Brain (or B-type) natriuretic peptide (BNP) is a cardiac hormone produced in the heart and an established biochemical marker for heart failure (HF) because the level in plasma increases in proportion to disease severity. Recently, the diversity of BNP molecular forms in the peripheral circulation, which includes mature BNP (BNP1-32) and its metabolites (BNP3-32, BNP4-32, and BNP5-32), was demonstrated. Moreover, studies showed that unprocessed BNP prohormone (proBNP) is also secreted from the heart, and its secretion is increased in patients with HF. Interestingly, BNP1-32, its metabolites, and proBNP are all detected as immunoreactive BNP by the currently available BNP assay system. Current N-terminal proBNP (NT-proBNP) assay systems also can react to both NT-proBNP and proBNP. In addition, the N-terminal region of proBNP and NT-proBNP are often O-glycosylated, which may result in underestimation of total NT-proBNP level, which includes both glycosylated and non-glycosylated NT-proBNP, by the NT-proBNP assay system. More recently, we have shown that miR30-GALNT-dependent O-glycosylation in the N-terminal region of proBNP affects the processing of proBNP and contributes to its secretion from the heart. The level of proBNP relative to BNP (proBNP/BNP ratio) in the coronary sinus is higher in patients with more severe HF. The proBNP/BNP ratio and the deglycosylated NT-proBNP level may be new and clinically useful biomarkers of HF.
In 2010, more than 200 million people were afflicted with peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Because it is atherosclerotic in etiology, it is not surprising that PAD is a leading cause of cardiovascular morbidity. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk can be decreased if ambulatory physical function is improved. However, physical function is limited by a mismatch between oxygen supply and demand in the legs, which results in exertional pain, leg weakness, and balance problems. Therefore, a key factor for improving physical function, and decreasing CVD outcomes, is ensuring oxygen supply meets the oxygen demand. The purpose of this review is to highlight and evaluate practical and minimally invasive tools for assessing PAD etiology, with a specific focus on tools suited to studies focusing on improving physical function and CVD outcomes. Specifically, the macrovascular, microvascular, and skeletal muscle pathology of PAD is briefly outlined. Subsequently, the tools for assessing each of these components is discussed, including, where available, the evidence to contextualize these tools to PAD pathology as well as physical function and CVD outcomes. The goal of this review is to guide researchers to the appropriate tools with respect to their methodological design.
Background: Dilatation of the ascending aorta affects those patients with bicuspid aortic valve (BAV), even after valvular surgery, possibly due to tissue fragility. The goal of the study was the molecular characterization of aorta with BAV compared to that with normal tricuspid aortic valve (TAV).
Methods and Results: The subjects were patients who underwent surgery for aortic valve stenosis in 2013 and 2014. Nine patients with BAV and 13 with TAV were examined. There was no difference in the clinical characteristics or grade of aortic valve stenosis, but the diameters of the ascending aorta were significantly higher in the BAV group. The ascending aortic specimens were subjected to transcriptome analyses, which revealed the changes in receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) pathway-related genes between TAV and BAV samples. Immunohistochemical study revealed higher staining of phosphorylated AKT (pAKT) in the media of the ascending aorta in the BAV group, regardless of the size of ascending aorta, whereas total AKT did not show such a difference. Immunofluorescence staining revealed the AKT activation was mainly in the medial vascular smooth muscle cells.
Conclusions: The results showed that the RTK-AKT pathway in the medial layer of the ascending aorta is activated in aortae with BAV. Activation of this pathway may be associated with fragility and dilatation of the ascending aorta with BAV.
Background: The incidence of subsequent need for permanent pacemaker implantation (PMI) after radiofrequency catheter ablation (RFCA) for atrial fibrillation (AF) in real world patients with and without pre-existing bradycardia has not yet been fully evaluated.
Methods and Results: A total of 1,131 consecutive patients undergoing first-time RFCA for AF who had no previous or planned device implantation, were enrolled in the present study. Of 799 paroxysmal AF (PAF) patients, 121 (15.1%) had sinus node dysfunction (SND). Of 332 non-PAF patients, 73 (22.0%) had slow ventricular response (VR), defined as heart rate <80 beats/min at rest without any rate-control drugs. The 5-year cumulative incidence of PMI after RFCA in PAF patients with and without SND was 14.8% and 1.7%, respectively (P<0.001). The 5-year cumulative incidence of PMI after RFCA in non-PAF patients with and without slow VR was 14.8% and 4.7%, respectively (P<0.001). SND and female gender in PAF patients, as well as slow VR and age ≥75 years in non-PAF patients, were independent and additive predictors of PMI. The 5-year cumulative incidence of PMI was 26.3% in female PAF patients with SND and 33.3% in elderly non-PAF patients with slow VR.
Conclusions:PMI was avoided in >85% of patients undergoing RFCA for PAF with pre-existing SND, although care should be taken for female patients. Decision-making regarding RFCA for non-PAF patients with slow VR, especially in the elderly, should be cautious.
Background: Although direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) are widely used in Japanese patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), large-scale investigations into their use, with suitable follow-up times and rates, are lacking.
Methods and Results: The SAKURA AF Registry is a prospective multicenter registry created to investigate therapeutic outcomes of oral anticoagulant (OAC) use in Japanese AF patients. We conducted a study involving 3,237 enrollees from 63 institutions in the Tokyo area being treated with any of 4 DOACs (n=1,676) or warfarin (n=1,561) and followed-up for a median of 39.3 months (range 28.5–43.6 months). Analyses of 1- and 2-year follow-up data available for 3,157 (97.5%) and 2,952 (91.2%) patients, respectively, showed no significant differences in rates of stroke or systemic embolism (SE), major bleeding, and all-cause mortality for DOAC vs. warfarin users (1.2 vs. 1.8%/year, 0.5 vs. 1.2%/year, and 2.1 vs. 1.7%/year, respectively). Under propensity score matching, the incidence of stroke or SE (P=0.679) and all-cause death (P=0.864) remained equivalent, but the incidence of major bleeding was significantly lower (P=0.014) among DOAC than warfarin users.
Conclusions: A high follow-up rate allowed us to obtain reliable data on the status of OAC use and therapeutic outcomes among AF patients in Japan. Warfarin and DOACs appear to yield equivalent 3-year stroke and all-cause mortality rates, but DOACs appear to reduce the risk of major bleeding.
Background: The relationship between warfarin treatment quality and prognosis for Japanese patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) has not been studied thoroughly.
Methods and Results: Data from the J-RHYTHM Registry were used to determine the time in therapeutic range (TTR) of the international normalized ratio (INR) of prothrombin time in elderly patients (≥70 years). Target INR was 1.6–2.6. Of 7,406 patients with NVAF in the database, 3,832 elderly patients (mean [±SD] age 77.0±5.0 years) constituted the study group. Of these patients, 459 did not receive warfarin and 3,373 received warfarin. Patients on warfarin were subdivided into 4 TTR groups: <40%, 40–59.9%, 60–79.9%, and ≥80%. During the 2-year follow-up, the incidence of thromboembolism and all-cause death was lower in patients with higher TTR (Ptrend<0.001); however, the incidence of major hemorrhage was higher in patients with TTR <40%. In multivariate analysis, compared with the no-warfarin group, TTR 60–79.9% and ≥80% were associated with lower thromboembolic risk, with hazard ratios (HR) of 0.34 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.17–0.67; P=0.002) and 0.35 (95% CI 0.18–0.68; P=0.002), respectively, and lower all-cause death (HR 0.37 [95% CI 0.22–0.65; P<0.001] and 0.43 [95% CI 0.26–0.71; P=0.001], respectively). TTR <40% was associated with major hemorrhage (HR 5.57; 95% CI 2.04–15.25; P=0.001).
Conclusions: In elderly Japanese patients with NVAF, TTR should be maintained ≥60% to prevent thromboembolism and all-cause death. TTR <40% should be avoided to prevent major hemorrhage.
Background: Recently, the carotid artery has been used as an alternative approach for transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI). The aim of this study was to prove the safety and feasibility of transcarotid (TC) vs. transfemoral (TF) TAVI.
Methods and Results: This retrospective study enrolled 726 consecutive patients with severe symptomatic aortic stenosis. All patients underwent TC-TAVI or TF-TAVI at Hôpital Haut-Lévèque, Bordeaux Heart University Hospital between September 2012 and October 2017. The TC-TAVI (n=83) and TF-TAVI (n=643) groups were compared statistically. The EuroSCORE II was significantly higher (8.2±6.7 vs. 6.4±5.5; P=0.007) and rates of current smoking, dyslipidemia and peripheral arterial disease were higher in the TC-TAVI than TF-TAVI group. All TC-TAVIs and 9.3% of TF-TAVIs were performed under general anesthesia. Radiation time was significantly shorter in the TC-TAVI than TF-TAVI group (14.5±6.0 vs. 23.0±10.8 min; P<0.001). Postimplant balloon valvuloplasty was performed more frequently in the TF-TAVI than TC-TAVI group (7.2% vs. 19.4%; P=0.006). Postoperative echocardiographic data were similar between the 2 groups, and there were no significant differences in 30-day mortality (8.4% vs. 5.0%; P=0.189) or stroke rate (1.2% vs. 2.6%; P=0.428) between the TF-TAVI and TC-TAVI groups.
Conclusions: The feasibility and 30-day safety of TC-TAVI and TF-TAVI are similar. When TF-TAVI is not suitable anatomically for a particular patient, TC-TAVI is a preferable alternative.
Background: Modification of health-related behaviors may improve clinical outcomes after acute myocardial infarction (AMI), but the need for systematic efforts to modify such behaviors and the estimated effect have not been investigated, especially in Asian populations. The aim of the study was to investigate changes in smoking and physical activity after AMI and their associations with death and recurrent revascularization.
Methods and Results: Using the Korean National Insurance Health Service database, we included 13,452 patients with AMI in 2011, who were stable until 1.5 years on average after onset. Patients were grouped according to their smoking status and physical activity before and after AMI. After AMI, 44.6% of smokers continued smoking and only 11.0% of inactive patients increased their physical activity to a sufficient level. The ‘smoker/smoker’ group and ‘non-smoker/smoker’ group showed higher mortality (hazard ratio (HR): 1.566, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.192–2.035; HR: 1.785, 95% CI: 1.061–2.815, respectively). On the other hand, the ‘active/active’ group and ‘inactive/active’ group showed less mortality (HR: 0.625, 95% CI: 0.460–0.832; HR: 0.681, 95% CI: 0.438–1.009, respectively) and the ‘inactive/active’ group showed less recurrent revascularization (HR: 0.761, 95% CI: 0.599–0.952).
Conclusions: Smoking cessation and maintaining sufficient physical activity after AMI remain challenging for many Korean patients, and are associated with higher rates of mortality and recurrent revascularization. Systematic nationwide efforts such as cardiac rehabilitation (CR) to change health-related behaviors after AMI are required in Korea.
Background: The aim of this study was to review our experience of mitral valve (MV) repair for acute and active infective endocarditis (AAIE) and to identify the feasibility of a new approach together with the mid-term results.
Methods and Results: A retrospective analysis was performed on 35 consecutive AAIE patients surgically treated in the isolated mitral position. Mean follow-up after the surgery was 4.3±3.7 years. 30 of the 35 patients were successfully treated by MV plasty (MVP); however, MV replacement (MVR) was necessary in the remaining 5 patients. Our novel approach included resection of the infective lesion, approximation with direct suture and/or patch repair with bovine or autopericardium after 2-min treatment of it and the defective leaflet edge(s) with 0.625% glutaraldehyde solution, reconstruction with artificial chordae and ring annuloplasty. The success rate of MVP was 85.7%. The longest postoperative follow-up echocardiography showed no mitral regurgitation (MR) in 4, trivial MR in 4, mild MR in 16 and moderate MR in 5 patients in the MVP group. The 5-year survival rate in the MVP group was 89±6%. MVR was required in 1 patient 2 months after MVP because of increasing MR. Recurrence of endocarditis has not been observed in any case.
Conclusions: Glutaraldehyde was safely used in a surgical intervention for AAIE in the mitral position with acceptable early and mid-term results.
Background: This study aimed to evaluate the early and late clinical outcomes after repeat aortic valve replacement (AVR) for subaortic pannus in patients with mechanical valves.
Methods and Results: Between 2001 and 2017, 51 patients (median age, 59 years; 42 women) with prosthetic aortic stenosis (AS) caused by pannus ingrowth underwent repeat AVR because of acute malfunction of monoleaflet valve (3 patients), severe prosthetic AS (30 patients), and moderate prosthetic AS at the time of tricuspid or mitral valve surgery (18 patients). The median follow-up duration was 100 (interquartile range, 64–138) months. Double valve replacement was performed in 45 (88%) patients. Median time interval from previous operation was 161 (interquartile range, 121–194) months. The explanted mechanical AV was monoleaflet and bileaflet in 16 (31%) and 34 (67%) patients, respectively. Concomitant procedures included 16 mitral valve replacements (14 repeat) and 36 tricuspid valve surgeries (15 replacements, 21 repairs). No hospital deaths or cases of heart block occurred. Overall survival and event-free survival rates at 10 years were 88% and 51%, respectively. Late complications included recurrent prosthetic AS (4 patients), new paravalvular leakage of the mitral valve (5 patients), and severe tricuspid regurgitation (2 patients).
Conclusions: Although repeat AVR for subaortic pannus had acceptable early and late survival, recurrent prosthetic AS was frequently observed during late follow-up.
Background: Pericardial fat volume (PFV), defined as the volume of ectopic fat in and around the heart, is associated with the atherosclerotic process in coronary arteries. The magnitude of change in PFV over time and the factors affecting this change in a general population, however, have not been investigated.
Methods and Results: Cardiac computed tomography (CT) was carried out at baseline and at follow-up in 623 Japanese men aged 40–79 years without a history of cardiovascular disease who were selected randomly in Kusatsu (Shiga, Japan). PFV was measured on cardiac CT in a qualified laboratory. Age, heart rate, triglycerides, and obesity measurements (weight, body mass index, and waist circumference) were significantly and positively associated with PFV at baseline. Over an average interval of 4.7 years, median PFV increased significantly from 64.1 cm3 (IQR, 47.2–90.0 cm3) to 73.6 cm3 (IQR, 53.3–98.1 cm3; P<0.001). Current smoking and heart rate were significantly and independently associated with changes in PFV (B=3.336, P<0.001 and B=6.409, P=0.003, respectively).
Conclusions: PFV increased significantly over time in a population-based observational study of Japanese men. PFV change was significantly and independently associated with smoking status and heart rate, suggesting that quitting smoking might help reduce PFV, which could be expected to decrease the risk of coronary artery disease.
Background: Stroke is one of the leading causes of disability and mortality in Japan. The aim of the present analysis was to determine the non-acute survival rate after first-ever stroke using data from a large-scale population-based stroke registry in Japan.
Methods and Results: Shiga Stroke Registry is an ongoing population-based registry of stroke, which covers approximately 1.4 million residents of Shiga Prefecture in central Japan. A total of 2,176 first-ever stroke patients, who were registered in 2011, were followed up until December 2013. The 2-year cumulative survival rates were estimated using Kaplan-Meier method according to index stroke subtype. Cox proportional hazards models were used to assess predictors of all-cause death. During a 2-year follow-up period, 663 patients (30.5%) died. The 2-year cumulative survival rate after first-ever stroke was 69.5%. There was heterogeneity in 2-year cumulative survival according to stroke subtype: lacunar infarction, 87.2%; large artery infarction, 76.1%; cardioembolic infarction, 55.4%; intracerebral hemorrhage, 65.9%; and subarachnoid hemorrhage, 56.7%. Older age, male sex, medical history, higher Japan coma scale score on admission, and stroke subtype were associated with risk of all-cause death in ≤2 years.
Conclusions: In the present population-based stroke registry with a real-world setting in Japan, 2-year cumulative mortality after first-ever stroke is still high (>30%), particularly for cardioembolic infarction, subarachnoid hemorrhage and intracerebral hemorrhage.
Background: Recently, high-density lipoprotein particles (HDL-P) have been found to be more strongly inversely associated with coronary artery disease (CAD) risk than their counterpart, HDL cholesterol (HDL-C). Given that lifestyle is among the first targets in CAD prevention, we compared the associations of HDL-P and HDL-C with selected lifestyle factors.
Methods and Results: We examined 789 Japanese participants of the INTERLIPID Study: men (n=386) and women (n=403) aged 40–59 years in 1996–1998. Participants treated for dyslipidemias were excluded. Lifestyle factors included alcohol intake, smoking amount, and body mass index (BMI). Multivariable linear regression was used for cross-sectional analyses of these factors with HDL-P, HDL-C, HDL-P size subclasses (small, medium and large) and mean HDL-P size. In men, higher alcohol intake was associated with higher HDL-P and higher HDL-C. The associations of alcohol, however, were strongest with HDL-P. A higher smoking amount tended to be associated with lower HDL-P and HDL-C. In contrast, BMI was not associated with HDL-P, but was strongly inversely associated with HDL-C. While alcohol intake favored larger mean HDL-P size, smoking and BMI favored a lipid profile with smaller HDL-P subclasses and overall smaller mean HDL-P size. Similar, but generally weaker results were observed in women.
Conclusions: Although both HDL-P and HDL-C are parameters of HDL, they have different associations with alcohol, smoking and BMI.
Background: Our aim was to investigate the baseline clinical and echocardiographic parameters for predicting left ventricular (LV) dysfunction after anthracycline chemotherapy and heart failure (HF) hospitalization in a single cancer disease.
Methods and Results: We studied 73 patients with malignant lymphoma and preserved LV ejection fraction (LVEF). Echocardiography was performed before and after anthracycline chemotherapy. Global longitudinal strain (GLS) was determined from 3 standard apical views. LV dysfunction after anthracycline chemotherapy was defined according to the current definition of cancer therapeutics-related cardiac dysfunction. Long-term (50-month) unfavorable outcome was prespecified as hospitalization for HF. A total of 10 patients had LV dysfunction after anthracycline chemotherapy. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that baseline GLS was the only independent predictor of this dysfunction. Receiver-operating characteristic curve analysis identified the optimal GLS cutoff for predicting LV dysfunction after anthracycline chemotherapy as ≤19% (P=0.008). Furthermore, the Kaplan-Meier curve indicated that fewer patients with GLS >19% were hospitalized for HF than among those with GLS ≤19% (log-rank P=0.02). For sequential logistic models, a model based on baseline clinical variables (χ2=2.9) was improved by the addition of baseline LVEF (χ2=9.0; P=0.01), and further improved by the addition of baseline GLS (χ2=13.1, P=0.04).
Conclusions: Watchful observation or early therapeutic intervention with established cardioprotective medications may be necessary for patients with malignant lymphoma and preserved LVEF but with abnormal GLS.
Background: The objective of the present analyses was to describe the baseline characteristics and treatment of the Japanese patients with HFrEF in THE PARALLEL-HF study.
Methods and Results: Key demographic, clinical and laboratory findings, along with treatment, were reported and compared with patients enrolled in the PARADIGM-HF trial and other contemporary randomized clinical trials and registries of Japanese patients with HFrEF. In addition, the MAGGIC and EMPHASIS-HF risk scores were calculated. A total of 225 Japanese patients were randomized in PARALLEL-HF with a mean age of 67.9 years and the majority of the patients being male (85.8%) and in NYHA Class II (93.8%). Key baseline characteristics in PARALLEL-HF were generally comparable with PARADIGM-HF, and other contemporary clinical trials and registries of Japanese HFrEF patients. Patients enrolled in PARALLEL-HF were well treated with conventional evidence-based therapy at baseline (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor inhibitor/angiotensin receptor blocker, 62.7%/37.3%; β-blockers, 94.7%; mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist, 59.1%). Despite the evidence-based treatment and most patients being in NYHA Class II, these patients had a low LVEF (mean 28.1%) and were at high risk of cardiovascular mortality and morbidity as assessed by the MAGGIC and EMPHASIS-HF risk scores.
Conclusions: Overall, the patients in PARALLEL-HF were largely representative of contemporary ambulatory patients with HFrEF who are well treated with evidence-based therapies. PARALLEL-HF will determine whether sacubitril/valsartan provides similar improvements in clinical outcomes in Japanese HFrEF patients as observed in the PARADIGM-HF study.
Background: Alamandine differs from angiotensin-(1–7) in a single N-terminal alanine residue. The aim of this study was to investigate whether alamandine protects the heart against reperfusion injury.
Methods and Results: After euthanizing Sprague-Dawley rats, hearts were perfused with Krebs-Henseleit buffer for a 20-min pre-ischemic period with or without alamandine, followed by 20 min global ischemia and 50 min reperfusion. Alamandine (0.1 mg/kg) improved the postischemic left ventricular developed pressure and ±dP/dt, decreased the infarct size, and decreased the lactate dehydrogenase levels in the effluent. Alamandine increased the coronary flow and the amount of atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) in the coronary effluent, and it decreased the expression of apoptotic proteins and increased the expression of antioxidative proteins. Pretreatment with the MrgD receptor antagonist or PD123319, but not the angiotensin type 1 receptor antagonist, attenuated the cardioprotective effects of alamandine. A similar cardioprotective effect with alamandine was also observed with high plasma ANP levels in an in vivo study. Alamandine directly stimulated ANP secretion from isolated atria, which was completely blocked by pretreatment with the MrgD receptor antagonist and was partially blocked by PD123319.
Conclusions: These results suggest that the cardioprotective effects of alamandine against I/R injury are, in part, related to the activation of antioxidant and antiapoptotic enzymes via the MrgD receptor.
Background: Despite the revolution of coronary stents, there remain concerns about the risk of stent thrombosis, especially in patients with ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). The present study compared early vascular healing as a contributing factor to reducing stent thrombosis between Xience everolimus-eluting stents (X-EES) and Synergy everolimus-eluting stents (S-EES) in patients with STEMI.
Methods and Results: The present study included 47 patients with STEMI requiring primary percutaneous coronary intervention with X-EES (n=25) or S-EES (n=22). Optical coherence tomography (OCT) assessments of the stented lesions were performed 2 weeks and 4 months after stent implantation. Neointimal strut coverage, malapposition and the frequency of thrombus formation were evaluated. In the 2-week OCT analysis, the proportion of covered struts in S-EES (42.4±15.4%) was significantly higher than in X-EES (26.3±10.1%, P<0.001). In the 4-month OCT analysis, the proportion of covered struts in S-EES (72.2±17.9%) was still significantly higher than in X-EES (62.0±14.9%, P=0.04).
Conclusions: Compared with X-EES, S-EES showed a higher proportion of covered struts in the early phase after stent implantation for STEMI patients.
Background: The addition of a proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitor to statin therapy reduces the rate of cardiovascular events. This study examined the cost-effectiveness of PCSK9 inhibitor+statin compared with standard therapy (statin monotherapy) in the treatment of triple-vessel coronary artery disease (CAD) in Japan.
Methods and Results: A Markov model was applied to assess the costs and benefits associated with PCSK9 inhibitor+statin over a projected 30-year period from the perspective of a public healthcare payer in Japan. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER), expressed as the quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), was estimated. The effects on survival and numbers of events were based on the FOURIER trial and the CREDO Kyoto registry. The ICER of PCSK9 inhibitor+statin over standard therapy was 13.5 million (95% confidence interval 7.6–23.5 million) Japanese Yen (JPY) per QALY gained for triple-vessel CAD. The probability of the cost-effectiveness of PCSK9 inhibitor+statin vs. standard therapy was 0.0008% at a cost-effectiveness threshold of 5 million JPY. In patients with poorly controlled familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) with triple-vessel CAD, the ICER was 3.4 million JPY per QALY gained.
Conclusions: PCSK9 inhibitor plus statin did not show good cost-effectiveness for triple-vessel CAD; however, it showed good cost-effectiveness for patients with triple-vessel CAD and poorly controlled FH in Japan.
Background: Left ventricular non-compaction (LVNC) is a cardiomyopathy morphologically characterized by 2-layered myocardium and numerous prominent trabeculations, and is often associated with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Variants in the gene encoding tafazzin (TAZ) may change mitochondrial function and cause dysfunction of many organs, but they also contribute to the DCM phenotype in LVNC, and the clinical and echocardiographic features of children with this phenotype are poorly understood.
Methods and Results: We enrolled 92 DCM phenotype LVNC patients and performed next-generation sequencing to identify the genetic etiology. Ten TAZ variants were identified in 15 male patients (16.3%) of the 92 patients, including 3 novel missense substitutions. The patients with TAZ variants had a higher frequency of early onset of disease (92.3% vs. 62.3%, P=0.0182), positive family history (73.3% vs. 20.8%, P=0.0001), and higher LV posterior wall thickness Z-score (8.55±2.60 vs. 5.81±2.56, P=0.0103) than those without TAZ variants, although the mortality of both groups was similar.
Conclusions: This study provides new insight into the impact of DCM phenotype LVNC and emphasizes the clinical advantages available for LVNC patients with TAZ variants.
Background: We have previously demonstrated that umbilical cord plasma natriuretic peptide (NP) levels reflect the severity of heart failure (HF) in fetuses with congenital heart defects (CHD). The aim of this study was to evaluate the significance of amniotic fluid (AF) NP levels in the assessment of HF in fetuses with CHD or arrhythmia.
Methods and Results: This was a prospective observational study at a tertiary pediatric cardiac center. A total of 95 singletons with CHD or arrhythmia, and 96 controls from 2012 to 2015 were analyzed. AF concentrations of atrial NP (ANP), B-type NP (BNP) and N-terminal pro-B-type NP (NT-proBNP) at birth were compared with ultrasonographic assessment of fetal HF using the cardiovascular profile (CVP) score. Multivariate analysis showed that a CVP score ≤5 and preterm birth are independently associated with high AF NT-proBNP levels. AF NT-proBNP levels of fetuses with CHD or arrhythmia inversely correlated with CVP score (P for trend <0.01). In contrast, AF concentrations of ANP and BNP were extremely low, and it was difficult to assess the degree of fetal HF based on them.
Conclusions: AF NT-proBNP concentrations increase in stepwise fashion with the severity of HF in fetuses with CHD or arrhythmia; it was the optimal NP for assessing the fetal HF.
Background: While the prevalence of short QT syndrome (SQTS) in children and adolescents is low, early detection is important because SQTS can cause life-threatening arrhythmia. The aim of this study was to determine the tentative screening criteria for short QT interval in children and adolescents.
Methods and Results: A total of 75,040 digitally stored electrocardiograms (ECG) of participants in a school-based ECG screening program were obtained between 2009 and 2013 in Kagoshima, Japan. ECG with a corrected QT interval (QTc) below the 10th percentile for each grade and sex were selected: 2,581 first graders (M/F, 1,296/1,285); 2,792 7th graders (M/F, 1,400/1,392); and 2018 10th graders (M/F, 979/1,039). Three consecutive QT/RR intervals were manually measured and corrected using Bazett’s formula. The prevalence of SQTS was estimated at 1/30,000–1/10,000, which was set compared with the prevalence of long QT syndrome, then the screening points of the prevalence of short QT interval were assumed to be between 1/5,000 and 1/2,000 to exclude the possibility of false negative. We obtained the following tentative criteria based on frequency distribution charts: 325, 315 and 305 ms for male 1st, 7th and 10th graders, respectively; and 320 ms for female 1st, 7th, and 10th graders.
Conclusions: For primary SQTS screening of children and adolescents, the QTc values for short QT interval should be adapted according to grade and sex.
Background: The aim of the current study was to identify the distribution of length and cost of hospital stay and their associated risk factors in poor-risk Japanese critical limb ischemia (CLI) patients undergoing revascularization.
Methods and Results: We analyzed prospectively collected data from 507 CLI patients who required assistance in their daily lives due to disability in activities of daily living and/or cognitive function impairment and who underwent revascularization. The median length and cost of hospital stay were 23 days (IQR, 9–52 days) and ¥2.25m (IQR, ¥1.33m–3.58m), respectively. Reduced albumin, tissue loss, infection, surgical reconstruction, and bilateral revascularization were associated with prolonged hospital stay (P=0.012, 0.019, <0.001, <0.001, and <0.001, respectively). Doubling the length of the hospital stay was associated with a 44% increase in hospital cost. Regular dialysis, surgical reconstruction, and bilateral revascularization were independently associated with an approximately 20% increase in the cost of hospital stay (all P<0.001).
Conclusions: Length and cost of hospital stay varied considerably between patients. Low serum albumin, tissue loss, infection, surgical reconstruction, and bilateral revascularization were associated with longer hospital stay. Regular dialysis, surgical reconstruction, and bilateral revascularization were independently associated with an approximately 20% increase in the cost of hospital stay.
Background: Post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS), the most common complication of deep venous thrombosis (DVT), develops in ≥50% of patients with iliofemoral DVT. However, the benefit of endovascular treatment in Japanese patients with chronic DVT and PTS remains unclear.
Methods and Results: Between June 2014 and May 2016, endovascular treatment was performed in 11 consecutive Japanese patients with chronic iliofemoral DVT and PTS refractory to anticoagulant therapy and elastic compression stockings. We evaluated the technical success rate, complications, patency, Villalta score, calf circumference, and popliteal vein reflux in both the acute stage (the day following endovascular treatment) and chronic stage (after 6 months). Imaging follow-up included venous duplex scanning and/or magnetic resonance venography. The technical success rate was 81.8%, without complications. In patients with successful intervention, the Villalta score improved significantly, from 9.0±3.7 preoperatively to 3.6±2.5 in the acute phase (P<0.01) and 2.9±2.1 in the chronic phase (P<0.001). The bilateral difference in lower thigh circumference also improved significantly, from 2.6±1.0 cm preoperatively to 1.4±1.0 cm in the chronic phase (P<0.001). However, popliteal vein reflux did not improve. In patients with successful intervention, venous patency rate was 100% at 6 months post-intervention.
Conclusions: Endovascular treatment is safe and effective in Japanese patients with chronic iliofemoral DVT and PTS.
Background: This study investigated changes in anticoagulant use, treatment, and functional outcomes in acute ischemic stroke (AIS) patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) over a 6-year period.
Methods and Results: Patients with AIS and NVAF admitted to our department from April 2011 to March 2017 were analyzed retrospectively. Patients were divided into 3 groups based on the time of the initial visit (Periods 1–3, corresponding to April 2011–March 2013, April 2013–March 2015, and April 2015–March 2017, respectively). Associations between prescribed medication prior to event and stroke severity, reperfusion therapy, and outcomes were assessed. There was no significant change in the rate of insufficient warfarin and inappropriately lowered doses of direct oral anticoagulant (DOAC) treatment over time. The number of patients receiving prior DOAC treatment increased, but neurological severity on admission was milder than in the other 2 groups. The rate of reperfusion therapy increased from 19.9% (Period 1) to 42.7% (Period 3) for moderate-to-severe stroke patients. Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that reperfusion therapy was independently positively associated with good functional outcomes, but negatively associated with mortality (odds ratios [95% confidence intervals] 7.14 [3.34–15.29] and 0.13 [0.008–0.69], respectively).
Conclusions: Inappropriate anticoagulant use for stroke patients with NVAF did not decrease over time. An increase in reperfusion therapy was a strong factor in improved functional outcomes and mortality.
Background: Transcatheter aortic valve-in-valve (VIV) replacement within failed bioprosthetic surgical aortic valves is a feasible therapeutic option. However, data comparing the hemodynamic and clinical outcomes of VIV replacement with supra-annular self-expanding and balloon-expandable transcatheter heart valves (THV) are limited.
Methods and Results: Outcomes of 40 and 95 patients treated with supra-annular self-expanding and balloon-expandable THV, respectively, were compared after propensity score matching, which yielded 37 pairs of patients with similar baseline characteristics. Hemodynamic and clinical outcomes were analyzed. Postprocedural mean gradient was significantly lower in the self-expanding THV group than in the balloon-expandable THV group (12.1±6.1 mmHg vs. 19.0±7.3 mmHg, P<0.001). The incidence of at least mild postprocedural aortic regurgitation (AR) was comparable between the self-expanding and balloon-expandable THV groups (21.6% vs. 10.8%, P=0.39). In the self-expanding THV group, the new-generation THV showed a trend towards a lower incidence of at least mild AR compared with the early-generation THV (12.5% vs. 38.5%, P=0.07). A similar trend was observed in the balloon-expandable THV group (4.2% vs. 23.1%, P=0.08). There was no significant difference between the self-expanding and balloon-expandable THV groups in the cumulative 2-year all-cause mortality rates (22.4% vs. 43.4%, log-rank P=0.26).
Conclusions: The supra-annular self-expanding THV was associated with a lower postprocedural mean gradient compared with balloon-expandable THV in patients undergoing aortic VIV replacement.
Background: There is no large-scale study comparing postoperative mortality after aortic valve replacement (AVR) for asymptomatic severe aortic stenosis (AS) between initial treatment with AVR vs. eventual AVR after conservative management.
Methods and Results: We analyzed data from a multicenter registry enrolling 3,815 consecutive patients with severe AS. Of 1,808 asymptomatic patients, 286 patients initially underwent AVR (initial AVR group), and 377 patients were initially managed conservatively and eventually underwent AVR (AVR after watchful waiting group). Mortality after AVR was compared between the 2 groups. Subgroup analysis according to peak aortic jet velocity (Vmax) at diagnosis was also conducted. There was no significant difference between the 2 groups in 5-year overall survival (OS; 86.0% vs. 84.1%, P=0.34) or cardiovascular death-free survival (DFS; 91.3% vs. 91.1%, P=0.61), but on subgroup analysis of patients with Vmax ≥4.5 m/s at diagnosis, the initial AVR group was superior to the AVR after watchful waiting group in both 5-year OS (88.4% vs. 70.6%, P=0.003) and cardiovascular DFS (91.9% vs. 81.7%, P=0.023).
Conclusions: Asymptomatic severe AS patients who underwent AVR after watchful waiting had a postoperative survival rate similar to those who initially underwent AVR. In a subgroup of patients with Vmax ≥4.5 m/s at diagnosis, however, the AVR after watchful waiting group had worse postoperative survival rate than the initial AVR group.
Background: The effect of the unique Japanese indication for MitraClip based on left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) is unclear.
Methods and Results: We analyzed 874 patients who underwent MitraClip because of mitral regurgitation (MR) and compared the characteristics and outcomes between patients with LVEF <30% and ≥30%. Patients with LVEF ≤30% accounted for 33% of the study population and had a higher prevalence of functional MR. Severity of MR after MitraClip was comparable, and LVEF <30% did not independently affect survival.
Conclusions: Japanese unique indication based on LVEF may exclude one third of patients who were treated with MitraClip in Europe.
Background: Epoprostenol infusion is the strongest and most convincing therapeutic strategy for severe pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). This study investigated the gastrointestinal side effects of epoprostenol.
Methods and Results: The study group of 12 patients treated with epoprostenol (epoprostenol group) and 4 patients without epoprostenol (control group) underwent stomach barium examination, which revealed that the prevalence of giant fold gastritis was significantly higher in the patients treated with epoprostenol (75% in epoprostenol group vs. 0% in control group; P=0.019).
Conclusions: Giant fold gastritis may be an important side effect of epoprostenol infusion.