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Clinical articles

February 2019 Br J Cardiol 2019;26:38–40 doi :10.5837/bjc.2019.011

Coronary vasospasm and concurrent Takotsubo cardiomyopathy

Anthony Brennan, Heath Adams, John Galligan, Robert Whitbourn

Abstract

Takotsubo cardiomyopathy (TTC) is characterised by transient left ventricular dysfunction accompanied by apical ballooning of the ventricle. Takotsubo pathophysiology is poorly understood and is often triggered by an emotional or physical stressor. This is a case of a 71-year-old woman who presented with sudden-onset exertional chest pain leading to inferior ST-elevation on electrocardiography (ECG) with a significant troponin rise. Immediate coronary angiography revealed a severe mid-posterior left ventricular (PLV) branch of the right coronary artery stenosis. The left coronary system was normal. Left ventriculogram revealed mid-to-apical ballooning typical of TTC. Considering the disconnect between the coronary and ventriculogram findings, a decision was made to delay percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). The patient was treated with heart failure medications and symptoms improved. Repeat angiogram of the mid-PLV after a short period of medical therapy revealed no coronary lesion and the left ventricular function had normalised. These findings suggest that coronary artery vasospasm may have contributed to the aetiology in this case of TTC. This case adds weight to previous theories of an interplay between TTC and coronary vasospasm.

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

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

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

Abstract

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 Online First

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

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

Abstract

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 Online First

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

Alexander J Gibbs, Andrew Potter

Abstract

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 Online First

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

Abstract

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 Online First

Significant suppression of premature ventricular ectopics with ivabradine in dilated cardiomyopathy

Lal H Mughal, Andrew R Houghton, Jeffrey Khoo

Abstract

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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December 2018 Br J Cardiol 2018;25:140–2 doi :10.5837/bjc.2018.031

Quality of life in postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (PoTS): before and after treatment

Toby Flack, Jamie Fulton

Abstract

Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (PoTS) can be defined as tachycardia with or without hypotension in the upright posture, and more comprehensively as a manifestation of a wider dysautonomia. The scope of this article is to characterise patients with PoTS and look at patient-rated responses to treatment.

This research comprised a postal survey, sent to patients with diagnosed PoTS at a tertiary hospital in Southwest England. We collected data on the demographics of patients, time to diagnosis, methods of diagnosis, treatments and response to treatment.

PoTS has an impact on quality of life, with patients communicating a drop in quality of life from 7.5 to 3.75 on a 10-point scale. From 40 respondents, 29 patients describe their symptoms improving since diagnosis, with self-rated day-to-day function improving from 3.21 to 6.14 (on a 10-point scale) after initiating treatment.

Many patients experience a delay in receiving a diagnosis with PoTS, and present multiple times to a variety of healthcare professionals. With a simple bedside diagnostic test (sitting and standing heart rate), there is scope to improve the time taken from developing initial symptoms to diagnosis, treatment and an improvement in quality of life.

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Thrombus aspiration in primary percutaneous coronary intervention: to use or not to use?

December 2018 Br J Cardiol 2018;25:152–6 doi :10.5837/bjc.2018.032

Thrombus aspiration in primary percutaneous coronary intervention: to use or not to use?

Telal Mudawi, Mohamed Wasfi, Darar Al-Khdair, Muath Al-Anbaei, Assem Fathi, Nikolay Lilyanov, Mohammed Elsayed, Ahmed Amin, Dalia Besada, Waleed Alenezi, Waleed Shabanh

Abstract

Thrombus aspiration during primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) has been extensively studied. Conflicting results have consistently emerged, hence, no clear guidance has been produced. The authors have examined several key clinical trials and meta-analyses, and discovered, arguably, major flaws within the designs of most trials, thus, accounting for the persistently discordant results. The authors conclude that there is some evidence to support the selective use of thrombectomy in primary PCI but a large-scale trial with the appropriate patient selection criteria is needed in order to substantiate or refute the argument.

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December 2018 Br J Cardiol 2018;25:159–60 doi :10.5837/bjc.2018.033

Percutaneous endovascular repair of congenital interruption of the thoracic aorta

Richard Armstrong, Kevin Walsh, David Mulcahy

Abstract

Presentation of an interrupted aortic arch in adulthood is rare, and, up until, recently the only treatment strategy was through surgical repair. Advances in percutaneous interventions for congenital heart disease have included the percutaneous repair of coarctation of the aorta – from straightforward luminal narrowing through to full aortic interruption.1-3 We present a case of a 28-year-old man who was diagnosed with a complete aortic interruption and successfully percutaneously treated.

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Transitions of an open-heart surgery support lab in a resource-limited setting: effect on turnaround time

October 2018 Br J Cardiol 2018;25:147–9 doi :10.5837/bjc.2018.026 Online First

Transitions of an open-heart surgery support lab in a resource-limited setting: effect on turnaround time

Ijeoma Angela Meka, Williams Uchenna Agu, Martha Chidinma Ndubuisi, Chinenye Frances Onyemeh

Abstract

Open-heart surgery is a major surgical procedure that requires intensive patient monitoring. Clinicians require prompt laboratory test results to assist them in this monitoring. Timeliness of result delivery is of great importance in taking prompt clinical decisions. We set out to evaluate the performance of the support laboratory before and after domiciliation at the cardiac centre using turnaround time (TAT) of electrolytes and liver function tests as benchmarks.

This hospital-based descriptive study was carried out at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu. The authors conducted a desk review of laboratory records for electrolytes and liver function tests from March 2013 to July 2017. Relevant laboratory personnel were also interviewed to ascertain types of equipment used and possible causes of delay at different stages of transition during the period under review. The TAT was calculated as the time from sample reception to time of dispatch of results.

Between 2013 and 2014, TAT for electrolytes and liver function tests were ~2 and ~6 hours, respectively. In 2015, TAT reduced to ~1 hour for electrolytes and ~1½ hours for liver function tests. Between 2016 and July 2017, TAT further reduced to ~10 minutes for electrolytes and ~30 minutes for liver function tests.

In conclusion, we were able to demonstrate improvement in performance of the support laboratory as shown by a reduction in TAT following the transition from the main laboratory to being domiciled in the cardiac centre.

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