Matrix Metalloproteinase-2 Isoforms Differ within the Aortic Wall of Ascending Aortic Aneurysms Associated with Bicuspid Aortic ValveRead the full article
Cardiology Research and Practice publishes original research articles, review articles, and clinical studies focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension, arrhythmia, heart failure, and vascular disease.
Dr. Terrence Ruddy is Director of Nuclear Cardiology at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, and Professor of Medicine and Radiology at the University of Ottawa. His research is in SPECT and PET imaging techniques in cardiovascular disease.
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Myocardial Scar on Surface ECG: Selvester Score, but Not Fragmentation, Predicts Response to CRT
Purpose. Myocardial scar is directly related to the response to CRT after implantation. The extent of myocardial scar can be detected not only by cardiac magnetic resonance but also by two electrocardiographic scores: fragmented QRS (fQRS) and Selvester score (SSc). The aim of our study is to compare the role of baseline SSc and fQRS in predicting response to CRT in a cohort of heart failure patients with true left bundle branch block (LBBB). As a secondary endpoint, we assessed the association of both scores with overall and cardiac mortality, heart failure hospitalizations, ventricular arrhythmias requiring ICD intervention, and major adverse cardiovascular event (MACE). Methods. We evaluated fQRS and SSc of 178 consecutive HF patients with severe systolic dysfunction (LVEF ≤ 35%), NYHA class II-III despite optimal medical treatment, and true-LBBB. Response to CRT was defined as the improvement of LVEF of at least 10% or as the reduction of LVESV of at least 15% at a 6-month follow-up. Each endpoint was related to fQRS and SSc. Results. SSc ≥7 was significantly associated with the absence of echocardiographic response to CRT (OR: 0.327; 95% C.I. 0.155–0.689; ), while the presence of fQRS at baseline ECG was not (OR: 1.133; 95% C.I. 0.539–2.381; ). No correlation was found between SSc and overall mortality, cardiac death, ventricular arrhythmias, hospitalizations due to heart failure, or for MACE. Similar results were observed between fQRS and all secondary endpoints. Conclusion. In HF patients with true-LBBB and LVEF ≤35% eligible for CRT, myocardial scar assessed by calculating the SSc on preimplant ECG is an independent predictor of nonresponse after multiple adjustments. Neither SSc nor fQRS is associated with overall and cardiac death, ventricular arrhythmias, or hospitalization for heart failure at a 24-month follow-up.
The Effect of Sex Differences on Endothelial Function and Circulating Endothelial Progenitor Cells in Hypertriglyceridemia
Background. Men have a higher risk and earlier onset of cardiovascular diseases compared with premenopausal women. Hypertriglyceridemia is an independent risk factor for the occurrence of ischemic heart disease. Endothelial dysfunction is related to the development of ischemic heart disease. Whether sex differences will affect the circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) and endothelial function in hypertriglyceridemia patients or not is not clear. Methods. Forty premenopausal women and forty age- and body mass index (BMI)-matched men without cardiovascular and metabolic disease were recruited and then divided into four groups: normotriglyceridemic women (women with serum triglycerides level <150 mg/dl), hypertriglyceridemic women (women with serum triglycerides level ≥150 mg/dl), normotriglyceridemic men (men with serum triglycerides level <150 mg/dl), and hypertriglyceridemic men (men with serum triglycerides level ≥150 mg/dl). Peripheral blood was obtained and evaluated. Flow-mediated dilatation (FMD), the number and activity of circulating EPCs, and the levels of nitric oxide (NO), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) in plasma and culture medium were measured. Results. The number and activity of circulating EPCs, as well as the level of NO in plasma or culture medium, were remarkably increased in premenopausal females compared with those in males both in the hypertriglyceridemic group and the normotriglyceridemic group. The EPC counts and activity, as well as the production of NO, were restored in hypertriglyceridemic premenopausal women compared with those in normal women. However, in hypertriglyceridemic men, the EPC counts and activity, as well as levels of NO, were significantly reduced. The values of VEGF and GM-CSF were without statistical change. Conclusions. The present study firstly demonstrated that there were sex differences in the number and activity of circulating EPCs in hyperglyceridemia patients. Hypertriglyceridemic premenopausal women displayed restored endothelial functions, with elevated NO production, probably mediated by estradiol. We provided a new insight to explore the clinical biomarkers and therapeutic strategies for hypertriglyceridemia-related vascular damage.
Left Atrial Appendage Thrombus Formation Despite Continuous Non-Vitamin K Antagonist Oral Anticoagulant Therapy in Atrial Fibrillation Patients Undergoing Electrical Cardioversion or Catheter Ablation: A Comparison of Dabigatran and Rivaroxaban
Left atrial appendage thrombus (LAAT) may be detected by transesophageal echocardiography (TOE) in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) despite continuous anticoagulation therapy. We examined the factors predisposing to LAAT in patients treated with the anticoagulants dabigatran and rivaroxaban. We retrospectively evaluated 1,256 AF patients from three centres who underwent TOE before electrical cardioversion (n = 611, 51.4%) or catheter ablation (n = 645, 48.6%) from January 2013 to December 2019 and had been on at least three weeks of continuous dabigatran (n = 603, 48%) or rivaroxaban (n = 653, 52%) therapy. Preprocedural TOE diagnosed LAAT in 51 patients (4.1%), including 30 patients (5%) treated with dabigatran and 21 patients (3.2%) treated with rivaroxaban (). In multivariate logistic regression, predictors of LAAT in patients treated with dabigatran were non-paroxysmal AF (vs. paroxysmal AF) (OR = 6.2, ), heart failure (OR = 3.22, ), and a eGFR <60 ml/min/1.73 m2 (OR = 2.65, ); the predictors in patients treated with rivaroxaban were non-paroxysmal AF (vs. paroxysmal AF) (OR = 5.73, ) and heart failure (OR = 3.19, ). In ROC analysis of the dabigatran group, the area under the curve (AUC) for the CHA2DS2-VASc-RAF score was significantly higher (0.78) than those for the CHADS2, CHA2DS2-VASc, and R2CHADS2 scores (0.67, 0.70, and 0.72, respectively). In the rivaroxaban group, the CHA2DS2-VASc-RAF score also performed significantly better (AUC of 0.77) than the CHADS2, CHA2DS2-VASc, and R2CHADS2 scores (AUC of 0.66, 0.64, and 0.67, respectively). The risk of LAAT was the same for patients in both treatment groups. In all patients, non-paroxysmal AF or heart failure, and in patients treated with dabigatran an eGFR <60 ml/min/1.73 m2, were independent predictors of LAAT. The new CHA2DS2-VASc-RAF scale had the highest predictive value for LAAT in the entire study population.
Echocardiography in Confirmed and Highly Suspected Symptomatic COVID-19 Patients and Its Impact on Treatment Change
Background. COVID-19 interacts at multiple levels with the cardiovascular system. The prognosis of COVID-19 infection is known to be worse for patients with underlying cardiovascular diseases. Furthermore, the virus is responsible for many cardiovascular complications. Myocardial injury may affect up to 20% of the critically ill patients. However, echocardiography’s impact on the management of patients affected by COVID-19 remains unknown. Objectives. To explore echocardiography’s impact on the management of COVID-19 patients. Methods. This study was conducted from March 24th to April 14th, 2020, in a single center at Adolphe de Rothschild Foundation Hospital, Paris, France. All consecutive inpatients with laboratory and/or CT COVID-19 diagnosis were included in this study. Patients’ characteristics (clinical, biological, and imaging) and treatment change induced by echocardiography were collected and analyzed. Patients with and without treatment change induced by echocardiography were compared. Results. A total of 56 echocardiographies in 42 patients with highly suspected or confirmed COVID-19 were included in the final analyses. The median age was 66 (IQR 60.5–74). Echocardiography induced a treatment change in 9 cases (16%). The analyzed clinical data were not associated with any treatment change induced by echocardiography. D-dimer and Troponin levels were the only biological predictors of the induced treatment change. On echocardiography, higher systolic pulmonary arterial pressure and documented cardiac thrombi were associated with treatment changes in these patients. Conclusions. Echocardiography may be useful for the management of selected COVID-19 patients, especially those with elevated D-Dimer and Troponin levels, in up to 16% of patients.
Upregulation of MicroRNA-125b Leads to the Resistance to Inflammatory Injury in Endothelial Progenitor Cells
Objectives. MicroRNA-125b (miR-125b) has been recognized as one of the key regulators of the inflammatory responses in cardiovascular diseases recently. This study sought to dissect the role of miR-125b in modulating the function of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) in the inflammatory environment of ischemic hearts. Methods. EPCs were cultured and transfected with miR-125b mimic and negative control mimic. Cell migration and adhesion assays were performed after tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) treatment to determine EPC function. Cell apoptosis was analyzed by flow cytometry. The activation of the NF-κB pathway was measured by western blotting. EPC-mediated neovascularization in vivo was studied by using a myocardial infarction model. Results. miR-125b-overexpressed EPCs displayed improved cell migration, adhesion abilities, and reduced cell apoptosis compared with those of the NC group after TNF-α treatment. miR-125b overexpression in EPCs ameliorated TNF-α-induced activation of the NF-κB pathway. Mice transplanted with miR-125b-overexpressed EPCs showed improved cardiac function recovery and capillary vessel density than the ones transplanted with NC EPCs. Conclusions. miR-125b protects EPCs against TNF-α-induced inflammation and cell apoptosis by attenuating the activation of NF-κB pathway and consequently improves the cardiac function recovery and EPC-mediated neovascularization in the ischemic hearts.
Correlation between the Serum Platelet-Derived Growth Factor, Angiopoietin-1, and Severity of Coronary Heart Disease
Background. The expression of the platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1) in patients with coronary artery disease of different studies was inconsistent. This study was to investigate the expression of the PDGF and Ang-1 in peripheral blood and coronary artery in patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and the relationship between the expression of the PDGF and Ang-1 and the severity of coronary artery disease. Methods. A total of 81 patients with acute coronary syndrome undergoing coronary angiography were enrolled from September 2012 to December 2013. Patients with ACS included 61 patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI group) and 20 patients with unstable angina pectoris (UAP group). The 29 patients who were hospitalized for chest pain undergoing coronary angiography without stenosis and with TIMI level 3 blood flow were selected as the control group. During coronary arteriography (CAG) or percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), blood in the peripheral artery and in the local coronary artery was collected from all the patients. Serum PDGF and Ang-1 levels were measured by ELISA. We calculated the Gensini score of each patient with CHD according to the result of CAG. Patients with ACS were followed up, and the major adverse cardiovascular and cerebrovascular adverse events were recorded. Results. In peripheral blood, the concentration of the PDGF was significantly elevated in the ACS group than that of the control group. The level of the PDGF in the AMI group was significantly higher than that in the UAP group. In coronary artery blood, the level of the PDGF in the ACS group was significantly higher than that of the UAP group. There was no significant difference in the concentration of Ang-1 in peripheral blood between patients with coronary heart disease and the control group. The concentration of Ang-1 in the coronary artery was significantly lower than that in peripheral blood. The coronary Ang-1 concentrations in the ACS group were significantly higher than those in the UAP group. The concentrations of the PDGF and Ang-1 in peripheral and coronary artery blood were positively correlated with the severity of coronary lesions. Patients with MACCE had higher PDGF and Ang-1 levels in the coronary sinus. Conclusion. The serum PDGF concentration in patients with acute coronary syndrome was significantly increased, especially in the local coronary artery. The serum Ang-1 in the coronary artery was significantly increased in patients with acute myocardial infarction and was related to the degree of coronary artery stenosis. Coronary sinus PDGF and Ang-1 levels can reflect the severity of lesions in patients with acute coronary syndrome.