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Clinical articles

April 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:193-4

Statins: myalgia and myositis

Anthony S Wierzbicki

Abstract

Statins: myalgia and myositis Anthony S Wierzbicki The topic of side effects of statin therapy has become more prominent since the precautionary withdrawal of cerivastatin following reports of death and rhabdomyolysis with this particular statin, especially when given in simultaneous combination therapy with gemfibrozil. In addition, many patients complain of myalgia with statins; this side effect has an incidence of up to 5%. There is a tendency for earlier use of statins in coronary care units because of improved compliance and the possibility of a reduction in peri-infarction events in registry studies, although the MIRACL trial of atorvastatin in acute coronary syndromes did not show any significant differences in hard end points at 16 weeks

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April 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:

The National Service Framework for Coronary Heart Disease

Richard Hobbs

Abstract

Cardiovascular disease is the most important cause of illness in Britain. The focus of the National Service Framework for Coronary Heart Disease (NSF for CHD) is appropriate since the burden of CHD is high in the UK. Interventions for primary and secondary prevention include advice on reducing modifiable risk factors, smoking, maintaining blood pressure < 140/85 mmHg and using statins and dietary advice to lower serum cholesterol. Identification of those at greatest risk will require practice-based registers. Audits will be needed to ensure that the stipulated interventions are offered to those on the disease registers. The biggest implication for primary prevention will be selection of patients at increased risk of CHD. Implementation of the NSF will increase GPs’ workload.

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April 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:

Lipid control:the interface between specialist clinics and general practice

Mary Seed

Abstract

The lipid-lowering trials have shown positive results in terms of reducing cardiovascular events. It is mandatory to measure lipid levels in patients with other cardiovascular risk factors, such as diabetes and hypertension. Explaining cardiovascular risk and lifestyle changes takes longer than the standard 7–9 minute consultation and might be more appropriate in a nurse-led clinic. Good communication between GPs and specialists can still be difficult to achieve: face-to-face meetings are helpful and email should be playing a major role. The National Service Framework for CHD prevention puts a great deal of pressure on GPs. Secondary prevention is non-controversial although ideal levels of LDL are not being reached.

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April 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:

Cardiovascular disease in diabetes care: a preventative strategy

Vinod Patel

Abstract

An effective strategy for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in patients with diabetes is needed with the epidemic of diabetes mellitus around the world. The aims are to cut morbidity and mortality from coronary heart disease by risk factor reduction and to reduce the diabetic complications of retinopathy, renal disease and peripheral vascular disease. Findings of the United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS) imply that all diabetics should be subject to intensive glycaemia control and tight blood pressure control. GISSI-3 and the DIGAMI studies showed the benefits of lisinopril and an insulin/glucose infusion, respectively, post-MI. The HOPE study set out to examine whether ramipril reduced cardiovascular events in patients at high risk: the results were highly significant. The statin studies 4S, CARE and WOSCOPS showed the value of statins in primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular events in patients with diabetes. Low-dose aspirin therapy should be used in patients with diabetes who are at high risk of cardiovascular events.

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March 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:

Day-case transradial coronary intervention – the future face of PCI in the UK

Somnath Kumar, David H Roberts

Abstract

Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is one of the mainstays in the treatment of coronary artery disease. Although the recent BCIS audit data indicate an improvement in the rate of PCI in the UK, it lags well behind the intervention rate in other European countries. The National Service Framework (NSF) for Coronary Heart Disease recommends an increase in the PCI rates to more than 750 per million population in order to achieve a target waiting time of three months. 1 To achieve this goal a major change in infrastructure is needed, with the opening of more interventional centres and the training and appointment of more interventional cardiologists. Within the current infrastructure and in a shorter time scale the targets may be met by performing more PCI through day-case work. The cardiologists directly control the day-case beds without any interference from the other medical specialities. Following the availability of modern low-profile stent technology and safer pre-treatment with oral antiplatelet agents, day-case intervention is a feasible option. 2 The RADICAL study A well-staffed day-case unit with an experienced senior sister and a pre-admission clinic has shown promising results in our unit at Blackpool for the management of day-case PCI through the radial route (Radial Approach for Day-case Intervention in Coronary Artery Lesions, the RADICAL study). Stable patients on the waiting list for PCI Table 1. The current status and future directions of day-case radial PCI PCI through the radial route is known to be safe, effective, economical and patient-friendly. In a pilot study we are evaluating its safety and efficacy in the day-case setting in selected patients with stable angina We believe that more day-case PCI will be the only way forward to achieve the NSF target rates for coronary revascularisation discharge of the patient. Following the procedure we take the sheath out immediately and apply a RADI Stop in the catheter lab.

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March 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:

Downsizing – using 5 French catheters via the radial artery

James M Cotton

Abstract

Rapid technological advances in interventional cardiology have led to a marked change in practice over the past 20 years. Improvements in balloon dilation and stent catheter design, coupled with advances in guide catheter technology, have allowed routine percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI) to be performed through smaller guides. Initially there was a change from 10 to 9 French (F) catheters, and more recently from 8 to 6 F. These developments have not only led to a reduction in arterial complications, but also to changes in arterial access sites. The radial route has become increasingly popular, virtually eliminating access site complications. Moreover, this route has been shown to be preferred by many patients, the prime advantages being patient comfort, early mobilisation and reduced bleeding complications.

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March 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:

Complications of transradial procedures

Alun Harcombe

Abstract

This short article aims to discuss the potential complications of transradial procedures and to set out approaches to minimising or avoiding them. Complications may relate to the operator, the patient, the equipment used or the nature of the procedure. Complications can simply be defined as minor (non-life-threatening, reversible, unlikely to extend hospital stay) or major (life-threatening, likely to cause permanent damage or to extend hospital stay). The complications of transradial procedures are rarely major and very rarely life-threatening – a major benefit of the radial approach. The potential complications can be divided into: neuro-vascular complications, spasm, vasovagal reactions and reflex ST segment changes. artery have been reported following transradial procedures. These include dissection, haematoma, perforation, bleeding, pseudo-aneurysm formation, arteriovenous fistula and even ischaemic con-tracture involving the hand. Most of these complications are minor, but they can result in access or procedural failure. Major vascular complications are very rare, occurring in only 0.06% of a recent series of 5,354 consecutive transradial procedures. Localised radial occlu-sion, which causes no untoward ischaemia, occurs in up to 5% of patients, but half of these occlusions recanalise within weeks. Spasm This is the most common complication of transradial procedures, and can vary from a minor event to a major painful stimulus ending the procedure.

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March 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:

Quality of life and economic issues

Peter F Ludman

Abstract

The transradial approach for coronary angiography and angioplasty offers potential advantages over the femoral approach that include early patient ambulation, a reduced length of stay and reduced procedural cost. While many patients enjoy the freedom of early mobility, a proportion will experience forearm discomfort, either when catheters are manipulated during the procedure, or at the end of the procedure when the radial arterial sheath is withdrawn. This discomfort is caused by radial artery spasm. Spasm is induced both by mechanical stimulation of the arterial wall by the catheter shaft and arterial sheath, and by high levels of circulating catecholamines, which are raised by anxiety and pain. This review will examine data that address the pros and cons of a radial approach, particularly with respect to how well patients tolerate the procedure, the causes of radial artery spasm, and questions relating to potential benefits in terms of procedural cost. sheaths were used discomfort was usually experienced only at the end of the procedure, during sheath removal. Six years ago, a group from Argentina 2 reported some provisional data comparing femoral, percutaneous brachial and radial routes. They found significantly more pain with the radial procedures than with either the femoral or percutaneous brachial. Nevertheless, there were much earlier times to walking and to discharge in both the radi-al and percutaneous brachial groups. Later, Cooper 3 also compared femoral versus radial diagnostic angiography in 200 patients. Quality of life was assessed by the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36-item health status question-naire (SF-36). Procedure-specific questions were assessed using 0–10 visual analogue scales. Pain at the access site and preference for catheterisation method were also assessed with a visual analogue scale. In contrast to previous studies, they found that the radial route was better tolerated on SF-36 questionnaires and visual analogue scales at one week. When all patients were asked which route they preferred, most strongly preferred the radial route and when the 44 to a cocktail of verapamil and nitroglycerine was compared with the response to papaverine. 5 Verapamil plus nitroglycerine led to a much more rapid onset of vasodilatation, with a more pro-longed duration of action.

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March 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:

PCI via the radial artery: what is the learning curve?

Michael S Norell, Angela Hoye

Abstract

PCI via the radial artery: what is the learning curve? Michael S Norell, Angela Hoye Introduction A ssessing the process by which a new approach is adopted requires an appreciation of the climate into which that change is introduced. We are an average UK interventional centre in terms of volume (650 cases per year), under pressure to increase throughput in the face of competing demands for the time of both consultant and specialist registrar (SpR) trainee operators. We were attracted to the notion of the radial approach because we thought that it might enhance day-case activity when the number of beds available for elective cases was declining. Although femoral arterial closure devices might also address this, our experience has indicated that their impact is less predictable. Some patients may still have to stay in hospital overnight because of a groin problem, even though the interventional procedure itself was uneventful. All our consultant operators are well trained in the Sones technique, but this procedure is itself not without diagnostic and interventional activity, provides a refreshing change. There is a clear advantage to the patient, catheter lab and ward staff, and the ever-more-senior operator will be reassured to know that he is still capable of taking on change.

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March 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:

Transradial coronary angioplasty

Simon S Eccleshall

Abstract

Transradial coronary angioplasty Simon S Eccleshall Introduction T he most commonly used access sites for interventional cardiology are the femoral, brachial and radial arteries. The selection of arterial approach significantly influences the cost of the procedure and the patient’s quality of life as well as vascular access site complication rates, affecting procedural morbidity and mortality figures. 1 The exponential rise in stent deployment combined with more aggressive antiplatelet and anticoagulant therapy has exacerbated femoral vascular complications, with major bleeding rates of 23% following rescue angioplasty with concurrent use of glycoprotein (GP) IIb/IIIa inhibitors. 2 A safer route of arterial access would therefore be highly desirable. whom preceding diagnostic films were performed by the femoral route. 4 The transradial technique therefore fulfils the requirements for a safer access site for interventional procedures, with the added advantages of cost savings and improved quality of life. This approach can be used in combination with the femoral artery for intra-aortic balloon pump insertion and in combination with per-cutaneous puncture of a vein for right heart catheterisation and temporary pacing, whilst still conferring the benefits of safer arte-rial access. Technique catheter is vitally important when using the transradial technique: it must provide support from the aortic wall whilst being co-axial with the coronary ostium.

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