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Clinical articles

August 2018 Br J Cardiol 2018;25:86–7 doi :10.5837/bjc.2018.024

Artificial intelligence in cardiology: applications, benefits and challenges

Panos Constantinides, David A Fitzmaurice

Abstract

The introduction of such digital technologies as robotic implants, home monitoring devices, wearable sensors and mobile apps in healthcare have produced significant amounts of data, which need to be interpreted and operationalised by physicians and healthcare systems across disparate fields.1 Most often, such technologies are implemented at the patient level, with patients becoming their own producers and consumers of personal data, something which leads to them demanding more personalised care.2

This digital transformation has led to a move away from a ‘top-down’ data management strategy, “which entailed either manual entry of data with its inherent limitations of accuracy and completeness, followed by data analysis with relatively basic statistical tools… and often without definitive answers to the clinical questions posited”.3 We are now in an era of a ‘bottom-up’ data management strategy that involves real-time data extraction from various sources (including apps, wearables, hospital systems, etc.), transformation of that data into a uniform format, and loading of the data into an analytical system for final analysis.3

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August 2018 Br J Cardiol 2018;25:97–101 doi :10.5837/bjc.2018.025

Impact of hyperkalaemia in managing cardiorenal patients – a healthcare professional perspective

Navneet Kalsi, Sarah Birkhoelzer, Philip Kalra, Paul Kalra

Abstract

A recent survey of healthcare professionals confirms that hyperkalaemia is considered as a common and important clinical issue for patients receiving renin-angiotensin-aldosterone-system (RAAS) inhibitors in particular. Successful interventions to manage hyperkalaemia appear beneficial rather than avoidance or dose reduction of these RAAS inhibitors in patients with chronic heart failure, diabetic nephropathy or prior myocardial infarction.

Two newer potassium exchange resins, patiromer and sodium zirconium cyclosilicate (ZS-9), may offer improved predictability, tolerability, and efficacy for managing patients with hyperkalaemia.

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July 2018 Br J Cardiol 2018;25:115–7 doi :10.5837/bjc.2018.018 Online First

A pulmonary triad in a patient with a giant left atrial myxoma

Andrea Calo, Madeleine Openshaw, Timothy J Bowker, Han B Xiao

Abstract

A 55-year-old man with suspected community-acquired pneumonia and atrial fibrillation was found to have a very large left atrial myxoma complicated with a pulmonary triad – pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary infarction, and pulmonary lymphadenopathy. The myxoma was successfully removed and complete resolution of all three pulmonary complications followed. He re-presented two weeks post-surgery with atrial flutter, which was medically treated and considered for ablation. We have taken the opportunity to undergo a mini-literature review on myxoma and its pulmonary complications.

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July 2018 Br J Cardiol 2018;25:107–9 doi :10.5837/bjc.2018.019 Online First

Opinions on the expanding role of CTCA in patients with stable chest pain and beyond: a UK survey

Saad Fyyaz, Alexandros Papachristidis, Jonathan Byrne, Khaled Alfakih

Abstract

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) released an updated guideline on stable chest pain in 2016. They recommended that all patients with chest pain, typical or atypical, should be investigated with computed tomography coronary angiography (CTCA) in the first instance. Functional imaging tests were reserved for the assessment of patients with chest pain and known coronary artery disease (CAD) and for patients where the CTCA is equivocal or has shown CAD of uncertain significance. The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) guidelines on stable chest pain, however, recommend functional imaging tests for all stable chest pain patients, with CTCA as an alternative in patients with low-to-intermediate likelihood of CAD. The ESC guidelines also allow for the use of the exercise electrocardiogram (ECG) as an alternative to functional imaging tests in patients with low-to-intermediate likelihood of CAD, if functional imaging tests are not available.

Furthermore, traditionally, the aetiology of heart failure or left ventricular (LV) dysfunction was investigated with diagnostic invasive coronary angiography. More recently, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tissue characterisation was proposed as an effective alternative test. We conducted a survey of UK cardiologists’ opinions on the use of CTCA in patients with stable chest pain and in the investigation of the aetiology of heart failure.

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July 2018 Br J Cardiol 2018;25:110 doi :10.5837/bjc.2018.020 Online First

Comprehensive study of routine clinical use of cardiac MRI in a district general hospital setting

George Abraham, Aamir Shamsi, Yousef Daryani

Abstract

The study sought to evaluate the indications, image quality, safety and impact on patient management of cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) in a district general hospital setting.  The database was developed using retrospective analysis of patient records from the start of the local CMR service in January 2014 until January 2017. All 791 consecutive patients were included in the dataset.

The most important indications were the investigation of myocarditis/cardiomyopathies (54.5%), work-up of suspected coronary artery disease (CAD)/ischaemia (27.1%), and assessment of viability (9.1%). Image quality was diagnostic in 99.9% of cases. Mild adverse effects were reported for 3.8% of patients for stress CMR and in 1.1% of non-stress CMR. No serious adverse events were reported in this study population. In 26.5% of cases, CMR findings resulted in therapeutic modifications. In 18.1%, the final diagnosis based on CMR was different to that suspected before the CMR.

In conclusion, the findings of this study emphasise that CMR is a safe procedure with high image quality. In many cases, CMR can be shown to change a patient’s management plan.

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July 2018 Br J Cardiol 2018;25:111–4 doi :10.5837/bjc.2018.021 Online First

Hypertension in pregnancy as the most influential risk factor for PPCM

Hawani Sasmaya Prameswari, Triwedya Indra Dewi, Melawati Hasan, Erwan Martanto, Toni M Aprami

Abstract

Peri-partum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality worldwide, but the exact cause of PPCM is still unknown. PPCM is often associated with many risk factors, especially hypertension in pregnancy. This study aimed to evaluate the most influential risk factors of PPCM in Javanese ethnic patients.

The study was a case-control study involving 96 PPCM patients and 96 healthy non-PPCM parturients (control group) in the Hasan Sadikin Central General Hospital, West Java, Indonesia in the period from 2011 to 2014. A multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to evaluate the most influential risk factors for PPCM.

There were four significant and independent risk factors in this study, which were low socioeconomic status (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 3.312; confidence interval [CI] 1.383, 7.932), history of hypertension in previous pregnancy (adjusted OR 4.862; CI 1.245, 8.988), hypertension in current pregnancy (adjusted OR 2.311; CI 1.164, 4.590), and multi-foetal pregnancy (adjusted OR 7.057; CI 0.777, 64.097). Multiple logistic regression analysis showed the history of hypertension in previous pregnancy or hypertension in current pregnancy were the most influential independent risk factors of PPCM based on the narrowest confidence interval range, and after adjustment for other significant risk factors.

In this study, history of hypertension in previous pregnancy and hypertension in current pregnancy were the most influential and independent risk factors for PPCM. This study may increase awareness of treatment required for patients with hypertension in pregnancy, and also supports the pathogenesis of hypertension in pregnancy associated with PPCM, especially pre-eclampsia.

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July 2018 Br J Cardiol 2018;25:118–20 doi :10.5837/bjc.2018.022 Online First

A transitory right bundle branch block

Cristina Aguilera Agudo, Silvia Vilches Soria, Jorge Enrique Toquero Ramos

Abstract

The clinical presentation of patients with cardiac tamponade largely depends upon the length of time over which pericardial fluid accumulates and the clinical situation. It can result in a clinical picture ranging from cardiogenic shock to general malaise, including dyspnoea, chest discomfort or fullness, peripheral oedema and fatiguability.

Although cardiac tamponade is a clinical diagnosis, two-dimensional and Doppler echocardiography play major roles in the identification of pericardial effusion and in assessing its haemodynamic significance. Despite this, some other imaging techniques or diagnostic tools could also be used for diagnosis. With this case we want to highlight not only the role of the electrocardiogram (ECG), but also its utility in assessing the haemodynamic changes in this clinical entity.

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June 2018 Br J Cardiol 2018;25:73–6 doi :10.5837/bjc.2018.016

Prescribing glucose-lowering drugs for patients with cardiac disease

Miles Fisher, Emma Johns, Gerry McKay

Abstract

The past decade has seen the emergence of several new classes of drugs for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Despite the increasing use of these agents, metformin and sulfonylureas remain the most commonly prescribed glucose-lowering drugs in people with T2DM. This reflects the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline from 2015 and the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) guideline from 2010, which recommended metformin as first-line treatment and sulfonylureas as the ‘usual’ second-line treatment for patients with T2DM. SIGN has recently provided an updated guideline on the pharmacological management of glycaemic control in people with T2DM. For the first time in UK guidelines, this recommends that in individuals with diabetes and cardiovascular disease, sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists with proven cardiovascular benefit (currently empagliflozin, canagliflozin and liraglutide) should be considered. It is anticipated that implementation of these new guidelines will lead to increased prescribing of these drugs in people with diabetes and cardiac disease, with reductions in prescribing of dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors and other drugs in the GLP-1 receptor agonist class, where cardiovascular benefits have not been clearly demonstrated.

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June 2018 Br J Cardiol 2018;25:77–80 doi :10.5837/bjc.2018.017

‘Normal’ blood pressure: too good to be true? Case series on postural syncope and the ‘white-coat’ effect

Haqeel A Jamil, Noman Ali, Mohammad Waleed, Yvonne Blackburn, Caroline Moyles, Christopher Morley

Abstract

Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) can confirm diagnosis in essential hypertension (HTN) and mitigate the ‘white-coat’ effect, preventing erroneous antihypertensive therapy. We aimed to collect a case series of over-treated hypertension in the context of ‘white-coat’ effect, resulting in pre-syncopal or syncopal episodes. We collected data retrospectively from patients presenting to syncope clinic between January 2016 and March 2017. ABPM was used at baseline and repeated at three months, following withdrawal of one or more antihypertensive agents.

There were 39 patients with orthostatic symptoms of syncope/pre-syncope, previous HTN diagnosis and ‘white-coat’ effect included. Reducing antihypertensive therapy increased daytime ABPM (baseline vs. three months: systolic 119 ± 11 vs. 128 ± 8 mmHg, p<0.05; diastolic 70 ± 9 vs. 76 ± 9 mmHg, p<0.05) and resolved symptoms.

In conclusion, some patients exhibit pre-syncope or syncope due to over/erroneous HTN treatment resulting in orthostatic hypotension. Our findings suggest that reducing antihypertensive medications may resolve symptoms, without rendering them hypertensive.

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May 2018 Br J Cardiol 2018;25:63–8 doi :10.5837/bjc.2018.014 Online First

3D echocardiography: benefits and steps to wider implementation

Kevin Cheng, Mark J Monaghan, Antoinette Kenny, Bushra Rana, Rick Steeds, Claire Mackay, DeWet van der Westhuizen

Abstract

Advancements in computer and transducer technologies over the past two decades have allowed the development of three-dimensional (3D) echocardiography (3DE), which offers significant additional clinical information to traditional two-dimensional (2D) echocardiography (2DE). However, the majority of departmental studies today remain 2D, and adoption of 3DE as a complementary tool into mainstream clinical practice has not been without its difficulties. Although cardiologists have a range of alternative imaging modalities at their disposal to investigate cardiovascular structure and function, given the pace of technological innovation and improvements in data analysis, the field of 3DE is one of great expectation and is likely to be of increasing clinical importance. In this review, we discuss the role of 3DE, its advantages and limitations, and how novel technology will help workflow and expand its routine use.

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