Caroline: Welcome to Circulation on the Run, your weekly podcast summary and backstage pass to the journal and its editors. I'm Dr. Carolyn Lam, associate editor from the National Heart Center and Duke National University of Singapore. Up next, we are discussing the featured paper in this week's journal regarding the increased risk of cerebrovascular events in young cancer survivors, the downside perhaps of surviving cancer, so to speak. But first, here's your summary of this week's journal.
The first paper describes the US national trends in atrial fibrillation hospitalization, readmission, and mortality. This paper from Dr. Freeman and colleagues of Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut used data from all Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries between 1999 and 2013, and found that the adjusted rates of hospitalization for atrial fibrillation increased by almost 1% per year. Median hospital length of stay remained unchanged at three days, but median Medicare inpatient expenditure per beneficiary increased from $2,932 to $4,719 per stay.
During the same period, the rate of inpatient mortality during hospitalization for atrial fibrillation decreased by 4% per year, and the rate of 30-day readmission also decreased by 1% per year, while the rates of 30-day and one-year mortality decreased more modestly by 0.5% and 0.26% per year, respectively. Thus, between 1999 and 2013, among Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries, rates of hospitalization for atrial fibrillation and the cost of those inpatient stays increased substantially, but this was associated with improved outcomes, including lower rates of readmission and mortality. These findings suggest that increased hospitalization and more costly contemporary treatments, such as atrial fibrillation catheter ablation, may be associated with improved outcomes.
The next study provides insights into the mechanisms underlying augmentation of muscle blood flow by ultrasound cavitation of microbubbles. Now, this is a promising approach for rapidly correcting tissue profusion in acute ischemic syndromes or for treating chronic ischemic symptoms. In this paper by first author Dr. Belsik, corresponding author Dr. Linder, and colleagues from Night Cardiovascular Institute Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon, the authors hypothesized that pure endergic signaling may be responsible for sheer dependent increases in muscle profusion during therapeutic ultrasound cavitation.
To test this hypothesis, the authors studied unilateral exposure of the proximal hind limb of mice with and without ischemia produced by iliac ligation, to therapeutic ultrasound after intravenous injection of lipid microbubbles. They further performed a proof of concept study with twelve patients with stable sickle cell disease. They found that therapeutic ultrasound cavitation increased muscle profusion by seven-fold in normal mice, reversed tissue ischemia for up to 24 hours in the murine model of peripheral artery disease, and doubled muscle profusion in patients with sickle cell disease.
Augmentation inflow extended well beyond the region of ultrasound exposure. Ultrasound cavitation produced a nearly forty-fold focal and sustained increase in ATP, the source of which included both endothelial cells and erythrocytes. Inhibitory studies indicated that ATP was a critical mediator of flow augmentation. Furthermore, combined indomethacin and inhibition of eNOS abolish the effects of therapeutic ultrasound, indicating downstream signaling through both nitric oxide and prostaglandins. Thus, the authors concluded that therapeutic ultrasounds using microbubble cavitation to increase muscle profusion relies on sheer dependent increases in ATP, which can act through a diverse portfolio of purinergic signaling pathways. Cavitation-related release of ATP may further serve to explain ultrasound's role in other therapeutic applications, such as wound and bone healing, and ultrasound facilitated drug or gene uptake.
The final original paper describes the age-specific trends of heart failure in Denmark over the last two decades. Dr. Christiansen and colleagues of University of Copenhagen in Denmark studied more that 210,000 Danish individuals over the age of 18 years, with a first time in-hospital diagnosis of heart failure from three nation-wide Danish registries.
They found that the incidents of ischemic and non-ischemic heart failure in Denmark declined by approximately 50% among older adults more than 50 years old, but increased by about 50% among younger individuals, or individuals less than 50 years old, between 1995 and 2012. Furthermore, they observed a concomitant increasing trend of various treated co-morbid conditions, including hypertension, diabetes, and ischemic heart disease in the population. These findings from Denmark imply a change in the profile of the heart failure community and portend a higher burden of heart failure in the future. The increasing trend of incident heart failure among young individuals especially warrants further investigation.
Well, those were the original papers this week. Now, for our feature discussion.
Our feature paper today discusses a hugely important modern issue that may seem like good news at first sight. We know that survival in cancers has rapidly improved with advances in early detection and treatment, however the improved survival also extends the window for the occurrence of long-term complications such as psycho-social effects, fertility problems, secondary malignancies, and, as highlighted in today's paper, the risk for cerebrovascular events. I'm so pleased to have with us first, author Chloe Bright from University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, as well as associate editor Dr. Graeme Hankey from University of Western Australia. Welcome, Chloe and Grim!
Chloe Bright: Thank you for having me.
Graeme Hankey: Thank you Caroline.
Caroline: Chloe, what an interesting and important focus on cerebrovascular events following survival from cancer. Please, can you share your inspiration for looking at this and what you found?
Chloe Bright: As you've just said, the five year survival rate from teenage and young adult cancer has been increasing and increasing, and it's over 80% now, which means there's such a large population of survivors who are at increased risk, or potentially increased risk, of developing adverse health outcomes. So, as you know, cerebrovascular disease can be potentially fatal so it's really important that we estimate how much teenage and young cancer survivors are at risk of this. So to start of with our group in Birmingham actually set up the teenage and young adult cancer survivor cohort study. And this is a cohort of over 200,000 five year survivors of cancer who were diagnosed between 15 and 39 years of age. And this was set up because there's hardly any literature regarding the adverse health outcomes of teenagers and young adults who have had cancer.
So, as I said, cerebrovascular disease is a really important outcome to look at. So we decided we've got this resource in the UK, which is the Hospital Episode Statistics, and this carries information on all the inpatient hospitalizations in England. So from this we were able to determine how many people with teenage and young adult cancer had been hospitalized for cerebrovascular events and compare this to what we would expect to see in the general population to see if they had an increased risk or not. So from limited previous literature that was out there we did know that TYA cancer survivors had an increased risk of developing a cerebrovascular event. However, we were unsure how this risk varied with certain explanatory factors, such as age of cancer diagnosis or the decade of cancer diagnosis, gender, and attained age, so that's the age at which a stroke event might occur. So the main aim of our study was to quantify this.
Caroline: Yes and to put some numbers to that increased risk. It was a 40% increased risk, wasn't it? That is striking.
Chloe Bright: We observed almost 2,800 cerebrovascular events. That related to a 40% increased risk of being hospitalized compared to what we would expect to see in the general population, which is really quite substantial.
Caroline: Now, were there particular risk factors that were associated with more cerebrovascular complications like certain types of tumors or certain types of therapies and so on?
Chloe Bright: Survivors of central nervous system tumors, head and neck tumors, and leukemia were all at the greatest risk compared to the general population. And this is probably related to radiotherapy that they had for their initial treatment. So radiotherapy to the neck, which could involve damage to the carotid artery, or radiation to the head which again could cause damage to the cerebral arteries in the brain. And then also we found that the risk increased dramatically as people aged for neck tumor survivors and CNS tumor survivors. So specifically cerebral infarctions, the additional number that we saw was a lot greater in, say, survivors over age 60. And this is probably because this is when strokes in the general population are becoming more incident.
And actually an interesting finding, we observed that males actually had a higher number of excess infarctions than females, and this was especially among head and neck tumor survivors. So we can't confirm this, but this could potentially be due to difference in smoking habits because there could be a said etiology between smoking and the risk of head neck cancer and also smoking and the risk of stroke. Unfortunately, we didn't have the information on smoking status to confirm this.
Caroline: This is a huge study. It shows a substantial increased risk of stroke in these young cancer survivors, and also sheds light on the possible underlying mechanisms. What you mention about vasculopathy following radiotherapy really reminds me about what we learn about breast cancer radiotherapy and the risk of myocardial infarction.
Graeme, what are your perspectives on this paper please?
Graeme Hankey: Well as an editor, as everyone knows, what we're really looking for are four main points. Firstly that the study was ethical, which it was. Secondly that the results are valid, internally and also externally. And we're very confident in the validity of the results. This was a very large study of 180,000 people, and more importantly had 2,800 cerebrovascular events so that's a lot of [inaudible 00:12:25] and the followup was pretty rigorous over 11 years, and the outcome events were [inaudible 00:12:32] by a data linkage through the hospitalization for the cerebrovascular events.
The other two key features of course is are the results novel and are they important? And these are novel results. There's only been one previous similar study of a Danish cohort that was only 43,000 but one quarter the size of this study, and one year survivors of teenage and young adult cancer from 1943 to 2009 and followed up. And the results were actually very similar, showing a 1.3 or 30% increased risk of hospitalization for cerebrovascular events. Again supporting the validity of this recent study to obtain similar results, but in a four times greater population and in a more contemporary population whose patients were recruited between 1971 and 2006 and followed up from 1997 to 2012.
And the other thing is it's not just ethical, valid, and novel, but it's important because it really has big implications for stroke prevention in young adult survivors of cancer. And it has implications for once they get the diagnosis and they're through their treatment to really focus on what were their pre-morbid vascular risk factors? Are they actually causal risk factors and not just cancer but also for future stroke like smoking and alcohol, and hypertension and diabetes? Secondly to try and recognize what is their absolute risk? Are they men who are at higher risk? Have they had previous irradiation that probably puts them at higher risk, as well as their current respective profile?
Thirdly for them to then realize what's the impact of their cancer diagnosis on their future behaviors if they become depressed or change their diet or taking other treatments, or abusing drugs, and could that increase their vascular risk? And fourthly, what should be done? Should they just control their vascular risk factors through lifestyle? Or should we actually have a randomized trial of risk factor control, and/or antiplatelet therapy and/or statins and/or blood pressure lowering in these high risk survivors of cancer who are sill in their forties or fifties. Should they actually be taking antiplatelet therapy or statins? We probably need a randomized trial because they're high risk, we would think, or certainly a sub-population.
Caroline: Thanks Graeme for framing that so excellently. You're absolutely right that these are the things we look for in a paper as editors. And for our listeners to hear that is just so important.
Well, I'd like to hand it over to you now Chloe. What are the next steps in your mind? What are the remaining gaps in knowledge you'd like to address?
Chloe Bright: I really think it relates to what Graeme just said. We need to get the information on the specific radiotherapy, the doses that have been used, the potential lifestyle factors of these individuals to see how much of an effect that has on the risk of stroke. So potentially conduct a case control study while we're able to get this information and then use that. And then, as Graeme said, once there is more information potentially a randomized control trial might be useful. But again, I think we need some more information before we can get the go ahead to doing that.
Caroline: Great. Just one more quick question please. You know, Chloe, you found that those who were more recently treated had a higher risk of cerebral hemorrhage than among survivors diagnosed earlier. Now, did you have any postulations on why this was the case?
Chloe Bright: This increase in the hemorrhage with more recent diagnosis was actually restricted to glial tumor survivors. So one explanation that we thought might explain this was that in recent years due to advances in treatments those glial tumor survivors, glial tumors who had more advanced stage at diagnosis, potentially surviving a little bit longer, so reaching five year survival which would enter them into our study. However they potentially might be having another occurrence, which would be causing them to have a hemorrhage, which in the previous decades perhaps they wouldn't have survived that long in the first place. That's just one of many ideas.
Graeme Hankey: I think the recurrence of not just glioma but perhaps also melanoma that the survival is much greater now with new immunomodulating therapies for melanoma, we'll probably see longer survival in melanoma which typically when it metastasizes is hemorrhagic and perhaps also leukemia with thrombocytopenia, with more hemorrhage and other metathesis. The other thing it could be though is a diagnostic ascertainment bias in that I'm 60 now, and when I started neurology 35 years ago we didn't really have much brain imaging and couldn't diagnose intracerebral hemorrhage very well. And clinical diagnosis wasn't very reliable. Now the imaging which can actually distinguish hemorrhagic from ischemic stroke is much more widely available. And I suspect there's a greater increase in the diagnosis of cerebral hemorrhage now because of better imaging. We've seen that in other epidemiologic studies with that diagnostic trend.
Caroline: What excellent points. Thank you so much Chloe and Graeme.
Well you've been listening to Circulation on the Run. Thanks for joining us today and don't forget to tune in next week.
Dr. Lam: Welcome to Circulation on the Run, your weekly podcast summary and backstage pass to The Journal and its editors. I'm Dr. Carolyn Lam, associate editor from the National Heart Center and Duke National University of Singapore. In this week's issue, we are discussing if public placement of defibrillators in the community can be improved. First, here's your summary of this week's Journal.
Stroke incidents, prevalence, and risk factors have been changing over the past 50 years so do we need a more contemporaneous revised Framingham Stroke Risk profile to reflect these trends? Well the first paper in our issue looks at this and this is from first author Dr. Dufouil, corresponding author Dr. Seshadri and colleagues from the Boston University School of Medicine.
Let's first recall that the Framingham Stroke Risk profile was originally described in 1991 and integrates the effect of age, sex, and baseline measurements of various vascular risk factors such as systolic blood pressure, use of anti-hypertensive medications, left ventricular hypertrophy on ECG, prevalent cardiovascular disease, current smoking status, atrial fibrillation and diabetes all to describe the 10-year probability of incident stroke.
In the current paper, the authors updated the Framingham Stroke Risk profile using the means of risk factors that reflect current prevalence, the estimate of incident stroke to reflect current rates, and the hazards ratio that reflect current associations. They used the same risk factors identified in the original stroke risk profile with the exception of left ventricular hypertrophy. The authors compared the accuracy of the standard old risk profile with the revised new risk profile in predicting the risk of [alt 00:01:58] and ischemic stroke and validated the new risk profile in two external cohorts, the three cities and regards or reasons for geographic and ethnic differences in stroke studies.
They found that the new stroke risk profile was a better predictor of current stroke risks in all three samples than the original old Framingham Stroke Risk profile. The new stroke risk profile was also a better predictor among whites compared to blacks in the regard study. The authors therefore concluded that a more contemporaneous revised Framingham Stroke Risk profile could serve as the basis for examining geographic and racial differences in stroke risk and the incremental diagnostic utility of novel stroke risk factors.
The next study provides preclinical proof of principle that an apelin receptor agonist may be of therapeutic use in pulmonary arterial hypertension. And the agonist in this case is Elabela/Toddler or ELA, first identified as an essential peptide in the development of the heart in Zebrafish, and subsequently proposed as a second endogenous ligand at the G-protien coupled apelin receptor, which works at this receptor despite a lack of sequence similarity to the established ligand, apelin.
In this study from first author Dr. Yang, corresponding author Dr. Davenport and colleagues from University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, ELA competed for binding of apelin in human hearts with overlap of the two peptides indicated by encyclical modeling. ELA activated G-protein and β-arrestin dependent pathways and as expression was detectable in human vascular endothelium and plasma. Comparable to apelin, ELA increased cardiac contractility, ejection fraction, cardiac output, and elicited vasodilatation in rats in vivo.
ELA expression was reduced in cardiopulmonary tissues from patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension and in rat models. Finally, ELA treatment significantly attenuated the elevation of right ventricular systolic pressure, right ventricular hypertrophy, and pulmonary vascular remodeling in monocrotaline exposed rats. Thus, these results suggest that a selective agonist that mimics the action of indulgence ligand apelin or Elabela/Toddler, ELA, may be a promising therapeutic strategy in the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension.
The final paper looks at sudden cardiac death after coronary artery bypass grafting, its incidents, timing, and clinical predictors. First author Dr. Rao, corresponding author Dr. Velazquez and colleagues from Duke Clinical Research Institute in Durham, North Carolina, looked at the patients enrolled in the STICH, or Surgical Treatment of Ischemic Heart Failure Trial who underwent coronary artery bypass grafting with or without surgical ventricular reconstruction. They excluded patients with a prior ICD and those randomized only to medical therapy. Over a median followup of 46 months, 113 out of 1,411 patients who received coronary artery bypass surgery, had sudden cardiac death while 311 died of other causes.
The five-year cumulative incidence of sudden cardiac death was 8.5%. In the first 30 days after bypass surgery, sudden cardiac death accounted for 7% of all the deaths. The numerically greatest monthly rate of sudden cardiac death was in the 31 to 90 day time period. In multivariable analysis end-systolic volume index and BNP were the most strongly associated with sudden cardiac death. Thus, this study shows that the monthly risk of sudden cardiac death shortly after bypass surgery among patients with a low ejection fraction is highest between the first and third months, suggesting that risk stratification for sudden cardiac death should occur early in the post-operative period, particularly in patients with an increased preoperative end-systolic volume index and/or an increased BNP.
Well, that wraps it up for you summaries, let's turn to our feature paper.
I love our feature paper this week. You know why? It actually tells us what Tim Hortons, Starbucks, Second Cup and ATMs may have in common and may have to do with sudden cardiac death. Indeed, our feature paper actually tells us that coffee shops and ATMs may be the best spots to place AEDs at, well at least in Toronto. And to discuss this really interesting paper, I have the corresponding author, Dr. Timothy Chan from University of Toronto as well as Dr. Sana Al-Khatib, welcome again Sana, Associate Editor from Duke University, welcome to you both.
Dr. Al-Khatib: Thank you, my pleasure.
Dr. Chan: Thank you, very nice to be here.
Dr. Lam: So Tim, was that an interesting enough lead up? I mean you have to tell us about your study, it is so fascinating.
Dr. Chan: I'm very pleased that you find it interesting and not just us. So we undertook this study, we started this actually a couple of years ago, and we've been working on this issue of defibrillator location optimization for several years, and we've been talking and we have meetings in coffee shops and we were just wondering one day, what would be the risk or the coverage provided by all these different well-recognized location types around the city, and that was really the motivation that got us started looking at this study.
Dr. Lam: Tell us what you did and also how it differs from the study you did that was published in 2016 where you also reported on the spatial temporal analysis of registered AEDs in Toronto. The current study clearly extends it, but could you clarify to us all how it does?
Dr. Chan: Maybe just give a little bit of a background and context with regards to other literature that's similar. There have been studies in the past that looked at what we would call spatial coverage of cardiac arrest, so they looked at different broad location types and they tried to calculate, they basically calculated how many cardiac arrests happened, let's say within 100 meters of those location types. And what we've done here is we've extended that in a couple of directions. The first direction is looking at spatial temporal coverage and so this is not just in the nearby vicinity, IE, 100 meters, but also that cardiac arrests happen when that nearby location that had the AED was open. So if a cardiac arrest happens, but for example, let's say there's a coffee shop that actually has an AED and that coffee shop is closed, it's almost as if that AED is not even there. So one of the major things we made sure to include was this idea of temporal coverage as well, on top of the spatial.
The second major difference I would say would be the fact that we're really looking at more granular location types, so you mentioned a few businesses in your opening such as Tim Hortons and Starbucks and so on, which are coffee shops, and so one of the things that we find is when we look at very broad location types, we tend to aggregate together lots of different types of businesses. For example, if you think about a restaurant, there are many different types of restaurants that get lumped in to this category, and they do have different cardiac arrest coverage associated with them. So by breaking it up into smaller location types, we wanted to get a better idea of the risk at different locations and if you also think about one of the long term goals of this work would be to try and help policy makers identify promising partners to partner with for, let's say public access defibrillation programs, by identifying specific businesses or municipal locations, it might actually give them better targets to try and pursue rather than let's say a group of different businesses.
Dr. Lam: That makes so much sense and it really just seems like such an important public health message as well. The sensible part being of course, if you have an out of hospital cardiac arrest, you need an AED that's both nearby and available, so that was really clever. Sana, could you give us your take on the public health implications of Tim's findings?
Dr. Al-Khatib: I think the public health implications of this work can be vast and if you look at what he's done in terms of ascending to out of hospital cardiac arrests a lot of initiatives have been launched to try to improve the outcomes of patients who have the out of hospital cardiac arrests. Unfortunately despite all the work that has been done and all the wonderful initiatives that have been launched, we still have a lot of work to do to improve the survival of those victims. So certainly a crucial step is how we deploy AEDs in a strategic way based on data and evidence such as these data that are provided to us by Tim and his colleagues.
I think this is very clever, I do agree that we have to be more strategic in how we deploy AEDs and having the data such as these will only help us improve and get better of course. Everybody has limited resources, and so if we can be more selective in terms of how we deploy AEDs I think that would help everybody. I realize this was done within Toronto and some of these findings may not be generalizable to other cities, but I think this is definitely a great way to make us reshape our thinking in terms of how we do this, and so a question I have for Tim if I may, are you aware of any similar studies that have been done looking at this in other cities and then if not, how do we encourage other groups to do similar work?
Dr. Chan: There have been similar studies done that have focused really on the spatial side of things, so doing this 100 meter radius and counting cardiac arrests that have been nearby, there's actually been fairly little work that's been done on the spatial temporal side. And a couple of exceptions that I will note that I think are important to point out is there was a very nice study that was done out of a group in Copenhagen, and they were looking at actually spatial temporal coverage, particularly the loss in coverage that you experience when you go from looking at spatial to spatial temporal. For example if you count all of the cardiac arrests that happen nearby a registered AED based only on 100 meters, and then you count the same number, but you have to now layer on top of that when the building that the AED is in is open, then you tend to get a big loss. They found quite striking numbers, I think they found a 50% loss, when you look at evenings and weekends I believe, in Copenhagen. So basically all the cardiac arrests that happened where you thought there was an AED nearby, there's actually only one in two is actually nearby and accessible when you looked into hours of operation.
And this actually comes back to the earlier question from Carolyn about how our study relates to our previous study in 2016, so we actually replicated that Copenhagen study in Toronto where we measured spatial coverage and we measured spatial temporal coverage and we measured that loss, and we found a similar loss overall, about 20%, so 1 in 5 cardiac arrests happened where there was an AED nearby, but that AED was not available because that location was closed. So that was one of the impetuses for leading us to do this study where we start to examine specifically the different location types and the specific businesses that were involved.
Dr. Lam: Wow, that's just really inspiring Tim, I mean I'm kind of thinking about the Singapore situation too and I think it's actually applicable and I would love if we had local data similar to yours, so congratulations, I really share what Sana said. Thinking though about the public health and the larger implications of what you're talking about, what do both of you think of the implications for a public commercial partnership in these things if it is coffee stores or banks that seem to be the best locations, perhaps these have implications to how the public and private should collaborate to make these things happen, what do you think?
Dr. Chan: I completely agree. These types of public private partnerships, specifically for AED deployment are not necessarily new, they already happen in some parts of the world. One of the examples I always like to bring out is if you go to Japan and they have vending machines everywhere in Japan and then you'll often run into vending machines that have an AED right in them, so one of the benefits is that first the vending machines are everywhere and second, if you're a citizen there, you probably know where the vending machines are where you travel in your day to day life and so I would say that would be a very similar thing here in North America, whether it be coffee shops or ATMs, if someone were to put me in a random part of the city and ask me, "Hey Tim, do you know where the nearest AED is?" I'd probably have a lot of trouble, but if they said could you figure out where the nearest ATM is for your bank or where the nearest Starbucks is you know, there's pretty much one on every corner. It would be much easier to identify and find, so I think there are significant benefits to partnering with these companies or these businesses that have very broad name recognition and brand recognition, are geographically well spread and located in populated areas.
I should also mention, I feel like there's a few other benefits for these types of locations, so for example for ATMs, I think there's a lot of secondary benefits, so for example, there's a built in security component, there's a video camera there, that might be able to help make sure that no one's vandalizing or stealing an AED. There's perhaps built in weather protection because there's electricity there already, so in a cold climate like Toronto where you might worry about putting an AED outside, you could have potentially a heating cabinet that would be fed by the electricity for the ATM and so on. So I think there's actually a lot of benefits if we could actually operationalize a system like this.
Dr. Lam: Sana, do you think there are some more unanswered questions?
Dr. Al-Khatib: I did want to agree with Tim on what he said, that these public private partnerships have been in place. Unfortunately we haven't been able to make much progress. As I said, I do see the results of this study as being potentially a catalyst to improve the work that we are doing and ensuring stronger partnerships and collaborations to help us achieve what we want to achieve which is basically improve the survival rate of out of hospital cardiac arrests, so I completely agree with that and I loved your idea, Tim, when you talked about now people may not recall where AEDs might be, but if you link them with teller machines or coffee shops, I think that would be much easier to remember.
You know of course there are a lot of questions that remain unanswered unfortunately. Again as was stated by Tim and his colleagues in the paper and on the call, how we can translate these findings to other locations I think is really key and then of course doing the work, meaning let's use these data to deploy more AEDs and then really looking at the impact of that. Ultimately we want to make sure that if we hypothesize that by doing this we can improve outcomes for these victims, we would want to prove that. So I think the next steps would be to see if this can be replicated in other places, but also even within Toronto, if we can accomplish some of this and then examining the impact, I think would be extremely beneficial.
Dr. Lam: Fabulous, thank you so much Sana, thank you so much Tim for sharing your thoughts today.
Listeners, you heard it right here on Circulation on the Run. Don't forget to tell all your friends about this podcast and tune in next week.
Caroline: Welcome to Circulation On The Run! Your weekly podcast, summary, and backstage pass to The Journal and it's editors. I'm Doctor Carolyn Lam, Associate Editor from the National Heart Center in Duke National University of Singapore. What does the gut microbiome have to do with Cardiovascular Disease? Well to find out you'll just have to stay tuned for our featured discussion debate. First, here's our summary of this week's journal.
The first paper seeks to answer the question "does first trimester screening modify the natural history of Congenital Heart Disease?" To answer this question Doctor Jasinskyl and colleagues from the University Hospital in Masaryk University in the Czech Republic, analyze the spectrum of congenital heart defects and outcomes of 127 fetuses diagnosed with congenital heart defects in the first trimester compared to 344 fetuses diagnosed in the second trimester screening. All of these analyzed between 2007 and 2013.
They found that the spectrum of congenital heart defects diagnosed in the first versus second trimesters differed significantly with a greater number of comorbidities, defects with univentricular outcomes, intrauterine deaths, and terminations of pregnancy in those diagnosed in the first compared to second trimester.
They further analyze 532 fetuses diagnosed with congenital heart defects in the second trimester but in an earlier period of 1996 to 2001, which is the period before first trimester screening was introduced. In this group they found significantly more cases of defects with univentricular outcomes, intrauterine deaths, and early terminations of pregnancy. In comparison to fetuses also diagnosed with congenital defects in the second trimester but in the later period of 2007 to 2013.
Thus, the authors concluded that first trimester screening had a significant impact on the spectrum of congenital heart defects and on the outcomes of pregnancies with defects diagnosed in the second trimester. Early prenatal cardiac ultrasound screening may therefore, in some countries, reduce the number of children born with severe cardiac abnormalities and associated comorbidities.
The next study sheds light on the use of intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator, or "RTPA," in patients with acute ischemic stroke also receiving no wax or the newer oral anticoagulants. Doctor Sienne and colleagues from the Duke Clinical Research Institute in Durham, North Carolina use data from the American Heart Association "Get With The Guidelines" stroke registry in 42,887 ischemic stroke patients treated with RTPA at 1,289 hospitals in the United States between 2012 and 2015. They basically found no statistically significant differences in the risk of symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage between patients who were taking Noac, Warfarin, or not taking any anticoagulant before the stroke.
This largest clinical experience of stroke thrombolysis in patients receiving Noac before the strokes thus suggest that RTPA is reasonably well tolerated without prohibitive risks for adverse events amongst selected Noac treated patients. However, the authors are quick to say that their observations must be considered as preliminary due to the absence of coagulation parameters, timing of the last Noac intake, and whether or not non-specific reversal strategies may have been applied.
The next paper provides experimental evidence of the unique effects of plasminogen activation and Alpha 2 antiplasmin inactivation on the fibrinolytic system in pulmonary embolism. In this paper from Dr Sing, Hong, and Reed from the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center in Memphis, Tennessee the authors use mouse models of experimental pulmonary emboli to show that monoclonal antibody inactivation of Alpha 2 antiplasmin, which is an endogenous inhibitor of plasmin, effectively dissolved pulmonary emboli with similar potency to high dose RTPA.
Alpha 2 antiplasmin inactivation synergize with low dose RTPA to enhance thrombus dissolution. And like RTPA, Alpha 2 antiplasmin inactivation alone or in combination with low dose RTPA, did not cause fibrinogen degradation or increased bleeding. The authors therefore concluded that Alpha 2 anti plasmin is a dominant regulator that prohibits thrombus dissolution in vivo.
Therapeutic modulation of Alpha 2 antiplasmin activity may therefore prove an effective strategy to enhance fibrinolysis without significantly increasing the bleeding risk. These results are discussed in an accompanied editorial by Doctor Yurano from Hamamatsu University School of Medicine in Japan.
More exciting experimental data in the next paper showing that novel beta arrestin signaling pathways may be viable targets in dilated cardiomyopathy. First author Doctor Reba, corresponding author Dr Solaro, and colleagues from University of Illinois at Chicago treated a dilated cardiomyopathy mouse model expressing a mutant tropomyosin for three months with either a beta-arrestins two biased ligand of the entertance and receptor or losartan and angiotensin receptor blocker as control. Treated mice showed improved cardiac structure and function associated with myofilamins that had significantly improved myofilament calcium responsiveness. Which was depressed in the untreated mice.
These functional changes were mediated through beta arrestin which may have a novel role in increasing MLC2V phosphorylation through a previously unrecognized interaction of beta arrestin localized to the sarcamore. Thus, long term beta arrestin 2 biased agnonism of the angiotensin receptor may be a viable approach to the treatment of dilated cardiomyopathy. Not only by preventing maladaptive signaling but also by improving cardiac function by altering the myofilament calcium response via beta-arrestin signaling pathways. The concept of a two in one angiotensin receptor blocker and calcium sensitizer is discussed in accompanying editorial by Doctors Wu, Ju, and Siao from Peking university in China.
The final paper asks the question "are three arterial graphs better than two coronary artery bypass grafting?" Doctor Galdino and colleagues from Weill Cornell Medicine in New York performed a meta analysis of eight propensity score matched observational studies on more than 10,000 matched patients comparing the long term outcomes coronary artery bypass grafting with the use of two verses three arterial graphs.
They found that the use of a third arterial condo et in bypass grafting is a associated with superia long term survival irrespective of sex and diabetes status and without a higher operative risk. These results therefore support a strategy of the use of a third arterial graph and really deserve confirmation in prospective randomized trials. Well, that's it for the summaries. Let's welcome our guests.
Our topic for discussion today is so exciting. In fact, I am going to read from the paper describing it as an exciting, new, and important field of investigation where we start to understand how nutrition, our gut micro-community composition, and our genetics actually all play a part in Cardiovascular Disease. And to discuss this paper I have the first and corresponding author Doctor Wilson Tang from Cleveland Clinic Foundation as well as Doctor Nikhil Munshi, Associate Editor from UT Southwestern. Welcome Wilson and Nik!
Nik: Thank you.
Wilson: Thank you.
Caroline: Wilson, please set the stage for us! What does our gut microbiome have to do with cardiovascular disease? I agree it's a hot area but, you know, could you just describe what it actually means.
Wilson: This has been somewhat of an accidental discovery from our group when we start encountering different types of metabolites that we measure to kind of associate them with Cardiovascular Disease. And unbeknownst to us, some of them are produced by the bacteria that live inside us to which we convert and try to eliminate. So one such metabolite that we identify is, which in many of the foods that we tell our patients, advise our patients that have high risk of Cardiovascular Disease. So all these connections come together to form a scientific basis to which how one of the biggest environmental exposures that we have which is what we eat every day is filtered by trillions of bacteria that live inside us and many of these metabolites become hormones that effect our every day function and activity.
And, in many ways, can actually lead to diseases that are so remote from the gut but such as Cardiovascular Disease, Atherosclerosis, and we further identify these process and they impact downstream organ function like heart function and kidney function. So these are all very excited areas and this is just one of several metabolites. There are other metabolites that also impact blood pressure and even brain function and so all these areas become kind of a new avenue for us to look at potential therapeutic targets.
Caroline: Yeah I think it's so completely fascinating that we can actually each experience a given meal differently based on the different types of gut microbial communities in our bodies isn't it? And that that actually can effect things all the way from atheroscleroses, to obesity, insulin resistance, and so on. Could you give us a specific example from your research?
Wilson: We actually identified a metabolite, a very small molecule called Trimethylamine N-oxide, we abbreviate it as TMAO. And TMAO is actually formed from the bacteria from a precursor called Trigosamine which is, you know, gas. In other words, the bacteria taken substances of nutrients such as choline and connetine which is actually common in many foods but particularly in red meats, in egg yolks, and many other foods that we know are potential contributors to Cardiovascular Disease.
And actually converted into this gaseous compound that our liver converted into a neutral compound, that we think is neutral for a long time and nitrogenous waste, except that when we have both animal studies and human studies patients with high levels of this TMAO metabolite has been associated with a high risk of Cardiovascular Disease. And in fact in animal studies we have direct evidence that show its contributing to the mechanistic compartment.
Caroline: Now extrapolating from what you just said so vegetarians, for example, or vegans even more so, would have less TMAO levels then?
Wilson: Yeah, obviously there are wide variation in these levels actually change almost by the minute because obviously we eat different times of the day and it comes in and out of our bodies. But in general, yes, in other studies that we actually identified a higher level of in carnivores which are meat eaters verses vegans and vegetarians who do not eat meat.
Wilson: Yeah and we actually use... I sort of labeled choline and connetine to actually directly show that the synthesis of TMA and TMAO by a labeled connetine is higher in meat eaters, carnivores, verses vegetarian or vegans.
Caroline: Oh, I really have to ask both you Wilson and Nik the following question then. What do you think is the, you know, take home message? How do you apply this clinically and even more cheeky, perhaps, how are you applying this in your own life? I mean with this knowledge have you become vegetarian? I'm putting you on the spot here.
Wilson: I think this is basically a very scientific demonstration of how what we eat does impact our every day bodily function. And I think many cultures have this identification. Obviously many Asian cultures have seen the impact of food. In fact, it actually opens entire insight into how different medicinal food may actively be impacting the gut microbiome that actually creates different effects in the body. But in terms of diet and nutrients, yeah I have totally have eaten less meat in my every day dietary habits.
I definitely think it's something that is certainly quite insightful and probably very impactful. That being said, I think different cultures also have different populations of microbiome and I think it's not a one size fits all. In fact I think every individual has his own dynamic ranges and we are still in the very very first early stage of understanding how this impact helps in disease. So there's a lot of excitement and there's a lot of technology that hopefully can help us to unravel this mystery.
Caroline: Exactly, a new and important field just like you said. Nik, what do you think?
Nik: From my standpoint, I'm actually not a big meat-eater so this was very welcomed news when this all came out. But, you know, from another standpoint it really opens up a lot of new questions. You know, it kind of blurs the line between sort of genetics and environmental factors. You know, so the questions of maybe a family who shares certain genetic traits may also share certain environmental traits. In other words, they share certain gut microbial components and maybe this sort of complicates how we're going to disentangle some of these risk factors going forward. I'm interested to get Wilson's take on this.
Wilson: Yeah it gives us a lot of insight to the I guess what happens is the microbiome is isolated in the family lineage because the lifestyle exposure are very similar in each household. So, what we thought is inherent is being inherited from both the genomic but also a microbiome perspective.
Caroline: Nik, you manage this paper. I really love, for example, that figure which I think everyone should get ahold of the journal and have a look at. Could you tell us a little bit more about this category of papers?
Wilson: I'm sort of charged with this task of bringing sort of basic Science across the aisle to clinicians so that we can all sort of talk the same language and perhaps interact on a higher level. And so I was really excited reading some of Wilson's work and you know I really wanted to bring that to some of our broad readership just so that we could sort of appreciate what sort of science was going and I really think that this is a really great example of something that's on the verge of being translated.
You know you can imagine that by either effecting certain metabolite compositions or maybe by treating certain subsets of bacteria we may be able to influence long term cardiovascular risks not to mention obesity, diabetes, and some of these other diseases that Wilson is actively working on. So I really read this with a lot of excitement and I wanted to bring this to a broader audience and you know we have a number of other articles that are in the pipeline that I think will serve to bridge this gap and put us on the same field so that we can kind of speak the same language.
Caroline: Wilson, did you have a good time sort of writing something like this its not long.
Wilson: It's actually very difficult. In fact, its just like writing poetry. You know it's hard to write in simple and short sentences. So it actually was a big challenge for me and I really thank the opportunity to be able to do that but I also want to emphasize I think it was a very insightful experience for me too. Because as a practicing physician and a commissioned scientist don't always merge these too few, these two areas in a way to actually see the importance we like to learn the science and try to explore I think clinicians really need to take charge and learn exciting science that's occurring. I think this is a wonderful avenue and I applaud [inaudible 00:18:10] for setting this radio [inaudible 00:18:11]
Caroline: Well listeners you heard it first here on Circulation On The Run it is poetry by Wilson Tang. So please, please pick up a copy of today's journal and don't forget to tune in again next week!
Dr. Carolyn Lam: Welcome to Circulation on the Run. Your weekly podcast summary and [inaudible 00:00:06] of the journal and its editors. I'm Dr. Carolyn Lam, associate editor from the National Heart Center and Duke National University of Singapore. In just a moment we will be discussing really fascinating preclinical data to suggest that high fiber diet and acetate supplementation may change the gut microbiota and thereby prevent the development of hypertension and heart failure. But first here's your summary of this week's issue.
The first paper describes the impact of heart transplantation on the functional status of children with end stage heart failure in the United States. First author, Dr. Peng, corresponding author Dr. Almond and colleagues from Stanford University, use the organ procurement and transplantation network to identify 1,633 US children age less than 21 years, and surviving one year or more post-heart transplant, from 2005 to 2014, with a functional status score available at three time points. Namely at listing, at transplant, and one year or more post-heart transplant. They found that at the one year assessment 64% were fully active with no limitations, or a functional status score of 10. 21% had minor limitations with strenuous activity, or a functional status score of 9. And 15% scored a functional status score lower than 9. Compared to the listing functional status, functional status at one year post-transplant increased in 91%, and declined or remain unchanged in 9%. Early rejection, older age, African-American race, chronic steroid use, hemodynamic support at heart transplantation, and being hospitalized at transplantation, were all associated with abnormal functional status post-transplant.
These findings may be helpful to patients, families, and referring providers by providing a contemporary picture of the post-heart transplant life in children as they weigh the risks and benefits of transplantation.
The next paper brings cardiac reprogramming one step closer to clinical translation. In this paper by first author Dr. Mohamed, corresponding author Dr. Srivastava, and colleagues from Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease in San Francisco, the authors used a high throughput chemical screen in post-natal mouse cardiac fibroblasts, and found that transforming growth factor beta, or TGF beta, and WNT, or wint inhibition, enhanced transcription factor based direct reprogramming of cardiac fibroblasts to induce cardiomyocyte like cells in vitro and in vivo. A combination of TGF beta and wint chemical inhibitors increased the quality, quantity, and speed of direct reprogramming, resulting in improved cardiac function after injury as early as one week after treatment. These chemical inhibitors enhanced human cardiac reprogramming and reduced the number of transcription factors needed for human cardiac reprogramming to just four factors. These findings if validated in large animals could facilitate a combined gene therapy and small molecule approach to heart failure.
The next study is the first report of the risks of cardiac mortality among five year survivors of childhood cancer beyond 50 years of age. First author Dr. Fidler, corresponding author Dr. Hawkins, and colleagues from University of Birmingham in United Kingdom, looked at the British childhood cancer survivors study, a population based cohort of 34,489 five year survivors of childhood cancer that was diagnosed from 1940 to 2006 and followed up until February 28th in 2014. The authors quantify the cardiac mortality access risk. Overall 181 cardiac deaths were observed, which was 3.4 times that expected. Survivors were two and half times more at risk of ischemic heart disease, and almost six times more at risk of cardiomyopathy or heart failure at death than expected. Among those aged over 60 years, subsequent primary neoplasms, cardiac disease, and other circulatory conditions accounted for 31%, 22%, 15% of all deaths. Specifically for cardiomyopathy or heart failure deaths, survivors diagnosed between 1980 and 1989 had 29 times the excess number of deaths observed per survivors diagnosed either before 1970 or from 1990 onwards. Thus the authors concluded that excess cardio mortality among five year survivors of childhood cancer remains increased beyond 50 years of age, and has clear messages in terms of preventative strategies. However, the fact that the risk was greatest in those diagnosed in 1980 to 1989, suggests that initiatives to reduce cardio toxicity among those treated more recently may be have a measurable impact.
The last study describes the 30 day results of the Source 3 Registry, that is the European Post Approval Registry of the latest generation of the Sapien 3 trans-catheter heart valve. Dr. Wendler and colleagues from King's Health Partners in London, describe that these 30 day results of the Source 3 Registry demonstrate that trans-catheter uratic valve implantation, or TAVI, using the Sapien 3 resulted in high procedural success with low procedural complications, and excellent post-implant hemodynamics. Moderate to severe paravalvular leakage appeared to be lower with the Sapien 3 than reported with prior versions of this trans-catheter heart valve. Rates of pacemaker implantation were higher with the Sapien 3 than in earlier generations of the valve. This, in combination with the growing experience of patient selection, procedure planning, execution, and post-operative care has led to one of the best short-term outcomes ever reported after TAVI. These results are discussed in an accompanying editorial by Dr. [Altassi 00:06:58], and Dr. [Urani 00:06:58], from the Emery Midtown Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, where they say that these early results from Source 3 Registry are a source of encouragement with some caveats.
Well, those were your summaries. Now for our feature discussion.
I am so honored to have two lovely ladies join me today on the show. And they are the first author of a feature paper, Dr. Francine Marques from Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia, as well as Dr. Peipei Ping, associate editor from the David Geffen UCLA School of Medicine. Welcome ladies.
Dr. Peipei Ping: Hi, hello.
Dr. Francine Marques: Hi, thank you for having us.
Dr. Carolyn Lam: As a clinician, I have very very often advised my hypertensive patients to go on the dash diet. And you know, I have no had any trouble explaining the low salt bit, right? I understand it. But then I realize that I've always advocated as well the high fiber bit, not actually really understanding how high fiber directly impacts blood pressure. And I'm so excited because your paper, Francine, shed some light on this and it actually has something to do with the gut. So could you please explain what you did and what you found?
Dr. Francine Marques: So we fed a mouse model called [adoca 00:08:25] model of habitation, that also developed heart failure, we fed them a high fiber diet for three weeks, and then after that we did a surgery to make them become [habitant 00:08:36] safe and we followed them up for six weeks. And what we observed through that trajectory is that mice that were fed a high fiber diet had significantly lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and also an improvement in the heart function, and also a decrease in both heart and brainal fibrosis. And the reason why the fiber is so important is because although we usually don't digest the fiber, the bacteria in our gut absolutely love it. And that allows the bacteria, good bacteria to grow. And with that growth we have release of the fermentation of the fiber, releases in short chain fatty acid. So these specific molecules can then be put back into our body and can help us in our health. So we also fed these mice acetate, which is one of the short chain fatty acids, directly and we also observed very good improvements in blood pressure and cardiovascular health.
Dr. Carolyn Lam: It's just fascinating. So these are studies in mice. What do you think of clinical translational aspects of this?
Dr. Francine Marques: Large epidemialogical studies have shown that there is an inverse correlation between fiber consumption and blood pressure. And they have seen this through very small clinical trials looking into the intake of fiber lowering blood pressure. But our study opens the possibility of new interventions using maybe short chain fatty acids specifically, but are also looking into a different type of fiber. So most studies would look into either soluble or insoluble fiber directly. Our study, the diet that we used, is mostly resistant starches. So these are their preferred type of fiber for bacteria growth in our gut. And maybe they use a [inaudible 00:10:32] type of fibers as well could be a new [inaudible 00:10:36] opportunity.
Dr. Carolyn Lam: Peipei, I remember you discussing this paper at our editorial meetings and you so beautifully highlighted the novelty of this paper. Could you share this with our listeners?
Dr. Peipei Ping: Often within many complex studies trying to understand cellular pathways and mechanisms of cardio protection, it's a very important topic as we have had our research focus on in the pas t 25 years. What's very unique and provocative of this particular study is that it simply identified critical metabolic pathways that actually is underlying the protective effects. Many of us have wondered about with eating, for example vegetables or high fiber diet, it is examined specific molecules that have both a direct as well as an endocryne path that would circulate things back to the cardiac muscles, and having the muscles becoming more protective because of regulation of certain transcriptomic pathways to support cardiac muscle contraction. So we were very impressed by both the new concept as well as the state of the art technologies employed in this investigation.
Dr. Francine Marques: Thank you, that's very nice.
Dr. Carolyn Lam: I couldn't agree more, you put it so beautifully Peipei. I thought that it was really nice also linking pathways as well as linking several organ systems. Is there anything you might want to highlight about the renal effects, not just cardiac?
Dr. Francine Marques: Yes. Many times investigations been focusing on if something went wrong how do we cure it? More precious is when we find novel results telling us the healthy individuals, what are the things we should be doing so our blood pressure would stay at the normal level, or our cardiac function is being protected if there's an insult or injury. And so in this situation, the examination of the entire renal transcriptomic do give us very valuable information on how the blood pressure regulation system that maybe actually protected by the short chain fatty acid acetate.
Dr. Carolyn Lam: So true Francine. Anything else to add?
Dr. Francine Marques: Just to say circulation, for giving the opportunity to submit this paper, and share it with the world. We're very very excited about the data.
Dr. Carolyn Lam: Yeah we should be the ones to thank you. It's a beautiful paper. We're very privileged to publish it in circulation. May I ask what are next steps for you? What do you think needs to be done from here?
Dr. Francine Marques: We're validating this in other models now. And we're also looking into the [inaudible 00:13:57] microbiome and how that's related to habitation. So trying to really pinpoint mechanisms and how we can move this forward into the clinic.
Dr. Carolyn Lam: That's so great. And Peipei, do you think that there's certain gaps that urgently need to be addressed now?
Dr. Peipei Ping: Yes, I think one of the most beautiful thing that ... Concept, illustrated this investigation is we really couldn't be just focusing on one organ, our primary interest organ, heart, alone. What's demonstrated here is a beautiful link of both mechanism as well as governed by transforming parbolytes with endocryne effects. How the gut, the kidney, and the heart are all connected together in this process, achieving a better protective condition in the environment for the cardiac muscle.
Dr. Carolyn Lam: Thank you listeners. You've been listening to Circulation on the Run. Tune in next week for even more news.