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Concept: Coronary circulation


In women receiving evaluation for suspected ischemic symptoms, a “normal” diagnosis is five times more common than it is in men. These women are often labeled as having cardiac syndrome X, also known as microvascular angina (MVA). MVA is defined as angina pectoris caused by abnormalities of the small coronary arteries, and is characterized by effort chest pain and evidence of myocardial ischemia with a non-invasive stress test, although the coronary arteries can appear normal or near normal by angiography. MVA patients are often neglected due to the assumption of a good prognosis. However, MVA has important prognostic implications and a proper diagnosis is necessary in order to relieve the patients' symptoms and improve clinical outcomes. The coronary microvasculature cannot be directly imaged using coronary angiography, due to the small diameter of the vessels; therefore, the coronary microvascular must be assessed functionally. Treatment of MVA initially includes standard anti-ischemic drugs (β-blockers, calcium antagonists, and nitrates), although control of symptoms is often insufficient. In this review, we discuss the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment of MVA.

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Angina pectoris, Cardiology, Heart, Atheroma, Coronary circulation, Ischemia


BACKGROUND: Atherosclerosis is thought to be a disease of modern human beings and related to contemporary lifestyles. However, its prevalence before the modern era is unknown. We aimed to evaluate preindustrial populations for atherosclerosis. METHODS: We obtained whole body CT scans of 137 mummies from four different geographical regions or populations spanning more than 4000 years. Individuals from ancient Egypt, ancient Peru, the Ancestral Puebloans of southwest America, and the Unangan of the Aleutian Islands were imaged. Atherosclerosis was regarded as definite if a calcified plaque was seen in the wall of an artery and probable if calcifications were seen along the expected course of an artery. FINDINGS: Probable or definite atherosclerosis was noted in 47 (34%) of 137 mummies and in all four geographical populations: 29 (38%) of 76 ancient Egyptians, 13 (25%) of 51 ancient Peruvians, two (40%) of five Ancestral Puebloans, and three (60%) of five Unangan hunter gatherers (p=NS). Atherosclerosis was present in the aorta in 28 (20%) mummies, iliac or femoral arteries in 25 (18%), popliteal or tibial arteries in 25 (18%), carotid arteries in 17 (12%), and coronary arteries in six (4%). Of the five vascular beds examined, atherosclerosis was present in one to two beds in 34 (25%) mummies, in three to four beds in 11 (8%), and in all five vascular beds in two (1%). Age at time of death was positively correlated with atherosclerosis (mean age at death was 43 [SD 10] years for mummies with atherosclerosis vs 32 [15] years for those without; p<0·0001) and with the number of arterial beds involved (mean age was 32 [SD 15] years for mummies with no atherosclerosis, 42 [10] years for those with atherosclerosis in one or two beds, and 44 [8] years for those with atherosclerosis in three to five beds; p<0·0001). INTERPRETATION: Atherosclerosis was common in four preindustrial populations including preagricultural hunter-gatherers. Although commonly assumed to be a modern disease, the presence of atherosclerosis in premodern human beings raises the possibility of a more basic predisposition to the disease. FUNDING: National Endowment for the Humanities, Paleocardiology Foundation, The National Bank of Egypt, Siemens, and St Luke's Hospital Foundation of Kansas City.

Concepts: Human, Atherosclerosis, Heart, Atheroma, Artery, Coronary circulation, Ancient Egypt, Ancient history


Better understanding of the relationship between obesity and postsurgical adverse outcomes is needed to provide quality and efficient care. We examined the relationship of obesity with the incidence of early adverse outcomes and in-hospital length of stay following coronary artery bypass grafting surgery.

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Angina pectoris, Coronary artery disease, Artery, Coronary circulation, Coronary artery bypass surgery


Epicardial cells on the heart’s surface give rise to coronary artery smooth muscle cells (caSMCs) located deep in the myocardium. However, the differentiation steps between epicardial cells and caSMCs are unknown as are the final maturation signals at coronary arteries. Here, we use clonal analysis and lineage tracing to show that caSMCs derive from pericytes, mural cells associated with microvessels, and that these cells are present in adults. During development following the onset of blood flow, pericytes at arterial remodeling sites upregulate Notch3 while endothelial cells express Jagged-1. Deletion of Notch3 disrupts caSMC differentiation. Our data support a model wherein epicardial-derived pericytes populate the entire coronary microvasculature, but differentiate into caSMCs at arterial remodeling zones in response to Notch signaling. Our data is the first demonstration that pericytes are progenitors for smooth muscle, and their presence in adult hearts reveal a new potential cell type for targeting during cardiovascular disease.

Concepts: Atherosclerosis, Heart, Blood vessel, Atheroma, Artery, Coronary circulation, Cardiovascular system, Smooth muscle


To evaluate whether the distance from the site of event to an invasive heart centre, acute coronary angiography (CAG)/percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and hospital-level of care (invasive heart centre vs. local hospital) is associated with survival in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) patients.

Concepts: Atherosclerosis, Cardiology, Heart, Atheroma, Cardiac arrest, Asystole, Artery, Coronary circulation


Placebo effects contribute substantially to outcome in most fields of medicine. While clinical trials typically try to control or minimize these effects, the potential of placebo mechanisms to improve outcome is rarely used. Patient expectations about treatment efficacy and outcome are major mechanisms that contribute to these placebo effects. We aimed to optimize these expectations to improve outcome in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.

Concepts: Atherosclerosis, Angina pectoris, Coronary artery disease, Heart, Physician, Artery, Coronary circulation, Coronary artery bypass surgery


Background In patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), the use of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) to restore blood flow in an infarct-related coronary artery improves outcomes. The use of PCI in non-infarct-related coronary arteries remains controversial. Methods We randomly assigned 885 patients with STEMI and multivessel disease who had undergone primary PCI of an infarct-related coronary artery in a 1:2 ratio to undergo complete revascularization of non-infarct-related coronary arteries guided by fractional flow reserve (FFR) (295 patients) or to undergo no revascularization of non-infarct-related coronary arteries (590 patients). The FFR procedure was performed in both groups, but in the latter group, both the patients and their cardiologist were unaware of the findings on FFR. The primary end point was a composite of death from any cause, nonfatal myocardial infarction, revascularization, and cerebrovascular events at 12 months. Clinically indicated elective revascularizations performed within 45 days after primary PCI were not counted as events in the group receiving PCI for an infarct-related coronary artery only. Results The primary outcome occurred in 23 patients in the complete-revascularization group and in 121 patients in the infarct-artery-only group that did not receive complete revascularization, a finding that translates to 8 and 21 events per 100 patients, respectively (hazard ratio, 0.35; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.22 to 0.55; P<0.001). Death occurred in 4 patients in the complete-revascularization group and in 10 patients in the infarct-artery-only group (1.4% vs. 1.7%) (hazard ratio, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.25 to 2.56), myocardial infarction in 7 and 28 patients, respectively (2.4% vs. 4.7%) (hazard ratio, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.22 to 1.13), revascularization in 18 and 103 patients (6.1% vs. 17.5%) (hazard ratio, 0.32; 95% CI, 0.20 to 0.54), and cerebrovascular events in 0 and 4 patients (0 vs. 0.7%). An FFR-related serious adverse event occurred in 2 patients (both in the group receiving infarct-related treatment only). Conclusions In patients with STEMI and multivessel disease who underwent primary PCI of an infarct-related artery, the addition of FFR-guided complete revascularization of non-infarct-related arteries in the acute setting resulted in a risk of a composite cardiovascular outcome that was lower than the risk among those who were treated for the infarct-related artery only. This finding was mainly supported by a reduction in subsequent revascularizations. (Funded by Maasstad Cardiovascular Research and others; Compare-Acute number, NCT01399736 .).

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Cardiology, Heart, Atheroma, Artery, Coronary circulation, Cardiovascular system


Bisphenol A (BPA), a manufactured chemical, is found in canned food, polycarbonate-bottled liquids, and other consumer products. In adults, elevated urinary BPA concentrations are associated with obesity and incident coronary artery disease. BPA exposure is plausibly linked to childhood obesity, but evidence is lacking to date.

Concepts: Angina pectoris, Coronary artery disease, Artery, Coronary circulation, Bisphenol A


Although fruit and vegetable (F&V) consumption is associated with lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, its association with peripheral artery disease (PAD) is less certain. We, thus, sought to characterize F&V intake and investigate the association between F&V consumption and presence of PAD in a large community sample.

Concepts: Atherosclerosis, Coronary artery disease, Heart, Peripheral vascular disease, Heart disease, Artery, Coronary circulation, The Association


Although some evidence shows that neighborhood deprivation is associated with greater subclinical atherosclerosis, prior studies have not identified what aspects of deprived neighborhoods were driving the association.

Concepts: Atherosclerosis, Atheroma, Artery, Coronary circulation