Objective Tolvaptan was first approved for use for cirrhosis in Japan in September 2013. The aim of the study was to examine the effect of tolvaptan, a vasopressin V2 receptor antagonist, on the prognosis of cirrhosis.
Methods The effect of tolvaptan was evaluated in 26 patients with cirrhosis treated at our hospital from September 2013 to April 2015.
Results The primary disease was hepatitis C in 20 patients, hepatitis B in 2, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis in 2 and others in 2; and 12 had hepatocellular carcinoma. The Child-Pugh score was 9.7±1.6 and the serum albumin level was 2.53±0.44 g/dL. Body weight decreased from 55.5±11.8 kg before administration to 52.1±14.7 kg after 7 days of tolvaptan treatment. After 7 days, patients with weight loss ≥2 kg (n=16, mean decrease of 4.3±2.3 kg) had significantly lower blood urea nitrogen (24.2±14.4 vs. 36.1±11.4 mg/dL) and serum creatinine (1.1±0.5 vs. 1.5±0.7 mg/dL) levels and decreased urine osmolality 4 h after the administration of tolvaptan (236±96 vs. 364±122 mOsm/kg) compared with patients with weight loss <2 kg (n=10, mean increase of +0.7±2.1 kg) (all p<0.05). The prognosis was significantly better in the group with weight loss ≥2 kg.
Conclusion The effect of tolvaptan on the renal function is likely to improve the prognosis of patients with cirrhosis if the drug is started at a stage in which the renal function is maintained.
Objective There is little long-term data on the association between the serum albumin levels and mortality in community-based populations. We aimed to determine whether the serum albumin level is an independent risk factor for all-cause and cause-specific death in a community-based cohort study in Japan.
Methods In 1999, we performed a periodic epidemiological survey over a 15-year period in a population of 1,905 healthy subjects (783 males, 1,122 females) who were older than 40 years of age and who resided in Tanushimaru, a rural community, in Japan. Over the course of the study, we periodically examined the blood chemistry of the study subjects, including their serum albumin levels. Their baseline serum albumin levels were categorized into quartiles.
Results The baseline albumin levels were significantly associated with age (inversely), body mass index (BMI), diastolic blood pressure, lipid profiles [high density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-c), low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-c) and triglycerides] and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). After adjusting for confounders, a Cox proportional hazards regression analysis demonstrated that a low serum albumin level was an independent predictor of all-cause death [hazard ratio (HR): 0.39, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.24-0.65], cancer death (HR: 0.43, 95% CI: 0.18-0.99), death from infection (HR: 0.21, 95% CI: 0.06-0.73) and cerebro-cardiovascular death (HR: 0.19, 95% CI: 0.06-0.63). The HRs for all-cause and cerebro-cardiovascular death in the highest quartile vs. the lowest quartile of albumin after adjusting for confounders were 0.59 (95%CI:0.39-0.88) and 0.15 (95%CI: 0.03-0.66), respectively.
Conclusion The serum albumin level was thus found to be a predictor of all-cause and cerebro-cardiovascular death in a general population.
Objective Detecting paroxysmal atrial fibrillation in patients with ischemic stroke presenting in sinus rhythm is difficult because such episodes are often short, and they are also frequently asymptomatic. It is possible that the ventricular repolarization dynamics may reflect atrial vulnerability and cardioembolic stroke. Hence, we compared the QT-RR relation between cardioembolic stroke and atherosclerotic stroke during sinus rhythm.
Methods The subjects comprised 62 consecutive ischemic stroke patients including 31 with cardioembolic strokes (71.8±12.7 years, 17 men) and 31 with atherosclerotic strokes (74.8±10.8 years, 23 men). The QT and RR intervals were measured from ECG waves based on a 15-sec averaged ECG during 24-hour Holter recording using an automatic QT analyzing system. The QT interval dependence on the RR interval was analyzed using a linear regression line for each subject ([QT]=A[RR]+B; where A is the slope and B is the y-intercept).
Results The mean slope of the QT-RR relation was significantly greater in cardioembolic stroke than in atherosclerotic stroke (0.187±0.044 vs. 0.142±0.045, p<0.001). The mean QT, RR, or QTc during 24-hour Holter recordings did not differ between them. An increased slope (≥0.14) of the QT-RR regression line could predict cardioembolic stroke with 97% sensitivity, 55% specificity and a positive predictive value of 64%.
Conclusion The increased slope of the QT-RR linear regression line based on 24-hour Holter ECG in patients with ischemic stroke presenting in sinus rhythm may therefore be a simple and useful marker for cardioembolic stroke.
Objective The aim of this study was to determine whether nocturnal hypoglycemia may be predicted according to morning glucose levels.
Methods We retrospectively evaluated 106 patients with type 2 diabetes who underwent continuous glucose monitoring during admission. The pre-breakfast glucose level (Pre-breakfast level), highest postprandial glucose level within 3 hours after breakfast (Highest level), time from the start of breakfast to the highest postprandial glucose level (Highest time), difference between the pre-breakfast and highest postprandial breakfast glucose levels (Increase), area under the glucose curve (≥180 mg/dL) within 3 hours after breakfast (Morning AUC), post-breakfast glucose gradient (Gradient), and the increase-to-pre-breakfast ratio (Increase/Pre-breakfast) were calculated. The subjects were divided into hypoglycemic and non-hypoglycemic patients and compared for the above parameters using the t-test. A receiver operating characteristic analysis was used to determine the optimal cut-off values to predict nocturnal hypoglycemia (Hypoglycemia).
Results Twenty-eight patients (26.4%) had hypoglycemia. The Pre-breakfast levels were significantly lower in patients with hypoglycemia than those without (p=0.03). The Increases were significantly higher in patients with hypoglycemia than those without (p=0.047). The Increase/Pre-breakfast ratio were significantly larger in patients with hypoglycemia than those without (p=0.0002). Their cut-off values were as follows (level, sensitivity, specificity, and area under the curve): 123 mg/dL, 0.89, 0.55, and 0.78 (p<0.0001); 90.5 mg/dL, 0.75, 0.64, and 0.76 (p<0.0001); and 90.2%, 0.75, 0.76, and 0.78 (p<0.0001), respectively.
Conclusion Major increases between the pre- and post-breakfast glucose levels may predict nocturnal hypoglycemia in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Objective The influence of smoking on the pathogenesis and clinical course of interstitial pneumonia has recently attracted attention. To clarify the influence of smoking on the clinical patient characteristics and therapeutic effects in patients with interstitial pneumonia presenting with a non-specific interstitial pneumonia (NSIP) pattern, we compared the clinical patient characteristics and therapeutic effects in smokers and nonsmokers in this study.
Methods We divided 31 NSIP (16 idiopathic nonspecific interstitial pneumonia and 15 collagen vascular disease-associated nonspecific interstitial pneumonia) patients into smoker and non-smoker groups for each case. The patient characteristics, pulmonary function tests, Krebs von den Lungen 6 (KL-6), surfactant protein D (SP-D), bronchoalveolar lavage fluid findings, and clinical courses for two years were compared between the smoker and non-smoker groups.
Results The smoking subgroup (n=15) of NSIP patients had a significantly lower % diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide/ alveolar ventilation (DLCO/VA) and tended to have higher SP-D values than the nonsmoking subgroup (n=16). Although no difference was observed regarding the prognosis, 5 of 6 cases with NSIP, which had worsening of lung disease were heavy smokers with a pack-year history of 40 or greater.
Conclusion Smoking is thus suggested to negatively influence the diffusing capacity caused by damage to alveolar epithelial cells. In addition, smoking may also be potentially related to resistance to therapy in NSIP cases.
For nutritional support of critically ill patients, the enteral route is preferred over the parenteral route. Although nasojejunal feeding can be superior to gastric feeding when gastrointestinal symptoms occur, it does not necessarily solve the problem of large gastric residual volumes. We report the successful use of a newly developed nasojejunal feeding tube with gastric decompression function in an 84-year-old man with severe pneumonia. After gastric feeding was considered not well tolerated, the use of this tube improved the delivery of nutrition until the patient was stable enough to undergo percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy.
A 64 year-old woman with steroid-dependent immune thrombocytopenia developed anemia. Esophagogastroduodenoscopy revealed the presence of a tumor, which was diagnosed to be diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, in the second portion of the duodenum. 18F-fluorodeoxy glucose positron emission tomography showed an increased uptake mass in the pelvic cavity as well as in the duodenum. Though the duodenal tumor disappeared after 4 cycles of chemotherapy, the pelvic mass did not shrink in size. As a result, laparoscopic resection of the pelvic tumor was performed and the tumor was histologically diagnosed to be a gastrointestinal stromal tumor. Subsequently, the patient was treated with 2 more cycles of the chemotherapy. Eventually, thrombocytopenia completely resolved.
A 56-year-old man was diagnosed with aplastic anemia and paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria at 43 years of age and treatment with cyclosporin A was started. Liver cirrhosis, ascites, and thrombus in the hepatic veins were found at 56 years of age and Budd-Chiari syndrome (BCS) was diagnosed according to angiography findings. He was treated with diuretics and paracentesis was performed several times, but with limited efficacy. A Denver® peritoneovenous shunt (PVS) was inserted into the right jugular vein; his ascites and renal function improved immediately and his general condition has remained good for 12 months since starting the above treatment regimen. A PVS is a treatment option for ascites due to BCS.