777 e-Letters

  • Interventricular vessel of the heart

    I read with interest the bright review of stable coronary syndromes (1). In the formation of the fetal muscular part

    of the interventricular septum (IVS), the expanding ventricles grow and their medial walls approach and fuse, forming

    the septum. The inside corner between the septum and the right anterior ventricular wall exhibits the deep pits being

    called interventricular sinuses (ISs). The IS passes through the right IVS formed from the medial wall of the expanding

    fetal right ventricle (RV). The opening of the interventricular vessel (IV) (kuuselian vessel) is located in the IS between

    the medial walls of the expanding fetal RV and fetal left ventricle (LV). The IV is not a canal or channel or blood

    vessel, but a slit between the fibres of the muscle to the outer layer of the left central muscular part of the IVS and runs

    at an angle of about 90 degrees through sphincter and the left IVS into the LV. The IV exhibits 2 to 3 oval 2x5 mm

    openings in the left central muscular part of the IVS surrounded by the interventricular sphincter (ISP). The ISP and the

    IV are feasible to be patent by relaxing and widening of the helical heart at the right atrial filling phase at the end of the

    fetal diastole. The left to right communication do not result as the earliest left ventricular activation close the ISP. The

    sinoatrial node initially activates the right atrium (RA), followed by activation...

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  • Endovascular occlusion and intra-myocardial tunnelization of the internal mammary arteries:

    Dear Editor,
    With great interest, I read the article by Sainsbury and associates[1] and congratulate them for extensively reviewing the unsolved issue of refractory angina. How many suffer from this condition worldwide remains unclear. However, it is believed that hundreds of thousands of Americans are affected, and that this number increases annually. Likely, millions are affected worldwide. Diffuse coronary artery disease is the main reason for refractory angina, because such arteries are non-amenable to percutaneous interventions or bypass grafting. Comorbidities are a second reason, especially in our aging population. Yet history is a cycle; medicine’s history no exception. Old concept, experiments, and theories that have fallen by the wayside can sometimes be resurrected and re-explored, released from the technological constraints of their time. The coronary sinus reducer system is one good example, since the concept stems from studies on the effects of cardiac vein ligation performed in the 1930s by Canadian surgeon Mercier Fauteux[2]. Two additional concepts might be resurrected and adapted to modern technologies. One is the concept of internal mammary artery (IMA) occlusion which, at that time, was performed through a small bilateral incision between the second and third ribs. The belief was that localized hypertension superior to the obstruction increased perfusion pressure in channels leading to the heart, specifically through the peri-cardio-phrenic br...

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  • Congenital Tricuspid Valve Disease Can Masquerade as Primary Idiopathic Tricuspid Regurgitation

    We read with interest the excellent and timely article on increasingly detected cases of isolated tricuspid valve regurgitation (1) . The authors rightly note that there is an emerging population of adult patients without left-sided heart disease, pulmonary hypertension or congenital abnormalities who develop symptomatic isolated tricuspid regurgitation. While this is true, we believe that a proportion of these cases of isolated tricuspid regurgitation may well be congenital in origin.
    The spectrum of congenital abnormalities of tricuspid valve abnormalities is large (2), and while Ebstein anomaly and tricuspid valve anomalies associated with atrioventricular septal defects and pulmonary atresia are the most commonly discussed, there is a group of patients with tricuspid valve dysplasia or congenitally abnormal tricuspid valves that are under-recognized. Said et al (3) and Dearani et al (4) from the authors’ institution have previously discussed the wide spectrum of congenital tricuspid valve anomalies. The importance of recognizing this group of cases as a separate entity is twofold. One that tricuspid valve dysplasia from failure of delamination of the tricuspid valve, like Ebstein anomaly can be associated with cardiomyopathy and arrhythmia and other congenital anomalies can be missed if focus if just on the valve. Secondly, surgical approach for tricuspid valve surgery, as authors suggest, should focus on the mechanisms of tricuspid regurgitation, which are uni...

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  • Considerations in Pursuing the Optimal Timing for Pulmonary Valve Replacement in Repaired Tetralogy of Fallot

    We have read the interesting article from Bokma and colleagues [1] documenting the outcomes of pulmonary valve replacement (PVR) in patients with repaired tetralogy of Fallot (rTOF). In this large multi-centre rTOF cohort, PVR was not associated with a reduced rate of death at mid-term follow-up. Additionally, authors highlighted that there were more events after PVR compared with no PVR in subjects not meeting consensus criteria.
    Currently, although the overall hemodynamic benefits of PVR are evident with broad consensus for surgery before clinical deterioration or symptoms develop, uncertainties remain about the optimal timing for PVR.
    Haemodynamic assessment surrounding PVR has focused on assessment of the right ventricle (RV) size and function, with the goal of intervening in patient prior to the development of irreversible RV deterioration failure. However, although the concept of using RV volumes for decision-making for PVR is widely used, its evidence regarding its impact on long-term outcomes remains weak.
    New information about optimal PVR timing has been continuously addressed. A cardiac magnetic resonance based study suggested that a preoperative RVESVi cutoff of ≤82 mL/m2 was equally sensitive and more specific for normalization of RV volumes compared with our preoperative RVEDVi threshold of ≤158 mL/m2, justifying the use of RVESVi for clinical timing for PVR [2]. In 2015, Bokma concluded that preoperative RVESVi < 80 mL/m2 was the best thr...

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  • Intra coronary imaging to detect mal apposition:Are We Seeing Too Much!

    Title of E-letter: Intra coronary imaging to detect mal apposition: Are We Seeing Too Much!
    Authors Name: Dr Yasir Parviz
    Institution: Columbia University Medical Center
    Intracoronary Imaging Heart 2017; 0: heartjnl-2015-307888v1
    Link to the original paper: http://hwmaint.heart.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/heartjnl-2015-307888v1
    Main Text:

    We would like to congratulate Giavarini A et al on this comprehensive, educational article on intracoronary imaging. [1] Various modalities can be used to understand the mechanism of stent failure, and there is an ongoing debate on detection of stent mal-apposition, and whether this has any clinical impact. Acute stent mal-apposition on its own is not associated with adverse clinical events unless associated with under expansion or having inflow- outflow issues. Acute mal-apposition and its associated clinical events are possibly reduced due to negative remodelling.[2] The clinically events are non-significant may be due to the fact that newer generation of stents and stronger antiplatelets are performing very well. There is limited literature evidence to support that acute mal-apposition is associated with stent thrombosis. [3] Late acquired malaposition in combination with other contributing factors can be associated with stent failure. Most of the available literature looking into the mechanism of stent failure is from...

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  • Reply to e-letter by Xue et al - Use of preoperative neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin to predicts acute kidney injury and mortality after cardiac surgery

    We thank Xue et al for their interest in our article (1). The KDIGO classification (2) comprises 3 criteria in the diagnosis of acute kidney injury (AKI), namely an increase in serum creatinine (SCr) by ≥0.3 mg/dl (≥26.5 μmol/l) within 48 hours; or an increase in SCr to ≥1.5 times baseline, which is known or presumed to have occurred within the prior 7 days; or urine volume <0.5 ml/kg/h for 6 hours. In our study, we had collected serial blood samples for the first 72 hours and the second KDIGO criterion (an increase in SCr to ≥1.5 times baseline) was applied over the 72 hours period to assess for AKI. As for the impact of perioperative fluid balance, this is not currently part of the recommendation, and the available evidence quoted (3) was taken from a retrospective, single-center study using the AKIN classification for AKI. Unfortunately the perioperative fluid balance was not collected in our study and we could not take this into account.
    We did look at the Receiver Operating Characteristic curve analysis using sNGAL as a continuous variable. The area under the curve (AUC) was 0.57 (95%CI 0.54-0.60), very similar to that of sNGAL tertiles reported in our paper.(1) The diagnostic performance of sNGAL alone was quite low and therefore we did not provide cut-off values/sensitivity/specificity and predictive values. Expressing sNGAL as quartiles is more practical from a clinical point of view and we showed that by adding clinical factors, the c-statistic improved...

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  • Targeting beta blocker therapy to individual heart failure with preserved ejection fraction phenotypes

    The letter by Dr Al-Mohammad is welcomed by the study authors and highlights some of the important challenges with using single value cut-offs for diagnosis and in determining treatment options. This is particularly true for heart failure with preserved left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) (HFpEF) (and more recently mid-range ejection fraction [HFmrEF], 40-49%) where decisions on starting prognostic medications can be made based on subjective echocardiographic measurements, albeit with evidence of diastolic dysfunction (tissue Doppler, flow Doppler, and volumes). Clearly, additional patient-specific factors should be taken into account, including aetiology, co-morbidities, and underlying rhythm, which are nicely highlighted in the editorial piece accompanying our study[1 2].
    The Study Effects of Nebivolol Intervention on Outcomes and Rehospitalisation in Seniors With Heart Failure (SENIORS) trial investigated the effects of the beta-blocker nebivolol in the treatment of heart failure in patients aged 70 and over[3]. Patients were required to have a clinical diagnosis of heart failure with either hospitalisation for heart failure in the previous 12 months, or a documented LVEF ≤35%. Baseline LVEF was measured by transthoracic echocardiography in 94% of cases. While van Veldhuisen et al. used an LVEF cut-off of 35% to compare “reduced” with “preserved” ejection fraction, they also examined and reported on the effect of Nebivolol in 643 patients with an LVEF ≥40%....

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  • Is traumatic intracranial hemorrhage a specific risk factor of atrial fibrillation: Reply

    To the Editor:

    We thank Dr. Launey Y et al for their constructive comments regarding our recent report.[1] We also greatly appreciate their shared interests in traumatic intra-cranial hemorrhage (ICH) and the subsequent incidence of atrial fibrillation (AF).

    Dr Launey and colleagues concerned about the acute effects of inflammation on the onset of AF.[2] In our study, the mean follow-up period was 4.36 (standard deviation, SD=3.41) and 5.35 (SD=3.19) years in traumatic ICH group and control group, respectively. Interestingly, the mean follow-up period of the onset of AF was 2.94 years (SD=2.64) in traumatic ICH group, which is significantly less than 3.57 (SD=2.67) years in control group (Table 1) (p<0.001). Although acute inflammation plays a role on the onset of AF,[3, 4] our study along with previous evidence indicate the chronic persistent inflammation, which occurs after traumatic brain injury (TBI), contributes the development of AF.[1, 5] This partly explains the results of AF occurrence on TBI patients in our study.

    We agree that sepsis may contribute to the development of AF. In this study, after adjustment for age, sex, and comorbidities including sepsis and ventilator associated pneumonia, the adjusted HR (aHR) for developing AF was 1.24-fold higher (95% CI = 1.18-1.31) for patients with traumatic ICH compared with the control cohorts in multivariable cox regression models (Table 2). These results further support the association betwee...

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  • REACHing the wrong conclusion: residual confounding by indication

    Dear Professor Otto –

    In a recent edition of Heart, Potier et al reported the results of a large, observational analysis of the REACH registry[1]. The authors sought to retrospectively compare clinical outcomes in angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB), and angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEi) treated patients, using propensity score matching to reduce confounding by indication. They conclude that treatment with ARB was more effective than with ACEi, across a wide spectrum of cardiovascular diseases and with regard to a number of different clinical outcomes. However, we believe that their methodology falls short of the standards expected from a well-conducted pharmacoepidemiological analysis[2].

    Although the REACH Registry is a well-powered cohort of patients at risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes, several characteristics make it disadvantageous in the context of comparative drug efficacy analysis. Firstly, exposure to ACEi or ARB was established at baseline; all participants were prevalent users of these agents. Much evidence exists to suggest that bias is introduced by such an approach; the characteristics of prevalent users may be affected by the drug itself[3]. A new-user design would have eliminated such concerns.

    The indication for ACE inhibition and angiotensin receptor blockade differed greatly in this cohort of patients, recruited in 2003 and 2004. During this time, the evidence base for the use of ARBs was limited; most patients wo...

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  • Author response to Siniorakis et al.

    The authors thank Siniorakis et al. for highlighting the cardioprotective effect of enkephalins (ENK) as well as their potential role as biomarkers in post infarct heart failure (HF).[1] We had restricted our discussion around ENK and other vasoactive peptides to allow for a broader analysis of various concepts and also to comply with article length limitations. We note that the comments of Siniorakis et al. are consistent with the objective of our article, which is to highlight the potential role of other vasoactive pathways beyond that of the natriuretic peptide system when using sacubitril / valsartan in HF.[2] Indeed there is evidence to suggest that proenkephalin may be a prognostic indicator in acute heart failure.[3]

    1 Siniorakis E, Arapi S, Kaplanis I, et al. Cardioprotective effects of enkephalins and potential interference from neprilysin inhibitors. [Letter to Editor], Heart 2017.
    2 Singh JSS, Burrell LM, Cherif M, et al. Sacubitril/valsartan: beyond natriuretic peptides. Heart 2017.
    3 Ng LL, Squire IB, Jones DJ, et al. Proenkephalin, Renal Dysfunction, and Prognosis in Patients With Acute Heart Failure: A GREAT Network Study. J Am Coll Cardiol 2017;69:56-69.