EditorialsBack to top
July 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:377
I am delighted that The British Journal of Cardiology is to become an official journal of the British Hypertension Society (BHS) information service. The BHS information service was developed to provide doctors and other health care professionals with information about hypertension. This includes details of current clinical management guidelines, recommended blood pressure monitoring devices and succinct summaries of management issues pertaining to specific clinical scenarios.
July 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:373-6
Gareth J Morgan-Hughes, Carl A Roobottom, Andrew J Marshall
Concerning atherosclerosis imaging and coronary calcium concentrates predominantly on electron beam computed tomography (EBCT).1 Non-invasive coronary artery imaging can take the form of coronary artery calcium assessment or coronary angiography. Imaging can be performed with EBCT, or since 2001, with the latest generation of helical (‘spiral’) CT scanners (known as ‘multislice’ CT scanners in view of simultaneous acquisition of four image ‘slices’). There are major differences between EBCT and multi-slice helical CT. Whereas with helical CT the patient is continually advanced through a rapid mechanically rotating gantry (X-ray source and detector array), EBCT relies on X-rays produced with an electronically steered electron beam.
Clinical articlesBack to top
July 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:422-4
The proportion of the elderly population is rapidly growing, increasing the numbers of hypertensive patients and the workload in primary care. The average GP will currently have around 100 hypertensive patients over the age of 75 years in their care; this number is likely to be much higher in popular retirement areas. Clinical trials have shown the benefits of vigorous blood pressure control in the elderly; current recommendations are to reduce blood pressure to under 140/85 mmHg in at-risk groups and to under 130/80 mmHg in diabetics. Hypertension treatment continues to be difficult, however, due to poor compliance. This is for a number of reasons, including the fact that it is often a symptomless condition, the side effects of antihypertensive medication and the number of concomitant medical conditions making drug regimes complicated in the elderly. Newer classes of antihypertensive agents, such as beta blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor antagonists, are proving to reduce other risks as well as reducing blood pressure. Angiotensin II receptor antagonists appear to be better tolerated than other antihypertensive drugs; clinical trial results are awaited to assess their protective effects as well as their effect on quality of life, health economics and cost-effectiveness.
July 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:411-3
Duncan Hogg, Stephen Yule, Kevin Jennings
We describe an asymptomatic 51-year-old man in whom severe coronary artery ectasia was evident on a plain AP chest X-ray (CXR).
July 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:406-10
Badri Chandrasekaran, Arvinder S Kurbaan
Brugada syndrome was described 10 years ago. It is a syndrome of sudden cardiac death associated with partial right bundle branch block and ST segment elevation in the right precordial leads V1-V3 on the resting ECG. Those affected have structurally normal hearts (as demonstrated by standard techniques) but they have a mortality rate of 10% a year, whether they are symptomatic or asymptomatic. It is thought to be primarily a disease of cardiac conduction and has been linked to abnormalities in the sodium channel (SCN5A). Differential diagnoses include arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia, idiopathic ventricular fibrillation and polymorphic ventricular tachycardia. Brugada et al. suggest that the Brugada shift pattern on 12-lead ECG is a specific marker for those at risk of sudden death. They recommend that symptomatic individuals be protected with an implantable cardiac defibrillator. Asymptomatic individuals remain a diagnostic dilemma.
July 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:401-5
he effect of nifedipine GITS on outcomes in patients with previous myocardial infarction: a subgroup analysis of the INSIGHT study
Giuseppe Mancia, Luis M Ruilope, Moris J Brown, Christopher R Palmer, Talma Rosenthal, Alain Castaigne, Peter W de Leuw, Gilbert Wagener
Post-myocardial infarction (MI) patients have a higher risk for subsequent cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events than the average population. This study was to test the effects on outcomes of nifedipine GITS compared to the diuretic combination co-amilozide in hypertensive patients with a history of MI on outcomes (subset of the INSIGHT study). The multinational, randomised, double-blind International Nifedipine GITS Study: Intervention as a Goal in Hypertension Treatment (INSIGHT) study compared the treatment effects of nifedipine GITS 30 mg and co-amilozide (hydrochlorothiazide 25 mg plus amiloride 2.5 mg) in hypertensive patients aged 55–80 years with a blood pressure of 150/95 mmHg (or 160 mmHg systolic). This pre-specified subanalysis was performed in patients with a history of MI. The primary outcome was a composite of cardiovascular death, non-fatal stroke, MI, and heart failure. Of 6,321 randomised patients, 383 (6.1%) had a previous MI. The percentage of primary outcomes in post-MI patients did not differ between the two treatment groups (14.9%). The number of post-MI patients with composite secondary outcomes was 53 (27.2%) in the nifedipine GITS group and 60 (31.9%) in the co-amilozide group. The incidence rates of primary and secondary outcomes were higher in patients with a previous MI than in patients without a history of MI. For the randomised use of nifedipine GITS and co-amilozide in hypertensive patients with a previous MI, the choice seemed unimportant for outcomes and blood pressure lowering. The results of this subgroup analysis are consistent with INSIGHT's overall findings of no significant differences in efficacy, suggesting that post-MI hypertensive patients are no more likely to suffer further events when treated with long-acting nifedipine than on co-amilozide.
July 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:394-400
Matthew J Budoff
Recently published data have greatly expanded the applicability of electron beam tomography and electron beam angiography. Guidelines and policy towards these modalities have shifted, with increased recognition of their importance among experts in cardiology, lipidology and preventive medicine. Given the high sensitivity of coronary calcification for the presence of obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD) (95–99%), exclusion of coronary calcium may be useful as a filter prior to invasive diagnostic procedures or hospital admission.