88 e-Letters

published between 2017 and 2020

  • Complete AV block…. but also partial interatrial block

    Martínez –Milla el al, report an interesting case of cardiac lymphoma, presenting as complete AV block.
    A close look at the electrocardiogram, reveals a P wave with a normal frontal axis, broad (duration > 120 ms), and bimodal ( notched). These are the diagnostic hallmarks of partial interatrial block (IAB).
    In this patient, the lymphoma probably infiltrates the Bachmann’s bundle, interrupting the preferential pathway of left atrial activation, causing partial IAB.
    Although often overlooked, IAB is frequent in the elderly, and it is associated with atrial arrhythmias and stroke.
    Because the diagnosis of IAB relies on the morphology and duration of the P wave, a meticulous analysis of the electrocardiogram is mandatory.

  • A role for universal use of low-dose edoxaban in triple antithrombotic therapy

    The recommendation that combined antiplatelet and new oral anticoagulant(NOAC) therapy should rely on the lowest approved NOAC dose effective for stroke prevention(1) is one which favours low-dose edoxaban instead of either dabigatran, rivaroxaban, or apixaban, when reduction of risk of gastrointestinal(GIT) bleeding is taken into account. In a review of clinical experience of bleeding associated with NOACs(dabigatran, rivaroxaban, apixaban, and edoxaban) versus warfarin in nonvalvular atrial fibrillation(NVAF), edoxaban 30 mg/day was the only antithrombotic agent associated with significantly(p < 0.001) lower risk of GIT bleeding than warfarin(Hazard Ratio: 0.67;95% Confidence Interval 0.53 to 0.83). For apixaban and for dabigatran 110 mg BID, the risk of GIT bleeding was comparable with the risk associated with warfarin use. For rivaroxaban and for dabigatran 150 mg BID the risk of GIT haemorrhage was significantly higher(P < 0.0001, and p < 0.001, respectively) than the GIT bleeding risk associated with warfarin(2).
    In a study where 92.2% of 5301 NVAF users of antiplatelet agents were prescribed a NOAC in combination with only one antiplatelet agent vs 86.3% of 9106 NVAF users of antiplatelet agents who were prescribed warfarin with only one antiplatelet agent , concomitant antiplatelet and NOAC use was associated with significantly lower risk of intracranial bleeding than concomitant antiplatelet and warfarin use(HR 0.68, 95% CI, 0.51 to 0.91). Ne...

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    We read with interest the article by Rusingiza et al (1)and report our experience from Northern Sri Lanka, a Low Middle Income Country (LMIC). Sri Lanka had invested heavily in free education and healthcare with demonstrably high literacy rates and positive health indices (2). However, the focus of the healthcare related investment has been in the secondary and tertiary care institutions, whilst primary care systems remain poorly developed. Northern Sri Lanka had been further impacted adversely by three decades of civil strife.
    We report our experience in the management of post-valvular surgery patients at the Jaffna Teaching Hospital, the only tertiary referral centre for the region. Improvements in socioeconomic conditions has resulted in a decline in the incidence of rheumatic heart disease in Sri Lanka which accounted for only 0.34% of all deaths in 2017 (3). Concurrently, established patients receiving prosthetic heart valves has increased mainly due to improving access to surgical facilities. Unfortunately, Northern Sri Lanka had been without facilities for cardiac surgery for three decades leaving patients to access facilities elsewhere in the country. Post-surgery follow-up occurred primarily in Jaffna and a few other secondary care hospitals in the region. Unlike in the Rwandan study, most of our patients received parenteral penicillin prophylaxis thereby enhancing compliance and were fitted with metallic rather than bioprosthetic valves, thereby necessitat...

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  • Hyponatramia may be drug side effect.

    There was significantly higher usage of both loop diuretics and aldosterone antagonist in the group with persistent hyponatraemia. Is it possible that one of the clinical manifestation of RV dysfunction, i.e peripheral oedema, led to an increased use of diuretic in this group and hence hyponatraemia as a complication of this treatment? Over diuresis in this scenario leads to activation of the RAAS which in turn worsens pulmonary hypertension and tricuspid regurgitation. The consequence of this is worsening peripheral oedema and the tendency to increase the diuretic dose.Hyponatraemia therefore may not be an independent predictor of outcome as stated.

  • We must continue to EXPLORE the benefits of CTO PCI

    We read with great interest the article by Elias et al (1) regarding the longer term clinical outcomes from the EXPLORE trial. The authors are to be congratulated for conducting this important study to address the optimal management of patients presenting with a concurrent CTO in a non-infarct related artery (non-IRA) during a STEMI. The results at 1 year are similar to those in the initial 4 month outcome (2), with no difference in the primary endpoints of cardiac MRI determined LVEF or LVEDV in either CTO-PCI and CTO-No PCI groups. At a median of 3.9 years, there was no difference in long term MACE, although an apparent increase in cardiovascular mortality (6% vs 1%, p=0.02).

    Whilst this important study adds to the much needed literature on randomised studies related to PCI of CTOs, the results should be interpreted with caution. Firstly, large scale contemporaneous studies in CTO PCI have had procedural success rates in the region of 90% (3), whilst in EXPLORE (2) this rate was considerably lower, at 73% by core laboratory. This suggests either a more anatomically complex subset of patients, or else attempts by non-dedicated CTO PCI operators, both of which affect the interpretation of the intention to treat population.

    Furthermore, the mortality data should be reviewed with care. At 12 months, there were 4 cardiovascular deaths (2.7%) in the CTO PCI group, with no deaths in the CTO-No PCI groups. These rates are significantly lower compared with other t...

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  • More data are needed to explore the impact of chronic total occlusion recanalisation on the prognosis of patients with ST elevation myocardial infarction.

    I read with great interest the paper by Elias et al regarding the mid-term and long-term clinical outcome of the Evaluating Xience and left ventricular function in Percutaneous Coronary Interventions on occlusiOns afteR ST elevation myocardial infarction (EXPLORE) trial. [1] The authors are to be congratulated for this detailed analysis evaluating the effect of chronic total occlusions – percutaneous coronary intervention (CTO-PCI) compared with CTO-No PCI on clinical outcome, left ventricular function and angina status in patients with ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) with a concurrent CTO. The message of their study is that early CTO-PCI in patients with STEMI presenting with a concurrent CTO during primary PCI should not be performed routinely.
    The authors also analysed the study population combined and found higher long-term mortality in patients who were older (>60 years) (11% vs 3%; HR 3.74; 95% CI 1.37 to 10.21; P=0.01), who had diabetes (15% vs 6%; HR 2.94; 95% CI 1.19 to 7.30; P=0.02), had a higher left ventricular enddiastolic volume at baseline (12% vs 1%; HR 13.04; 95% CI 1.70 to 100.30; P=0.01) and who had a high SYNTAX score (10% vs 4%; HR 2.50; 95% CI 1.01 to 6.20; P=0.048). They also stated that cardiac death was more frequent in the CTO-PCI arm (6.0% vs 1.0%, P=0.02) with no difference in all-cause mortality. However, it is known that a major prognostic factor in STEMI patients with a concurrent CTO is the presence of collateral feeding...

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  • The prognostic role of collaterals should be explored.

    We thank dr. Katsouras for his response to our long-term EXPLORE manuscript (1). We agree that in the ST-segment elevation (STEMI) population the presence of collaterals to the concurrent chronic total occlusion (CTO) is of prognostic relevance. We previously reported in 413 consecutive STEMI patients with a CTO that the presence of well-developed collaterals to the CTO compared to poorly developed collaterals was associated with improved outcome. We also assessed the influence of the collateral origin on survival, as collaterals coming distally from the culprit lesion are (partially) blocked during the acute phase of STEMI. In 16% of the patients the collaterals originated directly or distal from the culprit lesion and these patients had a lower survival compared to the patients in whom the collaterals were not blocked during STEMI (2).

    In the EXPLORE trial patients with well-developed collaterals to the CTO had a significantly better left ventricular (LV) function at 4 months follow-up. Nonetheless, we did not find a significant treatment effect of CTO-PCI on global LV function nor on clinical outcome in patients with poorly developed nor with well-developed collaterals (3). On a regional level we found that the recovery of segmental wall thickening of the dysfunctional CTO myocardium was better in patients with well-developed collaterals. However, no significant interaction of collateral quality on the effect of CTO PCI was found (4). In EXPLORE there were 34 p...

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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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  • Do Beta Blockers really reduce the mortality in patients with HFPEF?

    I do welcome the systemic review and meta-analysis on drug treatment effects on outcomes in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, by Dr Zheng and co-workers.(1) I do note the authors' definition of HFPEF as having a left ventricular ejection fraction of >40% as per the suggestions of the American Guidelines.(2) They acknowledge the difficulties posed by those with LVEF 40-49% where the evidence base is largely lacking with the exception of the more recent sub-study of CHARM data in those with LVEF in the above mid-range.(3)
    I have however an issue with their inclusion of the SENIORS study data.(4) Although the mean LVEF of those labelled as HF with preserved LVEF was 49%, the patients included as those with preserved left ventricular ejection fraction, were those with LVEF>35%. This calls into question as to whether the positive effect on mortality of beta-blockers in this trial was caused by the impact of including patients with LVEF 35-40% within this group. I am sure that the authors would agree that the positive impact of the beta-blockers on the mortality of patients with LVEF 35-40%, is un-controversial.(4) While another publication from the SENIORS study group found no statistically significant difference between those deemed HFREF and those deemed HFPEF. We do know that the comparison here may be flawed for the above mentioned issue.
    I would therefore, encourage the authors to reconsider their firm conclusion about the effectivenes...

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