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Concept: Pulmonary artery

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Background The prevalence of pulmonary embolism among patients hospitalized for syncope is not well documented, and current guidelines pay little attention to a diagnostic workup for pulmonary embolism in these patients. Methods We performed a systematic workup for pulmonary embolism in patients admitted to 11 hospitals in Italy for a first episode of syncope, regardless of whether there were alternative explanations for the syncope. The diagnosis of pulmonary embolism was ruled out in patients who had a low pretest clinical probability, which was defined according to the Wells score, in combination with a negative d-dimer assay. In all other patients, computed tomographic pulmonary angiography or ventilation-perfusion lung scanning was performed. Results A total of 560 patients (mean age, 76 years) were included in the study. A diagnosis of pulmonary embolism was ruled out in 330 of the 560 patients (58.9%) on the basis of the combination of a low pretest clinical probability of pulmonary embolism and negative d-dimer assay. Among the remaining 230 patients, pulmonary embolism was identified in 97 (42.2%). In the entire cohort, the prevalence of pulmonary embolism was 17.3% (95% confidence interval, 14.2 to 20.5). Evidence of an embolus in a main pulmonary or lobar artery or evidence of perfusion defects larger than 25% of the total area of both lungs was found in 61 patients. Pulmonary embolism was identified in 45 of the 355 patients (12.7%) who had an alternative explanation for syncope and in 52 of the 205 patients (25.4%) who did not. Conclusions Pulmonary embolism was identified in nearly one of every six patients hospitalized for a first episode of syncope. (Funded by the University of Padua; PESIT ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01797289 .).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Lung, Hospital, Heart, Pulmonary embolism, Pulmonary artery, Human lung, Embolism

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We explore whether the number of null results in large National Heart Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) funded trials has increased over time.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Heart, Effectiveness, Avicenna, ClinicalTrials.gov, Vein, Pulmonary artery, Null result

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The nitric oxide (NO)-soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC)-cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) signal-transduction pathway is impaired in many cardiovascular diseases, including pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Riociguat (BAY 63-2521) is a stimulator of sGC that works both in synergy with and independently of NO to increase levels of cGMP. The aims of this study were to investigate the role of NO-sGC-cGMP signaling in a model of severe PAH and to evaluate the effects of sGC stimulation by riociguat and PDE5 inhibition by sildenafil on pulmonary hemodynamics and vascular remodeling in severe experimental PAH.

Concepts: Pulmonology, Myocardial infarction, Pulmonary artery, Nitric oxide, Pulmonary hypertension, Guanylate cyclase, Sildenafil, Riociguat

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BACKGROUND: Patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) experience impaired health-related quality of life (HRQL). The objective of this study was to evaluate HRQL in a nation-wide sample. PATIENTS AND METHODS: This is a prospective, multicenter, non-interventional study of HRQL including 139 (89%) PAH and 17 (11%) CTEPH patients (women 70.5%; mean age, 52.2) recruited from 21 Spanish hospitals. 55% had idiopathic PAH, 34% other PAH and 11% CTEPH. HRQL was measured using the Short Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36) and EuroQoL-5D (baseline and after 6 months). RESULTS: HRQL in the patients with PAH or CTEPH was impaired. The physical component of SF-36 and the EuroQol-5D correlated with the functional class (FC). Mean EuroQol-5D visual analogical scale (EQ-5D VAS) scores were 73.5±18.4, 62.9±20.7 and 51.3±16.0 (P<.0001) in patients with FC I, II and III, respectively. Every increase of one FC represented a loss of 4.0 on the PCS SF-36 and a loss of 9.5 on the EQ-5D VAS. Eight patients who died or received a transplant during the study period presented poorer initial HRQL compared with the rest of the population. No significant changes in HRQL were observed in survivors after 6 months of follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: HRQL is impaired in this population, especially in PAH/CTEPH patients near death. HRQL measurements could help predict the prognosis in PAH and CTPH and provide additional information in these patients.

Concepts: Pulmonology, Cardiology, Blood pressure, Pulmonary artery, Pulmonary hypertension, Iloprost

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The objective of this prospective study was to assess the prevalence of anxiety and depression disorders and their association with quality of life (QoL), clinical parameters and survival in patients with pulmonary hypertension (PH).

Concepts: Pulmonology, Myocardial infarction, Coronary artery disease, Cardiology, Blood pressure, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Pulmonary artery, Pulmonary hypertension

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Swyer-James-MacLeod syndrome (SJMS) is a rare syndrome of acute obliterative bronchiolitis following an early childhood infective insult to the lungs. This causes arrest of alveolarization, affecting lung development with hypoplasia of the ipsilateral pulmonary artery and results in a characteristic radiological pattern, such as a unilateral hyperlucent lung with expiratory air-trapping and pruned-tree appearance on pulmonary angiogram. The clinical presentation is either recurrent chest infections, exertional dyspnoea or it may be an incidental finding. Management involves early prevention of infection, airway clearance, and regular vaccinations. We describe two adult patients with SJMS: A 51-year-old female of Indian ethnicity presenting with recurrent haemoptysis and a 40-year-old Indigenous male presenting acutely with sepsis and background history of recurrent chest infections. These cases highlight the importance of being aware of and accurately recognizing this rare condition, to be able to manage patients appropriately and avoid incorrect and unnecessary treatment.

Concepts: Pulmonology, Lung, Pneumonia, Heart, Vein, Pulmonary artery, Emphysema, Bronchitis

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Purpose To determine if patient survival and mechanisms of right ventricular failure in pulmonary hypertension could be predicted by using supervised machine learning of three-dimensional patterns of systolic cardiac motion. Materials and Methods The study was approved by a research ethics committee, and participants gave written informed consent. Two hundred fifty-six patients (143 women; mean age ± standard deviation, 63 years ± 17) with newly diagnosed pulmonary hypertension underwent cardiac magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, right-sided heart catheterization, and 6-minute walk testing with a median follow-up of 4.0 years. Semiautomated segmentation of short-axis cine images was used to create a three-dimensional model of right ventricular motion. Supervised principal components analysis was used to identify patterns of systolic motion that were most strongly predictive of survival. Survival prediction was assessed by using difference in median survival time and area under the curve with time-dependent receiver operating characteristic analysis for 1-year survival. Results At the end of follow-up, 36% of patients (93 of 256) died, and one underwent lung transplantation. Poor outcome was predicted by a loss of effective contraction in the septum and free wall, coupled with reduced basal longitudinal motion. When added to conventional imaging and hemodynamic, functional, and clinical markers, three-dimensional cardiac motion improved survival prediction (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, 0.73 vs 0.60, respectively; P < .001) and provided greater differentiation according to difference in median survival time between high- and low-risk groups (13.8 vs 10.7 years, respectively; P < .001). Conclusion A machine-learning survival model that uses three-dimensional cardiac motion predicts outcome independent of conventional risk factors in patients with newly diagnosed pulmonary hypertension. Online supplemental material is available for this article.

Concepts: Scientific method, Informed consent, Heart, Median, Prediction, Pulmonary artery, Standard deviation, Receiver operating characteristic

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Rapid publication of clinical trials is essential in order for the findings to yield maximal benefits for public health and scientific progress. Factors affecting the speed of publication of the main results of government-funded trials have not been well characterized.

Concepts: Health care, Epidemiology, Clinical trial, Heart, Avicenna, ClinicalTrials.gov, Vein, Pulmonary artery

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The birth of the intermittent injectate-based conventional pulmonary artery catheter (fondly nicknamed PAC) was proudly announced in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1970 by his parents HJ Swan and William Ganz. PAC grew rapidly, reaching manhood in 1986 where, in the US, he was shown to influence the management of over 40% of all ICU patients. His reputation, however, was tarnished in 1996 when Connors and colleagues suggested that he harmed patients. This was followed by randomized controlled trials demonstrating he was of little use. Furthermore, reports surfaced suggesting that he was unreliable and inaccurate. It also became clear that he was poorly understood and misinterpreted. Pretty soon after that, a posse of rivals (bedside echocardiography, pulse contour technology) moved into the neighborhood and claimed they could assess cardiac output more easily, less invasively and no less reliably. To make matter worse, dynamic assessment of fluid responsiveness (pulse pressure variation, stroke volume variation and leg raising) made a mockery of his ‘wedge’ pressure. While a handful of die-hard followers continued to promote his mission, the last few years of his existence were spent as a castaway until his death in 2013. His cousin (the continuous cardiac output PAC) continues to eke a living mostly in cardiac surgery patients who need central access anyway. This paper reviews the rise and fall of the conventional PAC.

Concepts: Lung, Cardiology, Heart, Randomized controlled trial, Blood pressure, Pulmonary artery, Cardiac output, Stroke volume

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Treatment guidelines for acute pulmonary embolism (PE) recommend risk stratifying patients to assess PE severity, as those at higher risk should be considered for therapy in addition to standard anticoagulation to prevent right ventricular (RV) failure, which can cause hemodynamic collapse. The hypothesis was that 12-lead electrocardiography (ECG) can aid in this determination. The objective of this study was to measure the prognostic value of specific ECG findings (the Daniel score, which includes heart rate > 100 beats/min, presence of the S1Q3T3 pattern, incomplete and complete right bundle branch block [RBBB], and T-wave inversion in leads V1-V4, plus ST elevation in lead aVR and atrial fibrillation suggestive of RV strain from acute pulmonary hypertension), in patients with acute PE.

Concepts: Cardiology, Heart, Atrial fibrillation, Pulmonary embolism, Cardiac electrophysiology, Thrombus, Pulmonary artery, Ventricular fibrillation