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Clinical articles

October 2020 Br J Cardiol 2020;27(4) doi :10.5837/bjc.2020.030

Women not in cardiology: where are we going wrong? A survey of the perceptions and barriers to training

Hibba Kurdi, Holly Morgan, Claire Williams

Abstract

In the UK, there is a difference between the medical specialties and cardiology in recruitment of women. Research, thus far, has concentrated on women already in cardiology. Although invaluable in understanding barriers to training, these studies fail to provide insight into why other trainees chose an alternative. Therefore, we designed a survey aimed at medical personnel, evaluating why higher trainees in other specialties overlooked cardiology.

An online survey was distributed via email to non-cardiology higher trainees in Wales. Questions covered previous clinical experiences of cardiology, interactions with cardiologists, and tried to identify deterrent factors.

There were 227 responses received over six weeks: 61.7% (n=137) female respondents, 23.5% (n=52) less than full-time. Of these, 49% completed a cardiology placement previously. Bullying was witnessed and experienced equally among genders, females witnessed and experienced sexism, 24% (n=24) and 13% (n=13), respectively. In contrast, male trainees witnessed and experienced sexism 14% (n=7) and 0%. There were 62% (n=133) who felt cardiologists and registrars were unapproachable. Work-life balance ranked first (40%), as the most important factor influencing career choice. The negative attitudes of cardiologists and registrars was ranked top 3 for not pursuing cardiology.

In conclusion, many barriers exist to cardiology training including poor work-life balance, sexism and lack of less than full-time opportunities. However, this survey highlights that the behaviour of cardiologists and registrars has the potential to impact negatively on trainees. It is, therefore, our responsibility to be aware of this and encourage change.

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October 2020 Br J Cardiol 2020;27(4) doi :10.5837/bjc.2020.032

Clinical cases illustrating the efficacy of intra-coronary lithotripsy

Paula Finnegan, John Jefferies, Ronan Margey, Barry Hennigan

Abstract

We provide the details of three cases utilising intravascular lithotripsy, a novel approach to percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).

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September 2020 Br J Cardiol 2020;27:80–2 doi :10.5837/bjc.2020.026

Cardio-nephrology MDT meetings play an important role in the management of cardiorenal syndrome

Rajiv Sankaranarayanan, Homeyra Douglas, Christopher Wong

Abstract

Cardiorenal syndrome is a complex condition associated with significant morbidity in the form of symptoms secondary to fluid overload, leading to hospitalisations, and portends increased mortality. Both the diagnosis and management of the conditions are complicated by the fact that there is dysfunction of the heart as well as the kidney, usually with uncertainty with regards to the timing of the first insult. Management in primary care, or in the emergency setting, tends to be predominantly focused on short-term improvement in function of one organ, leading to deleterious effects on the other. A consensus multi-disciplinary approach involving both cardiologists and nephrologists has been advocated in order to devise a unified management plan. Our report presents findings of monthly cardio-nephrology multi-disciplinary team meetings and illustrates that this can be an efficacious approach both in terms of avoiding unnecessary outpatient clinic visits, as well as consensus decision-making.

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September 2020 Br J Cardiol 2020;27:100–1 doi :10.5837/bjc.2020.027

Twisting interval in complete heart block, cannot be overlooked: a challenging ECG dilemma

Mohsin Gondal, Ali Hussain

Abstract

Ventriculophasic arrhythmia (VPA) is an intriguing electrocardiogram (ECG) phenomenon, often seen in patients with complete heart block, and could sometimes pose a challenging diagnostic dilemma for physicians. By definition, in VPA, the P–P intervals that contain a QRS complex are shorter than the P–P intervals that do not have a QRS complex. VPA is often a tell-tale ECG finding of complete heart block. We describe a case in which paroxysmal VPA led us to diagnose complete heart block.

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September 2020 Br J Cardiol 2020;27:102–4 doi :10.5837/bjc.2020.028

New cardiac manifestation of IgG4-related disease: a case report

Marina Pourafkari, Prodipto Pal, Adriana Luk, Daniel Ennis, Mini Pakkal, Patrik Rogalla

Abstract

Immunoglobulin G4-related disease (IgG4-RD) is a systemic fibro-inflammatory immune-mediated disease, which has been defined in the past few years. IgG4-RD affects various organs and leads to a variety of clinical manifestations. As it is a relatively newly defined entity, new manifestations are now being recognised and reported. We describe a case involving the cardiovascular system.

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July 2020 Br J Cardiol 2020;27:83–6 doi :10.5837/bjc.2020.021

Coronary lithotripsy: a novel approach to intra-coronary calcification with ‘cracking’ results?

Paula Finnegan, John Jefferies, Ronan Margey, Barry Hennigan

Abstract

This article is available as a BJC Learning CPD activity

Coronary lithotripsy is a novel approach to percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). It is based on well-established technology dating back to 1980 when lithotripsy was first used to treat renal calculi. Its application in cardiovascular medicine is a more recent development that involves using a low-pressure lithotripsy balloon to deliver unfocused acoustic pulse waves in a circumferential mechanical energy distribution. This causes fracturing of calcification within the surrounding vasculature, facilitating optimal stent deployment.

This article aims to review recent clinical experience and the published data regarding intravascular lithotripsy (IVL). All relevant articles were identified via PubMed using keywords including “intravascular lithotripsy”, “shockwave” and “coronary”. All studies that contained published datasets regarding IVL with patient numbers >50 were included for review. There were 116 results found. After reviewing all the publications, articles were then tabulated and 17 were found to be relevant, including only four clinical studies.

In this review we found that intracoronary lithotripsy for heavily calcified arteries appears to be a safe, effective, easy-to-use method of dealing with an otherwise technically-challenging and high-risk scenario. It appears to carry low risk, uses low pressures, and exerts its effects on both superficial and deep intravascular calcium. Further prospective data with long-term follow-up will be required to explore both the off-label uses of IVL (such as post-stent dilatation), and the long-term patency of these vessels.

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July 2020 Br J Cardiol 2020;27:87–92 doi :10.5837/bjc.2020.022

Personalised external aortic root support (PEARS) to stabilise an aortic root aneurysm

John Pepper, Tal J Golesworthy, Cemil Izgi, Johanna J M Takkenberg, Tom Treasure

Abstract

Patients with congenitally determined aortic root aneurysms are at risk of aortic valve regurgitation, aortic dissection, rupture and death. Personalised external aortic root support (PEARS) may provide an alternative to aortic root replacement.

This was a multi-centre, prospective cohort of all consecutive patients who received ExoVasc mesh implants for a dilated aortic root between 2004 and 2017. Baseline and peri-operative characteristics, as well as early postoperative outcomes are described, and time-related survival and re-operation free survival are estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method.

From 2004 through 2017, 117 consecutive patients have received ExoVasc mesh implants for aortic root aneurysm. The inclusion criteria were an aortic root/sinus of Valsalva and ascending aorta with asymptomatic dilatation of between 40 and 50 mm in diameter in patients aged 16 years or more. Patients with more than mild aortic regurgitation were excluded. There was one early death. The length of stay was within seven days in 75% of patients.

In conclusion, the operation achieves the objectives of valve-sparing root replacement. PEARS may be seen as a low-risk conservative operation, which can be applied earlier on in the disease process, and which is complementary to more invasive procedures, such as valve-sparing root replacement or total root replacement.

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July 2020 Br J Cardiol 2020;27:93–6 doi :10.5837/bjc.2020.023

Shared decision-making for ICDs: a regional collaborative initiative

Honey Thomas, Mark Lambert, Chris Plummer, Craig Runnett, Richard Thomson, Anne Marie Troy-Smith, Andrew J Turley

Abstract

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and NHS England have shown a commitment to embedding shared decision-making (SDM) in clinical practice and developing decision aids based on clinical guidelines. Healthcare policy makers are keen to enhance the engagement of patients in SDM in the belief that it improves the benefits accrued from healthcare interventions. This may be important for interventions such as implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) implantation, where cost-effectiveness is under scrutiny. NHS England invited the ICD implanters in the north of England to participate in a regional commissioning quality incentive (CQUIN) project to improve decision-making around a primary prevention ICD implant. A collaborative project included the development of a specific SDM tool, the first of its kind in the UK, followed by training and education of the clinical teams. The project illustrates that this approach is practical and deliverable and could be applied and used in other regions, and considered in additional clinical areas.

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July 2020 Br J Cardiol 2020;27:97–9 doi :10.5837/bjc.2020.024

Computed tomography artefact finding of pacing lead perforation

Holly Morgan, Christopher Williams, Robert A Bleasdale

Abstract

Computed tomography (CT) is a widely available imaging modality and artefactual findings are not uncommon, particularly in the presence of foreign bodies.

We conducted a retrospective analysis of all CT scans carried out in our trust in a 12-month period, identifying all reports containing the word “pacemaker”. There were 88 scans identified, six of which reported findings related to the pacemaker. In five cases right ventricular lead perforation was reported. All patients underwent further investigations, which did not show any evidence of true lead perforation.

In conclusion, it is important that both cardiologists and radiologists are aware of the possibility of artefactual lead perforation on CT.

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June 2020 Br J Cardiol 2020;27:51–54 doi :10.5837/bjc.2020.017

Impact of COVID-19 on primary percutaneous coronary intervention centres in the UK: a survey

Ahmed M Adlan, Ven G Lim, Gurpreet Dhillon, Hibba Kurdi, Gemina Doolub, Nadir Elamin, Amir Aziz, Sanjay Sastry, Gershan Davis

Abstract

During the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the British Cardiovascular Society/British Cardiovascular Intervention Society and the British Heart Rhythm Society recommended to postpone non-urgent elective work and that primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) should remain the treatment of choice for patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). We sought to determine the impact of COVID-19 on the primary PCI service within the United Kingdom (UK).

A survey of 43 UK primary PCI centres was performed and a significant reduction in the number of cath labs open was found (pre-COVID 3.6±1.8 vs. post-COVID 2.1±0.8; p<0.001) with only 64% of cath labs remained open during the COVID-19 pandemic. Primary PCI remained first-line treatment for STEMI in all centres surveyed.

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