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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


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


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

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


Endothelial dysfunction with impaired bioavailability of nitric oxide (NO) is the hallmark in the development of cardiovascular disease. Endothelial dysfunction leads to atherosclerosis, characterized by chronic inflammation of the arterial wall and stepwise narrowing of the vessel lumen. Atherosclerosis causes deprivation of adequate tissue blood flow with compromised oxygen supply. To overcome this undersupply, remodeling of the vascular network is necessary to reconstitute and sustain tissue viability. This physiological response is often not sufficient and therapeutic angiogenesis remains an unmet medical need in critical limb ischemia or coronary artery disease. Feasible approaches to promote blood vessel formation are sparse. Administration of pro-angiogenic factors, gene therapy, or targeting of microRNAs has not yet entered the daily practice. Nitric oxide is an important mediator of angiogenesis that becomes limited under ischemic conditions and the maintenance of NO availability might constitute an attractive therapeutic target. Until recently it was unknown how the organism provides NO under ischemia. In recent years it could be demonstrated that NO can be formed independently of its enzymatic synthesis in the endothelium by reduction of inorganic nitrite under hypoxic conditions. Circulating nitrite derives from oxidation of NO or reduction of inorganic nitrate by commensal bacteria in the oral cavity. Intriguingly, nitrate is a common constituent of our everyday diet and particularly high concentrations are found in leafy green vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, or beetroot. Evidence suggests that dietary nitrate supplementation increases the regenerative capacity of ischemic tissue and that this effect may offer an attractive nutrition-based strategy to improve ischemia-induced revascularization. We here summarize and discuss the regenerative capacity of dietary nitrate on the vascular system.

Concepts: Blood, Atherosclerosis, Heart, Blood vessel, Artery, Endothelium, Ischemia, Cardiovascular system


Atherosclerosis is a major complication of diabetes, increasing the risk of cardiovascular related morbidities and mortalities. The hallmark of diabetes is hyperglycemia which duration is best predicted by elevated glycated haemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) levels. Diabetic complications are usually attributed to oxidative stress associated with glycation of major structural and functional proteins. This non-enzymatic glycation of long lived proteins such as collagen, albumin, fibrinogen, liver enzymes and globulins result in the formation of early and advanced glycation end products (AGEs) associated with the production of myriads of free radicles and oxidants that have detrimental effects leading to diabetic complications. AGEs have been extensively discussed in the literature as etiological factors in the advancement of atherogenic events. Mechanisms described include the effects of glycation on protein structure and function that lead to defective receptor binding, impairment of immune system and enzyme function and alteration of basement membrane structural integrity. Hemoglobin (Hb) is a major circulating protein susceptible to glycation. Glycated Hb, namely HbA1C is used as a useful tool in the diagnosis of diabetes progression. Many studies have shown strong positive associations between elevated HbA1C levels and existing cardiovascular disease and major risk factors. Also, several studies presented HbA1C as an independent predictor of cardiovascular risk. In spite of extensive reports on positive associations, limited evidence is available considering the role of glycated Hb in the etiology of atherosclerosis. This editorial highlights potential mechanisms by which glycated hemoglobin may contribute, as a causative factor, to the progression of atherosclerosis in diabetics.

Concepts: Protein, Enzyme, Myocardial infarction, Diabetes mellitus, Glucose, Diabetes, Glycated hemoglobin, Glycation