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Clinical articles

September 2002 Br J Cardiol (Acute Interv Cardiol) 2002;9(1):AIC 20–AIC 25

Volumetric haemodynamic monitoring and continuous pulse contour analysis – an untapped resource for coronary and high dependency care units?

Tushar V Saluhke, Duncan LA Wyncoll

Abstract

Critically ill patients in the coronary care or high dependency units (CCU, HDU) need accurate assessment of their haemodynamic status to guide fluid or vasoactive drug therapy. Both central venous pressure and pulmonary artery occlusion pressure are poor guides to cardiac filling and pulmonary oedema, and using a pulmonary artery catheter often fails to improve clinical outcome.
The PiCCO system is a relatively new and less invasive approach to cardiac monitoring. It has been used extensively in intensive care and is reviewed in this article. This approach uses thermo-dilution techniques to reliably calculate volumetric measurements of cardiac preload and cardiac output, and can provide continuous real-time cardiac output and stroke volume variation measurements through pulse contour analysis. The reliability and accuracy of this method has drastically refined fluid and vasopressor management of the hypotensive patient and the management and prevention of pulmonary oedema. This method of measuring cardiac output correlates well with gold standard methods of cardiac output calculation and has been validated in adults and children.
The PiCCO system can be an invaluable tool in the optimisation of the circulation in cardiac, medical and surgical patients commonly seen in the CCU and HDU.

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September 2002 Br J Cardiol (Acute Interv Cardiol) 2002;9(1):AIC 26–AIC 31

The evolving role of the cardiac inotrope, enoximone, in heart failure

Liam J Cormican, A Craig Davidson

Abstract

Chronic heart failure is a progressive syndrome which continues to have high rates of morbidity and mortality. Heart failure rates are increasing in parallel with the ageing population, as are rates of hospitalisation for acute episodes of decompensated failure. Little progress has been made in the medical management of such episodes. Positive inotropes, including selective phosphodiesterase III inhibitors, are associated with increased mortality when administered over the long term. Now newer approaches, using selective agents such as enoximone orally at lower doses alone or in combination with carefully titrated beta1-selective adrenergic blockade, may provide a more favourable outcome in terms of symptom management, functional status and improved survival. Trials are underway to determine whether this is the case. Published trials with enoximone and protocols for forthcoming trials are reviewed.

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August 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:

The cholesterol management debates

BJCardio editorial team

Abstract

THE CHOLESTEROL MANAGEMENT DEBATES ESC debate Motion 1: “This house believes that lowering current cholesterol targets will have additional benefits to CV risk management” Motion 2: “This house believes that the benefits of raising HDL warrant its introduction as another lipid variable to target.” The lower the better. The real benefits of lowering cholesterol even further The Atlantic divide in coronary prevention PCCS debate Motion 1: “This house believes that current government policy is leading to the erosion of clinical judgement, exemplified by the CHD National Service Framework.” Motion 2: “This house believes that optimal management of cholesterol is a relief, not a burden.” The National Service Framework for CHD – Big Brother or helpful guide? A stitch in time – counting the cost of optimal CHD prevention

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July 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:422-4

Hypertension in the elderly – the primary care perspective

Sarah Jarvis

Abstract

The proportion of the elderly population is rapidly growing, increasing the numbers of hypertensive patients and the workload in primary care. The average GP will currently have around 100 hypertensive patients over the age of 75 years in their care; this number is likely to be much higher in popular retirement areas. Clinical trials have shown the benefits of vigorous blood pressure control in the elderly; current recommendations are to reduce blood pressure to under 140/85 mmHg in at-risk groups and to under 130/80 mmHg in diabetics. Hypertension treatment continues to be difficult, however, due to poor compliance. This is for a number of reasons, including the fact that it is often a symptomless condition, the side effects of antihypertensive medication and the number of concomitant medical conditions making drug regimes complicated in the elderly. Newer classes of antihypertensive agents, such as beta blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor antagonists, are proving to reduce other risks as well as reducing blood pressure. Angiotensin II receptor antagonists appear to be better tolerated than other antihypertensive drugs; clinical trial results are awaited to assess their protective effects as well as their effect on quality of life, health economics and cost-effectiveness.

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July 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:411-3

Coronary artery ectasia identified on chest X-ray

Duncan Hogg, Stephen Yule, Kevin Jennings

Abstract

We describe an asymptomatic 51-year-old man in whom severe coronary artery ectasia was evident on a plain AP chest X-ray (CXR).

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July 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:406-10

Brugada syndrome: a review

Badri Chandrasekaran, Arvinder S Kurbaan

Abstract

Brugada syndrome was described 10 years ago. It is a syndrome of sudden cardiac death associated with partial right bundle branch block and ST segment elevation in the right precordial leads V1-V3 on the resting ECG. Those affected have structurally normal hearts (as demonstrated by standard techniques) but they have a mortality rate of 10% a year, whether they are symptomatic or asymptomatic. It is thought to be primarily a disease of cardiac conduction and has been linked to abnormalities in the sodium channel (SCN5A). Differential diagnoses include arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia, idiopathic ventricular fibrillation and polymorphic ventricular tachycardia. Brugada et al. suggest that the Brugada shift pattern on 12-lead ECG is a specific marker for those at risk of sudden death. They recommend that symptomatic individuals be protected with an implantable cardiac defibrillator. Asymptomatic individuals remain a diagnostic dilemma.

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July 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:401-5

he effect of nifedipine GITS on outcomes in patients with previous myocardial infarction: a subgroup analysis of the INSIGHT study

Giuseppe Mancia, Luis M Ruilope, Moris J Brown, Christopher R Palmer, Talma Rosenthal, Alain Castaigne, Peter W de Leuw, Gilbert Wagener

Abstract

Post-myocardial infarction (MI) patients have a higher risk for subsequent cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events than the average population. This study was to test the effects on outcomes of nifedipine GITS compared to the diuretic combination co-amilozide in hypertensive patients with a history of MI on outcomes (subset of the INSIGHT study). The multinational, randomised, double-blind International Nifedipine GITS Study: Intervention as a Goal in Hypertension Treatment (INSIGHT) study compared the treatment effects of nifedipine GITS 30 mg and co-amilozide (hydrochlorothiazide 25 mg plus amiloride 2.5 mg) in hypertensive patients aged 55–80 years with a blood pressure of 150/95 mmHg (or 160 mmHg systolic). This pre-specified subanalysis was performed in patients with a history of MI. The primary outcome was a composite of cardiovascular death, non-fatal stroke, MI, and heart failure. Of 6,321 randomised patients, 383 (6.1%) had a previous MI. The percentage of primary outcomes in post-MI patients did not differ between the two treatment groups (14.9%). The number of post-MI patients with composite secondary outcomes was 53 (27.2%) in the nifedipine GITS group and 60 (31.9%) in the co-amilozide group. The incidence rates of primary and secondary outcomes were higher in patients with a previous MI than in patients without a history of MI. For the randomised use of nifedipine GITS and co-amilozide in hypertensive patients with a previous MI, the choice seemed unimportant for outcomes and blood pressure lowering. The results of this subgroup analysis are consistent with INSIGHT’s overall findings of no significant differences in efficacy, suggesting that post-MI hypertensive patients are no more likely to suffer further events when treated with long-acting nifedipine than on co-amilozide.

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July 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:394-400

Atherosclerosis imaging and coronary calcification

Matthew J Budoff

Abstract

Recently published data have greatly expanded the applicability of electron beam tomography and electron beam angiography. Guidelines and policy towards these modalities have shifted, with increased recognition of their importance among experts in cardiology, lipidology and preventive medicine. Given the high sensitivity of coronary calcification for the presence of obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD) (95–99%), exclusion of coronary calcium may be useful as a filter prior to invasive diagnostic procedures or hospital admission.

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June 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:362-8

A case study from a Sussex Primary Care Group: improving secondary prevention in coronary heart disease using an educational intervention prevention guidance

Simon de Lusignan, N Hague, Claire Yates, M Harvey

Abstract

An educational intervention was developed to try to raise both data quality standards and those of clinical care in the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease. The intervention was used within primary care organisations utilising their own clinical data and with primary care professionals learning from each other. A special tool (MIQUEST) was used to extract the clinical data. Anony-mised data were then shared with the whole primary care organisation at six-monthly data quality workshops. Patients needing interventions were identified in individual practices and these practice visits were also used as learning opportunities. At the end of the study there was an increase in the recording of the diagnosis of ischaemc heart disease (IHD).

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June 2002 Br J Cardiol 2002;9:359-60

The NHS Plan: general practitioners with special interests

David Colin-Thome

Abstract

Many general practitioners (GPs) already have a special clinical interest. This role is now being developed and formalised by the Department of Health and by 2004, 1,000 posts of general practitioners with special interests (GPwSI) will have been created. Alongside their normal general practice work, these GPs will also offer a particular specialist service under contract to a Primary Care or Acute Trust taking referrals from fellow GPs. A National Develop-ment Group is currently consulting relevant bodies to publish advice on the commissioning and appointment of such GPs. It is hoped these appointments will help integrate primary care and hospital services under the new NHS Plan, leading to enhanced patient care and the delivery of the National Service Frameworks. It will also give continuing job satisfaction to GPs wanting to extend their role.

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