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Concept: Blood

259

Regular exercise training improves maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), but the optimal intensity and volume necessary to obtain maximal benefit remains to be defined. A growing body of evidence suggests that exercise training with low-volume but high-intensity may be a time-efficient means to achieve health benefits. In the present study, we measured changes in VO2max and traditional cardiovascular risk factors after a 10 wk. training protocol that involved three weekly high-intensity interval sessions. One group followed a protocol which consisted of 4×4 min at 90% of maximal heart rate (HRmax) interspersed with 3 min active recovery at 70% HRmax (4-AIT), the other group performed a single bout protocol that consisted of 1×4 min at 90% HRmax (1-AIT). Twenty-six inactive but otherwise healthy overweight men (BMI: 25-30, age: 35-45 y) were randomized to either 1-AIT (n = 11) or 4-AIT (n = 13). After training, VO2max increased by 10% (∼5.0 mL⋅kg(-1)⋅min(-1)) and 13% (∼6.5 mL⋅kg(-1)⋅min(-1)) after 1-AIT and 4-AIT, respectively (group difference, p = 0.08). Oxygen cost during running at a sub-maximal workload was reduced by 14% and 13% after 1-AIT and 4-AIT, respectively. Systolic blood pressure decreased by 7.1 and 2.6 mmHg after 1-AIT and 4-AIT respectively, while diastolic pressure decreased by 7.7 and 6.1 mmHg (group difference, p = 0.84). Both groups had a similar ∼5% decrease in fasting glucose. Body fat, total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, and ox-LDL cholesterol only were significantly reduced after 4-AIT. Our data suggest that a single bout of AIT performed three times per week may be a time-efficient strategy to improve VO2max and reduce blood pressure and fasting glucose in previously inactive but otherwise healthy middle-aged individuals. The 1-AIT type of exercise training may be readily implemented as part of activities of daily living and could easily be translated into programs designed to improve public health.

Concepts: Blood, Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Blood pressure, Artery, Pulse, Cardiac cycle, Systole

250

Background Continuous-flow left ventricular assist systems increase the rate of survival among patients with advanced heart failure but are associated with the development of pump thrombosis. We investigated the effects of a new magnetically levitated centrifugal continuous-flow pump that was engineered to avert thrombosis. Methods We randomly assigned patients with advanced heart failure to receive either the new centrifugal continuous-flow pump or a commercially available axial continuous-flow pump. Patients could be enrolled irrespective of the intended goal of pump support (bridge to transplantation or destination therapy). The primary end point was a composite of survival free of disabling stroke (with disabling stroke indicated by a modified Rankin score >3; scores range from 0 to 6, with higher scores indicating more severe disability) or survival free of reoperation to replace or remove the device at 6 months after implantation. The trial was powered for noninferiority testing of the primary end point (noninferiority margin, -10 percentage points). Results Of 294 patients, 152 were assigned to the centrifugal-flow pump group and 142 to the axial-flow pump group. In the intention-to-treat population, the primary end point occurred in 131 patients (86.2%) in the centrifugal-flow pump group and in 109 (76.8%) in the axial-flow pump group (absolute difference, 9.4 percentage points; 95% lower confidence boundary, -2.1 [P<0.001 for noninferiority]; hazard ratio, 0.55; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.32 to 0.95 [two-tailed P=0.04 for superiority]). There were no significant between-group differences in the rates of death or disabling stroke, but reoperation for pump malfunction was less frequent in the centrifugal-flow pump group than in the axial-flow pump group (1 [0.7%] vs. 11 [7.7%]; hazard ratio, 0.08; 95% CI, 0.01 to 0.60; P=0.002). Suspected or confirmed pump thrombosis occurred in no patients in the centrifugal-flow pump group and in 14 patients (10.1%) in the axial-flow pump group. Conclusions Among patients with advanced heart failure, implantation of a fully magnetically levitated centrifugal-flow pump was associated with better outcomes at 6 months than was implantation of an axial-flow pump, primarily because of the lower rate of reoperation for pump malfunction. (Funded by St. Jude Medical; MOMENTUM 3 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02224755 .).

Concepts: Blood, Hypertension, Cardiology, Heart, Confidence interval, Anticoagulant, Disability, Point

225

Background In an early analysis of this trial, use of a magnetically levitated centrifugal continuous-flow circulatory pump was found to improve clinical outcomes, as compared with a mechanical-bearing axial continuous-flow pump, at 6 months in patients with advanced heart failure. Methods In a randomized noninferiority and superiority trial, we compared the centrifugal-flow pump with the axial-flow pump in patients with advanced heart failure, irrespective of the intended goal of support (bridge to transplantation or destination therapy). The composite primary end point was survival at 2 years free of disabling stroke (with disabling stroke indicated by a modified Rankin score of >3; scores range from 0 to 6, with higher scores indicating more severe disability) or survival free of reoperation to replace or remove a malfunctioning device. The noninferiority margin for the risk difference (centrifugal-flow pump group minus axial-flow pump group) was -10 percentage points. Results Of 366 patients, 190 were assigned to the centrifugal-flow pump group and 176 to the axial-flow pump group. In the intention-to-treat population, the primary end point occurred in 151 patients (79.5%) in the centrifugal-flow pump group, as compared with 106 (60.2%) in the axial-flow pump group (absolute difference, 19.2 percentage points; 95% lower confidence boundary, 9.8 percentage points [P<0.001 for noninferiority]; hazard ratio, 0.46; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.31 to 0.69 [P<0.001 for superiority]). Reoperation for pump malfunction was less frequent in the centrifugal-flow pump group than in the axial-flow pump group (3 patients [1.6%] vs. 30 patients [17.0%]; hazard ratio, 0.08; 95% CI, 0.03 to 0.27; P<0.001). The rates of death and disabling stroke were similar in the two groups, but the overall rate of stroke was lower in the centrifugal-flow pump group than in the axial-flow pump group (10.1% vs. 19.2%; hazard ratio, 0.47; 95% CI, 0.27 to 0.84, P=0.02). Conclusions In patients with advanced heart failure, a fully magnetically levitated centrifugal-flow pump was superior to a mechanical-bearing axial-flow pump with regard to survival free of disabling stroke or reoperation to replace or remove a malfunctioning device. (Funded by Abbott; MOMENTUM 3 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02224755 .).

Concepts: Blood, Heart, Confidence interval, Disability, Percentage point, Malfunction

218

Preventing xenograft rejection is one of the greatest challenges of transplantation medicine. Here, we describe a reproducible, long-term survival of cardiac xenografts from alpha 1-3 galactosyltransferase gene knockout pigs, which express human complement regulatory protein CD46 and human thrombomodulin (GTKO.hCD46.hTBM), that were transplanted into baboons. Our immunomodulatory drug regimen includes induction with anti-thymocyte globulin and αCD20 antibody, followed by maintenance with mycophenolate mofetil and an intensively dosed αCD40 (2C10R4) antibody. Median (298 days) and longest (945 days) graft survival in five consecutive recipients using this regimen is significantly prolonged over our recently established survival benchmarks (180 and 500 days, respectively). Remarkably, the reduction of αCD40 antibody dose on day 100 or after 1 year resulted in recrudescence of anti-pig antibody and graft failure. In conclusion, genetic modifications (GTKO.hCD46.hTBM) combined with the treatment regimen tested here consistently prevent humoral rejection and systemic coagulation pathway dysregulation, sustaining long-term cardiac xenograft survival beyond 900 days.

Concepts: Immune system, DNA, Gene expression, Blood, Immunology, Organ transplant, Mycophenolic acid, Mycophenolate mofetil

217

Handgrip strength, a measure of muscular fitness, is associated with cardiovascular (CV) events and CV mortality but its association with cardiac structure and function is unknown. The goal of this study was to determine if handgrip strength is associated with changes in cardiac structure and function in UK adults.

Concepts: Blood, Heart, Cardiac muscle, Circulatory system

216

Background Apixaban, an oral factor Xa inhibitor that can be administered in a simple, fixed-dose regimen, may be an option for the extended treatment of venous thromboembolism. Methods In this randomized, double-blind study, we compared two doses of apixaban (2.5 mg and 5 mg, twice daily) with placebo in patients with venous thromboembolism who had completed 6 to 12 months of anticoagulation therapy and for whom there was clinical equipoise regarding the continuation or cessation of anticoagulation therapy. The study drugs were administered for 12 months. Results A total of 2486 patients underwent randomization, of whom 2482 were included in the intention-to-treat analyses. Symptomatic recurrent venous thromboembolism or death from venous thromboembolism occurred in 73 of the 829 patients (8.8%) who were receiving placebo, as compared with 14 of the 840 patients (1.7%) who were receiving 2.5 mg of apixaban (a difference of 7.2 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI], 5.0 to 9.3) and 14 of the 813 patients (1.7%) who were receiving 5 mg of apixaban (a difference of 7.0 percentage points; 95% CI, 4.9 to 9.1) (P<0.001 for both comparisons). The rates of major bleeding were 0.5% in the placebo group, 0.2% in the 2.5-mg apixaban group, and 0.1% in the 5-mg apixaban group. The rates of clinically relevant nonmajor bleeding were 2.3% in the placebo group, 3.0% in the 2.5-mg apixaban group, and 4.2% in the 5-mg apixaban group. The rate of death from any cause was 1.7% in the placebo group, as compared with 0.8% in the 2.5-mg apixaban group and 0.5% in the 5-mg apixaban group. Conclusions Extended anticoagulation with apixaban at either a treatment dose (5 mg) or a thromboprophylactic dose (2.5 mg) reduced the risk of recurrent venous thromboembolism without increasing the rate of major bleeding. (Funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer; AMPLIFY-EXT ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00633893 .).

Concepts: Blood, Thrombosis, Clopidogrel, Warfarin, Hematology, Anticoagulant, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Apixaban

210

To examine the risks of myocardial infarction, stroke (ischaemic and haemorrhagic), peripheral artery disease, venous thromboembolism, atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter, and heart failure in patients with migraine and in a general population comparison cohort.

Concepts: Blood, Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Heart, Blood vessel, Stroke, Atrial fibrillation, Atrial flutter

208

Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) is a unique technology that produces cloned animals from single cells. It is desirable from a practical viewpoint that donor cells can be collected noninvasively and used readily for nuclear transfer. The present study was undertaken to determine whether peripheral blood cells freshly collected from living mice could be used for SCNT. We collected a drop of peripheral blood (15-45 µl) from the tail of a donor. A nucleated cell (leukocyte) suspension was prepared by lysing the red blood cells. Following SCNT using randomly selected leukocyte nuclei, cloned offspring were born at a 2.8% birth rate. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting revealed that granulocytes/monocytes and lymphocytes could be roughly distinguished by their sizes, the former being significantly larger. We then cloned putative granulocytes/monocytes and lymphocytes separately, and obtained 2.1% and 1.7% birth rates, respectively (P > 0.05). Because the use of lymphocyte nuclei inevitably results in the birth of offspring with DNA rearrangements, we applied granulocyte/monocyte cloning to two genetically modified strains and two recombinant inbred strains. Normal-looking offspring were obtained from all four strains tested. The present study clearly indicated that genetic copies of mice could be produced using a drop of peripheral blood from living donors. This strategy will be applied to the rescue of infertile founder animals or a “last-of-line” animal possessing invaluable genetic resources.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Cell nucleus, Blood, Red blood cell, Cloning, Somatic cell nuclear transfer

208

Slow deep breathing improves blood oxygenation (Sp(O2)) and affects hemodynamics in hypoxic patients. We investigated the ventilatory and hemodynamic effects of slow deep breathing in normal subjects at high altitude. We collected data in healthy lowlanders staying either at 4559 m for 2-3 days (Study A; N = 39) or at 5400 m for 12-16 days (Study B; N = 28). Study variables, including Sp(O2) and systemic and pulmonary arterial pressure, were assessed before, during and after 15 minutes of breathing at 6 breaths/min. At the end of slow breathing, an increase in Sp(O2) (Study A: from 80.2±7.7% to 89.5±8.2%; Study B: from 81.0±4.2% to 88.6±4.5; both p<0.001) and significant reductions in systemic and pulmonary arterial pressure occurred. This was associated with increased tidal volume and no changes in minute ventilation or pulmonary CO diffusion. Slow deep breathing improves ventilation efficiency for oxygen as shown by blood oxygenation increase, and it reduces systemic and pulmonary blood pressure at high altitude but does not change pulmonary gas diffusion.

Concepts: Oxygen, Blood, Heart, Respiratory physiology, Blood pressure, Artery, Vein, Pulse oximetry

207

Background It is uncertain whether bridging anticoagulation is necessary for patients with atrial fibrillation who need an interruption in warfarin treatment for an elective operation or other elective invasive procedure. We hypothesized that forgoing bridging anticoagulation would be noninferior to bridging with low-molecular-weight heparin for the prevention of perioperative arterial thromboembolism and would be superior to bridging with respect to major bleeding. Methods We performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in which, after perioperative interruption of warfarin therapy, patients were randomly assigned to receive bridging anticoagulation therapy with low-molecular-weight heparin (100 IU of dalteparin per kilogram of body weight) or matching placebo administered subcutaneously twice daily, from 3 days before the procedure until 24 hours before the procedure and then for 5 to 10 days after the procedure. Warfarin treatment was stopped 5 days before the procedure and was resumed within 24 hours after the procedure. Follow-up of patients continued for 30 days after the procedure. The primary outcomes were arterial thromboembolism (stroke, systemic embolism, or transient ischemic attack) and major bleeding. Results In total, 1884 patients were enrolled, with 950 assigned to receive no bridging therapy and 934 assigned to receive bridging therapy. The incidence of arterial thromboembolism was 0.4% in the no-bridging group and 0.3% in the bridging group (risk difference, 0.1 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI], -0.6 to 0.8; P=0.01 for noninferiority). The incidence of major bleeding was 1.3% in the no-bridging group and 3.2% in the bridging group (relative risk, 0.41; 95% CI, 0.20 to 0.78; P=0.005 for superiority). Conclusions In patients with atrial fibrillation who had warfarin treatment interrupted for an elective operation or other elective invasive procedure, forgoing bridging anticoagulation was noninferior to perioperative bridging with low-molecular-weight heparin for the prevention of arterial thromboembolism and decreased the risk of major bleeding. (Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health; BRIDGE ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00786474 .).

Concepts: Blood, Stroke, Atrial fibrillation, Thrombosis, Pulmonary embolism, Warfarin, Anticoagulant, Heparin