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Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) evolution is unpredictable. Moreover, no specific treatment exists for AAA, except surgery to prevent aortic rupture. Galectin-3 has been previously associated with CVD, but its potential role in AAA have not been addressed. Galectin-3 levels were increased in plasma of AAA patients (n=225) compared to controls (n=100). Moreover, galectin-3 concentrations were associated with need for surgical repair, independently of potential confounding factors. Galectin-3 mRNA and protein expression were increased in human AAA samples compared to healthy aortas. Experimental AAA in mice was induced by aortic elastase perfusion. Mice were treated i.v. with the galectin-3 inhibitor modified citrus pectin (MCP, 10mg/kg, every other day) or saline. Similar to humans, galectin-3 serum and aortic mRNA levels were also increased in elastase-induced AAA mice compared to control mice. Mice treated with MCP showed decreased aortic dilation, as well as elastin degradation, VSMC loss and macrophage content at day 14 post-elastase perfusion compared with control mice. The underlying mechanism(s) of the protective effect of MCP was associated to a decrease in galectin-3 and cytokine (mainly CCL5) mRNA and protein expression. Interestingly, galectin-3 induced CCL5 expression by a mechanism involving STAT3 activation in VSMC. Accordingly, MCP treatment decreased STAT3 phosphorylation in elastase-induced AAA. In conclusion, increased galectin-3 levels are associated with AAA progression, while galectin-3 inhibition decreased experimental AAA development. Our data suggest the potential role of galectin-3 as a therapeutic target in AAA.

Concepts: Protein, Gene expression, Aortic aneurysm, Aneurysm, Aortic dissection, Aorta, Abdominal aortic aneurysm, Aneurysm of sinus of Valsalva


Objective To examine the effect of surgeon sex on postoperative outcomes of patients undergoing common surgical procedures.Design Population based, retrospective, matched cohort study from 2007 to 2015.Setting Population based cohort of all patients treated in Ontario, Canada.Participants Patients undergoing one of 25 surgical procedures performed by a female surgeon were matched by patient age, patient sex, comorbidity, surgeon volume, surgeon age, and hospital to patients undergoing the same operation by a male surgeon.Interventions Sex of treating surgeon.Main outcome measure The primary outcome was a composite of death, readmission, and complications. We compared outcomes between groups using generalised estimating equations.Results 104 630 patients were treated by 3314 surgeons, 774 female and 2540 male. Before matching, patients treated by female doctors were more likely to be female and younger but had similar comorbidity, income, rurality, and year of surgery. After matching, the groups were comparable. Fewer patients treated by female surgeons died, were readmitted to hospital, or had complications within 30 days (5810 of 52 315, 11.1%, 95% confidence interval 10.9% to 11.4%) than those treated by male surgeons (6046 of 52 315, 11.6%, 11.3% to 11.8%; adjusted odds ratio 0.96, 0.92 to 0.99, P=0.02). Patients treated by female surgeons were less likely to die within 30 days (adjusted odds ratio 0.88; 0.79 to 0.99, P=0.04), but there was no significant difference in readmissions or complications. Stratified analyses by patient, physician, and hospital characteristics did not significant modify the effect of surgeon sex on outcome. A retrospective analysis showed no difference in outcomes by surgeon sex in patients who had emergency surgery, where patients do not usually choose their surgeon.Conclusions After accounting for patient, surgeon, and hospital characteristics, patients treated by female surgeons had a small but statistically significant decrease in 30 day mortality and similar surgical outcomes (length of stay, complications, and readmission), compared with those treated by male surgeons. These findings support the need for further examination of the surgical outcomes and mechanisms related to physicians and the underlying processes and patterns of care to improve mortality, complications, and readmissions for all patients.

Concepts: Male, Statistics, Hospital, Surgery, Statistical significance, Physician, Surgeon, American College of Surgeons


Objective To compare initial brain computed tomography (CT) scans with follow-up CT scans at one year in children with congenital Zika syndrome, focusing on cerebral calcifications.Design Case series study.Setting Barão de Lucena Hospital, Pernambuco state, Brazil.Participants 37 children with probable or confirmed congenital Zika syndrome during the microcephaly outbreak in 2015 who underwent brain CT shortly after birth and at one year follow-up.Main outcome measure Differences in cerebral calcification patterns between initial and follow-up scans.Results 37 children were evaluated. All presented cerebral calcifications on the initial scan, predominantly at cortical-white matter junction. At follow-up the calcifications had diminished in number, size, or density, or a combination in 34 of the children (92%, 95% confidence interval 79% to 97%), were no longer visible in one child, and remained unchanged in two children. No child showed an increase in calcifications. The calcifications at the cortical-white matter junction which were no longer visible at follow-up occurred predominately in the parietal and occipital lobes. These imaging changes were not associated with any clear clinical improvements.Conclusion The detection of cerebral calcifications should not be considered a major criterion for late diagnosis of congenital Zika syndrome, nor should the absence of calcifications be used to exclude the diagnosis.

Concepts: Medical imaging, Tomographic reconstruction, Human brain, Cerebrum, Functional neuroimaging


Transanal total mesorectal excision (taTME) is an altogether different approach to rectal cancer surgery, and the effects of carbon dioxide (CO2) on this dissection remain poorly described.

Concepts: Oxygen, Carbon dioxide, Magnesium, Colorectal cancer, Carbon, Carbon monoxide, Total mesorectal excision, Carbon trioxide


Although visceral leishmaniasis (VL) can affect immunocompromised patients, data from the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection context are limited, and the characteristics of VL in other immunosuppression scenarios are not well defined. A retrospective review of all cases of VL in immunocompromised patients from January 1997 to December 2014 in two Spanish hospitals on the Mediterranean coast was performed. We included 18 transplant recipients (kidney: 7, liver: 4, lung: 3, heart: 2, and blood marrow: 2), 12 patients with other causes of immunosuppression (myasthenia gravis: 3 and rheumatoid arthritis: 2), and 73 VL HIV-positive patients. Fever was more common in transplant patients (94.4%) and patients with other types of immunosuppression (100%) than in HIV-positive individuals (73.3%). Hepatomegaly was less common in transplant recipients (27.8%) and patients with other types of immunosuppression (41.7%) compared with HIV-positive patients (69.9%) (P = 0.01; P = 0.001, respectively). Patients with other types of immunosuppression had a median leukocyte count of 1.5 × 10(9)/L, significantly lower than HIV-positive patients (2.5 × 10(9)/L) (P = 0.04). Serology was more commonly positive in nontransplant immunosuppressed individuals (75%) and transplant recipients (78.6%) than in HIV-patients (13.8%) (P < 0.001). Antimonial therapy was rarely used in transplant recipients (1.9%) and never in patients with other immunosuppressive conditions, whereas 34.2% of HIV-positive patients received it (P = 0.05 and P = 0.01, respectively). Mortality was 16.7% in both transplant recipients and patients with other immunosuppressive conditions and 15.1% in HIV-positive patients. The features of VL may be different in immunosuppressed patients, with more fever and less hepatomegaly and leukopenia than in HIV-infected patients.

Concepts: HIV, AIDS, Immune system, Cohort study, Blood, Opportunistic infection, Immunosuppressive drug, Immunodeficiency


Chagas disease results in the largest burden, in terms of disability-adjusted-life-years, of any parasitic disease in the Americas. Monitoring Chagas disease among migrants is critical to controlling its spread and to serving the needs of the migrant community. Therefore, we determined the prevalence and correlates of Chagas disease in regional and international migrant populations at the Mexico/Guatemala border. Data were collected as part of a larger study of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and migration. Participants were a sample of recent regional and international migrants who used an illicit substance or had recent problem drinking. Trypanosoma cruzi infection was classified as testing positive on two different enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs). Interviewer-administered surveys captured sociodemographics, migration history, Chagas disease knowledge, and access to care. We enrolled 389 recent migrants, and the prevalence of Chagas disease was 3.1%. Only 19% of the participants reported having ever heard of the disease and less than 1% had been previously tested. Trypanosoma cruzi-positive participants were more likely to have been born in a rural area or town than a city (92% yes versus 59% no, P = 0.02) and have recently lived in a house with a makeshift roof (33% yes versus 8% no, P < 0.01), walls (42% yes versus 13% no, P < 0.01), or floor (50% yes versus 21% no, P < 0.02), or cinderblock walls (92% yes versus 63% no, P = 0.04). With migration rapidly changing the distribution of Chagas disease, more work needs to be done to create targeted surveillance programs and provide access to affordable treatment among Latin American migrants.

Concepts: Immune system, Infectious disease, Population, Chagas disease, ELISA, Immigration, Trypanosoma, Trypanosoma cruzi


Diagnosing myocarditis is challenged by nonspecific clinical signs and symptoms and low accuracy of endomyocardial biopsy. Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) provides both cardiac anatomy and tissue characterization in this setting, but the prognostic value of this method as a primary assessment tool in patients with suspected myocarditis remains limited.

Concepts: Spin, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Symptom, Magnetic resonance imaging, Medical diagnosis, Radiology, Ultrasound, Medical sign


The prognostic role of cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) and late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) has not been clarified in acute myocarditis (AM) with preserved left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction (EF).

Concepts: Cardiology, Heart failure