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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Left atrial size and strain in elite athletes: A cross-sectional study at the NBA Draft Combine.


Atrial dilatation is common but of unclear physiologic significance in high-performance athletes. Myocardial deformation analysis utilizing speckle-tracking echocardiography has emerged as a promising tool to evaluate atrial function. In a cohort of elite basketball players attending the National Basketball Association (NBA) Draft Combine, we investigate changes in left atrial (LA) size as well as function as measured by strain.

From 2013 to 2018, all male athletes who attended the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, IL, received a cardiac evaluation including a comprehensive transthoracic echocardiogram. Using the P-wave as the reference point, speckle-tracking was utilized to measure LA booster, conduit, and reservoir strain over one cardiac cycle. Left atrial volume index (LAVI) of ≥34 mL/m2 was considered enlarged. 307 athletes received cardiac evaluation including a transthoracic echocardiogram, with 272 studies amenable for atrial strain analysis. Mean age was 21.0 years. Mean LAVI was 34.5 mL/m2 and LAVI was enlarged in 131 (48.2%) athletes. Comparing LA strain in those with enlarged vs normal sized atria, reservoir strain was significantly reduced (32.1% [SD 6.0%] vs 35.2% [SD 8.2%], P < .001), as was conduit strain (22.9% [SD 5.2%] vs 25.7% [SD 7.4%], P < .001), with no difference seen in booster strain (9.2% [SD 2.1%] vs 9.4% [SD 2.7%], P = .45).

In this group of elite basketball players, LA enlargement was common and associated with reduced LA reservoir and conduit strain, with no difference in LA booster strain.

A new dimension in patent foramen ovale size estimation.


Detailed multidimensional assessment of patent foramen ovale (PFO) size with transesophageal echocardiography (TOE) may help to determine PFO pathogenicity in cryptogenic stroke patients. We explored the potential additive value of Live xPlane and three-dimensional (3D) TOE anatomical PFO sizing techniques.

Imaging data of 45 patients who underwent a 3D TOE-assisted percutaneous PFO closure were studied. The two-dimensional (2D) PFO separation distance and right-to-left (RL) contrast shunt magnitude were assessed on preprocedural TOE recordings. Peri-procedural measurements of the triangular anatomical PFO opening (base, height, and area) were performed after positioning of a stiff guidewire (SW) through the PFO, using Live xPlane imaging and 3D Zoom mode.

The PFO SW base appeared on average 5 times larger than the preprocedural 2D PFO separation (median difference [IQR] = 13[5] mm; P < .001). For a same PFO separation, the width of the PFO base may vary significantly. The PFO SW base was significantly larger in patients with a large versus a small-to-moderate PFO RL contrast shunt (18 vs 15 mm; P = .007) and in those with a spontaneous versus a provoked shunt (18 vs 14 mm; P = .003).

Live xPlane and 3D Zoom TOE allow peri-procedural measurement of the largest dimension of a PFO, which is the PFO base. Patients with a large or spontaneous RL contrast shunt appear to have a larger PFO base. The anatomical PFO base dimension may be taken into account for optimization of device and patient selection strategies.

Cardiac tamponade: an educational review.

European Heart Journal

Cardiac tamponade is a pericardial syndrome characterised by an impairment of the diastolic filling of the ventricles causing reduction of cardiac ...

Is heart failure misdiagnosed in hospitalized patients with preserved ejection fraction? From the European Society of Cardiology - Heart Failure Association EURObservational Research Programme Heart Failure Long-Term Registry.

European Heart Journal

In hospitalized patients with a clinical diagnosis of acute heart failure (HF) with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), the aims of this study were (i) to assess the proportion meeting the 2016 European Society of Cardiology (ESC) HFpEF criteria and (ii) to compare patients with restrictive/pseudonormal mitral inflow pattern (MIP) vs. patients with MIP other than restrictive/pseudonormal.

We included hospitalized participants of the ESC-Heart Failure Association (HFA) EURObservational Research Programme (EORP) HF Long-Term Registry who had echocardiogram with ejection fraction (EF) ≥ 50% during index hospitalization. As no data on e', E/e' and left ventricular (LV) mass index were gathered in the registry, the 2016 ESC HFpEF definition was modified as follows: elevated B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) (≥100 pg/mL for acute HF) and/or N-terminal pro-BNP (≥300 pg/mL) and at least one of the echocardiographic criteria: (i) presence of LV hypertrophy (yes/no), (ii) left atrial volume index (LAVI) of >34 mL/m2 ), or (iii) restrictive/pseudonormal MIP. Next, all patients were divided into four groups: (i) patients with restrictive/pseudonormal MIP on echocardiography [i.e. with presumably elevated left atrial (LA) pressure], (ii) patients with MIP other than restrictive/pseudonormal (i.e. with presumably normal LA pressure), (iii) atrial fibrillation (AF) group, and (iv) 'grey area' (no consistent description of MIP despite no report of AF). Of 6365 hospitalized patients, 1848 (29%) had EF ≥ 50%. Natriuretic peptides were assessed in 28%, LV hypertrophy in 92%, LAVI in 13%, and MIP in 67%. The 2016 ESC HFpEF criteria could be assessed in 27% of the 1848 patients and, if assessed, were met in 52%. Of the 1848 patients, 19% had restrictive/pseudonormal MIP, 43% had MIP other than restrictive/pseudonormal, 18% had AF and 20% were grey area. There were no differences in long-term all-cause or cardiovascular mortality, or all-cause hospitalizations or HF rehospitalizations between the four groups. Despite fewer non-cardiac comorbidities reported at baseline, patients with MIP other than restrictive/pseudonormal (i.e. with presumably normal LA pressure) had more non-cardiovascular (14.0 vs. 6.7 per 100 patient-years, P < 0.001) and cardiovascular non-HF (13.2 vs. 8.0 per 100 patient-years, P = 0.016) hospitalizations in long-term follow-up than patients with restrictive/pseudonormal MIP.

Acute HFpEF diagnosis could be assessed (based on the 2016 ESC criteria) in only a quarter of patients and confirmed in half of these. When assessed, only one in three patients had restrictive/pseudonormal MIP suggestive of elevated LA pressure. Patients with MIP other than restrictive/pseudonormal (suggestive of normal LA pressure) could have been misdiagnosed with acute HFpEF or had echocardiography performed after normalization of LA pressure. They were more often hospitalized for non-HF reasons during follow-up. Symptoms suggestive of acute HFpEF may in some patients represent non-HF comorbidities.

Left ventricular ejection fraction using manual and semi-automated biplane method of discs in very preterm infants.


Biplane left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) is a valuable echocardiographic parameter for assessment of LV systolic pump efficiency in adults and children, but not often reported in preterm infants. The primary aim of this study was to longitudinally measure biplane LVEF in very preterm infants during the neonatal intensive care period. Secondary aim was to compare manual and semi-automatic determination of LVEF for agreement and variability.

Stable preterm infants less than 30 weeks gestation were scanned on day 3, day 28, and at 36 weeks postmenstrual age. The LV endocardium was traced manually and semi-automatically using integrated speckle tracking software in apical 4-chamber and apical 3-chamber images to obtain end-diastolic volume and end-systolic volume, and calculate LVEF. Agreement between methods and variability within and between observers was determined using an interclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and Bland-Altman analysis.

Sixty-six preterm infants with a mean birth weight of 1100 (239) g were analyzed. The average manual biplane LVEF was 58 (3)%, 59 (3)%, and 55 (4)% at the three respective time points. Manual LVEF showed good agreement with semi-automatic LVEF (ICC 0.76) with a small bias of -1.5 (3.0)%. Interobserver variability of LVEF improved with semi-automatic tracing of the LV endocardial border (ICC manual 0.68 vs semi-automatic 0.80).

Left ventricular systolic pump efficiency in preterm infants remains stable during the neonatal intensive care period. Semi-automatic biplane LVEF has less interobserver variability and can be used interchangeably with manual biplane LVEF.

Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy and Risk of Recurrent Hospitalizations in Patients Without Left Bundle Branch Block: The Long-Term Multicenter Automatic Defibrillator Implantation Trial With Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy.

Circulation. Heart failure

Mild heart failure (HF) patients without left bundle branch block (LBBB) did not derive a significant reduction in risk of a HF event/death in the MADIT-CRT trial (Multicenter Automatic Defibrillator Implantation Trial With Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy). However, the efficacy of CRT with a defibrillator (CRT-D) may be modified after the development of the first hospitalization for HF (HHF). We aimed to study the effect of CRT-D on long-term risk of recurrent HHF in patients without LBBB in MADIT-CRT.

Data on recurring HHF were collected for 1818 subjects. The CRT-D versus implantable cardioverter-defibrillator-only risk for first and subsequent HHF was assessed by QRS morphology in on-treatment analysis using Cox proportional hazards regression modeling.

During long-term follow-up, 412 patients had ≥1 HHF and 333 had ≥2 HHF. Multivariate analysis revealed that in LBBB patients, CRT-D, compared with implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, was associated with a significant reduction in risk of first and subsequent HHF (first: hazard ratio, 0.41 [95% CI, 0.31-0.54], P<0.001; subsequent: hazard ratio, 0.45 [95% CI, 0.29-0.70], P<0.001). Among patients without LBBB, the benefit of CRT-D was nonsignificant for the first HHF (hazard ratio, 0.96; P=0.808). However, after occurrence of a first HHF, CRT-D therapy was associated with a pronounced 44% reduction in risk of subsequent HHF (hazard ratio, 0.56 [95% CI, 0.32-0.97], P=0.039). Patients without LBBB with ≥1 HHF during the first year of follow-up demonstrated increasing dyssynchrony at 1 year compared with those who had no HHF (P=0.016).

In MADIT-CRT, we show a beneficial effect of CRT-D in patients without LBBB subsequent to development of a first HHF, possibly due to increased dyssynchrony associated with HF progression.

URL: Unique identifier: NCT00180271, NCT01294449, and NCT02060110.

3D transesophageal echocardiography in TAVR.


Recently, there has been an increasingly minimalistic approach to transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), with most procedures now performed...

Papillary muscles. Dark side of the heart: A simple approach for a forgotten structure.


Transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) is currently the election method for initial screening of left ventricular papillary muscles (PM). However, diagnosis of borderline PM hypertrophy with TTE is not always feasible due to cumbersome interpretation of different PM diameters and the absence of precise normal ranges in the literature. The objective of this study was to obtain TTE normal cutoff values and to describe convenient indexes of PM dimensions.

Healthy volunteers with normal electrocardiogram were included for TTE assessment. Vertical (Vd) and horizontal (Hd) PM diameters were measured to obtain maximum diameter (Md) and areas of the anterolateral PM (APM) and posteromedial PM (PPM) to obtain PM total area (PMTA).

A total of 82 patients were screened, and 6 (7.3%) with bifid PM were excluded from analysis. APM and PPM had similar Vd (APM: 8.3 ± 1.2, PPM: 7.9 ± 1.1 mm2 , P = NS) and Hd (APM: 8.2 ± 1.3, PPM: 8.3 ± 1.2 mm2 , P = NS). Finally, Md (9 ± 1.2 mm; P95 = 11 mm) and PMTA (106.5 ± 24.2 mm2 ; P95 = 150.8 mm2 ) were obtained. Correlation between PMTA and Md was positive (P < .001), and out-of-range values for Md and PMTA were similar (2.6% vs 5.3%); there was excellent agreement between both indexes (K = 0.82).

Maximum diameter and PMTA are convenient indexes to describe PM dimensions. However, given the high equivalence between both indexes, we propose the use of Md due to its simplicity and ease of calculation. Our findings suggest that patients with any PM diameter ≥12 mm should be considered abnormal.

When does the E/e' index not work? The pitfalls of oversimplifying diastolic function.


Since the E/e' ratio was first described in 1997 as a noninvasive surrogate marker of mean pulmonary capillary wedge pressure, it has gained a cent...

Echocardiographic diagnosis and follow-up for ALCAPA syndrome treated with the Takeuchi procedure.


We present the case of an 18-year-old man with aborted sudden cardiac death. His initial echocardiogram suggested an anomalous origin of the left c...

A novel case of reverse Takotsubo cardiomyopathy following brain biopsy.


Reverse Takotsubo cardiomyopathy (rTTC) is a variant of Takotsubo cardiomyopathy (TTC) or stress-induced cardiomyopathy. TTC is a transient cardiom...

An unusual case of prenatal diagnosis of right coronary artery to right ventricle fistula with HD-flow render mode and spatiotemporal image correlation (STIC).


Coronary artery fistula is rare in prenatal diagnosis. We have reported a case diagnosis of coronary artery fistula by using high-definition flow (...