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Journal: The American journal of cardiology


Transvenous phrenic nerve stimulation improved sleep metrics and quality of life after 6 months versus control in the remedē System Pivotal Trial. This analysis explored the effectiveness of phrenic nerve stimulation in patients with central sleep apnea after 12 months of therapy. Reproducibility of treatment effect was assessed in the former control group in whom the implanted device was initially inactive for the sixth month and subsequently activated when the randomized control assessments were complete. Patients with moderate-to-severe central sleep apnea implanted with the remedē System were randomized to therapy activation at 1 month (treatment) or after 6 months (control). Sleep indices were assessed from baseline to 12 months in the treatment group and from 6 to 12 months in former controls. In the treatment group, a ≥50% reduction in apnea-hypopnea index occurred in 60% of patients at 6 months (95% confidence interval [CI] 47% to 64%) and 67% (95% CI 53% to 78%) at 12 months. After 6 months of therapy, 55% of former controls (95% CI 43% to 67%) achieved ≥50%reduction in apnea-hypopnea index. Patient Global Assessment was markedly ormoderately improved at 6 and 12 months in 60% of treatment patients.Improvements persisted at 12 months. A serious adverse event within 12 months occurred in 13 patients (9%). Phrenic nerve stimulation produced sustained improvements in sleep indices and quality of life to at least 12 months in patients with central sleep apnea. The similar improvement of former controls after 6 months of active therapy confirms benefits are reproducible and reliable.


The impact of statins, ACE inhibitors (ACEi) and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) on COVID-19 severity and recovery is important given their high prevalence of use among individuals at risk for severe COVID-19. We studied the association between use of statin/ACEi/ARB in the month before hospital admission, with risk of severe outcome, and with time to severe outcome or disease recovery, among patients hospitalized for COVID-19. We performed a retrospective single-center study of all patients hospitalized at UCSD Health between February 10-June 17, 2020 (n=170 hospitalized for COVID-19, n=5281 COVID-negative controls). Logistic regression and competing risks analyses were used to investigate progression to severe disease (death or intensive care unit admission), and time to discharge without severe disease. Severe disease occurred in 53% of COVID-positive inpatients. Median time from hospitalization to severe disease was 2 days; median time to recovery was 7 days. Statin use prior to admission was associated with reduced risk of severe COVID-19 (adjusted OR 0.29, 95% CI 0.11-0.71, p<0.01) and faster time to recovery among those without severe disease (adjusted HR for recovery 2.69, 95% CI 1.36-5.33, p<0.01). The association between statin use and severe disease was smaller in the COVID-negative cohort (p for interaction=0.07). There was potential evidence of faster time to recovery with ARB use (aHR 1.92, 95% CI 0.81-4.56). In conclusion, statin use during the 30 days prior to admission for COVID-19 was associated with a lower risk of developing severe COVID-19, and a faster time to recovery among patients without severe disease.


Modulators of normal bodily functions such as the duration and quality of sleep might transiently influence cardiovascular risk. The transition to daylight savings time (DST) has been associated with a short-term increased incidence ratio (IR) of acute myocardial infarction (AMI). The present retrospective study examined the IR of AMIs that presented to our hospitals the week after DST and after the autumn switch to standard time, October 2006 to April 2012, with specific reference to the AMI type. Our study population (n = 935 patients; 59% men, 41% women) was obtained from the electronic medical records of the Royal Oak and Troy campuses of the Beaumont Hospitals in Michigan. Overall, the frequency of AMI was similar in the spring and autumn, 463 (49.5%) and 472 (50.5%), respectively. The IR for the first week after the spring shift was 1.17 (95% confidence interval 1.00 to 1.36). After the transition from DST in the autumn, the IR for the same period was lower, but not significantly different, 0.99 (95% confidence interval 0.85 to 1.16). Nevertheless, the greatest increase in AMI occurred on the first day (Sunday) after the spring shift to DST (1.71, 95% confidence interval 1.09 to 2.02; p <0.05). Also, a significantly greater incidence was found of non-ST-segment myocardial infarction after the transition to DST in the study group compared with that in the control group (p = 0.022). In conclusion, these data suggest that shifts to and from DST might transiently affect the incidence and type of acute cardiac events, albeit modestly.

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Daylight saving time, Time zone, Standard time, William Willett, Mountain Time Zone


Recent reports indicate that statins are associated with an increased risk for new-onset diabetes mellitus (DM) compared with placebo and that this relation is dose dependent. The aim of this study was to perform a comprehensive network meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) investigating the impact of different types and doses of statins on new-onset DM. RCTs comparing different types and doses of statins with placebo were searched for using the MEDLINE, Embase, and Cochrane databases. A search of RCTs pertinent to this meta-analysis covering the period from November 1994 to October 2012 was conducted by 2 independent investigators using the MEDLINE, Cochrane, Google Scholar, and Embase databases as well as abstracts and presentations from major cardiovascular meetings. Seventeen RCTs reporting the incidence of new-onset DM during statin treatment and including a total of 113,394 patients were identified. The RCTs compared either a statin versus placebo or high-dose versus moderate-dose statin therapy. Among different statins, pravastatin 40 mg/day was associated with the lowest risk for new-onset DM compared with placebo (odds ratio 1.07, 95% credible interval 0.86 to 1.30). Conversely, rosuvastatin 20 mg/day was numerically associated with 25% increased risk for DM compared with placebo (odds ratio 1.25, 95% credible interval 0.82 to 1.90). The impact on DM appeared to be intermediate with atorvastatin 80 mg/day compared with placebo (odds ratio 1.15, 95% credible interval 0.90 to 1.50). These findings were replicated at moderate doses. In conclusion, different types and doses of statins show different potential to increase the incidence of DM.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Myocardial infarction, Diabetes mellitus, Medical statistics, Randomized controlled trial, Statin, Diabetes, Statins


Findings on electrocardiogram may hint that pulmonary embolism (PE) is present when interpreted in the proper context and lead to definitive imaging tests. However, it would be useful to know if electrocardiographic (ECG) abnormalities also occur in patients with pneumonia and whether these are similar to ECG changes with PE. The purpose of this investigation was to determine ECG findings in patients with pneumonia. We retrospectively evaluated 62 adults discharged with a diagnosis of pneumonia who had no previous cardiopulmonary disease and had electrocardiogram obtained during hospitalization. The most prevalent ECG abnormality, other than sinus tachycardia, was minor nonspecific ST-segment or T-wave changes occurring in 13 of 62 (21%). Right atrial enlargement occurred in 4 of 62 (6.5%). QRS abnormalities were observed in 24 of 62 (39%). Right-axis deviation and S(1)S(2)S(3) were the most prevalent QRS abnormalities, which occurred in 6 of 62 (9.7%). Complete right bundle branch block and S(1)Q(3)T(3) pattern occurred in 3 of 62 (4.8%). ECG abnormalities that were not present within 1 month previously or abnormalities that disappeared within 1 month included left-axis deviation, right-axis deviation, right atrial enlargement, right ventricular hypertrophy, S(1)S(2)S(3), S(1)Q(3)T(3), low-voltage QRS complexes, and nonspecific ST-segment or T-wave abnormalities. In conclusion, electrocardiogram in patients with pneumonia often shows QRS abnormalities or nonspecific ST-segment or T-wave changes. ECG findings are similar to ECG abnormalities in PE and electrocardiogram cannot assist in the differential diagnosis.

Concepts: Cardiology, Heart, Cardiac electrophysiology, Pulmonary artery, Ventricular fibrillation, Electrocardiography, Hyperkalemia, QRS complex


Noninvasive imaging that provides anatomic information while excluding intracardiac thrombus would be of significant clinical value for patients referred for catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation (AF). This study assessed the diagnostic performance of a dual-enhancement single-phase cardiac computed tomography (CT) protocol for thrombus and circulatory stasis detection in AF patients before catheter ablation. We studied 101 consecutive symptomatic AF patients (71 men and 30 women; mean age, 61.8 years) who were scheduled to have catheter ablation. All patients had undergone pre-AF ablation CT imaging and transesophageal echocardiography on the same day. CT was performed with prospective electrocardiographic gating, and scanning began 180 seconds after the test bolus. Mean left atrial appendage (LAA)/ascending aorta Hounsfield unit (HU) ratios were measured on CT images. Among the 101 patients, 9 thrombi and 18 spontaneous echo contrasts were detected by transesophageal echocardiography. The overall sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of CT for the detection of thrombi in the LAA were 89%, 100%, 100%, and 99%, respectively. The mean LAA/ascending aorta HU ratios were significantly different between thrombus and circulatory stasis (0.17 vs 0.33, p = 0.002). Dual-enhancement single-scan cardiac CT is a sensitive modality for detecting and differentiating LAA thrombus and circulatory stasis.

Concepts: Blood, Positive predictive value, Negative predictive value, Heart, Echocardiography, Atrial fibrillation, Medical imaging, Left atrial appendage


Atrial fibrillation (AF) increases by fivefold a patient’s risk for thromboembolic stroke. The main source of emboli in AF is the left atrial appendage (LAA). Therefore, LAA closure could reduce the risk for thromboembolic events in AF. The investigators report the first United States experience with a novel percutaneous LAA closure device, the Lariat snare device, and its outcomes in 21 patients with AF, CHADS(2) scores ≥2, and contraindications to anticoagulation. The LAA was closed with a snare containing suture from within the pericardial space. The intraoperative success of the procedure was confirmed by left atrial angiography and transesophageal echocardiographic color Doppler flow. The effectiveness of the procedure was evaluated by follow-up transesophageal echocardiography. The incidence of periprocedural and short-term complications was assessed by reviewing medical records. Twenty patients (100%) had successful LAA exclusion that was preserved at 96 ± 77 days. No patient had a stroke during an average of 352 ± 143 days of follow-up. One patient had right ventricular perforation and tamponade that required surgical exploration and repair. Two patients required prolonged hospitalization: 1 because of pericardial effusion that required repeat pericardiocentesis and 1 because of noncardiac co-morbidities. Three patients developed pericarditis <1 month after the procedure, of whom 1 had associated pericardial effusion that required drainage. In conclusion, percutaneous LAA exclusion can be achieved successfully and with an acceptable incidence of periprocedural and short-term complications. Further studies are needed to determine whether LAA exclusion lowers the long-term risk for thromboembolic events in patients with AF and contraindications to anticoagulation.

Concepts: Cardiology, Heart, Doppler echocardiography, Echocardiography, Stroke, Atrial fibrillation, Pericardial effusion, Left atrial appendage


The risk factors for aortic and mitral valve diseases that require surgical repair such as congenital bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) and mitral valve prolapse include acquired clinical factors and genetic influences. Whether race affects the prevalence of certain valvular diseases has not been sufficiently investigated. Through the Cleveland Clinic’s Cardiovascular Information Registry, we evaluated the data from 40,419 patients who had undergone aortic valve surgery, mitral valve surgery, and/or coronary artery bypass grafting from 1993 to 2007. Of these patients, 38,366 were white and 2,053 were black. The prospective evaluation of valvular disease was coded, identifying the etiology and morphology by echocardiographic, surgical, and pathologic inspection. At baseline, compared to white patients, the black patients were younger, more often women, had a greater body mass index, and a greater prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, tobacco use, and renal disease. The prevalence of congenital BAV and mitral valve prolapse was considerably lower in blacks than in whites (9% vs 25%, p <0.001, and 27% vs 52%, p <0.001, respectively), as was the presence of calcific aortic stenosis (14% vs 28%; p <0.001), pathologically determined aortic valve calcium (50% vs 67%; p <0.001), and mitral valve chordal rupture (13% vs 31%; p <0.001). In conclusion, in the present large surgical series, the valve etiologies and morphology differed among blacks and whites. Despite an adverse cardiovascular risk profile, blacks had a significantly lower prevalence of valvular calcium and degeneration than did the whites and a lower prevalence of congenital BAV and mitral valve prolapse. Our findings offer insight into the influence of race on the development of mitral valve disease and congenital BAV.

Concepts: Atherosclerosis, Heart, Left ventricle, Mitral valve prolapse, Cardiac anatomy, Aortic valve, Valvular heart disease, Bicuspid aortic valve


Increased levels of B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) are associated with prolongation of the action potential in ventricular myocardium. We investigated the relation of a BNP increase, QT interval, and sudden cardiac death (SCD) in the presence of heart failure (HF). We enrolled 398 patients with HF, New York Heart Association class III or IV, and left ventricular ejection fraction <40%. At baseline and after 3 months, we measured BNP and the QT interval. A BNP increase was defined as a change in BNP of ≥+10%. The QTc interval was calculated using the Bazett formula. QTc interval prolongation was defined as a change in QTc of ≥+10%. The patients were followed up for 1 year. During a 3-month period, BNP increased significantly in 53% of the patients (group 1) and did not in 47% (group 2). During the same period, the QTc interval was more prolonged in group 1 (+44 ± 12 ms) than in group 2 (+7 ± 6 ms; p = 0.01). During 1 year of follow-up, 20 patients died suddenly (SCD), 16 from pump failure. Although the SCD rates did not differ between the 2 groups (5.7% in group 1 vs 4.2% in group 2, p = 0.53), they were significantly greater in the patients in group 1 with QTc interval prolongation ≥+10% (13.8%, p <0.001). The Kaplan-Meier-derived SCD-free survival rates were 2.9 times greater in patients without QTc interval prolongation than in those with prolonged QTc (p <0.001). QTc interval prolongation was an independent correlate of SCD (p = 0.006), but BNP increase was not (p = 0.32). In conclusion, a BNP increase in patients with HF was associated with an increased risk of SCD only in patients with QTc interval prolongation.

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Cardiology, Heart failure, Ejection fraction, Heart, Long QT syndrome, QT interval, Sudden cardiac death


In 2009, we described morphologic findings in 22 patients having resection of an ascending aortic aneurysm in the previous 11 years at the Baylor University Medical Center, and histologic examination of the aneurysmal wall disclosed classic findings of syphilitic aortitis. The major purpose of that extensively illustrated report was to describe the characteristic gross features of the aneurysm such that syphilitic aortitis might be better recognized at operation and appropriate antibiotics administered postoperatively. The aim of the present study was to emphasize that syphilis remains a major cause of ascending aortic aneurysm. From January 1, 2009, to December 31, 2014, we studied additional 23 patients who had resection of an ascending aortic aneurysm that again histologically had classic features of syphilitic aortitis. All 23 patients were found to have syphilitic aortitis grossly and histologically. The aneurysm involved the ascending portion of aorta in all 23, the arch portion in 12, and the descending thoracic portion in 10. In conclusion, syphilis has far from disappeared. It remains a major cause of ascending aortic aneurysm.

Concepts: Histology, Aortic aneurysm, Aortic dissection, Aorta, Aneurysm of sinus of Valsalva, Syphilis, Syphilitic aortitis, St. Louis, Missouri