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June 2022 Br J Cardiol 2022;29(3) doi: 10.5837/bjc.2022.022

The protracted path to untethered mechanical circulatory support: always the future or reality soon?

Jignesh K Patel

Abstract

Significant pharmacologic, interventional and surgical strategies in the management of coronary syndromes, together with evolving surgical and non-surgical innovations for valvular disease and improved care of congenital heart disease, have ensured that patients live longer and better lives. With these advancing therapies for cardiac disease, the number of patients surviving to develop end-stage heart failure continues to increase exponentially. While the heart as an organ has evolved to demonstrate remarkable resilience in the setting of disease, death from cardiovascular causes remains the most common cause of death in many parts of the world. Given the significant morbidity and mortality associated with end-stage heart failure, the last half century has been notable for a concentrated effort on developing therapies for the failing heart.

In this issue, Professor Stephen Westaby (see https://doi.org/10.5837/bjc.2022.021) provides an insightful personal perspective on a laudable life-long pursuit in the development of mechanical circulatory support with the ultimate goal of a fully implantable device. His long career has been punctuated by a number of seminal achievements, which have led to incremental improvements in a challenging area.

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May 2022 Br J Cardiol 2022;29:46–51 doi: 10.5837/bjc.2022.015

Clinical and health economic evaluation of a post-stroke arrhythmia monitoring service

David Muggeridge, Kara Callum, Lynsey Macpherson, Nick Howard, Claudia Graune, Ian Megson, Adam Giangreco, Susan Gallacher, Linda Campbell, Gethin Williams, Ashish Macaden, Stephen J Leslie

Abstract

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a major cause of recurrent stroke and transient ischaemic attack (TIA) in the UK. As many patients can have asymptomatic paroxysmal AF, prolonged arrhythmia monitoring is advised in selected patients following a stroke or TIA. This service evaluation assessed the clinical and potential health economic impact of prolonged arrhythmia monitoring post-stroke using R-TEST monitoring devices.

This was a prospective, case-controlled, service evaluation in a single health board in the North of Scotland. Patients were included if they had a recent stroke or TIA, were in sinus rhythm, and did not have another indication for, or contraindication to, oral anticoagulation. A health economic model was developed to estimate the clinical and economic value delivered by the R-TEST monitoring. Approval to use anonymised patient data in this service evaluation was obtained.

During the evaluation period, 100 consecutive patients were included. The average age was 70 ± 11 years, 46% were female. Stroke was the presenting complaint in 83% of patients with the other 17% having had a TIA. AF was detected in seven of 83 (8.4%) patients who had had a stroke and one of 17 (5.9%) patients with a TIA. Health economic modelling predicted that adoption of R-TEST monitoring has a high probability of demonstrating both clinical and economic benefits.

In conclusion, developing a post-stroke arrhythmia monitoring service using R-TEST devices is feasible, effective at detecting AF, and represents a probable clinical and economic benefit

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May 2022 Br J Cardiol 2022;29:43–5 doi: 10.5837/bjc.2022.016

Viruses, vaccines and cardiovascular effects

Anthony R Rees

Abstract

On the 31st March 2021, the German Health Ministry – on the advice of the Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) – declared that the Astra Zeneca/Oxford Vaxzevria vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), based on a chimpanzee adenovirus genetic scaffold, henceChAdOx1, would no longer be administered to those under the age of 60 years. In its hands were details of 31 cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) cases provided by the Paul Ehrlich Institute. These cases, of whom 19 had platelet deficiency, were seen after 2.7 million first and 767 second vaccine doses.

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May 2022 Br J Cardiol 2022;29:60–3 doi: 10.5837/bjc.2022.017

Total ischaemic time in STEMI: factors influencing systemic delay

Cormac T O’Connor, Abdallah Ibrahim, Anthony Buckley, Caoimhe Maguire, Rajesh Kumar, Jatinder Kumar, Samer Arnous, Thomas J Kiernan

Abstract

Total ischaemic time in ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) has been shown to be a predictor of mortality. The aim of this study was to assess the total ischaemic time of STEMIs in an Irish primary percutaneous coronary intervention (pPCI) centre. A single-centre prospective observational study was conducted of all STEMIs referred for pPCI from October 2017 until January 2019.

There were 213 patients with a mean age 63.9 years (range 29–96 years). The mean ischaemic time was 387 ± 451.7 mins. The mean time before call for help (patient delay) was 207.02 ± 396.8 mins, comprising the majority of total ischaemic time. Following diagnostic electrocardiogram (ECG), 46.5% of patients had ECG-to-wire cross under 90 mins as per guidelines; 73.9% were within 120 mins and 93.4% were within 180 mins. Increasing age correlated with longer patient delay (Pearson’s r=0.2181, p=0.0066). Women exhibited longer ischaemic time compared with men (508.96 vs. 363.33 mins, respectively, p=0.03515), driven by a longer time from first medical contact (FMC) to ECG (104 vs. 34 mins, p=0.0021).

The majority of total ischaemic time is due to patient delay, and this increases as age increases. Women had longer ischaemic time compared with men and longer wait from FMC until diagnostic ECG. This study suggests that improved awareness for patients and healthcare staff will be paramount in reducing ischaemic time.

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May 2022 Br J Cardiol 2022;29:64–6 doi: 10.5837/bjc.2022.018

Evaluation of the prognostic value of the admission ECG in COVID-19 patients: a meta-analysis

Mateusz Wawrzeńczyk, Marcin D Grabowski

Abstract

The assessment of the prognostic value of the admission electrocardiography (ECG) (specifically of the duration of the PR and QTc intervals, the QRS complex and the heart rate [HR]) in COVID-19 patients on the basis of nine observational studies (n=1,424) indicates that relatively long duration of the QTc interval and QRS complex, as well as higher HR, are linked to a severe course of COVID-19, which may be of use in risk stratification. Since there are important differences in suggested indicators of adverse prognosis between observational studies, further research is necessary to clarify high-risk criteria.

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