Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: World journal of cardiology


Hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) is an autosomal dominant inherited disorder characterised by vascular malformations in predominantly the brain, liver and lungs. Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is increasingly recognised as a severe complication of HHT. PH may be categorised into two distinct types in patients with HHT. Post-capillary PH most often results from a high pulmonary blood flow that accompanies the high cardiac output state associated with liver arteriovenous malformations. Less frequently, the HHT-related gene mutations in ENG or ACVRL1 appear to predispose patients with HHT to develop pre-capillary pulmonary arterial hypertension. Differentiation between both forms of PH by right heart catheterisation is essential, since both entities are associated with severe morbidity and mortality with different treatment options. Therefore all HHT patients should be referred to an HHT centre.

Concepts: Genetic disorder, Pulmonology, Blood, Cardiology, Heart, Vein, Pulmonary artery, Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia


The role of blood cholesterol levels in coronary heart disease (CHD) and the true effect of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs are debatable. In particular, whether statins actually decrease cardiac mortality and increase life expectancy is controversial. Concurrently, the Mediterranean diet model has been shown to prolong life and reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer, and CHD. We herein review current data related to both statins and the Mediterranean diet. We conclude that the expectation that CHD could be prevented or eliminated by simply reducing cholesterol appears unfounded. On the contrary, we should acknowledge the inconsistencies of the cholesterol theory and recognize the proven benefits of a healthy lifestyle incorporating a Mediterranean diet to prevent CHD.

Concepts: Nutrition, Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Heart, Statin, Heart disease, Artery, Lipid hypothesis


Palm oil consumption and its effects on serum lipid levels and cardiovascular disease in humans is still a subject of debate. Advocacy groups with varying agenda fuel the controversy. This update intends to identify evidence-based evaluations of the influence of palm oil on serum lipid profile and cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, it suggests a direction for future research. The sources of information were based on a PubMed, Google Scholar, African Journal online and Medline search using key words including: palm oil, palmitic acid, saturated fatty acids and heart disease. Published animal and human experiments on the association of palm oil and its constituents on the serum lipid profile and cardiovascular disease were also explored for relevant information. These papers are reviewed and the available evidence is discussed. Most of the information in mainstream literature is targeted at consumers and food companies with a view to discourage the consumption of palm oil. The main argument against the use of palm oil as an edible oil is the fact that it contains palmitic acid, which is a saturated fatty acid and by extrapolation should give rise to elevated total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. However, there are many scientific studies, both in animals and humans that clearly show that palm oil consumption does not give rise to elevated serum cholesterol levels and that palm oil is not atherogenic. Apart from palmitic acid, palm oil consists of oleic and linoleic acids which are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated respectively. Palm oil also consists of vitamins A and E, which are powerful antioxidants. Palm oil has been scientifically shown to protect the heart and blood vessels from plaques and ischemic injuries. Palm oil consumed as a dietary fat as a part of a healthy balanced diet does not have incremental risk for cardiovascular disease. Little or no additional benefit will be obtained by replacing it with other oils rich in mono or polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Concepts: Cholesterol, Nutrition, Fatty acid, Fatty acids, Atherosclerosis, Fat, Saturated fat, Palm oil


ABO blood type is one of the most readily available laboratory tests, and serves as a vital determinant in blood transfusion and organ transplantation. The ABO antigens are expressed not only on red blood cell membranes, determining the compatibility of transfusion, but also on the surface of other human cells, including epithelium, platelet and vascular endothelium, therefore extending the research into other involvements of cardiovascular disease and postoperative outcomes. ABO blood group has been recognized as a risk factor of venous thrombosis embolism since the 1960’s, effects now understood to be related to ABO dependent variations are procoagulant factor VIII (FVIII) and von Willebrand factor (vWF) levels. Levels of vWF, mostly genetically determined, are strongly associated with venous thromboembolism (VTE). It mediates platelet adhesion aggregation and stabilizes FVIII in plasma. Moreover, many studies have tried to identify the relationship between ABO blood types and ischemic heart disease. Unlike the clear and convincing associations between VTE and ABO blood type, the link between ABO blood type and ischemic heart disease is less consistent and may be confusing. Other than genetic factors, ischemic heart disease is strongly related to diet, race, lipid metabolism and economic status. In this review, we’ll summarize the data relating race and genetics, including ABO blood type, to VTE, ischemic heart disease and postoperative bleeding after cardiac surgery.

Concepts: Genetics, Blood, Red blood cell, Blood type, Heart, Hematology, Von Willebrand factor, ABO blood group system


Acute coronary syndromes constitute a variety of myocardial injury presentations that include a subset of patients presenting with myocardial infarction with non-obstructive coronary arteries (MINOCA). This acute coronary syndrome differs from type 1 myocardial infarction (MI) regarding patient characteristics, presentation, physiopathology, management, treatment, and prognosis. Two-thirds of MINOCA subjects present ST-segment elevation; MINOCA patients are younger, are more often female and tend to have fewer cardiovascular risk factors. Moreover, MINOCA is a working diagnosis, and defining the aetiologic mechanism is relevant because it affects patient care and prognosis. In the absence of relevant coronary artery disease, myocardial ischaemia might be triggered by an acute event in epicardial coronary arteries, coronary microcirculation, or both. Epicardial causes of MINOCA include coronary plaque disruption, coronary dissection, and coronary spasm. Microvascular MINOCA mechanisms involve microvascular coronary spasm, takotsubo syndrome (TTS), myocarditis, and coronary thromboembolism. Coronary angiography with non-significant coronary stenosis and left ventriculography are first-line tests in the differential study of MINOCA patients. The diagnostic arsenal includes invasive and non-invasive techniques. Medical history and echocardiography can help indicate vasospasm or thrombosis, if one finite coronary territory is affected, or specify TTS if apical ballooning is present. Intravascular ultrasound, optical coherence tomography, and provocative testing are encouraged. Cardiac magnetic resonance is a cornerstone in myocarditis diagnosis. MINOCA is not a benign diagnosis, and its polymorphic forms differ in prognosis. MINOCA care varies across centres, and future multi-centre clinical trials with standardized criteria may have a positive impact on defining optimal cardiovascular care for MINOCA patients.


To describe the electrocardiographic (ECG) phenomena characterized by T-wave inversion in the precordial leads in adults and to highlight its differential diagnosis.

Concepts: Medical terms, Cardiology, Medical diagnosis, Differential diagnosis, Adult, Electrocardiography


Epidemiological, preclinical and clinical studies established the association between high alcohol consumption and hypertension. However the mechanism through which alcohol raises blood pressure remains elusive. Several possible mechanisms have been proposed such as an imbalance of the central nervous system, impairment of the baroreceptors, enhanced sympathetic activity, stimulation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, increased cortisol levels, increased vascular reactivity due to increase in intracellular calcium levels, stimulation of the endothelium to release vasoconstrictors and loss of relaxation due to inflammation and oxidative injury of the endothelium leading to inhibition of endothelium-dependent nitric oxide production. Loss of relaxation due to inflammation and oxidative injury of the endothelium by angiotensin II leading to inhibition of endothelium-dependent nitric oxide production is the major contributors of the alcohol-induced hypertension. For the prevention of alcohol-induced hypertension is to reduce the amount of alcohol intake. Physical conditioning/exercise training is one of the most important strategies to prevent/treat chronic alcohol-induced hypertension on physiological basis. The efficacious pharmacologic treatment includes the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin II type 1 receptor blockers (ARBs) which have antioxidant activity and calcium channel blockers. The most effective prevention and treatment of alcohol-induced hypertension is physical exercise and the use of ACE inhibitors or ARBs in the clinic.

Concepts: Nervous system, Hypertension, Blood pressure, Cortisol, Angiotensin, Renin-angiotensin system, Angiotensin-converting enzyme, Angiotensin II receptor antagonist


Multiple factors are involved in the etiology of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Pathological changes occur in a variety of cell types long before symptoms become apparent and diagnosis is made. Dysregulation of physiological functions are associated with the activation of immune cells, leading to local and finally systemic inflammation that is characterized by production of high levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Patients suffering from inflammatory diseases often present with diminished levels of antioxidants either due to insufficient dietary intake or, and even more likely, due to increased demand in situations of overwhelming ROS production by activated immune effector cells like macrophages. Antioxidants are suggested to beneficially interfere with diseases-related oxidative stress, however the interplay of endogenous and exogenous antioxidants with the overall redox system is complex. Moreover, molecular mechanisms underlying oxidative stress in CVD are not fully elucidated. Metabolic dybalances are suggested to play a major role in disease onset and progression. Several central signaling pathways involved in the regulation of immunological, metabolic and endothelial function are regulated in a redox-sensitive manner. During cellular immune response, interferon γ-dependent pathways are activated such as tryptophan breakdown by the enzyme indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) in monocyte-derived macrophages, fibroblasts, endothelial and epithelial cells. Neopterin, a marker of oxidative stress and immune activation is produced by GTP-cyclohydrolase I in macrophages and dendritic cells. Nitric oxide synthase (NOS) is induced in several cell types to generate nitric oxide (NO). NO, despite its low reactivity, is a potent antioxidant involved in the regulation of the vasomotor tone and of immunomodulatory signaling pathways. NO inhibits the expression and function of IDO. Function of NOS requires the cofactor tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4), which is produced in humans primarily by fibroblasts and endothelial cells. Highly toxic peroxynitrite (ONOO(-)) is formed solely in the presence of superoxide anion (O2 (-)). Neopterin and kynurenine to tryptophan ratio (Kyn/Trp), as an estimate of IDO enzyme activity, are robust markers of immune activation in vitro and in vivo. Both these diagnostic parameters are able to predict cardiovascular and overall mortality in patients at risk. Likewise, a significant association exists between increase of neopterin concentrations and Kyn/Trp ratio values and the lowering of plasma levels of vitamin-C, -E and -B. Vitamin-B deficiency is usually accompanied by increased plasma homoycsteine. Additional determination of NO metabolites, BH4 and plasma antioxidants in patients with CVD and related clinical settings can be helpful to improve the understanding of redox-regulation in health and disease and might provide a rationale for potential antioxidant therapies in CVD.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Enzyme, Atherosclerosis, Oxidative phosphorylation, Reactive oxygen species, Endothelium, Nitric oxide


Coronary angiography and eventual revascularization have become the most common approaches for patients with acute coronary syndromes. Ischemia detection in this scenario is usually regarded as unnecessary for most of the patients. In fact, current guidelines recommend complete revascularization for patients with multivessel disease in the context of ST-elevation myocardial infarction, although it is in contrast with previous recommendations. However, some recent data suggested that ischemia could have a role for the decision of revascularization in these patients. The CROSS-AMI study randomized patients with ST-elevation myocardial infarction treated with primary angioplasty and who also had multivessel disease to a complete anatomic revascularization of the non-infarct related artery lesions vs subsequent revascularization of the non-infarct related artery lesions only if ischemia was demonstrated by stress echocardiography. The main findings were that only 30% of the patients in the ischemia arm needed a second revascularization and that the outcome was similar in both arms. Regarding non-ST-elevation acute coronary syndrome, coronary angiography is in general warranted for most of the patients. However, recent long-term published studies on patients randomized to an invasive or less aggressive approach based on ischemia detection have found no differences in outcome. The ultimate study in non-ST-elevation acute coronary syndrome comparing ischemia detection with an invasive approach is pending. Therefore, ischemia detection might have a role for stratifying these subjects. This is particularly true in the current era of imaging of high quality and sensitivity, last generation stents, radial access and modern antithrombotic therapy.


To review digoxin use in systolic congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and after myocardial infarction.

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Cardiology, Heart failure, Heart, Atrial fibrillation