The latest medical research on Cardiology

The research magnet gathers the latest research from around the web, based on your specialty area. Below you will find a sample of some of the most recent articles from reputable medical journals about cardiology gathered by our medical AI research bot.

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Assessment of lesion-associated myocardial ischemia based on fusion coronary CT imaging - the FUSE-HEART study: A protocol for non-randomized clinical trial.

European Heart Journal

Multimodality assessment of coronary artery lesions has demonstrated superior effectiveness compared to the conventional approach, for assessing both anatomical and functional significance of a coronary stenosis. Multiple imaging modalities can be integrated into a fusion imaging tool to better assess myocardial ischemia.

The FUSE-HEART trial is a single center, prospective, cohort study that will assess the impact of a coronary artery stenosis on myocardial function and viability, based on advanced fusion imaging technics derived from Cardiac Computed Tomography Angiography (CCTA). Moreover, the study will investigate the correlation between morphology and composition of the coronary plaques and myocardial ischemia in the territory irrigated by the same coronary artery. At the same time, imaging parameters will be correlated with inflammatory status of the subjects. The trial will include 100 subjects with coronary lesions found on CCTA examination. The study population will be divided into 2 groups: first group will consist of subjects with anatomically significant coronary lesions on native coronary arteries and the second one will include subjects surviving an acute myocardial infarction. The vulnerability score of the subjects will be calculated based on presence of CCTA vulnerability markers of the coronary plaques: napkin ring sign, positive remodeling, spotty calcifications, necrotic core, and low-density plaques. 3D fusion images of the coronary tree will be generated, integrating the images reflecting wall motion with the ones of coronary circulation. The fusion models will establish the correspondence between plaque composition and wall motion in the subtended myocardium of the coronary artery. The study primary outcome will be represented by the rate of major adverse cardiac events related to myocardial ischemia at 1-year post assessment, in correlation with the degree of coronary artery stenosis and myocardial ischemia or viability.The secondary outcomes are represented by the rate of re-hospitalization, rate of survival and rate of major adverse cardiovascular events (including cardiovascular death or stroke), in correlation with the morphology and composition of atheromatous plaques located in a coronary artery, and myocardial ischemia in the territory irrigated by the same coronary artery.

In conclusion, FUSE-HEART will be a study based on modern imaging tools that will investigate the impact of a coronary artery stenosis on myocardial function and viability, using advanced fusion imaging technics derived from CCTA, sighting to validate plaque composition and morphology, together with inflammatory biomarkers, as predictors to myocardial viability.

The variable spectrum of anterior mitral valve leaflet restriction in rheumatic heart disease screening.


The World Heart Federation (WHF) screening criteria do not incorporate a strict, reproducible definition of anterior mitral valve leaflet (AMVL) restriction. Using a novel definition, we have identified two distinct AMVL restriction configurations. The first, called "distal tip" AMVL restriction is associated with additional morphological features of rheumatic heart disease (RHD), while the second, "gradual bowing" AMVL restriction is not. This "arch-like" leaflet configuration involves the base to tip of the medial MV in isolation. We hypothesize that this configuration is a normal variant.

The prevalence and associated leaflet configurations of AMVL restriction were assessed in schoolchildren with an established "very low" (VLP), "high" (HP), and "very high" prevalence (VHP) of RHD.

936 studies were evaluated (HP 577 cases; VLP 359 cases). Sixty-five cases of "gradual bowing" AMVL restriction were identified in the HP cohort (11.3%, 95% CI 8.9-14.1) and 35 cases (9.7%, 95% CI 7-13.2) in the VLP cohort (P = .47). In the second analyses, an enriched cohort of 43 studies with proven definite RHD were evaluated. "Distal tip" AMVL restriction was identified in all 43 VHP cases (100%) and affected the central portion of the AMVL in all cases.

"Gradual bowing" AMVL restriction appears to be a normal, benign variant of the MV, not associated with RHD risk nor with any other morphological features of RHD. Conversely, "Distal tip" AMVL restriction was present in all cases in the VHP cohort with no cases exhibiting a straight, nonrestricted central portion of the AMVL. This novel finding requires further investigation as a potential RHD rule-out test of the MV.

Correlation of echocardiographic probability of pulmonary hypertension with maternal outcomes in pregnant women with elevated right ventricular systolic pressure.


The use of echocardiography to evaluate the probability for pulmonary hypertension (PH) in pregnant women has not been reported or correlated with outcomes. We hypothesized that in women with elevated right ventricular systolic pressure (RVSP) on echocardiography first identified during pregnancy, those with low probability for PH would have fewer major adverse cardiac events (MACE).

We performed a retrospective cohort study of pregnant women with RVSP >35 mm Hg on echocardiogram first identified during pregnancy. Women were classified as intermediate-high probability for PH (HP) or low probability for PH (LP) based on simplified European Society of Cardiology echocardiographic criteria. Maternal cardiac, obstetric, and fetal outcomes were assessed.

A total of 77 women met inclusion criteria (mean age 30 ± 5 years), with 45 (58%) classified as HP and 32 (42%) as LP. There were 21 (27%) women who experienced MACE, more commonly in the HP cohort (HP 18 (40%) women vs. LP 3 (9%) women, P = .01). The echocardiographic criteria for intermediate-high probability of PH identified women at risk for MACE with 85% sensitivity and 52% specificity. The negative predictive value for MACE in women meeting low echocardiographic probability for PH criteria was 91%.

In women with elevated RVSP on echocardiography first identified during pregnancy, those with low echocardiographic PH probability are at significantly lower risk for MACE during pregnancy, though the risk is not eliminated. This may be useful to risk stratify pregnant women with suspected PH, guiding tertiary care referral and invasive catheterization.

A giant right atrial myxoma-The growth rate and multi-modality imaging.


A young and healthy woman presented with progressive dyspnea on exertion. An echocardiogram showed a giant right atrial mass. Cardiac CT angiograph...

Advances in Clinical Cardiology 2020: A Summary of Key Clinical Trials.

European Heart Journal

Despite the challenge of a global pandemic, 2020 has been an invaluable year in cardiology research with numerous important clinical trials published or presented virtually at major international meetings. This article aims to summarise these trials and place them in clinical context.

The authors reviewed clinical trials presented at major cardiology conferences during 2020 including the American College of Cardiology, European Association for Percutaneous Cardiovascular Interventions, European Society of Cardiology, Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics and the American Heart Association. Trials with a broad relevance to the cardiology community and those with potential to change current practice were included.

A total of 87 key cardiology clinical trials were identified for inclusion. New interventional and structural cardiology data included trials evaluating bifurcation percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) techniques, intravascular ultrasound (IVUS)-guided PCI, instantaneous wave-free (iFR) physiological assessment, new generation stents (DynamX bioadaptor), transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) in low-risk patients, and percutaneous mitral or tricuspid valve interventions. Preventative cardiology data included new data with proprotein convertase subtilisin-kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitors (evolocumab and alirocumab), omega-3 supplements, evinacumab and colchicine in the setting of chronic coronary artery disease. Antiplatelet data included trials evaluating both the optimal length of course following PCI and combination of antiplatelet agents and regimes including combination antithrombotic therapies for patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). Heart failure data included the use of sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors (sotagliflozin, empagliflozin and dapagliflozin) and mavacamten in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Electrophysiology trials included early rhythm control in AF and screening for AF.

This article presents a summary of key clinical cardiology trials during the past year and should be of relevance to both clinicians and cardiology researchers.

Effect of cerebrospinal fluid pressure elevation on spinal cord perfusion during aortic cross-clamping with distal aortic perfusion.

Cardiothoracic Surgery

Distal aortic perfusion (DaP) is a widely accepted protective adjunct facilitating early reinstitution of visceral perfusion during extended thoracic and thoraco-abdominal aortic repair. DaP has also been suggested to secure distal inflow to the paraspinal collateral network via the hypogastric arteries and thereby reduce the risk of spinal cord ischaemia. However, an increase in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure is frequently observed during thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm repair. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of DaP on regional spinal cord blood flow (SCBF) during descending aortic cross-clamping and iatrogenic elevation of cerebrospinal fluid pressure.

Eight juvenile pigs underwent central cannulation for cardiopulmonary bypass according to our established experimental protocol followed by aortic cross-clamping of the descending thoracic and abdominal aorta-mimicking sequential aortic clamping-with the initiation of DaP. Thereafter, CSF pressure elevation was induced by the infusion of blood plasma until baseline CSF pressure was tripled. At each time-point, microspheres of different colours were injected allowing for regional SCBF analysis.

DaP led to a pronounced hyperperfusion of the distal spinal cord [SCBF up to 480%, standard deviation (SD): 313%, compared to baseline]. However, DaP provided no or only limited additional flow to the upper and middle segments of the spinal cord (C1-Th7: 5% of baseline, SD: 5%; Th8-L2: 24%, SD: 39%), which was compensated by proximal flow only at C1-Th7 level. Furthermore, DaP could not counteract an experimental CSF pressure elevation, which led to a further decrease in regional SCBF most pronounced in the mid-thoracic spinal cord segment.

Protective DaP during thoraco-abdominal aortic repair may be associated with inadequate spinal protection particularly at the mid-thoracic spinal cord level ('watershed area') and result in the adverse effect of a potentially dangerous hyperperfusion of the distal spinal cord segments.

Exploring the potential of rapid evaporative ionization mass spectrometry (Intelligent Knife) for point-of-care testing in aortic surgery.

Cardiothoracic Surgery

Many intraoperative decisions regarding the extent of thoracic aortic surgery are subjective and are based on the appearance of the aorta, perceived surgical risks and likelihood of early recurrent disease. Our objective in this work was to carry out a cross-sectional study to demonstrate that rapid evaporative ionization mass spectrometry (REIMS) of electrosurgical aerosol is able to empirically discriminate ex vivo aneurysmal human thoracic aorta from normal aorta, thus providing supportive evidence for the development of the technique as a point-of-care test guiding intraoperative surgical decision-making.

Human aortic tissue was obtained from patients undergoing surgery for thoracic aortic aneurysms (n = 44). Normal aorta was obtained from a mixture of post-mortem and punch biopsies from patients undergoing coronary surgery (n = 13). Monopolar electrocautery was applied to samples and surgical aerosol aspirated and analysed by REIMS to produce mass spectral data.

Models generated from REIMS data can discriminate aneurysmal from normal aorta with accuracy and precision of 88.7% and 85.1%, respectively. In addition, further analysis investigating aneurysmal tissue from patients with bicuspid and tricuspid aortic valves was discriminated from normal tissue and each other with accuracies and precision of 93.5% and 91.4% for control, 83.8% and 76.7% for bicuspid aortic valve and 89.3% and 86.0% for tricuspid aortic valve, respectively.

Analysis of electrosurgical aerosol from ex vivo aortic tissue using REIMS allowed us to discriminate aneurysmal from normal aorta, supporting its development as a point-of-care test (Intelligent Knife) for guiding surgical intraoperative decision-making.

Surgical outcomes of infective endocarditis in children: should we delay surgery for infective endocarditis?

Cardiothoracic Surgery

We compared the surgical outcomes of infective endocarditis (IE) between early surgery and non-early surgery groups in children.

From January 2000 to April 2020, we retrospectively reviewed 50 patients <18years of age who underwent first surgery for IE. Early surgery was defined as that performed within 2 days for left-sided IE and 7 days for right-sided IE after diagnosis.

The median age and body weight at operation were 7.7 years [interquartile range (IQR), 2.3-13.2] and 23.7 kg (IQR, 10.3-40.7), respectively. The median follow-up duration was 9.5 years (IQR, 4.0-14.5). In 28 patients with native valve endocarditis, the native valve was preserved in 23 (82.1%). The most common causative microorganism was Streptococcus viridans (32.0%). The operative mortality was 2.0%, and 13 (26.0%) patients required reoperation most commonly for prosthesis failure (n = 7). There were no significant differences in patient characteristics and perioperative data between early surgery (n = 9) and non-early surgery (n = 36) groups, except for the interval between diagnosis and surgery (early surgery < non-early surgery, P < 0.001) and preoperative negative blood culture conversion (early surgery < non-early surgery, P = 0.025). There were no significant differences in overall survival, recurrent IE, and reoperation rate between the groups. Early surgery and preoperative negative blood culture conversion were not found as significant factors for surgical adverse outcomes.

Surgical outcomes for IE in children were acceptable irrespective of the time of surgery. Our results suggest that it may not be required to delay surgery for IE and the potential benefit of early surgery could be expected in children.

Joint Latent Class Analysis of Oral Anticoagulation Use and Risk of Stroke or Systemic Thromboembolism in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation.

Cardiovascular Drugs

Oral anticoagulation (OAC) is recommended to reduce the risk of stroke or systemic thromboembolism (TE) in atrial fibrillation (AF). In this study, we applied novel joint latent class mixed models to identify heterogeneous patterns of trajectories of OAC use and determined how these trajectories are associated with risks of thromboembolic outcomes.

We used 2013-2016 claims data from a 5% random sample of Medicare beneficiaries, obtained from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Our study sample included 16,399 patients newly diagnosed with AF in 2014-2015 who were followed for 12 months after the first AF diagnosis and filled at least one OAC prescription in this time period. OAC use was defined as the number of days covered with OACs every 30-day interval after the first AF diagnosis. We used a joint latent class mixed model to simultaneously evaluate the longitudinal patterns of OAC use and time to stroke or TE, while adjusting for age, race, CHAD2S2-VASc score and HAS-BLED score. Five classes of OAC use patterns were identified: late users (17.8%); late initiators (12.5%); early discontinuers (18.6%); late discontinuers (15.4%); and continuous users (35.6%). Compared with continuous users, the risk of stroke or TE was higher for participants in the late initiators (hazard ratio [HR] 1.73, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.49-2.01) and late discontinuers (HR 1.23, 95% CI 1.04-1.45) classes.

Late initiators and late discontinuers had a higher risk of stroke or TE than continuous users. Early initiation and continuous OAC use is important in preventing stroke and TE among patients diagnosed with AF.

Pericardiocentesis induced right ventricular changes in patients with and without pulmonary hypertension.


Pericardial effusion drainage in patients with significant pulmonary hypertension (PH) has been questioned because of hemodynamic collapse concern, mainly because of right ventricular (RV) function challenging assessment. We aimed to assess RV function changes related to pericardiocentesis in patients with and without PH.

Consecutive patients with symptomatic moderate-to-large pericardial effusion who had either echocardiographic or clinical signs of cardiac tamponade and who underwent pericardiocentesis from 2013 to 2018 were included. RV speckle-tracking echocardiography analysis was performed before and after pericardiocentesis. Patients were stratified by significant PH (pulmonary artery systolic pressure [PASP] ≥50 mm Hg).

The study cohort consisted of 76 patients, 23 (30%) with PH. In patients with PH, both end-diastolic and end-systolic areas (EDA, ESA) increased significantly after pericardiocentesis (22.6 ± 8.0 cm2 -26.4 ± 8.4 cm2 , P = .01) and (15.9 ± 6.3 cm2 -18.7 ± 6.5 cm2 , P = .02), respectively. However, RV function indices including fractional area change (FAC: 30.6 ± 13.7%-29.1 ± 8.8%, P = .61) and free-wall longitudinal strain (FWLS: -16.7 ± 6.7 to -15.9 ± 5.0, P = .50) remained unchanged postpericardiocentesis. In contrast, in the non-PH group, after pericardiocentesis, EDA increased significantly (20.4 ± 6.2-22.4 ± 5.9 cm2 , P = .006) but ESA did not (14.9 ± 5.7 vs 15.0 ± 4.6 cm2 , P = .89), and RV function indices improved (FAC 27.9 ± 11.7%-33.1 ± 8.5%, P = .003; FWLS -13.6 ± 5.4 to -17.2 ± 3.9%, P < .001).

Quantification of RV size and function can improve understanding of echocardiographic and hemodynamic changes postpericardiocentesis, which has the potential to guide management of PH patients with large pericardial effusion.

Left Ventricular Longitudinal Global Strain to Predict Severe Coronary Disease in Patients with Precordial Pain Suggestive of Non-ST-Segment Elevation Acute Coronary Syndrome.

Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance

Diagnosing non-ST-segment elevation acute coronary syndrome (NSTE-ACS) is not always straightforward. Left ventricular global longitudinal strain (LVGLS) is an echocardiographic method capable of detecting subclinical regional and global ventricular contractile dysfunction due to myocardial ischemia. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the efficacy of LVGLS in diagnosing severe coronary disease in patients with chest pain suggestive of NSTE-ACS and to assess the relationships between LVGLS reduction and ultrasensitive troponin T (UsTnT) elevation, electrocardiographic changes suggestive of ischemia, and the number of vessels with severe obstructions.

This prospective, observational study evaluated hospitalized patients with chest pain of presumed coronary etiology. All patients underwent electrocardiography (ECG), UsTnT measurement, Doppler echocardiography, LVGLS measurement, and coronary angiography Coronary angiogram (CA) within 48 h of hospitalization.

A total of 75 patients with a mean age of 58 ± 17 years were included, of whom 84% (63 patients) were men. An LVGLS value of <-16.5, as determined by the Youden index proved to be useful for the detection of severe coronary obstructions (lesions >70%). The sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values were 96%, 88%, 92%, and 92%, respectively. The number of coronary arteries involved had a direct relationship with the degree of LVGLS reduction (P < 0.001). Elevated UsTnT levels occurred more frequently in patients with reduced LVGLS than in those with normal LVGLS (83% vs. 17%, P < 0.0001). Abnormal strain was not associated with electrocardiographic changes suggestive of ischemia.

LVGLS measurement in patients with presumed NSTE-ACS is efficient in predicting the presence of severe coronary disease. The number of coronary arteries involved has a direct relationship with the degree of LVGLS reduction. Abnormal strain is associated with UsTnT elevations but not with electrocardiographic changes suggestive of ischemia.

Noninvasive Predictors of Functional Capacity in Patients with Pulmonary Hypertension due to Congenital Heart Disease: A Pilot Echocardiography Single-Center Study.

Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance

Pulmonary hypertension (PH) with congenital heart disease (CHD) affects the functional capacity (FC), quality of life, and survival. However, the importance of different echocardiographic parameters and their correlation with FC is unclear.

A custom-made sheet for 34 consecutive patients with PH due to CHD was made to include patient's demographic data, underlying cardiac disorder, and FC by 6-min walk test (6MWT). The patients were subdivided into Group 1 with 6MWT < 330 m and Group 2 with 6MWT > 330 m. A cutoff value of 330 m was selected because it reflected the survival and outcome of patients in many studies before. Left ventricle global radial strain, baseline saturation, and saturation after 6MWT showed a significant strong positive correlation with 6MWT (r = 0.755, 0.714, and 0.721, P = 0.001, 0.000, and 0.000, respectively). Multiple regression analysis using a multivariate model showed that the mean pulmonary artery pressure (MPAP) and baseline saturation are the most independent predictors of the FC (P = 0.028 and 0.049, respectively), with a cutoff point for MPAP > 30 mmHg (area under the curve [AUC]: 0.85) with a sensitivity and specificity of 69.23% and 95.24%, respectively, and cutoff point for saturation < 94% (AUC: 0.852) with a sensitivity and specificity of 92.31% and 76.19%, respectively.

The MPAP and the baseline oxygen saturation were the most independent predictors of impaired FC. They can be used for risk stratification and as surrogate predictors of outcome in this group of patients.