: the E-ECHOES Study (Ethnic - Echocardiographic Heart of England Screening Study) 
Background
Heart failure is an important cause of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Studies to date have not established the prevalence heart failure amongst the minority ethnic community in the UK. T'he aim of the E-ECHOES (Ethnic - Echocardiographic Heart of England Screening Study)is to establish, for the first time, the community prevalence and severity of left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVSD) and heart failure amongst the South Asian and Black African-Caribbean ethnic groups in the UK.
Methods/Design
This is a community based cross-sectional population survey of a sample of South Asian (i.e. those originating from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh) and Black African-Caribbean male and female subjects aged 45 years and over. Data collection undertaken using a standardised protocol comprising a questionnaire incorporating targeted clinical history taking, physical examination, and investigations with resting electrocardiography and echocardiography; and blood sampling with consent. This is the largest study on heart failure amongst these ethnic groups. Full data collection started in September 2006 and will be completed by August 2009.
Discussion
The E-ECHOES study will enable the planning and delivery of clinically and cost-effective treatment of this common and debilitating condition within these communities. In addition it will increase knowledge of the aetiology and management of heart failure within minority ethnic communities.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-9-47
PMCID: PMC2765971  PMID: 19793391
12.  Atherosclerosis profile and incidence of cardiovascular events: a population-based survey 
Background
Atherosclerosis is a chronic progressive disease often presenting as clinical cardiovascular disease (CVD) events. This study evaluated the characteristics of individuals with a diagnosis of atherosclerosis and estimated the incidence of CVD events to assist in the early identification of high-risk individuals.
Methods
Respondents to the US SHIELD baseline survey were followed for 2 years to observe incident self-reported CVD. Respondents had subclinical atherosclerosis if they reported a diagnosis of narrow or blocked arteries/carotid artery disease without a past clinical CVD event (heart attack, stroke or revascularization). Characteristics of those with atherosclerosis and incident CVD were compared with those who did not report atherosclerosis at baseline but had CVD in the following 2 years using chi-square tests. Logistic regression model identified characteristics associated with atherosclerosis and incident events.
Results
Of 17,640 respondents, 488 (2.8%) reported having subclinical atherosclerosis at baseline. Subclinical atherosclerosis was associated with age, male gender, dyslipidemia, circulation problems, hypertension, past smoker, and a cholesterol test in past year (OR = 2.2) [all p < 0.05]. Incident CVD was twice as high in respondents with subclinical atherosclerosis (25.8%) as in those without atherosclerosis or clinical CVD (12.2%). In individuals with subclinical atherosclerosis, men (RR = 1.77, p = 0.050) and individuals with circulation problems (RR = 2.36, p = 0.003) were at greatest risk of experiencing CVD events in the next 2 years.
Conclusion
Self-report of subclinical atherosclerosis identified an extremely high-risk group with a >25% risk of a CVD event in the next 2 years. These characteristics may be useful for identifying individuals for more aggressive diagnostic and therapeutic efforts.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-9-46
PMCID: PMC2753582  PMID: 19754940
13.  Safety of percutaneous aortic valve insertion. A systematic review 
Background
The technique of percutaneous aortic valve implantation (PAVI) for the treatment of severe aortic stenosis (AS) has been introduced in 2002. Since then, many thousands such devices have worldwide been implanted in patients at high risk for conventional surgery. The procedure related mortality associated with PAVI as reported in published case series is substantial, although the intervention has never been formally compared with standard surgery. The objective of this study was to assess the safety of PAVI, and to compare it with published data reporting the risk associated with conventional aortic valve replacement in high-risk subjects.
Methods
Studies published in peer reviewed journals and presented at international meetings were searched in major medical databases. Further data were obtained from dedicated websites and through contacts with manufacturers. The following data were extracted: patient characteristics, success rate of valve insertion, operative risk status, early and late all-cause mortality.
Results
The first PAVI has been performed in 2002. Because of procedural complexity, the original transvenous approach from 2004 on has been replaced by the transarterial and transapical routes. Data originating from nearly 2700 non-transvenous PAVIs were identified. In order to reduce the impact of technical refinements and the procedural learning curve, procedure related safety data from series starting recruitment in April 2007 or later (n = 1975) were focused on. One-month mortality rates range from 6.4 to 7.4% in transfemoral (TF) and 11.6 to 18.6% in transapical (TA) series. Observational data from surgical series in patients with a comparable predicted operative risk, indicate mortality rates that are similar to those in TF PAVI but substantially lower than in TA PAVI. From all identified PAVI series, 6-month mortality rates, reflecting both procedural risk and mortality related to underlying co-morbidities, range from 10.0-25.0% in TF and 26.1-42.8% in TA series. It is not known what the survival of these patients would have been, had they been treated medically or by conventional surgery.
Conclusion
Safety issues and short-term survival represent a major drawback for the implementation of PAVI, especially for the TA approach. Results from an ongoing randomised controlled trial (RCT) should be awaited before further using this technique in routine clinical practice. In the meantime, both for safety concerns and for ethical reasons, patients should only be subjected to PAVI within the boundaries of such an RCT.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-9-45
PMCID: PMC2746181  PMID: 19723312
14.  Declining mortality following acute myocardial infarction in the Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care System 
Background
Mortality from acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is declining worldwide. We sought to determine if mortality in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has also been declining.
Methods
We calculated 30-day mortality rates between 2004 and 2006 using data from the VHA External Peer Review Program (EPRP), which entails detailed abstraction of records of all patients with AMI. To compare trends within VHA with other systems of care, we estimated relative mortality rates between 2000 and 2005 for all males 65 years and older with a primary diagnosis of AMI using administrative data from the VHA Patient Treatment File and the Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) files.
Results
Using EPRP data on 11,609 patients, we observed a statistically significant decline in adjusted 30-day mortality following AMI in VHA from 16.3% in 2004 to 13.9% in 2006, a relative decrease of 15% and a decrease in the odds of dying of 10% per year (p = .011). Similar declines were found for in-hospital and 90-day mortality.
Based on administrative data on 27,494 VHA patients age 65 years and older and 789,400 Medicare patients, 30-day mortality following AMI declined from 16.0% during 2000-2001 to 15.7% during 2004-June 2005 in VHA and from 16.7% to 15.5% in private sector hospitals. After adjusting for patient characteristics and hospital effects, the overall relative odds of death were similar for VHA and Medicare (odds ratio 1.02, 95% C.I. 0.96-1.08).
Conclusion
Mortality following AMI within VHA has declined significantly since 2003 at a rate that parallels that in Medicare-funded hospitals.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-9-44
PMCID: PMC2746180  PMID: 19719849
15.  Percutaneous coronary revascularization in patients with formerly "refractory angina pectoris in end-stage coronary artery disease" – Not "end-stage" after all 
Background
Patients with refractory angina pectoris in end-stage coronary artery disease represent a severe condition with a higher reduction of life-expectancy and quality of life as compared to patients with stable coronary artery disease. It was the purpose of this study to invasively re-evaluate highly symptomatic patients with formerly diagnosed refractory angina pectoris in end-stage coronary artery disease for feasible options of myocardial revascularization.
Methods
Thirty-four Patients formerly characterized as having end stage coronary artery disease with refractory angina pectoris were retrospectively followed for coronary interventions.
Results
Of those 34 patients 21 (61.8%) were eventually revascularized with percutaneous interventional revascularization (PCI). Due to complex coronary morphology (angulation, chronic total occlusion) PCI demanded an above-average amount of time (66 ± 42 minutes, range 25–206 minutes) and materials (contrast media 247 ± 209 ml, range 50–750 ml; PCI guiding wires 2.0 ± 1.4, range 1–6 wires). Of PCI patients 7 (33.3%) showed a new lesion as a sign of progression of atherosclerosis. Clinical success rate with a reduction to angina class II or lower was 71.4% at 30 days. Surgery was performed in a total of8 (23.5%) patients with a clinical success rate of 62.5%. Based on an intention-to-treat 2 patients of originally 8 (25%) demonstrated clinical success. Mortality during follow-up (1–18 months) was 4.8% in patients who underwent PCI, 25% in patients treated surgically and 25% in those only treated medically.
Conclusion
The majority of patients with end-stage coronary artery disease can be treated effectively with conventional invasive treatment modalities. Therefore even though it is challenging and demanding PCI should be considered as a first choice before experimental interventions are considered.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-9-42
PMCID: PMC2739155  PMID: 19715566
16.  Long-term survival after initial hospital admission for peripheral arterial disease in the lower extremities 
Background
As the population ages, peripheral arterial disease (PAD) in the lower extremities will become a larger public health problem. Awareness in patients as well clinicians of the high risk of morbidity and mortality is important but seems currently low. Insights in absolute mortality risks following admission for PAD in the lower extremities can be useful to improve awareness as they are easy to interpret.
Methods
A nationwide cohort of 4,158 patients with an initial admission for PAD in the lower extremities was identified through linkage of the national hospital and population register in 1997 and 2000.
Results
Over 60% of 4,158 patients were men. 28 days, 1 year and 5 year mortality risk were 2.4%, 10.3% and 31.0% for men and 3.5%, 10.4% and 27.4% for women. Coronary heart disease and stroke were frequent cause of death. Five years mortality risk was higher for men compared to women (HR 1.36, 95% CI 1.21–1.53).
Conclusion
In conclusion, our findings demonstrate that, 5 year mortality risk is high, especially in men and comparable to that of patients admitted for acute myocardial infarction or ischemic stroke. Though, in general population the awareness of the severity of PAD in the lower extremities is significantly lower than that for any other cardiovascular disease and it seems that cardiovascular risk factor management for prevention in PAD patients is very modest.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-9-43
PMCID: PMC2743645  PMID: 19715567
17.  Long term hemodialysis aggravates lipolytic activity reduction and very low density, low density lipoproteins composition in chronic renal failure patients 
Background
Dyslipidemia, particularly hypertriglyceridemia is common in uremia, and represents an independent risk factor for atherosclerosis.
Methods
To investigate the effects of hemodialysis (HD) duration on very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) and low density lipoprotein (LDL) compositions and lipopolytic activities, 20 patients on 5 to 7 years hemodialysis were followed-up during 9 years. Blood samples were drawn at T0 (beginning of the study), T1 (3 years after initiating study), T2 (6 years after initiating study) and T3 (9 years after initiating study). T0 was taken as reference.
Results
Triacylglycerols (TG) values were correlated with HD duration (r = 0.70, P < 0.05). An increase of total cholesterol was noted at T2 and T3. Lowered activity was observed for lipoprotein lipase (LPL) (-44%) at T3 and hepatic lipase (HL) (-29%) at T1, (-64%) at T2 and (-73%) at T3. Inverse relationships were found between HD duration and LPL activity (r = -0.63, P < 0.05), and HL activity (r = -0.71, P < 0.01). At T1, T2 and T3, high VLDL-amounts and VLDL-TG and decreased VLDL-phospholipids values were noted. Increased LDL-cholesteryl esters values were noted at T1 and T2 and in LDL-unesterified cholesterol at T2 and T3.
Conclusion
Despite hemodialysis duration, VLDL-LDL metabolism alterations are aggravated submitting patients to a greater risk of atherosclerosis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-9-41
PMCID: PMC2743644  PMID: 19709414
18.  Increased expression of vascular endothelin type B and angiotensin type 1 receptors in patients with ischemic heart disease 
Background
Endothelin-1 and angiotensin II are strong vasoconstrictors. Patients with ischemic heart disease have elevated plasma levels of endothelin-1 and angiotensin II and show increased vascular tone. The aim of the present study was to examine the endothelin and angiotensin II receptor expression in subcutaneous arteries from patients with different degrees of ischemic heart disease.
Methods
Subcutaneous arteries were obtained, by biopsy from the abdomen, from patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery because of ischemic heart disease (n = 15), patients with angina pectoris without established myocardial infarction (n = 15) and matched cardiovascular healthy controls (n = 15). Endothelin type A (ETA) and type B (ETB), and angiotensin type 1 (AT1) and type 2 (AT2) receptors expression and function were examined using immunohistochemistry, Western blot and in vitro pharmacology.
Results
ETA and, to a lesser extent, ETB receptor staining was observed in the healthy vascular smooth muscle cells. The level of ETB receptor expression was higher in patients undergoing CABG surgery (250% ± 23%; P < 0.05) and in the patients with angina pectoris (199% ± 6%; P < 0.05), than in the healthy controls (100% ± 28%). The data was confirmed by Western blotting. Arteries from CABG patients showed increased vasoconstriction upon administration of the selective ETB receptor agonist sarafotoxin S6c, compared to healthy controls (P < 0.05). No such difference was found for the ETA receptors. AT1 and, to a lesser extent, AT2 receptor immunostaining was seen in the vascular smooth muscle cells. The level of AT1 receptor expression was higher in both the angina pectoris (128% ± 25%; P < 0.05) and in the CABG patients (203% ± 41%; P < 0.05), as compared to the healthy controls (100% ± 25%). The increased AT1 receptor expression was confirmed by Western blotting. Myograph experiment did however not show any change in vasoconstriction to angiotensin II in CABG patients compared to healthy controls (P = n.s).
Conclusion
The results demonstrate, for the first time, upregulation of ETB and AT1 receptors in vascular smooth muscle cells in ischemic heart disease. These receptors may play a role in the pathophysiology of ischemic heart disease and could provide important targets for pharmaceutical interventions.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-9-40
PMCID: PMC2744906  PMID: 19706169
19.  Population based prevalence of high blood pressure among adults in Addis Ababa: uncovering a silent epidemic 
Background
The prevention and control of high blood pressure or other cardiovascular diseases has not received due attention in many developing countries. This study aims to describe the epidemiology of high blood pressure among adults in Addis Ababa, so as to inform policy and lay the ground for surveillance interventions.
Methods
Addis Ababa is the largest urban centre and national capital of Ethiopia, hosting about 25% of the urban population in the country. A probabilistic sample of adult males and females, 25–64 years of age residing in Addis Ababa city participated in structured interviews and physical measurements. We employed a population based, cross sectional survey, using the World Health Organization instrument for stepwise surveillance (STEPS) of chronic disease risk factors. Data on selected socio-demographic characteristics and lifestyle behaviours, including physical activity, as well as physical measurements such as weight, height, waist and hip circumference, and blood pressure were collected through standardized procedures. Multiple linear regression analysis was performed to estimate the coefficient of variability of blood pressure due to selected socio-demographic and behavioural characteristics, and physical measurements.
Results
A total of 3713 adults participated in the study. About 20% of males and 38% of females were overweight (body-mass-index ≥ 25 kg/m2), with 10.8 (9.49, 12.11)% of the females being obese (body-mass-index ≥ 30 kg/m2). Similarly, 17% of the males and 31% of the females were classified as having low level of total physical activity. The age-adjusted prevalence (95% confidence interval) of high blood pressure, defined as systolic blood pressure (SBP) ≥ 140 mmHg (millimetres of mercury) or diastolic blood pressure (DBP) ≥ 90 mmHg or reported use of anti-hypertensive medication, was 31.5% (29.0, 33.9) among males and 28.9% (26.8, 30.9) among females.
Conclusion
High blood pressure is widely prevalent in Addis Ababa and may represent a silent epidemic in this population. Overweight, obesity and physical inactivity are important determinants of high blood pressure. There is an urgent need for strategies and programmes to prevent and control high blood pressure, and promote healthy lifestyle behaviours primarily among the urban populations of Ethiopia.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-9-39
PMCID: PMC2736927  PMID: 19698178
20.  The search for valved conduit tissue grafts for adults (>22 mm): an ultrasonographic study of jugular vein diameters of horses and cattle 
Background
Natural heterologous valved conduits with a diameter greater than 22 mm that can be used for right ventricular outflow tract reconstruction in adults are not commercially available. The purpose of this study was to measure by ultrasonography the maximum diameter of the distended jugular veins of horses and cattle, respectively, to identify a population of animals that would be suitable for post-mortem collection of jugular veins at sizes greater than 22 mm.
Methods
The study population included 60 Warmblood horses, 25 Freiberger horses, 20 Brown Swiss cows, and 20 Holstein cows (including 10 Holstein and 10 Red Holstein). The maximum cross-sectional diameter of the distended jugular veins was measured at a location half-way between the mandibular angle and the thoracic inlet. The thoracic circumference (heart girth length) was used as a surrogate of body size. The jugular vein diameters of the different populations were compared by analysis of variance and the association between heart girth length and jugular vein diameter was determined in each of the four study populations by linear regression analysis.
Results
There was considerable individual variation of jugular vein diameters within each of the four study populations. There was no statistically significant relationship between thoracic circumference and jugular vein diameter in any of the populations. The jugular vein diameters of Brown Swiss cows were significantly larger than those of any of the other populations. Warmblood horses had significantly larger jugular vein diameters compared to Freiberger horses.
Conclusion
The results of this study suggest that the production of bovine or equine xenografts with diameters of greater than 22 mm would be feasible. Differences between species and breeds need to be considered. However, prediction of the jugular vein diameter based on breed and heart girth length in an individual animal is inaccurate.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-9-38
PMCID: PMC2734745  PMID: 19678940
21.  Left ventricular non-compaction: clinical features and cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging 
Background
It is apparent that despite lack of family history, patients with the morphological characteristics of left ventricular non-compaction develop arrhythmias, thrombo-embolism and left ventricular dysfunction.
Methods
Forty two patients, aged 48.7 ± 2.3 yrs (mean ± SEM) underwent cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) for the quantification of left ventricular volumes and extent of non-compacted (NC) myocardium. The latter was quantified using planimetry on the two-chamber long axis LV view (NC area). The patients included those referred specifically for CMR to investigate suspected cardiomyopathy, and as such is represents a selected group of patients.
Results
At presentation, 50% had dyspnoea, 19% chest pain, 14% palpitations and 5% stroke. Pulmonary embolism had occurred in 7% and brachial artery embolism in 2%. The ECG was abnormal in 81% and atrial fibrillation occurred in 29%. Transthoracic echocardiograms showed features of NC in only 10%. On CMR, patients who presented with dyspnoea had greater left ventricular volumes (both p < 0.0001) and a lower left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) (p < 0.0001) than age-matched, healthy controls. In patients without dyspnoea (n = 21), NC area correlated positively with end-diastolic volume (r = 0.52, p = 0.0184) and end-systolic volume (r = 0.56, p = 0.0095), and negatively with EF (r = -0.72, p = 0.0001).
Conclusion
Left ventricular non-compaction is associated with dysrrhythmias, thromboembolic events, chest pain and LV dysfunction. The inverse correlation between NC area and EF suggests that NC contributes to left ventricular dysfunction.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-9-37
PMCID: PMC2743643  PMID: 19664240
22.  Risk-taking attitudes and their association with process and outcomes of cardiac care: a cohort study 
Background
Prior research reveals that processes and outcomes of cardiac care differ across sociodemographic strata. One potential contributing factor to such differences is the personality traits of individuals within these strata. We examined the association between risk-taking attitudes and cardiac patients' clinical and demographic characteristics, the likelihood of undergoing invasive cardiac procedures and survival.
Methods
We studied a large inception cohort of patients who underwent cardiac catheterization between July 1998 and December 2001. Detailed clinical and demographic data were collected at time of cardiac catheterization and through a mailed survey one year post-catheterization. The survey included three general risk attitude items from the Jackson Personality Inventory. Patients' (n = 6294) attitudes toward risk were categorized as risk-prone versus non-risk-prone and were assessed for associations with baseline clinical and demographic characteristics, treatment received (i.e., medical therapy, coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI)), and survival (to December 2005).
Results
2827 patients (45%) were categorized as risk-prone. Having risk-prone attitudes was associated with younger age (p < .001), male sex (p < .001), current smoking (p < .001) and higher household income (p < .001). Risk-prone patients were more likely to have CABG surgery in unadjusted (Odds Ratio [OR] = 1.21; 95% CI 1.08–1.36) and adjusted (OR = 1.18; 95% CI 1.02–1.36) models, but were no more likely to have PCI or any revascularization. Having risk-prone attitudes was associated with better survival in an unadjusted survival analysis (Hazard Ratio [HR] = 0.78 (95% CI 0.66–0.93), but not in a risk-adjusted analysis (HR = 0.92, 95% CI 0.77–1.10).
Conclusion
These exploratory findings suggest that patient attitudes toward risk taking may contribute to some of the documented differences in use of invasive cardiac procedures. An awareness of these associations could help healthcare providers as they counsel patients regarding cardiac care decisions.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-9-36
PMCID: PMC2734744  PMID: 19660137
23.  Association between -T786C NOS3 polymorphism and resistant hypertension: a prospective cohort study 
Background
It is estimated that 5% of the hypertensive patients are resistant to conventional antihypertensive therapy. Polymorphisms in the endothelial nitric oxide synthase (NOS3) gene have been associated with high blood pressure levels, but not with resistant hypertension. The aim of the present study was to investigate if the -786T>C and G894T (Glu298Asp) polymorphisms of the NOS3 gene were associated with resistant hypertension.
Methods
A prospective case-control observational study was performed. From a series of 950 consecutive patients followed up during 42 months, 48 patients with resistant hypertension were detected. 232 patients with controlled high blood pressure were also included.
Results
No differences were observed in the distribution of G894T (Glu298Asp) NOS3 genotypes between the resistant hypertension group and the controlled hypertension patients. However, genotype -786CC was more frequent in the group of patients with resistant hypertension (33.3%) than in the group of patients with controlled high blood pressure (17.7%) (p 0.03). Furthermore carriers of allele T (-786TC and -786TT) were more frequent in patients with controlled hypertension (82.3%) than those with resistant hypertension (66.7%) (Multivariate analysis; RR 2.09; 95% CI 1.03–4.24; p 0.004).
Conclusion
Our results indicate that genotype -786CC of the NOS3 gene increase the susceptibility to suffer resistant hypertension, which suggest that resistance to conventional therapy could be determined at the endothelial level.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-9-35
PMCID: PMC2734743  PMID: 19650939
24.  The association of biomarkers of iron status with peripheral arterial disease in US adults 
Background
Several studies have examined the association of biomarkers of iron metabolism with measures of carotid artery atherosclerosis, with inconsistent results. Few studies, however, have evaluated the association between biomarkers of iron metabolism and peripheral arterial disease (PAD). The purpose of this study is to examine the association of ferritin and transferrin saturation with PAD.
Methods
Serum ferritin, transferrin saturation, and PAD, defined as having an ankle-brachial blood pressure index <0.9, were measured in 1,631 men and 1,031 postmenopausal women participating in the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
Results
The multivariable adjusted odds ratios (95% confidence interval) for PAD associated with a two-fold increase in serum ferritin and transferrin saturation were 1.18 (1.00-1.41) and 1.45 (0.83-2.51), respectively, for men and 1.04 (0.87-1.25) and 1.55 (0.98-2.45), respectively, for women. After stratifying by cholesterol levels, the multivariable adjusted odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) for PAD associated with a two-fold increase in ferritin and transferrin saturation was 1.04 (0.78-1.39) and 0.73 (0.35-1.50), respectively, for men with total cholesterol <200 mg/dL and 1.30 (0.99-1.72) and 2.59 (0.99-6.78), respectively, for men with total cholesterol ≥ 200 mg/dL (p-value for interaction was 0.58 for ferritin and 0.08 for transferrin saturation). After stratifying by cholesterol levels, the multivariable adjusted odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) for PAD associated with a two-fold increase in ferritin and transferrin saturation was 0.66 (0.41-1.05) and 0.75 (0.44-1.28), respectively, for women with total cholesterol <200 mg/dL, and 1.20 (0.95-1.51) and 2.07 (1.01-4.22), respectively, for women with total cholesterol ≥ 200 mg/dL (p-value for interaction was 0.05 for ferritin and 0.02 for transferrin saturation).
Conclusion
In this large nationally representative sample of men and postmenopausal women, we found a modest association of ferritin and transferrin saturation with PAD, particularly among those with high cholesterol levels.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-9-34
PMCID: PMC2733106  PMID: 19650928
25.  No evidence for an association between the -36A>C phospholamban gene polymorphism and a worse prognosis in heart failure 
Background
In Brazil, heart failure leads to approximately 25,000 deaths per year. Abnormal calcium handling is a hallmark of heart failure and changes in genes encoding for proteins involved in the re-uptake of calcium might harbor mutations leading to inherited cardiomyopathies. Phospholamban (PLN) plays a prime role in cardiac contractility and relaxation and mutations in the gene encoding PLN have been associated with dilated cardiomyopathy. In this study, our objective was to determine the presence of the -36A>C alteration in PLN gene in a Brazilian population of individuals with HF and to test whether this alteration is associated with heart failure or with a worse prognosis of patients with HF.
Methods
We genotyped a cohort of 881 patients with HF and 1259 individuals from a cohort of individuals from the general population for the alteration -36A>C in the PLN gene. Allele and genotype frequencies were compared between groups (patients and control). In addition, frequencies or mean values of different phenotypes associated with cardiovascular disease were compared between genotypic groups. Finally, patients were prospectively followed-up for death incidence and genotypes for the -36A>C were compared regarding mortality incidence in HF patients.
Results
No significant association was found between the study polymorphism and HF in our population. In addition, no association between PLN -36A>C polymorphism and demographic, clinical and functional characteristics and mortality incidence in this sample of HF patients was observed.
Conclusion
Our data do not support a role for the PLN -36A>C alteration in modulating the heart failure phenotype, including its clinical course, in humans.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-9-33
PMCID: PMC2734742  PMID: 19638213

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