844 e-Letters

  • Risk stratification using DEVI's score in pregnant women with RHD

    Dear Editor,

    We thank Güner and colleagues for their comments1 and their interest on our study.1
    It is very common in the low to middle come countries to observe women with more than one pregnancy and the proposed risk stratification score (Devi’s Score) took this scenario into consideration.2 Analyses took into consideration the non-independent nature of the data structure occurring from women having more than one pregnancy and generalized estimating equations were used to produce regression models to account for the clustering occurring due to more than one pregnancy in the same patient.
    Prosthetic heart valve, especially the mechanical heart valves are highly thrombogenic and are associated with complications. On univariate analysis, use of anticoagulation was found to be associated with the adverse cardiac events and since they showed high collinearity with the prosthetic heart valve, it was decided to include prosthetic heart valve in the multivariate analysis. Despite following the guidelines on managing the anticoagulation regimen during pregnancy, we experience multiple challenges in day to day practice. Monitoring and maintaining the International normalised ratio(INR) /prothrombin time within the optimal range during a dynamic hemodynamic, variability in the actual timing in switching over to heparin and the clearly evident risk of thrombo-embolic phenomena during the switch-over time till heparin takes full control are some of the real wor...

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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;
    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”


    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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  • Stress echocardiography a low cost alternative to CTFFR

    The authors (Nazir et al) of the review of CT fractional flow reserve published in Heart are to be congratulated on very well balanced and well written review of this relatively new technology (1).

    We would like to raise a couple of points regarding imaging stress tests functioning as a gatekeeper to invasive coronary angiography after a stenosis is identified on CTCA. A recent survey of UK cardiologists identified imaging stress tests as the most common approach to assess the functional significance of a moderate stenosis (50-70%) on CTCA, with only 2% electing to use CT-FFR (2). The current increase in the use of CT-FFR is because it is nationally funded. Importantly, stress echocardiography is a very low cost test with a national tariff of £177, which compares favourably with the new reduced tariff for CT-FFR of £530. With time, this may be re-balance in favour of CT-FFR if the tariff drops further, particularly given the attraction of a single patient episode and with an anticipated growth of cardiac CT in line with NICE recommendations.

    It is important to remind readers that the PLATFORM (3) trial compared CTCA plus CT-FFR versus the standard of care in patients with stable chest pain. The patients were divided into an invasive sub-study (n=380) and a non-invasive sub-study (n=204) and the end point of the study was reduction of invasive coronary angiography that showed no obstructive CAD. In the non-invasive sub-study there was no difference in the r...

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  • Specification of criteria for diagnosis of prosthetic valve endocarditis is fundamental

    A review of comparative incidence of infective endocarditis in bioprosthetic vs mechanical valves (1) can only be complete if there is a clear statement of the criteria for the diagnosis of infective endocarditis. An important characteristic of prosthetic valve endocarditis is that "the diagnosis[of endocarditis] is more difficult in the presence of a prosthetic valve when compared with a native valve" due to the fact that "the Duke criteria have been shown to be less helpful in prosthetic valve endocarditis because of lower sensitivity in this setting"(2). Furthermore,
    the diagnostic accuracy of some imaging modalities is suboptimal in prosthetic valve endocarditis(3). According to the latter review , among patients with suspected prosthetic valve endocarditis sensitivity of transthoracic echocardiography can be as low as 17%-36%. For transoesophageal echocardiography(TOE) that parameter increases to 82-96%, the latter statistic comparable to the sensitivity associated with 18 Fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/CT(PET/CT). Also in the context of prosthetic valve endocarditis, TOE and PET/CT also have comparable specificities in the range 80-96%(3). The major limitation of TOE is that it is invasive and also operator dependent. By contrast PET/CT not only increases the sensitivity of the modified Duke criteria from 70% to 97%(without affecting specificity) but that modality also identifies metastatic septic embol...

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  • Low thromboembolic risk does not necessarily rule out risk of complications of undiagnosed coexisting high-grade carotid artery stenosis

    Regardless of the conclusions of the authors regrading thromboembolic risk(1), atrial fibrillation patients with CHA2DS2 Vasc score of zero or 1 cannot be pronounced to be at truly low risk of stroke unless coexisting high-grade carotid artery stenosis(CAS) has been ruled out. According to one study, among patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation(NVAF) who are older than 70 years, the frequency of high grade carotid stenosis(stenosis of 50% or more) is 12% in men and 11% in women(2). High-grade CAS, in turn, is an important risk factor for stroke. Potentially modifiable risk factors for CAS-related stroke include smoking, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and hyperlipidaemia(3). According to an observational study of subjects with asymptomatic high-grade CAS, progression of the severity of CAS can be mitigated by optimally controlling those risk factors(4). Accordingly, the management of NVAF subjects with CHA2DS2 Vasc score of zero or 1 should include screening for CAS, and optimal control of hypertension, diabetes, and low density lipoprotein levels, over and above cessation of smoking, in the event of a diagnosis of coexisting high-grade CAS. There is also a diagnostic advantage from awareness of the coexistence of high-grade CAS in a patients with zero or 1 CHA2DS2 Vasc score. If such a patient experiences an ischaemic stroke characterised by a cerebral infarct ipsilateral to the high-grade CAS the appropriate management would be prompt prescription o...

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