EditorialsBack to top
October 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:501-3
The first reported combined heart and kidney transplant occurred in 1978.1 The patient died of gram negative sepsis 15 days after transplantation. It was not until 1986 that a case was reported with long-term (> 18-month) survival.2 Since that time, there have been more than 40 publications examining the pros and cons of simultaneous heart and kidney transplantation. Initial reports consisted mainly of small case series demonstrating proof of concept and adequate 1–3 year survival, mostly in line with that of heart transplantation alone.3-5 Later it was noted that simultaneous transplantation seemed to protect against rejection of the heart transplant (although different immunosuppressive protocols were frequently employed) and that rejection of one organ often occurred independently of immunological damage to the other.
Clinical articlesBack to top
October 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:554-9
Caroline Levie, Stewart Findlay
The innovation of specialist nurses in coronary heart disease prevention across 12 practices in a rural County Durham Primary Care Trust (PCT) with a high rate of premature death from heart disease helped the Trust achieve the National Service Frame-work (NSF) for Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) targets and milestones. The introduction of nurse-led CHD clinics at each practice provided a structured follow-up for all patients with CHD to locally agreed guidelines. Audit data collected showed that after 12 months, the service showed an improved management of secondary prevention: more patients had had their cholesterol measured, more had received lipid-lowering medication and more had achieved target cholesterol levels of < 5.0 mmol/L than at baseline. Aspirin prescribing also increased. The PCT has also recently introduced a specialist heart failure nurse to carry out a similar programme and, in addition, has addressed cardiac rehabilitation to provide a home-based service for some patients.
October 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:549-52
Early thrombolysis for the treatment of acute myocardial infarction. Who will provide this treatment in the UK? Part 1
This article looks at the results of four studies which examined the delivery of early thrombolysis by general practitioners and ambulance paramedics to patients suffering an acute myocardial infarction. The studies found that they could provide early thrombolysis safely. One study in an isolated rural area in Scotland found general practitioners would have very limited experience of thrombolysis – one case per general practitioner per year – and that use of thrombolysis by local general practitioners fell off sharply after the study. A second study carried out in 15 European countries and Canada, found that there was no significant improvement in mortality and morbidity in the pre-hospital group given thrombolysis at home. This was also found by a Dutch study. An American study using computer-assisted diagnostic ECGs relayed to a physician at the base hospital, found little difference in the pre-hospital and hospital treatment arms but a dramatic improvement in the speed of treatment of both groups. Pre-hospital thrombolysis was also reduced. Two studies found ambulances became ‘tied up’ when thrombolysis was delivered at home. These studies were used as part of a submission on behalf of the Primary Care Cardiovascular Society to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence. The rest of the submission is discussed in part two of this article next month.
October 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:546-7
Tariq Azeem, Seong Som Chuah, Philip S Lewis
The authors describe a case of a Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome patient experiencing atrial fibrillation, which was difficult to distinguish from ventricular tachycardia.
October 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:539-45
Wiek H van Gilst, Freek WA Verheugt, Felix Zijlstra, William E Boden
Thrombolytic therapy has revolutionised the management of acute myocardial infarction (MI) and saved many thousands of lives. Since these agents first became available nearly 20 years ago, many new pharmacological therapies have been developed to try and improve both short-term and long-term outcome following MI. Surgical interventions too are being considered as a serious option during the immediate post-MI period to avoid the adverse effects of thrombolysis and improve long-term outcome. At the same time, research is focusing on what therapy should follow acute MI treatment to improve the long-term outlook for patients. Both old and new therapeutic options need to be considered to offer patients the best chance of a full recovery and long-term survival after MI.
October 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:538
David Platts, Mark Monaghan
These images are from a 65-year-old woman referred for stress echocardiography following a history of exercise-induced dizziness and shortness of breath. A dobutamine stress echocardiogram was performed. The resting heart rate was 90 beats per minute and resting blood pressure was 210/90 mmHg. The resting images showed severe concentric left ventricular hypertrophy with normal systolic function.
October 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:533-7
In the last few years our ideas about the physiological and pathological roles of aldosterone have changed enormously. It is now widely recognised that this hormone not only plays a crucial role in normal salt and water regulation, and its abnormalities in congestive heart failure and some types of hypertension, but also has other effects. These may include the promotion of cardiac and vascular inflammation and fibrosis and increased likelihood of arrhythmias. These perspectives coincide with a revived interest in aldosterone antagonists, particularly since the RALES trial showing the benefits of spironolactone in patients with congestive heart failure. This long-established drug does unfortunately have serious adverse effects, notably gynaecomastia and menstrual abnormalities. New drugs, such as eplerenone, are being developed which are more selective for the aldosterone receptor and have less interaction with receptors for other steroid hormones. Early studies indicate that this drug may have comparable efficacy to spironolactone in patients with hypertension and heart failure, while adverse effects appear to be less frequent and severe. The development of such compounds will encourage greater emphasis on aldosterone antagonism in cardiovascular drug therapy.
October 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:530-2
Kathryn E Griffith
The major objective for the diagnosis and treatment of hypertension should be the detection of those at increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke, and the reduction of this risk.
October 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:524-30
Karen Rowland Yeo, Wilfred W Yeo
We examined the workload implications of the National Service Framework for Coronary Heart Disease and the 1999 British Hypertension Society guidelines for the management of hypertension in clinical practice. The 1998 Health Survey for England was used to estimate the proportion of the English population aged 35 to 74 years that may require antihypertensive therapy. Of 8,154 subjects with blood pressure measurements, 400 (4.9%; 95% CI 4.4 to 5.4%) with cardiovascular disease were taking antihypertensive drugs and a further 100 (1.2%; 1.0 to 1.5%) were at treatment thresholds for secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. There were 848 (10.4%; 9.7 to 11.1%) subjects free of cardiovascular disease on antihypertensive therapy and an additional 1,083 (13.3%; 12.5 to 14.0%) were identified for treatment. We estimate that 29.8% (28.8 to 30.8%) of the English population aged 35 to 74 years were candidates for antihypertensive therapy, of which 15.3% (14.5 to 16.1%) were already being treated but only 5.4% (4.9 to 5.9%) had their blood pressure controlled. An additional 14.5% of the English population will need antihypertensive therapy and an extra 9.9 % will need to have their treatment intensified to attain the blood pressure targets set by the British Hypertension Society guidelines.
October 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:519-23
Jo Chikwe, John Pepper
Heart transplantation is an accepted therapeutic option in selected patients with end-stage heart failure. Up to 10% of patients develop renal failure while on the waiting list for heart transplantation. Renal dysfunction is a relative contraindication to heart transplantation. In order to establish current practice in UK heart transplant centres and overall surgical outcomes for combined heart and kidney transplantation, we surveyed the eight units currently responsible for heart transplantation, all but one of which had carried out at least one combined heart and kidney transplant. We obtained outcome data from the United Kingdom Transplant organisation. We found a wide variability in the level of renal function considered a contraindication to heart transplantation, and no consensus on the criteria for combined heart and kidney transplantation. The 30-day mortality was 14% (4/28) and survival at one, three, five and 10 years was 66.5 (95% confidence interval 57.3–75.7), 50.2 (40.3–60.1), 45.6 (35.6–55.7), and 30.8 (19.2–42.4) respectively, with significant variability between centres. A prospective, controlled trial is needed to address these issues, but such a study remains extremely unlikely in the context of the increasing scarcity of organ donors.