Editor’s Choice Articles

Editor’s Choice articles are based on recommendations by the scientific editors of MDPI journals from around the world. Editors select a small number of articles recently published in the journal that they believe will be particularly interesting to readers, or important in the respective research area. The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the various research areas of the journal.

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13 pages, 364 KiB  
Review
Referral of Patients for Surgical Aortic Valve Replacement before and after Introduction of the Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation—Changing Patterns of Preoperative Characteristics and Volume and Postoperative Outcome
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2023, 10(5), 223; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd10050223 - 22 May 2023
Viewed by 828
Abstract
Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) was first presented in 2002 as a case report. Randomized controlled trials showed that TAVI could serve as an alternative for surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR) in high-risk patients. While the indications for TAVI have expanded into low-risk [...] Read more.
Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) was first presented in 2002 as a case report. Randomized controlled trials showed that TAVI could serve as an alternative for surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR) in high-risk patients. While the indications for TAVI have expanded into low-risk groups, favorable results of SAVR in elderly showed an increase in application of surgical treatment in this age category. This review aims to explore the effect of the introduction of TAVI in the referral for SAVR with respect to volume, patient profile, early outcome, and use of mechanical heart valves. Results show that the volume of SAVR has increased in several cardiac centers. In a small minority of series, age and risk score of the referred patients also increased. In most of the series, early mortality rate reduced. These findings, however are not universal. Different management policies could be responsible for this observation. Moreover, some patients in whom aortic valve replacement in whatever form is indicated still do not receive adequate treatment. This can be due to several reasons. Heart teams consisting of interventional cardiologists and cardiac surgeons should become a universal approach in order to minimize the number of untreated patients. Full article
29 pages, 3379 KiB  
Review
Noncoding RNAs as Key Regulators for Cardiac Development and Cardiovascular Diseases
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2023, 10(4), 166; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd10040166 - 12 Apr 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2558
Abstract
Noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) play fundamental roles in cardiac development and cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), which are a major cause of morbidity and mortality. With advances in RNA sequencing technology, the focus of recent research has transitioned from studies of specific candidates to whole transcriptome [...] Read more.
Noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) play fundamental roles in cardiac development and cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), which are a major cause of morbidity and mortality. With advances in RNA sequencing technology, the focus of recent research has transitioned from studies of specific candidates to whole transcriptome analyses. Thanks to these types of studies, new ncRNAs have been identified for their implication in cardiac development and CVDs. In this review, we briefly describe the classification of ncRNAs into microRNAs, long ncRNAs, and circular RNAs. We then discuss their critical roles in cardiac development and CVDs by citing the most up-to-date research articles. More specifically, we summarize the roles of ncRNAs in the formation of the heart tube and cardiac morphogenesis, cardiac mesoderm specification, and embryonic cardiomyocytes and cardiac progenitor cells. We also highlight ncRNAs that have recently emerged as key regulators in CVDs by focusing on six of them. We believe that this review concisely addresses perhaps not all but certainly the major aspects of current progress in ncRNA research in cardiac development and CVDs. Thus, this review would be beneficial for readers to obtain a recent picture of key ncRNAs and their mechanisms of action in cardiac development and CVDs. Full article
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15 pages, 1514 KiB  
Article
Purkinje Cardiomyocytes of the Adult Ventricular Conduction System Are Highly Diploid but Not Uniquely Regenerative
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2023, 10(4), 161; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd10040161 - 07 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1493
Abstract
Adult hearts are characterized by inefficient regeneration after injury, thus, the features that support or prevent cardiomyocyte (CM) proliferation are important to clarify. Diploid CMs are a candidate cell type that may have unique proliferative and regenerative competence, but no molecular markers are [...] Read more.
Adult hearts are characterized by inefficient regeneration after injury, thus, the features that support or prevent cardiomyocyte (CM) proliferation are important to clarify. Diploid CMs are a candidate cell type that may have unique proliferative and regenerative competence, but no molecular markers are yet known that selectively identify all or subpopulations of diploid CMs. Here, using the conduction system expression marker Cntn2-GFP and the conduction system lineage marker Etv1CreERT2, we demonstrate that Purkinje CMs that comprise the adult ventricular conduction system are disproportionately diploid (33%, vs. 4% of bulk ventricular CMs). These, however, represent only a small proportion (3%) of the total diploid CM population. Using EdU incorporation during the first postnatal week, we demonstrate that bulk diploid CMs found in the later heart enter and complete the cell cycle during the neonatal period. In contrast, a significant fraction of conduction CMs persist as diploid cells from fetal life and avoid neonatal cell cycle activity. Despite their high degree of diploidy, the Purkinje lineage had no enhanced competence to support regeneration after adult heart infarction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cardiac Development, Regeneration and Repair)
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12 pages, 2546 KiB  
Review
Moderator Band and Ventricular Tachycardia: Structural or Functional Substrate?
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2023, 10(4), 159; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd10040159 - 06 Apr 2023
Viewed by 3501
Abstract
The moderator band (MB) is an intracavitary structure of the right ventricle composed of muscular fibers encompassing specialized Purkinje fibers, separated each other by collagen and adipose tissue. In the last decades, premature ventricular complexes originating within the Purkinje network have been implicated [...] Read more.
The moderator band (MB) is an intracavitary structure of the right ventricle composed of muscular fibers encompassing specialized Purkinje fibers, separated each other by collagen and adipose tissue. In the last decades, premature ventricular complexes originating within the Purkinje network have been implicated in the genesis of life-threatening arrhythmias. However, right Purkinje network arrhythmias have been much less reported in the literature compared to the left counterpart. The MB has unique anatomical and electrophysiological properties, which may account for its arrhythmogenicity and may be responsible for a significant portion of idiopathic ventricular fibrillation. MB embodies autonomic nervous system cells, with important implications in arrhythmogenesis. Some idiopathic ventricular arrhythmias, defined as the absence of any identifiable structural heart disorder, can begin from this site. Due to these complex structural and functional peculiarities strictly interplayed each other, it is arduous to determine the precise mechanism underlying MB arrhythmias. MB-related arrhythmias should be differentiated from other right Purkinje fibers arrhythmias because of the opportunity for intervention and the unusual site for the ablation poorly described in the literature. In the current paper, we report the characteristics and electrical properties of the MB, their involvement in arrhythmogenesis, clinical and electrophysiological peculiarities of MB-related arrhythmias, and current treatment options. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Approach to Complex Arrhythmias)
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12 pages, 2596 KiB  
Review
Echocardiography vs. CMR in the Quantification of Chronic Mitral Regurgitation: A Happy Marriage or Stormy Divorce?
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2023, 10(4), 150; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd10040150 - 31 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2111
Abstract
Quantification of chronic mitral regurgitation (MR) is essential to guide patients’ clinical management and define the need and appropriate timing for mitral valve surgery. Echocardiography represents the first-line imaging modality to assess MR and requires an integrative approach based on qualitative, semiquantitative, and [...] Read more.
Quantification of chronic mitral regurgitation (MR) is essential to guide patients’ clinical management and define the need and appropriate timing for mitral valve surgery. Echocardiography represents the first-line imaging modality to assess MR and requires an integrative approach based on qualitative, semiquantitative, and quantitative parameters. Of note, quantitative parameters, such as the echocardiographic effective regurgitant orifice area, regurgitant volume (RegV), and regurgitant fraction (RegF), are considered the most reliable indicators of MR severity. In contrast, cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) has demonstrated high accuracy and good reproducibility in quantifying MR, especially in cases with secondary MR; nonholosystolic, eccentric, and multiple jets; or noncircular regurgitant orifices, where quantification with echocardiography is an issue. No gold standard for MR quantification by noninvasive cardiac imaging has been defined so far. Only a moderate agreement has been shown between echocardiography, either with transthoracic or transesophageal approaches, and CMR in MR quantification, as supported by numerous comparative studies. A higher agreement is evidenced when echocardiographic 3D techniques are used. CMR is superior to echocardiography in the calculation of the RegV, RegF, and ventricular volumes and can provide myocardial tissue characterization. However, echocardiography remains fundamental in the pre-operative anatomical evaluation of the mitral valve and of the subvalvular apparatus. The aim of this review is to explore the accuracy of MR quantification provided by echocardiography and CMR in a head-to-head comparison between the two techniques, with insight into the technical aspects of each imaging modality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitral Valve Prolapse and Mitral Regurgitation)
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12 pages, 992 KiB  
Review
Growing Heart Valve Implants for Children
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2023, 10(4), 148; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd10040148 - 31 Mar 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2087
Abstract
The current standard of care for pediatric patients with unrepairable congenital valvular disease is a heart valve implant. However, current heart valve implants are unable to accommodate the somatic growth of the recipient, preventing long-term clinical success in these patients. Therefore, there is [...] Read more.
The current standard of care for pediatric patients with unrepairable congenital valvular disease is a heart valve implant. However, current heart valve implants are unable to accommodate the somatic growth of the recipient, preventing long-term clinical success in these patients. Therefore, there is an urgent need for a growing heart valve implant for children. This article reviews recent studies investigating tissue-engineered heart valves and partial heart transplantation as potential growing heart valve implants in large animal and clinical translational research. In vitro and in situ designs of tissue engineered heart valves are discussed, as well as the barriers to clinical translation. Full article
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13 pages, 2727 KiB  
Article
Morphological and Functional Remodeling of the Ischemic Heart Correlates with Homocysteine Levels
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2023, 10(3), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd10030122 - 14 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1414
Abstract
Background: Homocysteine (Hcy) is involved in various methylation processes, and its plasma level is increased in cardiac ischemia. Thus, we hypothesized that levels of homocysteine correlate with the morphological and functional remodeling of ischemic hearts. Thus, we aimed to measure the Hcy levels [...] Read more.
Background: Homocysteine (Hcy) is involved in various methylation processes, and its plasma level is increased in cardiac ischemia. Thus, we hypothesized that levels of homocysteine correlate with the morphological and functional remodeling of ischemic hearts. Thus, we aimed to measure the Hcy levels in the plasma and pericardial fluid (PF) and correlate them with morphological and functional changes in the ischemic hearts of humans. Methods: Concentration of total homocysteine (tHcy) and cardiac troponin-I (cTn-I) of plasma and PF were measured in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery (n = 14). Left-ventricular (LV) end-diastolic diameter (LVED), LV end-systolic diameter (LVES), right atrial, left atrial (LA) area, thickness of interventricular septum (IVS) and posterior wall, LV ejection fraction (LVEF), and right ventricular outflow tract end-diastolic area (RVOT EDA) of CABG and non-cardiac patients (NCP; n = 10) were determined by echocardiography, and LV mass was calculated (cLVM). Results: Positive correlations were found between Hcy levels of plasma and PF, tHcy levels and LVED, LVES and LA, and an inverse correlation was found between tHcy levels and LVEF. cLVM, IVS, and RVOT EDA were higher in CABG with elevated tHcy (>12 µM/L) compared to NCP. In addition, we found a higher cTn-I level in the PF compared to the plasma of CABG patients (0.08 ± 0.02 vs. 0.01 ± 0.003 ng/mL, p < 0.001), which was ~10 fold higher than the normal level. Conclusions: We propose that homocysteine is an important cardiac biomarker and may have an important role in the development of cardiac remodeling and dysfunction in chronic myocardial ischemia in humans. Full article
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10 pages, 1369 KiB  
Review
Minimal Access Tricuspid Valve Surgery
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2023, 10(3), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd10030118 - 13 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1645
Abstract
Tricuspid valve diseases are a heterogeneous group of pathologies that typically have poor prognoses when treated medically and are associated with significant morbidity and mortality with traditional surgical techniques. Minimal access tricuspid valve surgery may mitigate some of the surgical risks associated with [...] Read more.
Tricuspid valve diseases are a heterogeneous group of pathologies that typically have poor prognoses when treated medically and are associated with significant morbidity and mortality with traditional surgical techniques. Minimal access tricuspid valve surgery may mitigate some of the surgical risks associated with the standard sternotomy approach by limiting pain, reducing blood loss, lowering the risk of wound infections, and shortening hospital stays. In certain patient populations, this may allow for a prompt intervention that could limit the pathologic effects of these diseases. Herein, we review the literature on minimal access tricuspid valve surgery focusing on perioperative planning, technique, and outcomes of minimal access endoscopic and robotic surgery for isolated tricuspid valve disease. Full article
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18 pages, 2280 KiB  
Review
Tricuspid Valve Regurgitation in Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome: Current Insights and Future Perspectives
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2023, 10(3), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd10030111 - 07 Mar 2023
Viewed by 3347
Abstract
Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) is a congenital heart defect that requires a three-stage surgical palliation to create a single ventricle system in the right side of the heart. Of patients undergoing this cardiac palliation series, 25% will develop tricuspid regurgitation (TR), [...] Read more.
Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) is a congenital heart defect that requires a three-stage surgical palliation to create a single ventricle system in the right side of the heart. Of patients undergoing this cardiac palliation series, 25% will develop tricuspid regurgitation (TR), which is associated with an increased mortality risk. Valvular regurgitation in this population has been extensively studied to understand indicators and mechanisms of comorbidity. In this article, we review the current state of research on TR in HLHS, including identified valvular anomalies and geometric properties as the main reasons for the poor prognosis. After this review, we present some suggestions for future TR-related studies to answer the central question: What are the predictors of TR onset during the three palliation stages? These studies involve (i) the use of engineering-based metrics to evaluate valve leaflet strains and predict tissue material properties, (ii) perform multivariate analyses to identify TR predictors, and (iii) develop predictive models, particularly using longitudinally tracked patient cohorts to foretell patient-specific trajectories. Regarded together, these ongoing and future efforts will result in the development of innovative tools that can aid in surgical timing decisions, in prophylactic surgical valve repair, and in the refinement of current intervention techniques. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Congenital Heart Defects: Diagnosis, Management, and Treatment)
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11 pages, 1077 KiB  
Article
Target Balloon-Assisted Antegrade and Retrograde Use of Re-Entry Catheters in Complex Chronic Total Occlusions
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2023, 10(2), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd10020053 - 29 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2058
Abstract
Purpose, Retrograde recanalizations have gained increasing recognition in complex arterial occlusive disease. Re-entry devices are a well described adjunct for antegrade recanalizations. We present our experience with target balloon-assisted antegrade and retrograde recanalizations using re-entry devices in challenging chronic total occlusions. Materials and [...] Read more.
Purpose, Retrograde recanalizations have gained increasing recognition in complex arterial occlusive disease. Re-entry devices are a well described adjunct for antegrade recanalizations. We present our experience with target balloon-assisted antegrade and retrograde recanalizations using re-entry devices in challenging chronic total occlusions. Materials and Methods: We report data from a retrospective multicenter registry. Eligibility criteria included either antegrade or retrograde use of the OutbackTM or GoBackTM re-entry catheter in combination with a balloon as a target to accomplish wire passage, when conventional antegrade and retrograde recanalization attempts had been unsuccessful. Procedural outcomes included technical success (defined as wire passage though the occlusion and delivery of adjunctive therapy with <30% residual stenosis at final angiogram), safety (periprocedural complications, e.g., bleeding, vessel injury, or occlusion of the artery at the re-entry site, and distal embolizations), and clinical outcome (amputation-free survival and freedom from target lesion revascularization after 12-months follow-up). Results: Thirty-six consecutive patients underwent target balloon-assisted recanalization attempts. Fourteen (39 %) patients had a history of open vascular surgery in the index limb. Fifteen patients were claudications (Rutherford Class 2 or 3, 21 presented with chronic limb threatening limb ischemia (Rutherford Class 4 to 6). The locations of the occlusive lesions were as follows: iliac arteries in 3 cases, femoropopliteal artery in 39 cases, and in below-the-knee arteries in 12 cases. In 15 cases, recanalization was attempted in multilevel occlusions. Retrograde access was attempted in 1 case in the common femoral artery, in the femoropopliteal segment in 10 cases, in below-the-knee arteries in 23 cases, and finally in 2 patients via the brachial artery. In 10 cases, the re-entry devices were inserted via the retrograde access site. Technical success was achieved in 34 (94 %) patients. There were 3 periprocedural complications, none directly related to the target balloon-assisted re-entry maneuver. Amputation-free survival was 87.8 % and freedom from clinically driven target lesion revascularization was 86.6 % after 12-months follow-up. Conclusion: Target balloon-assisted use of re-entry devices in chronic total occlusions provides an effective and safe endovascular adjunct, when conventional antegrade and retrograde recanalization attempts have failed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management and Challenges in Peripheral Arterial Disease)
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10 pages, 830 KiB  
Review
Targeted Atrial Fibrillation Therapy and Risk Stratification Using Atrial Alternans
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2023, 10(2), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd10020036 - 20 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1867
Abstract
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most persistent arrhythmia today, with its prevalence increasing exponentially with the rising age of the population. Particularly at elevated heart rates, a functional abnormality known as cardiac alternans can occur prior to the onset of lethal arrhythmias. Cardiac [...] Read more.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most persistent arrhythmia today, with its prevalence increasing exponentially with the rising age of the population. Particularly at elevated heart rates, a functional abnormality known as cardiac alternans can occur prior to the onset of lethal arrhythmias. Cardiac alternans are a beat-to-beat oscillation of electrical activity and the force of cardiac muscle contraction. Extensive evidence has demonstrated that microvolt T-wave alternans can predict ventricular fibrillation vulnerability and the risk of sudden cardiac death. The majority of our knowledge of the mechanisms of alternans stems from studies of ventricular electrophysiology, although recent studies offer promising evidence of the potential of atrial alternans in predicting the risk of AF. Exciting preclinical and clinical studies have demonstrated a link between atrial alternans and the onset of atrial tachyarrhythmias. Here, we provide a comprehensive review of the clinical utility of atrial alternans in identifying the risk and guiding treatment of AF. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Approach to Complex Arrhythmias)
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13 pages, 1036 KiB  
Article
An Individualized, Less-Invasive Surgical Approach Algorithm Improves Outcome in Elderly Patients Undergoing Mitral Valve Surgery
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2023, 10(1), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd10010028 - 11 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1272
Abstract
Background: For mitral valve surgery (MVS) in elderly, frail patients with increasing life expectancy, finding the least harmful means of access is a challenge. In the complexity of MVS approach evolution, using three different approaches (mini-thoracotomy (MT), partial upper-sternotomy (PS), full-sternotomy (FS), we [...] Read more.
Background: For mitral valve surgery (MVS) in elderly, frail patients with increasing life expectancy, finding the least harmful means of access is a challenge. In the complexity of MVS approach evolution, using three different approaches (mini-thoracotomy (MT), partial upper-sternotomy (PS), full-sternotomy (FS), we developed a personalized, minimized-invasiveness algorithm for MVS. Methods: In this retrospective analysis, 517 elderly patients (≥70 years) were identified who had undergone MVS ± TV repair. MVS was performed via MT (n = 274), FS (n = 128) and PS (n = 115). The appropriate access type was defined according to several clinical patient conditions. Using uni- and multivariate regression models, we analyzed combined operative success (residual MV regurgitation, conversion to MV replacement or larger thoracic incisions); perioperative success (30-days mortality, thoracotomy, ECMO, pacemaker implantation, dialysis, longer ventilation); and reoperation-free long-term survival. An additional EuroSCORE2 adjustment was performed to reduce the bias of clinical conditions between all access types. Results: The EuroSCORE2-adjusted Cox regression analysis showed significantly increased reoperation-free survival in the MT cohort compared to FS (HR 0.640; 95% CI 0.442–0.926; p = 0.018). Mortality was additionally reduced after the implementation of PS (p = 0.023). Combined operative success was comparable between the three access types. The perioperative success was higher in the MT cohort compared to FS (OR 2.19, 95% CI 1.32–3.63; p = 0.002). Conclusion: Less-invasive approaches in elderly patients improve perioperative success and reoperation-free survival in those undergoing MVS procedures. Full article
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14 pages, 24390 KiB  
Article
Elderly with Varying Extents of Cardiac Disease Show Interindividual Fluctuating Myocardial TRPC6-Immunoreactivity
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2023, 10(1), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd10010026 - 09 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1476
Abstract
Both particular myocardial locations in the human heart and the canonical transient receptor potential 6 (TRPC6) cation channel have been linked with cardiac pathophysiologies. Thus, the present study mapped TRPC6-protein distribution in select anatomic locations associated with cardiac disease in the context of [...] Read more.
Both particular myocardial locations in the human heart and the canonical transient receptor potential 6 (TRPC6) cation channel have been linked with cardiac pathophysiologies. Thus, the present study mapped TRPC6-protein distribution in select anatomic locations associated with cardiac disease in the context of an orienting pathological assessment. Specimens were obtained from 5 body donors (4 formalin fixation, 1 nitrite pickling salt-ethanol-polyethylene glycol (NEP) fixation; median age 81 years; 2 females) and procured for basic histological stains and TRPC6-immunohistochemistry. The latter was analyzed descriptively regarding distribution and intensity of positive signals. The percentage of positively labelled myocardium was also determined (optical threshold method). Exclusively exploratory statistical analyses were performed. TRPC6-protein was distributed widespread and homogenously within each analyzed sample. TRPC6-immunoreactive myocardial area was comparable regarding the different anatomic regions and sex. A significantly larger area of TRPC6-immunoreactive myocardium was found in the NEP-fixed donor compared to the formalin fixed donors. Two donors with more severe heart disease showed smaller areas of myocardial TRPC6-immunoreactivity overall compared to the other 3 donors. In summary, in the elderly, TRPC6-protein is widely and homogenously distributed, and severe cardiac disease might be associated with less TRPC6-immunoreactive myocardial area. The tissue fixation method represents a potential confounder. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Acquired Cardiovascular Disease)
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11 pages, 808 KiB  
Article
Higher Incidence of Cancer Therapy-Related Cardiac Dysfunction in the COVID-19 Era: A Single Cardio-Oncology Center Experience
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2023, 10(1), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd10010023 - 06 Jan 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1401
Abstract
Aim: COVID-19 pandemic had a big impact on our life, it has revolutionized the practice of cardiology and the organization of hospital and outpatient activities. Thus the aim of our study was to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the development [...] Read more.
Aim: COVID-19 pandemic had a big impact on our life, it has revolutionized the practice of cardiology and the organization of hospital and outpatient activities. Thus the aim of our study was to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the development of cancer therapy-related cardiac dysfunction (CTRCD). Methods and results: A single center retrospective study was carried out evaluating 96 cancer patients treated with anthracyclines and admitted to our Cardio-Oncology unit from June to August 2019 and 60 patients from June to August 2021. The incidence of CTRCD was assessed performing an echocardiogram at the time of the enrollment. We found a significantly higher incidence of CTRCD in the second period compared to first period (13% vs. 2%, p value 0.0058). In addition we found that fewer yearly visits were performed in our Cardio-oncology unit in 2021 compared to 2019 (300 patients/year in 2019 vs. 144 patients/year in the COVID era). Conclusion: COVID-19 pandemic seems to influence the onset of CTRCD in cancer patients by indirectly reducing hospital access of cancer patients and cardiological checks. In addition our data reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the late diagnosis of cancer, in the reduction of hospital admissions and regular medical checks, in the increase of comorbidities and cardiovascular complications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cardiovascular Toxicity Related to Cancer Treatment)
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20 pages, 3376 KiB  
Article
A Story of PA/BSA and Biomarkers to Diagnose Pulmonary Hypertension in Patients with Severe Aortic Valve Stenosis—The Rise of IGF-BP2 and GDF-15
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2023, 10(1), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd10010022 - 05 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1654
Abstract
(1) Background: Currently, echocardiography is the primary non-invasive diagnostic method used to screen patients with severe aortic valve stenosis (AS) for pulmonary hypertension (PH) by estimating systolic pulmonary artery pressure (sPAP). Other radiological methods have been a focus of research in the past [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Currently, echocardiography is the primary non-invasive diagnostic method used to screen patients with severe aortic valve stenosis (AS) for pulmonary hypertension (PH) by estimating systolic pulmonary artery pressure (sPAP). Other radiological methods have been a focus of research in the past couple of years, as it was shown that by determining the pulmonary artery (PA) diameter, prognostic statements concerning overall mortality could be made in these patients. This study compared established and novel cardiovascular biomarkers with the PA/BSA value to detect PH in patients with severe AS. (2) Methods: The study cohort comprised 188 patients with severe AS undergoing transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), who were then divided into two groups based on PA/BSA values obtained through CT-angiography. The presence of PH was defined as a PA/BSA ≥ 16.6 mm/m2 (n = 81), and absence as a PA/BSA < 16.6 mm/m2 (n = 107). Blood samples were taken before TAVR to assess cardiovascular biomarkers used in this study, namely brain natriuretic peptide (BNP), cardiac troponin I (cTnI), high-sensitive troponin (hsTN), soluble suppression of tumorigenesis-2 (sST2), growth/differentiation factor 15 (GDF-15), heart-type fatty acid-binding protein (H-FABP), insulin-like growth factor binding protein 2 (IGF-BP2), and soluble urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR). (3) Results: Patients with a PA/BSA ≥ 16.6 mm/m2 showed significantly higher levels of BNP (p = <0.001), GDF-15 (p = 0.040), and H-FABP (p = 0.007). The other investigated cardiovascular biomarkers did not significantly differ between the two groups. To predict a PA/BSA ≥ 16.6 mm/m2, cut-off values for the biomarkers were calculated. Here, GDF-15 (p = 0.029; cut-off 1172.0 pg/mL) and BNP (p < 0.001; cut-off 2194.0 pg/mL) showed significant results. Consequently, analyses of combined biomarkers were performed, which yielded IGF-BP2 + BNP (AUC = 0.721; 95%CI = 0.585–0.857; p = 0.004) as the best result of the two-way analyses and GDF-15 + IGF-BP2 + BNP (AUC = 0.727; 95%CI = 0.590–0.864; p = 0.004) as the best result of the three-way analyses. No significant difference regarding the 1-year survival between patients with PA/BSA < 16.6 mm/m2 and patients with PA/BSA ≥ 16.6 mm/m2 was found (log-rank test: p = 0.452). (4) Conclusions: Although PA/BSA aims to reduce the bias of the PA value caused by different body compositions and sizes, it is still a controversial parameter for diagnosing PH. Combining the parameter with different cardiovascular biomarkers did not lead to a significant increase in the diagnostic precision for detecting PH in patients with severe AS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives on Pulmonary Hypertension (PH))
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13 pages, 1066 KiB  
Review
Inflammation and Heart Failure: Searching for the Enemy—Reaching the Entelechy
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2023, 10(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd10010019 - 04 Jan 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1759
Abstract
The pivotal role of inflammation in the pathophysiology of heart-failure (HF) development and progression has long been recognized. High blood levels of pro-inflammatory and inflammatory markers are present and associated with adverse outcomes in patients with HF. In addition, there seems to be [...] Read more.
The pivotal role of inflammation in the pathophysiology of heart-failure (HF) development and progression has long been recognized. High blood levels of pro-inflammatory and inflammatory markers are present and associated with adverse outcomes in patients with HF. In addition, there seems to be an interrelation between inflammation and neurohormonal activation, the cornerstone of HF pathophysiology and management. However, clinical trials involving anti-inflammatory agents have shown inconclusive or even contradictory results in improving HF outcomes. In the present review, we try to shed some light on the reciprocal relationship between inflammation and HF in an attempt to identify the central regulating factors, such as inflammatory cells and soluble mediators and the related inflammatory pathways as potential therapeutic targets. Full article
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18 pages, 691 KiB  
Review
SCUBA Diving in Adult Congenital Heart Disease
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2023, 10(1), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd10010020 - 04 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2502
Abstract
Conventionally, scuba diving has been discouraged for adult patients with congenital heart disease (ACHD). This restrictive sports advice is based on expert opinion in the absence of high-quality diving-specific studies. However, as survival and quality of life in congenital heart disease (CHD) patients [...] Read more.
Conventionally, scuba diving has been discouraged for adult patients with congenital heart disease (ACHD). This restrictive sports advice is based on expert opinion in the absence of high-quality diving-specific studies. However, as survival and quality of life in congenital heart disease (CHD) patients have dramatically improved in the last decades, a critical appraisal whether such restrictive sports advice is still applicable is warranted. In this review, the cardiovascular effects of diving are described and a framework for the work-up for ACHD patients wishing to engage in scuba diving is provided. In addition, diving recommendations for specific CHD diagnostic groups are proposed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sports Cardiology: From Diagnosis to Clinical Management)
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12 pages, 1196 KiB  
Review
Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Parametric Mapping Techniques for the Assessment of Chronic Coronary Syndromes
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(12), 443; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9120443 - 09 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1327
Abstract
The term chronic coronary syndromes encompasses a variety of clinical presentations of coronary artery disease (CAD), ranging from stable angina due to epicardial coronary artery disease to microvascular coronary dysfunction. Cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging has an established role in the diagnosis, prognostication [...] Read more.
The term chronic coronary syndromes encompasses a variety of clinical presentations of coronary artery disease (CAD), ranging from stable angina due to epicardial coronary artery disease to microvascular coronary dysfunction. Cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging has an established role in the diagnosis, prognostication and treatment planning of patients with CAD. Recent advances in parametric mapping CMR techniques have added value in the assessment of patients with chronic coronary syndromes, even without the need for gadolinium contrast administration. Furthermore, quantitative perfusion CMR techniques have enabled the non-invasive assessment of myocardial blood flow and myocardial perfusion reserve and can reliably identify multivessel coronary artery disease and microvascular dysfunction. This review summarizes the clinical applications and the prognostic value of the novel CMR parametric mapping techniques in the setting of chronic coronary syndromes and discusses their strengths, pitfalls and future directions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance in Cardiology Practice)
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8 pages, 655 KiB  
Article
Right Ventricular Septal Versus Apical Pacing: Long-Term Incidence of Heart Failure and Survival
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(12), 444; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9120444 - 09 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1433
Abstract
The clinical benefits of right ventricular septal (RVS) pacing compared to those of right ventricular apical (RVA) pacing are still in debate. We aimed to compare the incidence of heart failure (HF) and all-cause mortality in patients submitted to RVS and RVA pacing [...] Read more.
The clinical benefits of right ventricular septal (RVS) pacing compared to those of right ventricular apical (RVA) pacing are still in debate. We aimed to compare the incidence of heart failure (HF) and all-cause mortality in patients submitted to RVS and RVA pacing during a longer follow-up. This a single-center, retrospective study analysis of consecutive patients submitted to pacemaker implantation. The primary outcome was defined as the occurrence of HF during follow-up. The secondary outcome was all-cause death. A total of 251 patients were included, 47 (18.7%) with RVS pacing. RVS pacing was associated to younger age, male gender, lower body mass index, ischemic heart disease, and atrial fibrillation. During a follow-up period of 5.2 years, the primary outcome occurred in 89 (37.1%) patients. RVS pacing was independently associated with a 3-fold lower risk of HF, after adjustment. The secondary outcome occurred in 83 (34.2%) patients, and pacemaker lead position was not a predictor. Fluoroscopy time and rate of complications (rarely life-threatening) were similar in both groups. Our study points to a potential clinical benefit of RVS positioning, with a 3.3-fold lower risk of HF, without accompanying increase in procedure complexity nor complication rate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heart Failure: Clinical Diagnostics and Treatment)
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12 pages, 1428 KiB  
Review
The Role of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance in Patients with Mitral Regurgitation
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(11), 399; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9110399 - 18 Nov 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2044
Abstract
The 2019 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study estimated that there were approximately 24.2 million people affected worldwide by degenerative mitral regurgitation (MR), resulting in 34,200 deaths. After aortic stenosis, MR is the most prevalent VHD in Europe and the second-most common VHD [...] Read more.
The 2019 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study estimated that there were approximately 24.2 million people affected worldwide by degenerative mitral regurgitation (MR), resulting in 34,200 deaths. After aortic stenosis, MR is the most prevalent VHD in Europe and the second-most common VHD to pose indications for surgery in western countries. Current ESC and AHA/ACC guidelines for the management of VHD emphasize the importance of an integrative approach for the assessment of MR severity, which is of paramount importance in dictating the timing for surgery. Transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) and transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) are the first-line imaging modalities; however, despite the technological advancement, sometimes, the final diagnosis on the degree of the disease may still be challenging. In the last 20 years, CMR has emerged as a robust technique in the assessment of patients with cardiac disease, and, recently, its role is gaining more and more importance in the field of VHD. In fact, CMR is the gold standard in the assessment of cardiac volumes, and it is possible to accurately evaluate the regurgitant volume. The purpose of this review is to outline the current state-of-the-art management of MR by using Cardiac Magnetic Resonance (CMR). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cardiac Imaging in Valvular Heart Disease)
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8 pages, 579 KiB  
Article
Pre-Stroke Statin Use Is Associated with Mild Neurological Deficits at the Onset of Acute Ischemic Stroke
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(11), 396; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9110396 - 16 Nov 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1240
Abstract
Pre-stroke statin use reduces infarct size. Therefore, this retrospective study aimed to investigate whether pre-stroke statin use is associated with mild neurological deficits (mND) at the onset of acute ischemic stroke (AIS). We included patients with AIS admitted to our institution within 24 [...] Read more.
Pre-stroke statin use reduces infarct size. Therefore, this retrospective study aimed to investigate whether pre-stroke statin use is associated with mild neurological deficits (mND) at the onset of acute ischemic stroke (AIS). We included patients with AIS admitted to our institution within 24 h of stroke onset between 2011 and 2019. We collected data on age, sex, pre-stroke use of statins, the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score, the serum biomarker levels, and stroke subtypes at admission. In addition, we defined mND as an NIHSS score ≤3 points. We conducted a logistic regression analysis using variables for pre-stroke statin initiation, calculated the propensity scores for pre-stroke statin use, and implemented propensity score matching (PSM). Finally, we used the McNemar test to evaluate whether pre-stroke statin administration significantly affected mND. Of 4370 patients, 2615 met our inclusion criteria. Among the 594 patients with pre-stroke statin use, 308 presented with mND. After PSM, 555 patients received pre-stroke statin treatment, while 286 patients with pre-stroke statin use presented with mND at admission (p = 0.0411). The binary matched pairs contingency table of mND was not symmetrical (p = 0.0385). Pre-stroke statin use is thus associated with mND at the onset of AIS. Full article
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16 pages, 20381 KiB  
Article
OCT Meets micro-CT: A Subject-Specific Correlative Multimodal Imaging Workflow for Early Chick Heart Development Modeling
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(11), 379; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9110379 - 03 Nov 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1714
Abstract
Structural and Doppler velocity data collected from optical coherence tomography have already provided crucial insights into cardiac morphogenesis. X-ray microtomography and other ex vivo methods have elucidated structural details of developing hearts. However, by itself, no single imaging modality can provide comprehensive information [...] Read more.
Structural and Doppler velocity data collected from optical coherence tomography have already provided crucial insights into cardiac morphogenesis. X-ray microtomography and other ex vivo methods have elucidated structural details of developing hearts. However, by itself, no single imaging modality can provide comprehensive information allowing to fully decipher the inner workings of an entire developing organ. Hence, we introduce a specimen-specific correlative multimodal imaging workflow combining OCT and micro-CT imaging which is applicable for modeling of early chick heart development—a valuable model organism in cardiovascular development research. The image acquisition and processing employ common reagents, lab-based micro-CT imaging, and software that is free for academic use. Our goal is to provide a step-by-step guide on how to implement this workflow and to demonstrate why those two modalities together have the potential to provide new insight into normal cardiac development and heart malformations leading to congenital heart disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Models and Methods for Computational Cardiology)
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18 pages, 904 KiB  
Review
New Biomarkers and Their Potential Role in Heart Failure Treatment Optimisation—An African Perspective
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(10), 335; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9100335 - 02 Oct 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2001
Abstract
Heart failure is a clinical syndrome resulting from various cardiovascular diseases of different aetiologies and pathophysiology. These varying pathologies involve several complex mechanisms that lead to the activation of the neurohumoral system, inflammation, angiogenesis, apoptosis, fibrosis, and eventually adverse cardiac remodelling associated with [...] Read more.
Heart failure is a clinical syndrome resulting from various cardiovascular diseases of different aetiologies and pathophysiology. These varying pathologies involve several complex mechanisms that lead to the activation of the neurohumoral system, inflammation, angiogenesis, apoptosis, fibrosis, and eventually adverse cardiac remodelling associated with a progressive decline in cardiac function. Once a diagnosis is made, the cardiac function has a gradual decline characterised by multiple hospital admissions. It is therefore imperative to identify patients at different stages of the heart failure continuum to better risk stratify and initiate optimal management strategies. Biomarkers may play a role in the diagnosis, prognostication, and monitoring response to treatment. This review discusses the epidemiology of heart failure and biomarkers commonly used in clinical practice such as natriuretic peptides and cardiac troponins. In addition, we provide a brief overview of novel biomarkers and genetic coding and non-coding biomarkers used in the management of patients with heart failure. We also discuss barriers that hinder the clinical application of novel biomarkers. Finally, we appraise the value of polygenic risk scoring, focusing on sub-Saharan Africa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Therapeutic Strategies for Heart Failure)
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10 pages, 522 KiB  
Article
Short-Term Atrioventricular Dysfunction Recovery after Post-TAVI Pacemaker Implantation
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(10), 324; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9100324 - 24 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1982
Abstract
Permanent pacemaker implantation (PPI) represents a frequent complication after transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) due to atrio-ventricular (AV) node injury. Predictors of early AV function recovery were investigated. We analyzed 50 consecutive patients (82 ± 6 years, 58% males, EuroSCORE: 7.8 ± 3.3%, [...] Read more.
Permanent pacemaker implantation (PPI) represents a frequent complication after transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) due to atrio-ventricular (AV) node injury. Predictors of early AV function recovery were investigated. We analyzed 50 consecutive patients (82 ± 6 years, 58% males, EuroSCORE: 7.8 ± 3.3%, STS mortality score: 5 ± 2.8%). Pacemaker interrogations within 4–6 weeks from PPI were performed to collect data on AV conduction. The most common indication of PPI was persistent third-degree (44%)/high-degree (20%) AV block/atrial fibrillation (AF) with slow ventricular conduction (16%) after TAVI. At follow-up, 13 patients (26%) recovered AV conduction (i.e., sinus rhythm with stable 1:1 AV conduction/AF with a mean ventricular response >50 bpm, associated with a long-term ventricular pacing percentage < 5%). At multivariate analysis, complete atrio-ventricular block independently predicted pacemaker dependency at follow-up (p = 0.019). Patients with persistent AV dysfunction showed a significant AV conduction time prolongation after TAVI (PR interval from 207 ± 50 to 230 ± 51, p = 0.02; QRS interval from 124 ± 23 to 147 ± 16, p < 0.01) compared to patients with recovery, in whom AV conduction parameters remained unchanged. Several patients receiving PPI after TAVI have recovery of AV conduction within a few weeks. Longer observation periods prior to PPI might be justified, and algorithms to minimize ventricular pacing should be utilized whenever possible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI))
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11 pages, 693 KiB  
Review
The Management of Myocardial Injury Related to SARS-CoV-2 Pneumonia
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(9), 307; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9090307 - 16 Sep 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1959
Abstract
The global evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is known to all. The diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia is expected to worsen, and mortality will be higher when combined with myocardial injury (MI). The combination of novel coronavirus infections in patients with MI can cause [...] Read more.
The global evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is known to all. The diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia is expected to worsen, and mortality will be higher when combined with myocardial injury (MI). The combination of novel coronavirus infections in patients with MI can cause confusion in diagnosis and assessment, with each condition exacerbating the other, and increasing the complexity and difficulty of treatment. It would be a formidable challenge for clinical practice to deal with this situation. Therefore, this review aims to gather literature on the progress in managing MI related to SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia. This article reviews the definition, pathogenesis, clinical evaluation, management, and treatment plan for MI related to SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia based on the most recent literature, diagnosis, and treatment trial reports. Many studies have shown that early diagnosis and implementation of targeted treatment measures according to the different stages of disease can reduce the mortality rate among patients with MI related to SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia. The reviewed studies show that multiple strategies have been adopted for the management of MI related to COVID-19. Clinicians should closely monitor SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia patients with MI, as their condition can rapidly deteriorate and progress to heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, and/or cardiogenic shock. In addition, appropriate measures need to be implemented in the diagnosis and treatment to provide reasonable care to the patient. Full article
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22 pages, 1115 KiB  
Review
Effects of COVID-19 on Arrhythmia
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(9), 292; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9090292 - 02 Sep 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3961
Abstract
The World Health Organization announced that COVID-19, with SARS-CoV-2 as its pathogen, had become a pandemic on 11 March 2020. Today, the global epidemic situation is still serious. With the development of research, cardiovascular injury in patients with COVID-19, such as arrhythmia, myocardial [...] Read more.
The World Health Organization announced that COVID-19, with SARS-CoV-2 as its pathogen, had become a pandemic on 11 March 2020. Today, the global epidemic situation is still serious. With the development of research, cardiovascular injury in patients with COVID-19, such as arrhythmia, myocardial injury, and heart failure, is the second major symptom in addition to respiratory symptoms, and cardiovascular injury is related to the prognosis and mortality of patients. The incidence of arrhythmia in COVID-19 patients ranges from 10% to 20%. The potential mechanisms include viral infection-induced angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 expression change, myocarditis, cytokine storm, cardiac injury, electrophysiological effects, hypoxemia, myocardial strain, electrolyte abnormalities, intravascular volume imbalance, drug toxicities and interactions, and stress response caused by virus infection. COVID-19 complicated with arrhythmia needs to be accounted for and integrated in management. This article reviews the incidence, potential mechanisms, and related management measures of arrhythmia in COVID-19 patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Electrophysiology and Cardiovascular Physiology)
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15 pages, 3062 KiB  
Review
Ventricular Tachycardia Ablation Guided by Functional Substrate Mapping: Practices and Outcomes
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(9), 288; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9090288 - 30 Aug 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2503
Abstract
Catheter ablation of ventricular tachycardia has demonstrated its important role in the treatment of ventricular tachycardia in patients with structural cardiomyopathy. Conventional mapping techniques used to define the critical isthmus, such as activation mapping and entrainment, are limited by the non-inducibility of the [...] Read more.
Catheter ablation of ventricular tachycardia has demonstrated its important role in the treatment of ventricular tachycardia in patients with structural cardiomyopathy. Conventional mapping techniques used to define the critical isthmus, such as activation mapping and entrainment, are limited by the non-inducibility of the clinical tachycardia or its poor hemodynamic tolerance. To overcome these limitations, a voltage mapping strategy based on bipolar electrograms peak to peak analysis was developed, but a low specificity (30%) for VT isthmus has been described with this approach. Functional mapping strategy relies on the analysis of the characteristics of the electrograms but also their propagation patterns and their response to extra-stimulus or alternative pacing wavefronts to define the targets for ablation. With this review, we aim to summarize the different functional mapping strategies described to date to identify ventricular arrhythmic substrate in patients with structural heart disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Catheter Ablation of Cardiac Arrhythmias: Practices and Outcomes)
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12 pages, 304 KiB  
Review
Technical Aspects and Development of Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(8), 282; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9080282 - 22 Aug 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2127
Abstract
Aortic stenosis is the most common valve disease requiring surgery or percutaneous treatment. Since the first-in-man implantation in 2002 we have witnessed incredible progress in transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI). In this article, we review the technical aspects of TAVI development with a [...] Read more.
Aortic stenosis is the most common valve disease requiring surgery or percutaneous treatment. Since the first-in-man implantation in 2002 we have witnessed incredible progress in transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI). In this article, we review the technical aspects of TAVI development with a look at the future. Durability, low thrombogenicity, good hydrodynamics, biocompatibility, low catheter profile, and deployment stability are the attributes of an ideal TAVI device. Two main design types exist—balloon-expandable and self-expanding prostheses. Balloon-expandable prostheses use a cobalt-chromium alloy frame providing high radial strength and radiopacity, while the self-expanding prostheses use a nickel-titanium (Nitinol) alloy frame, which expands to its original shape once unsheathed and heated to the body temperature. The valve is sewn onto the frame and consists of the porcine or bovine pericardium, which is specially treated to prevent calcinations and prolong durability. The lower part of the frame can be covered by polyethylene terephthalate fabric or a pericardial skirt, providing better sealing between the frame and aortic annulus. The main future challenges lie in achieving lower rates of paravalvular leaks and new pacemaker implantations following the procedure, lower delivery system profiles, more precise positioning, longer durability, and a good hemodynamic profile. Patient-specific design and the use of autologous tissue might solve these issues. Full article
12 pages, 1742 KiB  
Review
The Left Ventricular Myocardium in Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(8), 279; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9080279 - 19 Aug 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2327
Abstract
Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) is a collective term applied to severe congenital cardiac malformations, characterised by a combination of abnormalities mainly affecting the left ventricle, associated valves, and ascending aorta. Although in clinical practice HLHS is usually sub-categorised based on the patency [...] Read more.
Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) is a collective term applied to severe congenital cardiac malformations, characterised by a combination of abnormalities mainly affecting the left ventricle, associated valves, and ascending aorta. Although in clinical practice HLHS is usually sub-categorised based on the patency of the mitral and aortic (left-sided) valves, it is also possible to comprehensively categorise HLHS into defined sub-groups based on the left ventricular morphology. Here, we discuss the published human-based studies of the ventricular myocardium in HLHS, evaluating whether the available evidence is in keeping with this ventricular morphology concept. Specifically, we highlight results from histological studies, indicating that the appearance of cardiomyocytes can be different based on the sub-group of HLHS. In addition, we discuss the histological appearances of endocardial fibroelastosis (EFE), which is a common feature of one specific sub-group of HLHS. Lastly, we suggest investigations that should ideally be undertaken using HLHS myocardial tissues at early stages of HLHS development to identify biological pathways and aid the understanding of HLHS aetiology. Full article
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12 pages, 1760 KiB  
Review
Following the Beat: Imaging the Valveless Pumping Function in the Early Embryonic Heart
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(8), 267; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9080267 - 15 Aug 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1593
Abstract
In vertebrates, the coordinated beat of the early heart tube drives cardiogenesis and supports embryonic growth. How the heart pumps at this valveless stage marks a fascinating problem that is of vital significance for understanding cardiac development and defects. The developing heart achieves [...] Read more.
In vertebrates, the coordinated beat of the early heart tube drives cardiogenesis and supports embryonic growth. How the heart pumps at this valveless stage marks a fascinating problem that is of vital significance for understanding cardiac development and defects. The developing heart achieves its function at the same time as continuous and dramatic morphological changes, which in turn modify its pumping dynamics. The beauty of this muti-time-scale process also highlights its complexity that requires interdisciplinary approaches to study. High-resolution optical imaging, particularly fast, four-dimensional (4D) imaging, plays a critical role in revealing the process of pumping, instructing numerical modeling, and enabling biomechanical analyses. In this review, we aim to connect the investigation of valveless pumping mechanisms with the recent advancements in embryonic cardiodynamic imaging, facilitating interactions between these two areas of study, in hopes of encouraging and motivating innovative work to further understand the early heartbeat. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Models and Methods for Computational Cardiology)
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10 pages, 280 KiB  
Article
Contractile Reserve in Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(8), 248; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9080248 - 04 Aug 2022
Viewed by 1512
Abstract
Background: Diastolic stress echocardiography (SE) is useful for confirming the diagnosis of heart failure with preserved left ventricular ejection fraction (HFpEF) when it is uncertain. The aim of this study was to assess the value of new echocardiographic parameters during diastolic SE in [...] Read more.
Background: Diastolic stress echocardiography (SE) is useful for confirming the diagnosis of heart failure with preserved left ventricular ejection fraction (HFpEF) when it is uncertain. The aim of this study was to assess the value of new echocardiographic parameters during diastolic SE in patients with dyspnea and suspected HFpEF. Methods: Sixty-two patients with exertional dyspnea and inconclusive rest echocardiography for a diagnosis of HFpEF were enrolled. Exercise SE was performed in all patients. Contractile reserve (LVCR) was assessed by measuring: 1. changes in the left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) between rest and peak stress; 2. stress-to-rest ratio of force (force was defined as the ratio between systolic arterial pressure and left ventricular end-systolic volume); and 3. mechanical reserve, defined as the change in systolic strain (GLS) between rest and peak stress. Results: Diagnosis of HFpEF was performed by SE in 26 patients. Comparing patients with a diagnosis of HFpEF (group A) to patients with other causes of dyspnea (group B), we found a significant increase in the E/e’ ratio in group A at peak stress. LV GLS was significantly reduced in group A compared to group B at rest and stress (p value 0.01 at rest; p value 0.04 at stress). At peak stress, GLS did not significantly increase in group A, while it increased in group B (p value 0.04). LVEF increased significantly in both groups. Conclusion: Patients with HFpEF have impaired LVCR when assessed using GLS. Thus, the assessment of mechanical reserve could give additional diagnostic information during stress tests in patients with HFpEF. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Imaging)
11 pages, 1052 KiB  
Review
Congenital Heart Disease and the Risk of Cancer: An Update on the Genetic Etiology, Radiation Exposure Damage, and Future Research Strategies
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(8), 245; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9080245 - 01 Aug 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2048
Abstract
Epidemiological studies have shown an increased prevalence of cancer in patients with congenital heart disease (CHD) as compared with the general population. The underlying risk factors for the acquired cancer risk remain poorly understood, and shared genetic anomalies and cumulative radiation exposure from [...] Read more.
Epidemiological studies have shown an increased prevalence of cancer in patients with congenital heart disease (CHD) as compared with the general population. The underlying risk factors for the acquired cancer risk remain poorly understood, and shared genetic anomalies and cumulative radiation exposure from repeated imaging and catheterization procedures may be contributing factors. In the present review, we provide an update on the most recent literature regarding the associations between CHD and cancer, with a particular focus on genetic etiology and radiation exposure from medical procedures. The current evidence indicates that children with CHD may be a high-risk population, already having the first genetic “hit”, and, consequently, may have increased sensitivity to ionizing radiation from birth or earlier. Future research strategies integrating biological and molecular measures are also discussed in this article. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pediatric Cardiology and Congenital Heart Disease)
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13 pages, 3337 KiB  
Article
Characteristics and Prognostic Relevance of Ventricular Arrhythmia in Patients with Myocarditis
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(8), 243; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9080243 - 29 Jul 2022
Viewed by 2677
Abstract
Myocarditis is characterized by various clinical manifestations, with ventricular arrhythmia (VA) as a frequent symptom at initial presentation. Here, we investigated characteristics and prognostic relevance of VA in patients with myocarditis. The study population consisted of 76 patients with myocarditis, verified by biopsy [...] Read more.
Myocarditis is characterized by various clinical manifestations, with ventricular arrhythmia (VA) as a frequent symptom at initial presentation. Here, we investigated characteristics and prognostic relevance of VA in patients with myocarditis. The study population consisted of 76 patients with myocarditis, verified by biopsy and/or cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging, including 38 consecutive patients with VA (45 ± 3 years, 68% male) vs. 38 patients without VA (NVA) (38 ± 2 years, 84% male) serving as a control group. VA was monomorphic ventricular tachycardia in 55% of patients, premature ventricular complexes in 50% and ventricular fibrillation in 29%. The left ventricular ejection fraction at baseline was 47 ± 2% vs. 40 ± 3% in VA vs. NVA patients (p = 0.069). CMR showed late gadolinium enhancement more often in VA patients (94% vs. 69%; p = 0.016), incorporating 17.6 ± 1.8% vs. 8.2 ± 1.3% of myocardial mass (p < 0.001). Radiofrequency catheter ablation for VA was initially performed in nine (24%) patients, of whom five remained free from any recurrence over 24 ± 3 months. Taken together, in patients with myocarditis, reduced left ventricular ejection fraction does not predict VA occurrence but CMR shows late gadolinium enhancement more frequently and to a larger extent in VA than in NVA patients, potentially guiding catheter ablation as a reasonable treatment of VA in this population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Catheter Ablation of Cardiac Arrhythmias: Practices and Outcomes)
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19 pages, 1053 KiB  
Review
Effects of Exercise on Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction: An Updated Review of Literature
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(8), 241; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9080241 - 28 Jul 2022
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 5191
Abstract
Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) represents the most common HF phenotype of patients aged > 65 years, with an incidence and a prevalence that are constantly growing. The HFpEF cardinal symptom is exercise intolerance (EI), defined as the impaired ability to [...] Read more.
Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) represents the most common HF phenotype of patients aged > 65 years, with an incidence and a prevalence that are constantly growing. The HFpEF cardinal symptom is exercise intolerance (EI), defined as the impaired ability to perform physical activity and to reach the predicted age-related level of exercise duration in the absence of symptoms—such as fatigue or dyspnea—and is associated with a poor quality of life, a higher number of hospitalizations, and poor outcomes. The evidence of the protective effect between exercise and adverse cardiovascular outcomes is numerous and long-established. Regular exercise is known to reduce cardiovascular events and overall mortality both in apparently healthy individuals and in patients with established cardiovascular disease, representing a cornerstone in the prevention and treatment of many cardio-metabolic conditions. Several studies have investigated the role of exercise in HFpEF patients. The present review aims to dwell upon the effects of exercise on HFpEF. For this purpose, the relevant data from a literature search (PubMed, EMBASE, and Medline) were reviewed. The analysis of these studies underlines the fact that exercise training programs improve the cardiorespiratory performance of HFpEF patients in terms of the increase in peak oxygen uptake, the 6 min walk test distance, and the ventilatory threshold; on the other hand, diastolic or systolic functions are generally unchanged or only partially modified by exercise, suggesting that multiple mechanisms contribute to the improvement of exercise tolerance in HFpEF patients. In conclusion, considering that exercise training programs are able to improve the cardiorespiratory performance of HFpEF patients, the prescription of exercise training programs should be encouraged in stable HFpEF patients, and further research is needed to better elucidate the pathophysiological mechanisms underpinning the beneficial effects described. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cardiovascular Effects and Benefits of Exercise)
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12 pages, 5052 KiB  
Article
Electroporation Parameters for Human Cardiomyocyte Ablation In Vitro
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(8), 240; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9080240 - 28 Jul 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2545
Abstract
Cardiac ablation with irreversible electroporation (IRE) is quickly being established as a modality of choice for atrial fibrillation treatment. While it has not yet been optimised, IRE has the potential to significantly limit collateral damage and improve cell-specific targeting associated with other energy [...] Read more.
Cardiac ablation with irreversible electroporation (IRE) is quickly being established as a modality of choice for atrial fibrillation treatment. While it has not yet been optimised, IRE has the potential to significantly limit collateral damage and improve cell-specific targeting associated with other energy sources. However, more tissue and cell-specific evidence is required to demonstrate the selective threshold parameters for human cells. The aim here is to determine the optimal ablation threshold parameters related to lesion size for human cardiomyocytes in 2D culture. Conventional biphasic pulses of different field strengths and on-times were delivered in a monolayer culture system of human AC16 cardiomyocytes. The dynamics of cell death and lesion dimensions were examined at different time points. Human cardiomyocytes are susceptible to significant electroporation and cell death at a field strength of 750 V/cm or higher with 100 μs pulses. Increasing the IRE on-time from 3 ms to 60 ms reduces the effective field threshold to 250 V/cm. Using very short pulses of 2 μs and 5 μs also causes significant cell death, but only at fields higher than 1000 V/cm. A longer on-time results in more cell death and induced greater lesion area in 2D models. In addition, different forms of cell death are predicted based on the evolution of cell death over time. This study presents important findings on the ability of different IRE parameters to induce human cardiomyocyte cell death. Lesion size can be tuned by appropriate choice of IRE parameters and cardiomyocytes display an upregulation of delayed cell death 24 h after electroporation, which is an important consideration for clinical practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Catheter Ablation of Cardiac Arrhythmias: Practices and Outcomes)
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20 pages, 1471 KiB  
Review
Sex Differences in Acute Coronary Syndromes: A Global Perspective
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(8), 239; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9080239 - 27 Jul 2022
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 4912
Abstract
Despite increasing evidence and improvements in the care of acute coronary syndromes (ACS), sex disparities in presentation, comorbidities, access to care and invasive therapies remain, even in the most developed countries. Much of the currently available data are derived from more developed regions [...] Read more.
Despite increasing evidence and improvements in the care of acute coronary syndromes (ACS), sex disparities in presentation, comorbidities, access to care and invasive therapies remain, even in the most developed countries. Much of the currently available data are derived from more developed regions of the world, particularly Europe and the Americas. In contrast, in more resource-constrained settings, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and some parts of Asia, more data are needed to identify the prevalence of sex disparities in ACS, as well as factors responsible for these disparities, particularly cultural, socioeconomic, educational and psychosocial. This review summarizes the available evidence of sex differences in ACS, including risk factors, pathophysiology and biases in care from a global perspective, with a focus on each of the six different World Health Organization (WHO) regions of the world. Regional trends and disparities, gaps in evidence and solutions to mitigate these disparities are also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heart Disease in Women)
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13 pages, 1548 KiB  
Article
Left Atrial Remodeling after Mitral Valve Repair for Primary Mitral Regurgitation: Evolution over Time and Prognostic Significance
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(7), 230; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9070230 - 18 Jul 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2137
Abstract
Left atrial (LA) dilatation is associated with worse outcomes in primary mitral regurgitation (MR). However, the effects of mitral valve repair on LA size and its prognostic implications are not well known. In the current study, LA volume index (LAVi) and LA reservoir [...] Read more.
Left atrial (LA) dilatation is associated with worse outcomes in primary mitral regurgitation (MR). However, the effects of mitral valve repair on LA size and its prognostic implications are not well known. In the current study, LA volume index (LAVi) and LA reservoir strain (LASr) were evaluated immediately before and after surgery, and during long-term follow-up in 226 patients undergoing mitral valve repair for primary MR (age 62 ± 13 years, 66% male). Mean LAVi was reduced significantly after surgery and at long-term follow-up (from 56 ± 28 to 38 ± 21 to 32 ± 17 mL/m2; p < 0.001). LASr reduced significantly after surgery but increased again during the long-term (from 23.6 ± 9.4 to 11.5 ± 5.0 to 17.3 ± 7.5%; p < 0.001). Age, pre-operative LAVi, MR severity, and postoperative transmitral pressure gradient were associated with LA reverse remodeling by the long-term check-up. During a median follow-up of 72 (40–114) months, 43 (19%) patients died. Patients with LAVi ≥ 42 mL/m2 at long-term follow-up showed significant higher mortality rates compared to patients with LAVI < 42 mL/m2 (p < 0.001), even after adjusting for clinical covariates. In conclusion, significant LA reverse remodeling was observed both immediately and at long-term follow-up after mitral valve repair. LA dilatation at long term follow-up after surgery was still associated with all-cause mortality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitral Valve Prolapse and Mitral Regurgitation)
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18 pages, 2122 KiB  
Review
TAVR for All? The Surgical Perspective
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(7), 223; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9070223 - 12 Jul 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2301
Abstract
In spite of the noninferiority of transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) in high- and intermediate-risk patients, there are still obstacles that need to be overcome before the procedure is further expanded and clinically integrated. The lack of evidence on the long-term durability of [...] Read more.
In spite of the noninferiority of transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) in high- and intermediate-risk patients, there are still obstacles that need to be overcome before the procedure is further expanded and clinically integrated. The lack of evidence on the long-term durability of the bioprostheses used for TAVR remains of particular concern. In addition, surgery may be preferred over TAVR in patients with bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) or with concomitant pathologies such as other valve diseases (mitral regurgitation/tricuspid regurgitation), aortopathy, and coronary artery disease. In this review, we discuss and summarize relevant data from clinical trials, current trends, and remaining obstacles, and provide our perspective on the indications for the expansion of TAVR. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI))
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11 pages, 899 KiB  
Article
Low Prevalence of Cardiomyopathy in Patients with Mitochondrial Disease and Neurological Manifestations
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(7), 221; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9070221 - 09 Jul 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1928
Abstract
Patients with mitochondrial diseases can develop cardiomyopathy but with variable expressivity and penetrance. Our prospective study enrolled and evaluated a cohort of 53 patients diagnosed with chronic progressive ophthalmoplegia (CPEO, n = 34), Kearns–Sayre syndrome (KSS, n = 3), neuropathy ataxia and retinitis [...] Read more.
Patients with mitochondrial diseases can develop cardiomyopathy but with variable expressivity and penetrance. Our prospective study enrolled and evaluated a cohort of 53 patients diagnosed with chronic progressive ophthalmoplegia (CPEO, n = 34), Kearns–Sayre syndrome (KSS, n = 3), neuropathy ataxia and retinitis pigmentosa (NARP, n = 1), myoclonic epilepsy with ragged red fibers (MERRF, n = 1), Harel–Yoon Syndrome (HYS, n = 1) and 13 patients with undefined mitochondrial diseases, presenting primarily with neurological symptoms. Over a 4-year period, six patients in our study cohort were diagnosed with heart disease (11.3%), with only three patients having defined cardiomyopathy (5.7%). Cardiomyopathy was present in a 21-year-old patient with HYS and two CPEO patients having mild cardiomyopathy at an older age. Two CPEO patients had congenital heart disease, and a third CPEO had LV hypertrophy secondary to hypertension. In three patients, traditional risk factors for heart disease, including dyslipidemia, hypertension, and respiratory disease, were present. The majority of our adult cohort of patients have normal cardiac investigations with a median left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction of 59.0%, indexed LV mass of 67.0 g/m2, and normal diastolic and valvular function at baseline. A 12-lead electrocardiogram showed normal cardiac conduction across the study cohort. Importantly, follow-up assessments showed consistent cardiac structure and function. Our study shows a low prevalence of cardiomyopathy and highlights the breadth of phenotypic variability in patients with mitochondrial disorders. The presence of cardiovascular risk factors and aging are important comorbidities in our cohort. Full article
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9 pages, 1780 KiB  
Article
A Comparative Study on Surgical Treatment of Valvular Heart Disease between High-Volume Cardiac Centers in China and STS Data
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(7), 212; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9070212 - 02 Jul 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1693
Abstract
The goal of this study is to summarize valvular surgery data from the Chinese Cardiac Surgery Registry (CCSR) and compare it to the most recent data from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS). From 2016 to 2018, a total of 34,386 cases of [...] Read more.
The goal of this study is to summarize valvular surgery data from the Chinese Cardiac Surgery Registry (CCSR) and compare it to the most recent data from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS). From 2016 to 2018, a total of 34,386 cases of the seven most common valvular surgical procedures was obtained from the CCSR. We calculated the proportions of different procedures in the CCSR cohort (n = 34,386) as well as the change in operation volume for each procedure. We also compiled rates of postoperative in-hospital mortality and five major complications across all procedures. All of the results were compared to the STS data. The CCSR and STS data showed divergent trends in valvular heart disease features and operation volume. Although the proportion of MV repair in the CCSR (13.7%) data was lower than in the STS data (23.2%), it demonstrated a substantial upward trend. In terms of operation volume, the CCSR data showed an upward trend, but the STS data showed a downward trend. CCSR procedures showed lower mortality (2% vs. 2.6%), reoperation (2.8% vs. 4.3%), and permanent stroke (0.5% vs. 1.6%) rates than STS procedures but higher rates of prolonged ventilation (22.4% vs. 10.4%) and renal failure (5.6% vs. 3.2%). Valvular surgery quality in China’s leading cardiac hospitals is roughly comparable to that in the United States. China, on the other hand, has some shortcomings that need improvement. Full article
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13 pages, 2385 KiB  
Article
Biventricular versus Conduction System Pacing after Atrioventricular Node Ablation in Heart Failure Patients with Atrial Fibrillation
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(7), 209; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9070209 - 01 Jul 2022
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2600
Abstract
Conduction system pacing (CSP) modalities, including His-bundle pacing (HBP) and left bundle branch pacing (LBBP), are increasingly used as alternatives to biventricular (BiV) pacing in heart failure (HF) patients scheduled for pace and ablate strategy. The aim of the study was to compare [...] Read more.
Conduction system pacing (CSP) modalities, including His-bundle pacing (HBP) and left bundle branch pacing (LBBP), are increasingly used as alternatives to biventricular (BiV) pacing in heart failure (HF) patients scheduled for pace and ablate strategy. The aim of the study was to compare clinical outcomes of HF patients with refractory AF who received either BiV pacing or CSP in conjunction with atrio-ventricular node ablation (AVNA). Fifty consecutive patients (male 48%, age 70 years (IQR 9), left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) 39% (IQR 12)) were retrospectively analysed. Thirteen patients (26%) received BiV pacing, 27 patients (54%) HBP and 10 patients (20%) LBBP. All groups had similar baseline characteristics and acute success rate. While New York Heart. Association (NYHA) class improved in both HBP (p < 0.001) and LBBP (p = 0.008), it did not improve in BiV group (p = 0.096). At follow-up, LVEF increased in HBP (form 39% (IQR 15) to 49% (IQR 16), p < 0.001) and LBBP (from 28% (IQR 13) to 40% (IQR 13), p = 0.041), but did not change in BiV group (p = 0.916). Conduction system pacing modalities showed superior symptomatic and echocardiographic improvement compared to BiV pacing after AVNA. With more stable pacing parameters, LBBP could present a more feasible pacing option compared to HBP. Full article
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14 pages, 896 KiB  
Review
Left Ventricular Noncompaction in Children: The Role of Genetics, Morphology, and Function for Outcome
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(7), 206; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9070206 - 30 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2171
Abstract
Left ventricular noncompaction (LVNC) is a ventricular wall anomaly morphologically characterized by numerous, excessively prominent trabeculations and deep intertrabecular recesses. Accumulating data now suggest that LVNC is a distinct phenotype but must not constitute a pathological phenotype. Some individuals fulfill the morphologic criteria [...] Read more.
Left ventricular noncompaction (LVNC) is a ventricular wall anomaly morphologically characterized by numerous, excessively prominent trabeculations and deep intertrabecular recesses. Accumulating data now suggest that LVNC is a distinct phenotype but must not constitute a pathological phenotype. Some individuals fulfill the morphologic criteria of LVNC and are without clinical manifestations. Most importantly, morphologic criteria for LVNC are insufficient to diagnose patients with an associated cardiomyopathy (CMP). Genetic testing has become relevant to establish a diagnosis associated with CMP, congenital heart disease, neuromuscular disease, inborn error of metabolism, or syndromic disorder. Genetic factors play a more decisive role in children than in adults and severe courses of LVNC tend to occur in childhood. We reviewed the current literature and highlight the difficulties in establishing the correct diagnosis for children with LVNC. Novel insights show that the interplay of genetics, morphology, and function determine the outcome in pediatric LVNC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pediatric Cardiomyopathies: From Genotype to Phenotype)
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22 pages, 1201 KiB  
Review
Congenital Heart Disease: The State-of-the-Art on Its Pharmacological Therapeutics
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(7), 201; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9070201 - 26 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 4513
Abstract
Congenital heart disease is one of the most common causes of death derived from malformations. Historically, its treatment has depended on timely diagnosis and early pharmacological and surgical interventions. Survival rates for patients with this disease have increased, primarily due to advancements in [...] Read more.
Congenital heart disease is one of the most common causes of death derived from malformations. Historically, its treatment has depended on timely diagnosis and early pharmacological and surgical interventions. Survival rates for patients with this disease have increased, primarily due to advancements in therapeutic choices, but mortality remains high. Since this disease is a time-sensitive pathology, pharmacological interventions are needed to improve clinical outcomes. Therefore, we analyzed the applications, dosage, and side effects of drugs currently used for treating congenital heart disease. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, beta-blockers, and potassium-sparing diuretics have shown a mortality benefit in most patients. Other therapies, such as endothelin receptor antagonists, phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors, prostaglandins, and soluble guanylyl cyclase stimulators, have benefited patients with pulmonary artery hypertension. Likewise, the adjunctive symptomatic treatment of these patients has further improved the outcomes, since antiarrhythmics, digoxin, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have shown their benefits in these cases. Conclusively, these drugs also carry the risk of troublesome adverse effects, such as electrolyte imbalances and hemodynamic compromise. However, their benefits for survival, symptom improvement, and stabilization outweigh the possible complications from their use. Thus, cases must be assessed individually to accurately identify interventions that would be most beneficial for patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Congenital Heart Defects: Diagnosis, Management, and Treatment)
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16 pages, 667 KiB  
Review
Arrhythmias and Heart Failure in Pregnancy: A Dialogue on Multidisciplinary Collaboration
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(7), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9070199 - 24 Jun 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3660
Abstract
The prevalence of CVD in pregnant people is estimated to be around 1 to 4%, and it is imperative that clinicians that care for obstetric patients can promptly and accurately diagnose and manage common cardiovascular conditions as well as understand when to promptly [...] Read more.
The prevalence of CVD in pregnant people is estimated to be around 1 to 4%, and it is imperative that clinicians that care for obstetric patients can promptly and accurately diagnose and manage common cardiovascular conditions as well as understand when to promptly refer to a high-risk obstetrics team for a multidisciplinary approach for managing more complex patients. In pregnant patients with CVD, arrhythmias and heart failure (HF) are the most common complications that arise. The difficulty in the management of these patients arises from variable degrees of severity of both arrhythmia and heart failure presentation. For example, arrhythmia-based complications in pregnancy can range from isolated premature ventricular contractions to life-threatening arrhythmias such as sustained ventricular tachycardia. HF also has variable manifestations in pregnant patients ranging from mild left ventricular impairment to patients with advanced heart failure with acute decompensated HF. In high-risk patients, a collaboration between the general obstetrics, maternal-fetal medicine, and cardiovascular teams (which may include cardio-obstetrics, electrophysiology, adult congenital, or advanced HF)—physicians, nurses and allied professionals—can provide the multidisciplinary approach necessary to properly risk-stratify these women and provide appropriate management to improve outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heart Disease in Women)
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13 pages, 677 KiB  
Article
Serum and Vascular Stiffness Biomarkers Associated with the Severity of Degenerative Aortic Valve Stenosis and Cardiovascular Outcomes
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(6), 193; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9060193 - 17 Jun 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1921
Abstract
Background: Although degenerative aortic valve stenosis (DAS) is the most prevalent growth-up congestive heart valve disease, still little known about relationships between DAS severity, vascular stiffness (VS), echocardiographic parameters, and serum biomarkers in patients undergoing transcatheter (TAVR) or surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR). [...] Read more.
Background: Although degenerative aortic valve stenosis (DAS) is the most prevalent growth-up congestive heart valve disease, still little known about relationships between DAS severity, vascular stiffness (VS), echocardiographic parameters, and serum biomarkers in patients undergoing transcatheter (TAVR) or surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR). The objective of this study was to identify biomarkers associated with DAS severity, and those that are associated with cardiovascular death (CVD) and episodes of chronic heart failure (CHF) exacerbation. Methods: A total of 137 patients with initially moderate-to-severe DAS were prospectively evaluated for the relationship between DAS severity, baseline VS, and serum biomarkers (uPAR, GDF-15, Gal-3, IL-6Rα, ET-1, PCSK9, RANTES/CCL5, NT-proBNP, and hs-TnT), and were followed-up for 48 months. The prognostic significance of each variable for CVD and CHF risk was measured by hazard ratio of risk (HR), which was calculated by Cox’s proportional hazard model. Results: DAS severity showed correlations with IL-6Rα (r = 0.306, p < 0.001), uPAR (r = 0.184, p = 0.032), and NT-proBNP (r = −0.389, p < 0.001). Levels of ET-1 and Gal-3 were strongly correlated with VS parameters (r = 0.674, p < 0.001; r = 0.724, p < 0.001). Out of 137 patients, 20 were referred to TAVR, 88 to SAVR, and 29 to OMT. In TAVR patients, the highest levels of ET-1, Gal-3, and VS were found as compared to other patients. The highest incidence of CVD was observed in patients who underwent TAVR (35%), compared to SAVR (8%) and OMT (10.3%) (p = 0.004). In a multivariate analysis, ET-1 occurred predictive of CVD risk (HR 25.1, p = 0.047), while Gal-3 > 11.5 ng/mL increased the risk of CHF exacerbation episodes requiring hospital admission by 12%. Conclusions: Our study indicated that ET-1 and Gal-3 levels may be associated with the outcomes in patients with DAS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI))
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17 pages, 670 KiB  
Review
Infective Endocarditis in the Elderly: Challenges and Strategies
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(6), 192; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9060192 - 17 Jun 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3277
Abstract
The specific management of infective endocarditis (IE) in elderly patients is not specifically addressed in recent guidelines despite its increasing incidence and high mortality in this population. The term “elderly” corresponds to different ages in the literature, but it is defined by considerable [...] Read more.
The specific management of infective endocarditis (IE) in elderly patients is not specifically addressed in recent guidelines despite its increasing incidence and high mortality in this population. The term “elderly” corresponds to different ages in the literature, but it is defined by considerable comorbidity and heterogeneity. Cancer incidence, specifically colorectal cancer, is increased in older patients with IE and impacts its outcome. Diagnosis of IE in elderly patients is challenging due to the atypical presentation of the disease and the lower performance of imaging studies. Enterococcal etiology is more frequent than in younger patients. Antibiotic treatment should prioritize diminishing adverse effects and drug interactions while maintaining the best efficacy, as surgical treatment is less commonly performed in this population due to the high surgical risk. The global assessment of elderly patients with IE, with particular attention to frailty and geriatric profiles, should be performed by multidisciplinary teams to improve disease management in this population. Full article
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25 pages, 2530 KiB  
Review
When Does the Human Embryonic Heart Start Beating? A Review of Contemporary and Historical Sources of Knowledge about the Onset of Blood Circulation in Man
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(6), 187; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9060187 - 09 Jun 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4747
Abstract
The onset of embryonic heart beating may be regarded as the defining feature for the beginning of personal human life. Clarifying the timing of the first human heartbeat, therefore, has religious, philosophical, ethical, and medicolegal implications. This article reviews the historical and contemporary [...] Read more.
The onset of embryonic heart beating may be regarded as the defining feature for the beginning of personal human life. Clarifying the timing of the first human heartbeat, therefore, has religious, philosophical, ethical, and medicolegal implications. This article reviews the historical and contemporary sources of knowledge on the beginning of human heart activity. Special attention is given to the problem of the determination of the true age of human embryos and to the problem of visualization of the human embryonic heart activity. It is shown that historical and current textbook statements about the onset of blood circulation in man do not derive from observations on living human embryos but derive from the extrapolation of observations on animal embryos to the human species. This fact does not preclude the existence of documented observations on human embryonic heart activity: Modern diagnostic (ultrasound) and therapeutic (IVF) procedures facilitate the visualization of early embryonic heart activity in precisely dated pregnancies. Such studies showed that the human heart started its pumping action during the fourth post-fertilization week. A small number of direct observations on the heart activity of aborted human embryos were reported since the 19th century, but did not receive much recognition by embryologists. Full article
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16 pages, 1239 KiB  
Review
Epigenetics and Congenital Heart Diseases
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(6), 185; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9060185 - 09 Jun 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2631
Abstract
Congenital heart disease (CHD) is a frequent occurrence, with a prevalence rate of almost 1% in the general population. However, the pathophysiology of the anomalous heart development is still unclear in most patients screened. A definitive genetic origin, be it single-point mutation or [...] Read more.
Congenital heart disease (CHD) is a frequent occurrence, with a prevalence rate of almost 1% in the general population. However, the pathophysiology of the anomalous heart development is still unclear in most patients screened. A definitive genetic origin, be it single-point mutation or larger chromosomal disruptions, only explains about 35% of identified cases. The precisely choreographed embryology of the heart relies on timed activation of developmental molecular cascades, spatially and temporally regulated through epigenetic regulation: chromatin conformation, DNA priming through methylation patterns, and spatial accessibility to transcription factors. This multi-level regulatory network is eminently susceptible to outside disruption, resulting in faulty cardiac development. Similarly, the heart is unique in its dynamic development: growth is intrinsically related to mechanical stimulation, and disruption of the intrauterine environment will have a direct impact on fetal embryology. These two converging axes offer new areas of research to characterize the cardiac epigenetic regulation and identify points of fragility in order to counteract its teratogenic consequences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Congenital Heart Defects: Diagnosis, Management, and Treatment)
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9 pages, 1111 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of the Appropriate Use of Coronary Computed Tomography Angiography: A Retrospective, Single-Center Analysis
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(6), 180; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9060180 - 04 Jun 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1580
Abstract
Purpose: We assessed the application of appropriate use criteria of coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) in comparison to invasive coronary angiography results and revascularization rates in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD). Methods: 1305 patients referred to invasive coronary angiography (ICA) after CCTA [...] Read more.
Purpose: We assessed the application of appropriate use criteria of coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) in comparison to invasive coronary angiography results and revascularization rates in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD). Methods: 1305 patients referred to invasive coronary angiography (ICA) after CCTA were evaluated retrospectively. The primary indication for CCTA was assessed according to the consensus for intermediate-risk (15–85% pre-test probability) into appropriate (A), inappropriate (I), and uncertain while referring to published guidelines. Patients’ risk factors, angina, and heart failure symptoms (Canadian Cardiovascular Society classification (CCSC), New York Heart Association (NYHA); clinical data; and ICA results were gathered. Results: Of 1305 patients referred to CCTA prior to ICA, 496 (38.0%) were appropriate, 766 (56.9%) inappropriate, and 43 (3.3%) uncertain. Of 766 patients with inappropriate CCTA referrals, 370 (48.3%) were classified as “inappropriately low” (<15% pre-test probability) and 396 (51.7%) as “inappropriately high” (>85%) in regard to the recommended CCTA utilization. Sub-analysis of the adherence to the appropriate use criteria did not differ between the source of the referring physicians (intramural tertiary, private practice primary care, or external secondary care hospitals). Obstructive CAD with subsequent revascularization rates (total of 39.2%) did not differ significantly between the appropriate (38.3%), inappropriate (41.0%), or uncertain (23.3%) groups (p = 0.068). Conclusion: The total coronary revascularization rate after CCTA was 39.2% and not different among low, intermediate, and pre-test probability groups. These findings support the role of CCTA as an excellent gatekeeper in patients with suspected obstructive CAD even beyond pre-test probability calculation models. Full article
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9 pages, 267 KiB  
Article
Effects of Concurrent Aerobic Plus Resistance Training on Blood Pressure Variability and Blood Pressure Values in Patients with Hypertension and Coronary Artery Disease: Gender-Related Differences
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(6), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9060172 - 27 May 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1923
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to compare changes in blood pressure variability (BPV) and blood pressure (BP) values occurring in response to concurrent training (CT) between the two genders. A total of 35 males and 20 women aged 55–80 years, with hypertension and [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to compare changes in blood pressure variability (BPV) and blood pressure (BP) values occurring in response to concurrent training (CT) between the two genders. A total of 35 males and 20 women aged 55–80 years, with hypertension and coronary artery disease, were included. They underwent a 12-week CT program. The aerobic component of CT was performed according to the rate of perceived exertion while the intensity of the resistance component was set at 60% of 1 repetition maximum for the first 4 weeks and then increased to 80%. BP and BPV were evaluated at baseline and at the end of the CT program through 24 h ambulatory blood pressure monitoring. After 12-weeks, 24 h and daytime systolic BPV decreased in both men and women without significant between-groups differences. Twenty-four-hour daytime and nighttime diastolic BPV decreased in both genders with a significantly greater decrease in women compared to men. Twenty-four-hour daytime systolic and 24 h diastolic BP decreased in men while they were unchanged in women. In conclusion, CT induced similar reductions of systolic BPV in men and women and a greater decrease in diastolic BPV in women. Conversely, CT decreased BP values in males but not in females. CT appears to be an effective intervention for reducing BPV in both genders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cardiovascular Effects and Benefits of Exercise)
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