2019, Volume 26 (online first)

2019, Volume 26, Issue 1, pages 1–40

Editorials Clinical articles News and views
Topics include:-
  • Manage frailty effectively or manage decline
  • Low anticoagulant prescribing in stroke and atrial fribrillation
  • Using cardiac physiologists to implant devices
  • Is first outpatient review after cardiac surgery too delayed?


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January 2019 Br J Cardiol 2019;26(1) doi:10.5837/bjc.2019.001

Manage frailty effectively or manage decline – your choice and responsibility!

Srikanth Bellary, Alan J Sinclair


Over the last few decades there has been a steady increase in life-expectancy leading to an increase in the ageing population, placing significant demands on health and social care.1 Among the several healthcare issues that confront older people, frailty has emerged as an important entity, and tackling frailty has assumed greater significance.2 There is currently no single agreed definition of frailty, but it is widely accepted as a condition characterised by reduced response to stressors consequent to decline in multiple physiological systems associated with ageing. Prevalence of frailty in community-dwelling older adults is estimated to be around 10–14%, but figures between 4% and 49% have been quoted in various populations.3,4 Prevalence also varies with age, with around 7% in adults over 65 years, increasing up to 25% in those aged 80 years and above.5 There are a number of tools to detect frailty, and the most commonly used tool is the criteria proposed by Fried and colleagues based on data from the Cardiovascular Health Study, which assesses five domains, namely weight loss (≥5% weight loss in the past year), exhaustion (effort required for activities), slow walking speed (>6–7 s per 15 feet), weakness as measured by grip strength and decreased physical activity (kilocalories/week: male <383, female <270), with the presence of three or more of these fulfilling the criteria for frailty.5

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Clinical articles

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January 2019 Br J Cardiol 2019;26:14–8 doi:10.5837/bjc.2019.002

A survey of post-cardiac rhythm device implantation: movement and mobilisation advice in the UK

George Collins, Sarah Hamill, Catherine Laventure, Stuart Newell, Brian Gordon


Movement restrictions are given to patients after cardiac rhythm device implantation, despite little consensus, or evidence that they reduce complications. We conducted a UK survey assessing the nature of the advice and if it varies between individuals and institutions. A survey was distributed to cardiac rhythm teams at UK implanting centres. Questions concerned the advice that is given, its source, and who is responsible for providing it.

There were 100 responses from 42 centres. Advice is given by physiologists, nurses, and cardiologists. Advice comes from local protocols, information leaflets, current hospital opinion, manufacturers, national leaflets, published research and audit data. Within and between centres there was little agreement on what the advice should be. Depending on who gives the advice, a number of leisure pursuits were either completely unrestricted or restricted indefinitely. Cardiologists were less restrictive than others.

In conclusion, this is the first UK survey to assess the movement and mobilisation advice given to patients after device implantation. There is variation in the source and nature of advice. Over-restriction could impact on patients’ quality of life. Contradictory advice could cause uncertainty. Further work should determine the impact of this variation and how the effects could be safely mitigated.

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January 2019 Br J Cardiol 2019;26:19–22 doi:10.5837/bjc.2019.003

ICMs can be routinely implanted in a non-theatre environment by a cardiac physiologist

Varun Sharnam, Stelios Iacovides, Luisa Cleverdon, Wasing Taggu, Philip Keeling


Implantable cardiac monitors (ICMs), also known as implantable loop recorders (ILRs), are used for long-term heart rhythm monitoring of unexplained syncope or in the detection of arrhythmias. These devices are implanted by cardiologists within a cardiac catheter suite environment. The newer generation devices are miniaturised and inserted using a specific tool kit via a minimally invasive procedure. This paper describes the changes we have made to allow these devices to be implanted in a non-theatre environment by a cardiac physiologist and the benefits and cost reduction of this service redesign.

A cardiac physiologist (LC, Band 6) undertook specific training beginning in September 2015. A standard operating procedure (SOP) was developed and patient information videos were commissioned. The new service was introduced in September 2016 in the screening room of our critical care unit (CCU). Data were collected prospectively on the clinical outcome, patient satisfaction and costs.

Over a 13-month period LC independently performed 116 procedures (113 Medtronic Reveal LINQ™ ICMs and 3 St. Judes SJM CONFIRM™) with only one minor complication. Patients were highly satisfied with the redesigned service, which showed a reduction in cost of £241.27 per case.

ICMs/ILRs can be implanted safely and cost-effectively outside a cardiac catheter suite environment by a cardiac physiologist. This requires some specific training, a clinical SOP and is supported by use of dedicated patient information videos.

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January 2019 Br J Cardiol 2019;26:27–30 doi:10.5837/bjc.2019.004

Outcome of investigations into patients who attended the emergency department due to palpitations

Alexander J Gibbs, Andrew Potter


Previous research estimates that up to 40% of palpitation presentations to the emergency department (ED) have cardiac aetiology. This study was performed to determine the proportion of patients referred on for cardiology investigations that consequentially had new significant pathology diagnosed; and the effect of follow-up investigation on patient re-attendance to the ED with the complaint of palpitations.

Patients referred to a community cardiology centre in 2016 for investigation into palpitations following an ED presentation were included. The diagnosis that each patient received from these investigations was analysed to see whether: (a) new underlying cardiac abnormality was identified and (b) that abnormality was significant, requiring follow-up.

There were 93 patients meeting criteria for analysis: 28% had a cardiac cause for their palpitations elicited, including 11% with new significant pathology identified. Rate of re-attendance to the ED was reduced once cardiology investigations were completed (0.11 presentations/patient; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.04 to 0.18) compared with the investigation period (0.75 presentations/patient; 95%CI 0.3 to 1.2).

In conclusion, although only one tenth of patients referred for investigations had new significant cardiac pathology identified, completing cardiology investigations reduced ED re-attendance.

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January 2019 Br J Cardiol 2019;26:35 doi:10.5837/bjc.2019.005

Association of subclinical hypothyroidism in heart failure: a study from South India

Pramod Kumar Kuchulakanti, VCS Srinivasarao Bandaru, Anurag Kuchulakanti, Tallapaneni Lakshumaiah, Mehul Rathod, Rajeev Khare, Parsa Sairam, Poondru Rohit Reddy, Athuluri Ravikanth, Avvaru Guruprakash, Regalla Prasada Reddy, Banda Balaraju


Recent studies have associated subclinical hypothyroidism with heart failure (HF) and increased mortality. To investigate the relationship between subclinical hypothyroidism and HF in Indian patients we prospectively recruited 350 HF patients between March 2013 and February 2017 at the department of cardiology Yashoda Hospital, Hyderabad, India. All patients underwent fasting serum glucose, lipid profile, N-terminal-pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP), and thyroid hormone levels. Risk factors and clinical evaluation were undertaken. We divided thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels into severity grade 1 (≤9.9 mIU/L) and grade 2 (≥10 mIU/L).

Out of 350 HF patients, 191 (54.5%) were men, mean age was 60.4 ± 10.2 years (range 36–85 years). The incidence of subclinical hypothyroidism was 18.5%, 69.4% had normal thyroid function, and 12% had overt hypothyroidism. Mean NT-proBNP levels were 3561 ± 5553 pg/mL and 10.5% suffered in-hospital mortality. Dyslipidaemia (p=0.004), elevated NT-proBNP levels (p<0.0001) and mortality (p<0.0001) were significantly associated with subclinical hypothyroidism compared with euthyroidism. After multi-variate analysis, hypertension (odds ratio [OR] 3.5; 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.32, 3.8), dyslipidaemia (OR 1.7; 95%CI 1.12, 2.8), subclinical hypothyroidism (OR 1.39; 95%CI 0.99, 1.82) and NT-proBNP >600 pg/mL (OR 1.98; 95%CI 1.23, 2.04) were significantly associated with HF. Grade 2 TSH (OR 4.16; 95%CI 2.04, 8.48), elevated NT-proBNP >1800 pg/mL (OR 2.18; 95%CI 1.53, 4.82), and severe left ventricular dysfunction (OR 2.51; 95%CI 1.24, 2.07) were significantly associated with poor outcome.

In conclusion, our study has established that subclinical hypothyroidism is associated with HF and grade 2 TSH has an independent association with in-hospital mortality in Indian patients.

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January 2019 Br J Cardiol 2019;26:36–7 doi:10.5837/bjc.2019.006

Significant suppression of premature ventricular ectopics with ivabradine in dilated cardiomyopathy

Lal H Mughal, Andrew R Houghton, Jeffrey Khoo


Ivabradine is an I(f)-channel blocker currently used for the treatment of angina and heart failure. Although these channels are known to be found within the sino-atrial node, recent studies have also found localisation within the ventricular myocardium, and there have been reports of ventricular arrhythmia suppression in animal models. We describe an unusual case of significant ventricular ectopy suppression in a patient with non-ischaemic dilated cardiomyopathy. This was accompanied by a significant improvement in percentage pacing from her cardiac resynchronisation device, with corresponding improvement in her functional status. This report suggests, first, that the morbidity and mortality benefit of ivabradine in heart failure may not be solely due to its sino-atrial heart-rate lowering effect, and, second, highlights a potential role for ivabradine in the management of ventricular arrhythmias, which requires further studies to substantiate.

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News and views

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