eLetters

837 e-Letters

  • A more complete description of the deficit in knowledge

    For the sake of completeness, the evaluation of the deficit in knowledge and awareness and treatment of hypertension (1) should include an inquiry about two issues that are fundamental to the relationship between hypertension and stroke. For those issues to be addressed, the questionnaire should include the following items:-
    (i)Did you ever have your blood pressure taken in both arms?
    (ii)When you commenced antihypertensive treatment did you and your doctor agree on a "goal" blood pressure?
    The rationale for those two lines of inquiry is the following:-
    According to one meta analysis(10 cohorts; 13,317 patients) interarm blood pressure difference > 15 mm Hg is associated with a significant Cox stratified adjusted hazard ratio for subsequent stroke(hazard ratio, 2.42: 95% Confidence Interval, 1.27-4.60; p < 0.01) (2).
    Furthermore, antihypertensive medication should be titrated against the higher of the two inter arm blood pressure measurements otherwise the patient will run the risk of suboptimal drug dosing and the risk of missed diagnosis of resistant hypertension.
    A mutually agreed "goal" blood pressure should be specified from the outset otherwise there will be a risk of insidious onset of "physician inertia" which could contribute to the subsequent development of stroke.
    Younger patients have the most o gain from an ambitious "goal " blood pressure which sets the target...

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  • Next frontier is inclusion of high-grade carotid artery stenosis in the CHA2DS2 Vasc score

    A corollary to the recommendation for anticoagulant persistence is a recognition that the time is long overdue for inclusion of evaluation of the extracranial carotid artery for evidence of high grade(ie >50 occlusion) carotid artery stenosis(CAS). The following is the rationale for the latter recommendation:-
    Among patients aged > 70 high-grade CAS has a prevalence of 12% among men and 11% among women(1).
    A systematic review of 9 studies(2611 patients) reporting presumed pathophysiological stroke mechanisms in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation(NVAF) disclosed that 11%-24% of patients with the association of stroke and NVAF have high-grade CAS(2).
    Some stroke patients with NVAF have high-grade CAS ipsilateral to the culprit cerebral infarct, implying an aetiological role for the CAS in the pathogenesis of the incident stroke(3).
    During the entire history of the CHA2DS2 Vasc score we have squandared the opportunity to include ultrasonography of the extracranial carotid artery in the routine work up of newly diagnosed patients with NVAF. This was a missed opportunity to identify CAS as the potential aetiological agent in the event of the occurrence of manifestations of symptomatic CAS such as amaurosis fugax, transient ischemic attack, or non disabling stroke.. Without prior knowledge of the status of the carotid arteries those manifestations might have been missed opportunities to implement strategies such as carotid arte...

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  • CONCORDANT DOMAIN ANALYSIS: THE LAST EXAMPLE OF THE CURRENT CHANGES IN CLINICAL RESEARCH

    We have read with great interest the article written by Jolicoer et al. (1) about the concordant domain analysis, a new method to interpret early phase trials and we applaud their initiative which expands the horizons in the current context of progressive diffuculties to ran studies.
    Randomized controlled trials (RCT) and meta-analysis constitute the highest level of evidence and the chances to succeed are high when there is a strong financial support to launch projects as Further Cardiovascular Outcomes Research with PCSK9 Inhibition in Subjects with Elevated Risk (FOURIER) with 27,564 patients, which in addition to demonstrate the hypothesis of the study, it ensures the external validity and the study of subgroups.
    However, recently we are witnessing a progressively more tortuous environment to launch adequately powered RCTs due to economic restrictions, lower margin to demonstrate cost-effectivity of the new treatments and more strict legal requirements and as the authors quote, only 1 in 10 investigational agents tested in phase III trials reaches the market. Some authors have already raisen concerns about the future of research and the protagonism of new methods as adaptive studies(2) or approaches to emulate RCT (3) are foreseen in the near future.
    In our opinion, the combination of pilot randomized studies with new iniciatives as the described by Jolicoer may be a promising pathway when the conditions to launch large RCTs are not possible and in fa...

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  • Harnessing serum copeptin in asymptomatic severe aortic stenosis

    Kenan YALTA, MD a
    Ertan YETKIN, MD b
    Gokay TAYLAN, MD a

    a,TrakyaUniversity, CardiologyDepartment, Edirne, TURKEY
    b Derindere Hospital, Cardiology Department, Istanbul, TURKEY
    Corresponding Author: Kenan YALTA Trakya University, Cardiology Department, Edirne, TURKEY
    Email- kyalta@gmail.com, akenanyalta@trakya.edu.tr Phone: 00905056579856

    In clinical practice, timing of aortic valve intervention in asymptomatic severe aortic stenosis (ASAS) has been a challenging task particularly in the absence of overt high-risk features (low ejection fraction, etc.) (1,2). The recently published article by Bing R, et al. (1), has discussed current strategies that might help risk-stratification and management of this precarious valvular phenomenon. In this context, we fully agree with the authors that serum biomarkers including natriuretic peptides, as opposed to certain imaging modalities, generally have significant limitations (1). However, serum copeptin (the surrogate marker of arginine-vasopressine (AVP) axis) might serve as a promising guide to prognostication and clinical decision-making for aortic valve intervention in patients with ASAS (2) largely due to pathophysiological implications of AVP axis in these patients:
    Firstly; copeptin elevation in patients with ASAS might help ide...

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  • What will be done to prevent someone else being harmed in the future

    The soul-searching analysis by Daniel McKenzie deals with the scenario where both the doctor and the patient recognise that something went wrong(1). The dynamics are different when it is only with the benefit of hindsight that it is only the professionals who realise that, all along, they have been inflicting iatrogenic harm on their patients. Even in that scenario what matters is "What will be done to prevent someone else being harmed in the future?".
    The thrombolytic treatment of ST elevation myocardial infarction(STEMI) is a case in point. That treatment strategy was initiated in 1986, and it soon became the standard of care for STEMI(2). Further down the line, in September 2020, a literature review identified 138 cases(with accompanying case histories) of dissecting aortic aneurysm(DAA) characterised by STEMI-like ST segment elevation. These cases were published during the period January 2000 to March 2020(3). Arguably, there must have been, at least, the same number of cases of STEMI-like DAA in the 20 year period following the introduction of thrombolytic treatment of ST elevation myocardial infarction. At the very least, some of those cases must have been harmed by thrombolytic treatment.
    Why does that matter in September 2020? It matters because thrombolysis is "back on the agenda" for some myocardial infarction patients with ST segment elevation(4). All this, without the precaution to rule out DAA either by point-of-c...

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  • Great Relief to the Doctors and Patients Alike!

    There had been controversies raging whether Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors and Angiotensin Receptor Blocking Agents may be harmful, neutral or protective to the people affected by SARS-CoV-2.
    The findings of this study, especially because it encompasses such huge study population will provide great relief from uncertainty and anxiety to the doctor's prescribing these class of medicines to their hypertensive patients and to the people alrady taking these medicines.
    Great many sinceremost thanks to the investigators of this study!
    -Arvind Joshi;
    MBBS, MD; FCGP, FAMS, FICP;
    Founder Convener and President:
    Our Own Discussion Group (OODG);
    602-C, Megh Apartments;
    Ganesh Peth Lane, Dadar West, Mumbai; Maharashtra State,INDIA, PIN 400028;
    Consultant Physician at:
    Ruchi Clinical Laboratory/Ruchi Diagnostic Center, Sunshine CHS,
    Plot 58, Sector 21, Kharghar;
    Maharashtra State, INDIA, PIN 410210.

  • Biphasic ventilation for failing Fontan physiology

    Biphasic ventilation for failing Fontan physiology

    Seigo Okada1, MD, PhD, Jun Muneuchi1, MD, PhD, Mamie Watanabe1, MD

    1Department of Pediatrics, Japan Community Healthcare Organization, Kyushu Hospital, 1-8-1, Kishinuora, Yahatanishiku, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, 806-8501, Japan

    Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Seigo Okada, M.D., Ph.D.
    Department of Pediatrics, Japan Community Healthcare Organization, Kyushu Hospital, 1-8-1, Kishinoura, Yahatanishiku, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, 806-8501, Japan. Tel: 81-93-641-5111; Fax: 81-93-642-1868; E-mail: sokada0901@gmail.com; ORCID: 0000-0002-9150-1913

    Dear Editor:
    We read the article by Charla et al.1 with great interest. The authors conducted a phase-contrast magnetic resonance study during biphasic ventilation (BPV) in 10 patients aged 20–34 years who had Fontan circulation and 10 matched control subjects. BPV resulted in significant pulmonary blood flow and cardiac output augmentations in the Fontan group, which suggests the importance of “thoracic pump” in Fontan patients without a subpulmonary ventricle. We appreciate the authors’ efforts to assess the efficacy and feasibility of noninvasive external ventilation for Fontan patients. This is a thoughtfully conducted study, but some issues must be further discussed.
    First, the authors mentioned that the study was the first to describe the impact of BPV in the Fontan population. However, we...

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  • Response to: “Non-infective endocarditis”

    TO THE EDITOR:

    We read with interest the review of non-infective endocarditis by Hurrell et al. [1] and would like to report our experience. We recently reported the case of an asymptomatic, hypertensive 36-year-old man who was found to have a mobile structure attached to the posterior mitral valve leaflet causing moderate eccentric regurgitation on routine echocardiography [2]. Extensive workup was only notable for strongly positive cardiolipin IgG and IgM antibodies and lupus anticoagulant suggesting a diagnosis of antiphospholipid antibody (APLA) syndrome. We referred the patient for surgical intervention (excision and mitral valve repair with a bovine pericardial patch) and this also allowed us to achieve a diagnosis. Histological features were typical of nonbacterial thrombotic endocarditis (NBTE) with fibrin deposits, inflammatory cells and erythrocytes and confirmed an underlying diagnosis of primary APLA syndrome.
    The association of APLA syndrome with or without autoimmune disease increases prothrombotic tendency and these patients therefore have a higher likelihood of NBTE which can remain clinically silent. We therefore propose that transthoracic echocardiography should be used as a screening and surveillance tool for NBTE in all patients who are found to have primary or secondary APLA syndrome and potentially in patients with autoimmune disease and hypercoaguable states. We also emphasize consideration of a histological diagnosis when there is diagn...

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  • A new role for exercise echocardiography? Can we abandon athletic deconditioning advice?

    The benefits of regular exercise are non deniable with reduction in all cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality (1,2,3). Endurance exercise with increase in cardiac output results in dilatation of left ventricular cavity size and eccentric hypertrophy with low normal ejection fraction that is a dilated cardiomyopathy phenocopy. The ability to distinguish true pathology from physiological remodelling remains a difficult area for cardiologists. Frequently asymptomatic athletic individuals are referred to the cardiology service with abnormal resting 12 lead ECGs. They must be appropriately investigated. The dimema for the investigating cardiologist is to determine the healthy athlete from the athlete with DCM. An erroneous diagnosis of DCM in an athlete may lead to unnecessary disqualification from sport, unnecessary pharmacotherapy and a decline in physical and psychological well being as well as implications for life insurance. Millar et al study adds vital information to the field (4). It is reassuring that the study reported that none of the athletes with a physiologically increased LV size and borderline or low resting LV ejection fraction (grey-zone participants) had replacement fibrosis of the left ventricular myocardium on cardiac MRI. In addition, the authors have reported that functional assessment of the heart by stress echocardiography can discriminate between DCM and DCM phenocopy with high sensitivity and specificity. This study will likely be a game...

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  • narroe complex ventricular tachycardia should be included in the differential diagnosis

    For the sake of completeness, the approach to narrow complex tachycardia(1), and the differential diagnosis of that disorder, should also include the entity of fascicular ventricular tachycardia, in which the duration of the QRS complex does not exceed 120 ms during ventricular tachycardia(VT)(2)(3). There are 3 subtypes, namely, left posterior fascicular VT with right bundle branch(RBBB) morphology and left axis deviation, left anterior fascicular VT with RBBB pattern and right axis deviation, and upper septal fascicular VT with a narrow QRS and normal axis configuration(2).
    Talib et al evaluated 10 patients aged 14-66 with upper septal ventricular tachycardia in whom there was no structural heart disease, and in whom the QRS duration amounted to < 120 ms during VT. In 8 instances VT could be terminated by administration of verapamil. In the other 2 instances no attempt had been made to terminate the episodes of VT with that drug. In the verapamil-responsive subjects, the episodes of VT were characterised by QRS duration amounting to 75 ms, 90 ms(two patients), 93 ms, 96 ms, 105 ms, 115 ms, and 118 ms, respectively. In 4 patients precordial QRS configuration during VT was identical to QRS configuration during sinus rhythm. In the other four, QRS configuration was of the RBBB subtype during VT(3).
    Narrow complex VT can also be a manifestation of coronary artery disease, but, in this context, there appears to be no involvement of the His-Purki...

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