Circulation on the Run

Each monthly episode will discuss recent publications in the fields of genomics and precision medicine of cardiovascular disease.
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Now displaying: December, 2019
Dec 30, 2019

Dr Greg Hundley: Well listeners, this is Dr Greg Hundley from the VCU Pauley Heart Center in Richmond this week, who is sadly missing his dear friend, Dr Carolyn Lam, who is away for just a week or two. I hope you've experienced a wonderful holiday season and are able to embrace the new year with joy and hope.

In our feature article this week, Dr Marcelo Di Carli and colleagues are going to discuss the role of coronary microvascular dysfunction assessed with cardiac stress during PET, as well as left ventricular remodeling assessed with echocardiography and how both of those relate to clinical outcomes in patients with chronic kidney impairment. But first, let's have a coffee and chat about other articles in this issue.

We have four original manuscripts, two or more clinical papers, and two from the world of basic science. So let's go to the clinical papers first. And the first emanates from our own associate editor, Dr Sana Al-Khatib from Duke University. Her paper comes from the ARISTOTLE trial, a randomized study of 18,201 participants that compared apixaban with warfarin in patients with atrial fibrillation at increased risk of stroke. And so this sub study included 17,423 patients in ARISTOTLE without severe renal or liver disease. And the authors evaluated the risk of bleeding and major cardiovascular outcomes in patients with atrial fibrillation taking either NSAIDs with therapixaban or warfarin. The authors found that those with NSAID use at baseline, so before starting into the study or incident NSAID use, that is they began an NSAID after initiating this study were more likely, both groups were more likely to have a history of bleeding, nearly a quarter of the patients to a fifth of the patients versus only 15% that had never used NSAIDs either before or after entering the study.

In addition, the safety and efficacy of apixaban versus warfarin appeared not to significantly be altered by NSAID use. That is whether you were taking apixaban or whether you're taking warfarin, the impact of NSAID use was not different between either of those anticoagulants.

The second original clinical article comes from Dr Audrey Blewer, also from Duke University, and evaluates the variation in bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation delivery and subsequent survival from out of hospital cardiac arrest based on neighborhood level ethnic characteristics.

As background for this research, bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation delivery and survival from out of hospital cardiac arrest varies at the neighborhood level, was generally lower survival seen in neighborhoods predominantly with individuals from black race. Despite Hispanics being the fastest growing minority population in the United States, few studies have assessed whether the proportion of Hispanics in a neighborhood is also associated with delivery of bystander CPR or subsequent survival for an out of hospital cardiac arrest. Accordingly, the authors in this study assessed whether bystander CPR rates and survival buried by neighborhood level ethnicity. And they hypothesized that neighborhoods with a higher proportion of Hispanics would have lower bystander CPR rates and overall lower survival.

This study was a retrospective cohort and use data from the Resuscitations Outcome Consortium, or ROC Epistry across the United States. So in this study, the authors identified 18,900 cardiac arrests. And they excluded pediatric arrests, EMS witnessed arrests, or arrest occurring in a healthcare or an institutional facility. And they found overall that bystander CPR was administered in 37% of these out-of-hospital arrests. Among neighborhoods with less than 25% Hispanic residents, bystander CPR was administered in 39% of the events, while it was administered in only 27% of the events in those neighborhoods with greater than 75% Hispanic residents. Also, lower rates of survival occurred in neighborhoods with greater than 75% Hispanic residents. And so the authors conclude that these findings suggest there's an important need to understand the underlying disparities in CPR delivery and an unmet CPR training need among Hispanic communities.

Well now let's shift to our two original articles that come from the world of basic science. And the first is from Dr Ying Shen from Baylor College of Medicine and reports on the critical role of cytosolic DNA and its sensing adapters sting in aortic degeneration, dissection and rupture. So as some background for this study, recent evidence has indicated that cytosolic DNA and abnormal activation of the cytosolic DNA sensing it after sting, a stimulator of interferon genes, plays a critical role in vascular inflammation and destruction. And so in this paper, the authors examine the involvement of this mechanism in aortic degeneration and sporadic aortic aneurysm and dissections. Just like with our other basic science papers, the authors perform both studies in a small animal model, mice, and also in human subjects. So what did they find?

The authors found that in human sporadic aortic dissection tissues, they observe the presence of cytosolic DNA in smooth muscle cells and macrophages. And they had significant activation of this sting pathway. In a mouse model, sting deficient mice showed significant reduction in challenged induced aortic enlargement, dissection and rupture in both the thoracic and abdominal aortic regions. Additional single cell transcriptome analyses were performed and provided some mechanistic understanding for the author's findings.

So in summary, for this very interesting paper from the world of basic science, the author's findings indicate that the presence of cytosolic DNA and subsequent activation of cytosolic DNA sensing it after, or sting signaling, is a key mechanism in aortic degeneration. And therefore future studies, perhaps targeting sting, may be performed to see if they could prevent sporadic aortic aneurysm dissection development.

The second basic original article in this issue is entitled In Vivo CRISPR CAS9-mediated gene editing and how that ameliorates atherosclerosis in familial hypercholesterolemia. It comes to us from Dr Bin Zhou from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

So as background for this study, mutations in the low-density lipoprotein receptor are one of the main causes of familial hypercholesterolemia. The clustered regularly interspace short palindromic repeats of CRISPR and caspase-9 system is an effective tool for gene editing to correct gene mutations and thus ameliorate the disease.

So these authors tested whether in vivo sematic cell gene editing through the CRISPR CAS based nine system delivered by adeno associated virus could treat familial hypercholesterolemia caused by the LDLr mutant in a mouse model. Well, the authors ... As Carolyn would ask, so what did they find, Greg? Well, the authors observed some really exciting results. They found that the LDLr mutation was corrected in a subset of hepatocytes after the CRISPR CAS based nine treatment with LDLr protein expression partially restored. Compared with control animals, the CRISPR CAS based nine targeted SGRNA group had significant reductions in total cholesterol, total triglyceride, and LDL cholesterol in the serum while the aorta had smaller atherosclerotic plaques and a lower degree of macrophage infiltration. So this study really implicates perhaps not only a mechanism of disease, but a potential treatment. But with the relatively small numbers in this study, more research is needed to confirm and substantiate the findings from this group.

So great original articles in this issue. What else is in the issue? And let's move to those. We have a global rounds feature. Remember, global rounds are investigating how cardiovascular disease is assessed and managed in countries from all over the world. Well, in this global rounds feature Professor Ali Oto from Memorial and Cairo Hospital provides a quick reference to the control and management of cardiovascular disease in Turkey. And the next article, an on my mind piece, Dr Milton Packer explorers whether the conditions of atrial fibrillation and heart failure with preserved ejection fraction are two separate diseases that occur frequently together in patients or alternatively, whether these two adverse clinical syndromes may be parallel manifestations of the same underlying myocardial disease with atrial fibrillation affecting the left atrium and heart failure preserved ejection fraction afflicting the left ventricle.

In our what's in the mailbag series, Professor Nicholas Mills from the University of Edinburgh shares in a research letter the relationship between exercise intensity and duration on cardiac troponin release in 10 physically active healthy volunteers averaging 34 years in age. A great read for our readership that is actively exercising. And it looks like in this letter, intensity of exercise matters when evaluating post-exercise serum troponin values. I really encourage everyone to take a look at that letter.

And then finally, there's a letter to the editors from Dr Abdallah Fayssoil from the Raymond Poincare Hospital in Garches, France regarding a prior publication related to nutrition and functional tricuspid regurgitation.

Well, listeners, that sums up our summary. And I hope you had a great coffee or if you're running on your treadmill, a great run. And let's now move on to our feature discussion with Dr Di Carli. Welcome everyone to our feature discussion and we have Dr Marcelo Di Carli from Brigham and Women's Hospital who's going to be discussing with us a manuscript relating to the measurements of coronary micro circulatory function and how they may impact patients with chronic kidney disease. Also discussing today, we have our own associate editor, Dr Victoria Delgado from Leiden in the Netherlands. Well, welcome Marcelo and Victoria. We're so glad to have the opportunity to speak with you. And Marcelo, could you tell us a little bit about what was the hypothesis and some of the background of why you wanted to perform this study?

Dr Marcelo Di Carli: Chronic kidney disease represents a relatively large segment of the population. In the US alone, it's estimated that around 50 million people have the diagnosis of chronic kidney disease. And it's a disease that we all know is associated with a high risk of cardiovascular events. Even in the absence of obstructive coronary disease, it's been shown that the incidents of cardiomyopathy and the absence of obstructive disease, of coronary disease, is pretty high and that associates with a high risk of heart failure and death.

The mechanisms related to cardiomyopathy in patients with chronic kidney disease have been debated for a long time. This has been associated with LVH incidents of non-transmittal or non-ST-elevation MIs, also with microvascular disease as a measure of ischemic heart disease, but there's no clear association with how do these features of chronic kidney disease link to each other. And so our objective was to look at the associations between LV remodeling, coronary microvascular disease and adverse events. And we hypothesized that coronary microvascular dysfunction as a more integrative marker of myocardial ischemia and injury would associate with changes in cardiac structure and function and with increased risk of adverse cardiovascular events.

Dr Greg Hundley: Very nice. So tell us a little bit, Marcelo, about your study population and your study design.

Dr Marcelo Di Carli: Well, this is a cross sectional analysis of a cohort that is well-characterized in our registries. And so it consisted of a consecutive group of patients who underwent both PET scanning for measuring coronary vascular function and echocardiography within 90 days of each other. Could it not have evidence of overt obstructive coronary disease as defined by a history of prior revascularization, prior AMI or an abnormal PET scan indicating presence of obstructive disease.

We also excluded patients with severe valvular disease, cancer, severe LV disfunction to try to avoid confounding elements in the associations where we're trying to study. We used echocardiography to assess quantitatively the changes in LV geometry, diastolic function and subclinical systolic dysfunction. Most of our patients have relatively preserved LV function, LV ejection fraction. And so we looked at peak longitudinal strain, global radial strain and circumferential strain as indicators of systolic dysfunction. And of course we also looked at changes in LV mass. Patients were followed a little over four years for the occurrence of death, hospitalization for heart failure or myocardial infarction. And all of these myocardial infarctions were non-ST-elevation MIs, or people might call it type two MIs.

Dr Greg Hundley: Tell us a little bit about the results. But before you get to that, how old were these patients and what was their breakdown in terms of race and gender?

Dr Marcelo Di Carli: Yeah, so we had a population of 352 patients. The mean age was mid-sixties. not surprisingly, 60% of the patients were female. And this is because we obviously excluded obstructive coronary disease that would be more prevalent in male. They have about a 40% incidence of diabetes, a high percentage of them had hypertension. These are all the features that would typically be associated with chronic kidney disease. The rate of obesity was actually lower in patients with CKD. And we call CKD here as a GFR less than 60. That's the population we're targeting here. And so that's essentially the cohort.

Dr Greg Hundley: And what did you find?

Dr Marcelo Di Carli: Well, there were essentially three or four main findings. Number one and not very surprisingly, patients with CKD had worse myocardial mechanics that is worse diastolic function and worse systolic strain. In multi-variable models, fully adjusted for a number of clinical covariates as well as ejection fraction, we found that these abnormalities in myocardial mechanics were relatively strongly associated with abnormal coronary microvascular function as defined by PET. So this sort of suggests that the variability that we see in diastolic and systolic function are explained largely by microvascular disease, but not necessarily directly linked to GFR as a mediator.

The second finding was that patients with CKD, again, not surprisingly, it showed a higher incidence of MACE, including especially death and heart failure, more than triple the rate of death and doubled the rate of heart failure compared to those without CKD. And in multi-variable analysis, again, MACE was associated with coronary flow reserve as a measure of microvascular dysfunction but not glomerular filtration rate. And there was no interaction between coronary flow reserve and GFR. Interestingly, when we looked at the adverse events subgroup by measures of LV remodeling and we picked three measures. One is changes in LV geometry, diastolic dysfunction, and impaired global longitudinal strain, we found that the incidence of both mace as well as heart failure and myocardial infarction were significantly higher when both abnormal LV mechanics or remodeling were present and the patients also had microvascular disease. So in the absence of either one, the rate of mace was relatively low, indicating that there is a clear interaction between abnormalities in cardiac structure and function and microvascular disease.

And then lastly, we looked at mediation analysis to try to investigate a plausible pathway between impaired renal function and events and we hypothesized that coronary microvascular dysfunction might actually mediate at least part of that relationship. And indeed we found that about a third of the relationship was explained by the presence of microvascular disease. Very nice,

Dr Greg Hundley: Very nice. Very important work. So now we'll turn to our own associate editor, Victoria Delgado. Victoria, help us put this into perspective for what we know about patients with chronic kidney disease. How does the results of this study really move the field forward?

Dr Victoria Delgado: I think that this article brings new evidence on phenotyping of these patients and the factors that influence the cardiac abnormalities that we may see. There are not many studies including patients with chronic kidney disease. These patients are usually underrepresented in randomized control trials. And we know that these patients are associated with an increased mortality and morbidity and mainly heart failure hospitalizations. And I think that this study is showing another piece in the person that can help us understand why these patients are associated with much higher cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. I think that relating the coronary microvascular dysfunction is an important piece and important knowledge because then we may think how to improve the microvascular dysfunction on these patients and see if by improving these microvascular dysfunction, these abnormalities that have been described in terms of a structure and function can be reversed and see how these impacts on the outcome of these patients.

Dr Greg Hundley: So Marcelo, just briefly, what do you think is the next study that needs to be performed in this area of science?

Dr Marcelo Di Carli: I think that obviously our study has some limitations and the causation. Cause and effect cannot be inferred from our study. So I think the next steps will be to try to demonstrate whether indeed modifying microvascular dysfunction leads to improved outcomes. And I think this will be best done by intervention studies that can be targeted towards improving microvascular dysfunction. We can think of novel therapies as well that have been initially associated with improved renal outcomes. I'm talking about for example, SGLT2 inhibitors that can be potentially of benefit not only on renal outcomes but potentially on cardiovascular outcomes as has been shown in populations largely without CKD.

Dr Greg Hundley: Victoria, anything to add in terms of how noninvasive imaging could play a role in some of those next future studies?

Dr Victoria Delgado: I think that the point that Marcelo raise on the use of SGLT2 inhibitors is very timely and very appealing because we know that for patients with diabetes who have renal dysfunction and you have EGFR below 35, they may not be eligible for these therapies. But as you can see in this study, the mean EGFR of the patients with renal dysfunction was 41. So there is a wide range of patients that could be eligible for these therapies. How imaging can help to see or to detect the patients that may benefit from these therapies and see how these therapies may improve the structure and the function of the heart.

Dr Greg Hundley: Well, listeners, we've had a great discussion today with Dr Marcelo Di Carli from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Dr Victoria Delgado from Leiden. And really trying to understand some noninvasive markers of both micro circulatory dysfunction as well as abnormal echocardiographic assessments of both diastolic function as well as systolic dysfunction and how they forecast adverse events in patients with chronic kidney disease.

I want to wish you all a great week and on behalf of Carolyn and myself, I hope to see you next week. Take care now.

This program is copyright the American Heart Association 2020.


Dec 23, 2019

Dr Amit Khera: I'm Amit Khera, I'm digital strategies editor for Circulation and I'm standing in this week for Carolyn Lam and Greg Hunley. And I'm also doing the Circulation on the Run podcast, as well as Discover CircRes podcast with our two editors in chief.
This is Jane Freedman, who recently took over as editor-in-chief of Circulation Research, and Joseph Hill, who is the editor-in-chief of Circulation. So, welcome you both. We're excited to do this.
Dr Joseph Hill: Thank you.
Dr Jane Freedman: Thank you.
Dr Amit Khera: The idea behind this, there's this session here at sessions where we're learning a little bit about Circulation Research and Circulation, pulling back the cover, if you will, and seeing behind the cloak, as what happens in the Journal. So, Dr Freedman, I'll start with you. Tell me a little bit about, as the incoming editor of Circulation Research, some of your vision for the Journal, which you're excited about.
Dr Jane Freedman: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Well, I'm thrilled to be the new editor of Circulation Research. And I've assembled a fabulous team of associate editors, deputy editors and other staff and support, that are going to continue to grow what's already a wonderful journal, to be the preeminent and primary journal for basic and translational cardiovascular sciences. And also support and interact with the other HA family of Journals.
Dr Amit Khera: So obviously that starts with a great team. And it sounds like you've assembled that. Anything new that you're thinking about, and sort of the redesign of Circ Research in your term?
Dr Jane Freedman: Sure. So, we're hoping to expand the original scientific content, so we can have a larger number of articles in original science. And we can have the pages to be able to handle other areas of basic cardiovascular science to include new areas, emerging areas, things like that. We're also increasing some of our early career initiatives, so that's very important to us as well.
Dr Amit Khera: Fantastic. Fantastic. Can you talk about expanding for science? And Joe, that leads to you. I'm going to, in this session tomorrow, one of the goals is when people submit their science, it really goes into a black box and people don't know what happens on the editorial level. Can you maybe enlighten us a little, what happened?
Dr Joseph Hill: Jane and I have been friends for 20 or more years and we now have established a bi-directional, mutually synergistic collaboration where we send papers each way. We have distinct missions, but yet with significant overlap. And I think it's an incredibly exciting time for the entire portfolio of AHA Journals. So as you
say, most people that you hit send and you wait four to six weeks, and you
either get a happy note or an unhappy note.
And, what happens at both our Journals is we have a strategy of multiple
touches on every paper. The paper that first comes in, is first touched by a
senior editor, either myself or James de Lemos, and two or three others. And we
will reject without review, about 50% of the papers at that point. We publish six
papers a week, but we get 110 a week. So we don't need to review 50 of them
to pick the top six.
Out of respect to our authors to save them time, out of respect to our reviewers
who devote tremendous effort to reviewing papers, we don't send them papers
that we don't think have a shot. That said, if a paper makes it past that first
stage, there's about a 50% chance it'll get published either in our Journal, or in
one of the subspecialty journals. Probably a 50-50 chance it'll be published
somewhere in an AHA family Journal.
So if it makes it past that stage, we send it to an associate editor, of which you
are one. And we have about 50 of them. A third are in Dallas, another third are
in the U.S. outside of Dallas, and another third are in countries around the
world, 17 different countries. And that person will probably reject without
review, another five or 10% maybe. But he or she will dig into that paper, and in
parallel send it out to two or sometimes three reviewers, who are trusted and
valued advisors.
They help that associate editor make a strong recommendation. He or she
makes a decision to bring to the larger group, that is informed by those
reviewers. So already that paper has been touched by five different
investigators. Typically, that associate editor will reach out electronically within
his or her affinity group. We have an affinity group in epidemiology, heart
failure, intervention, basic science.
Asking other AEs, "Could you take a look at this paper? One reviewer said this,
one said that, I'm sort of thinking this." And then we'll have a conversation on
our weekly video conference, and then a decision goes out to the authors. So
every paper is touched by at least five, and sometimes 10 different editors and
reviewers, which we have found has been a powerful way to really dig into and
identify things that one or two people might have missed.
Dr Amit Khera: One thing I note here is, if you realize how many people touch these articles, yet
how efficient and how fast this process is, then that's a testament to sort of, the
goals of the Journal, to be really responsive and rapid for our authors. One big
part of that, and come back to Dr Freedman is peer review, right? So, associate
editors have a lot of work, and were affinity groups and so forth, but really
critical are these peer reviewers. And in the modern era, we're all so busy. Tell
us a little bit about the value of peer review, and how we enhance the value to
the peer reviewers themselves.
Dr Jane Freedman: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Well, just as you said, the peer reviewers are absolutely
central, valued and vital parts of making the Journal run correctly. And we, like
Circulation, our associate editors send them out to three different peer
reviewers, and they have a very fixed amount of time to review the articles, and
they provide these wonderful comments.
We also very heavily rely on our editorial board. They know the drill, that it
needs to be back within a fixed amount of time. And for the most part, they do
it. It's an interesting question, "What's the value to them?" I've been a reviewer
too. It's part of your pay back. It's part of educating yourself about what's new
and interesting. There's a lot of reasons for doing it. People enjoy being on the
editorial board and interacting with the Journal. But fundamentally, as an
editor, you're incredibly grateful to your reviewers. They are the unsung heroes
of making a Journal work.
Dr Amit Khera: You mentioned sending out to three, when you have sort of disparate reviews.
It's amazing when some people love it and some people hate it.
Dr Jane Freedman: Yeah.
Dr Amit Khera: How do you handle that?
Dr Jane Freedman: Yeah, well, sometimes it's apparent from the reviews why that happened.
Someone may have focused on something, that the editorial group thinks is less
important. Or they have focused on something that's addressable. The other
thing we do, similar to Joe, is we have a video conference call every single week
on Wednesdays, and that's a period where people can vet any concerns or
questions. And then my editors, my associate and deputy editors know we have
an open communication at all times. So I very frequently, when they have
questions about reviews and how to reconcile disparate reviews, we'll have an
ongoing conversation about that.
Dr Amit Khera: It sounds like, of course you're actively engaged in how this is a dynamic
process. I'll mention one thing, is digital strategies editor and I know both at Circ
Research and Circulation. We're always thinking, "How do we bring these
articles to life? How do we have the most people read them or engage with
them?" And one is traditional social media. So Twitter and Facebook, which is
incredibly important. Podcast, you have a monthly podcast.
Dr Jane Freedman: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dr Amit Khera: We have a weekly podcast and really hope that people listen to them because
they're really full of important information. And finally, I think what people
don't appreciate is the media. So we work with the AHA media. Some of our top
stories get over a million media impressions, go all around the world and there's
Professional Heart Daily. So, there's so many ways that we're bringing articles to
life. Joe, I'm going to finish with you. This is a Circ family. The value of having a
family of Journals and how we keep cohesion, and for authors when they're
submitting to sort of a family of Journals, what's the value and how does that
Dr Joseph Hill: Well, there has been complete turnover of all the editors in chief in the entire
family of Journals, of which there are 12. And we are all quite similar in our
personalities, and in our perspectives on the importance, the ultimate
importance of validity. The first question we ask, "Is this true?" If it's not, it's
gone. It doesn't get referred. We reject it. Even if it's going to be on the front
page of the New York Times and cited 10,000 times. And all of us hold ourselves
to that same standard. So our vectors are all pointed in the same direction. We
also care about impact, not impact factor. But does it change the way you think?
Does it matter? Is it incremental, or does it really move the needle?
So we are now in a situation, I think a wonderful situation where we all sink or
swim together. We send papers all around, as you know very well. We send
papers to the subspecialty journals. We send 20 or 30 a week, on an
extraordinarily regular basis. And we send papers horizontally to Circ Research,
or Hypertension, or Stroke and so forth. So, it is a syncytium now I would say, of
a family of journals where we are all looking out for each other. Jane cares
about our Journal and we care about her Journal. And that's really a wonderful
situation to be in.
Dr Amit Khera: Well thanks. That family and how this fluidity of articles and thought and
exchanges, is really part of the value. And ultimately the goal is for a great paper
to find a great home. And I think in this Circ family we do that.
Thank you very much. It's been a wonderful podcast. Again, I'm Amit Khera,
digital strategies editor sitting in for Carolyn Lam and Greg Hundley for
Circulation on the Run, as well as for Discover CircRes. Thank you.
Dr Carolyn Lam: This program is copyright American Heart Association 2019.

Dec 16, 2019

Dr Carolyn Lam: Welcome to Circulation on the Run, your weekly podcast summary and backstage pass to the journal and it's editors. I'm Dr Carolyn Lam, Associate Editor from the National Heart center and Duke National University of Singapore.

Dr Greg Hundley: And I'm associate editor, Dr Greg Hundley, from VCU Health, the Pauley Heart Center, in Richmond, Virginia.

Well Carolyn, our feature discussion, are results from the Odyssey study and they're presented by Professor Wouter Jukema from Leiden University Medical Center, regarding the relationship between ultra-low LDL levels in both ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke. The study really seeks to answer the question related to concerns that ultra-low LDL levels, less than 15 milligrams per deciliter, in patients treated for ischemic heart disease could increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke, but more to come on that intriguing question. Carolyn, how about your first paper?

Dr Carolyn Lam: It's from doctors Condorelli and Kallikourdis from Humanitas Clinical and Research Center and Institute of Genetic and Biomedical Research respectively in Rozzano Milan in Italy. Now, these authors used single cell RNA sequencing to map the cardiac immune composition in the standard Murine non ischemic pressure overload heart failure model. They then integrated their findings using multi parameter flow cytometry, immunohistochemistry and tissue clarification immunofluorescence in both the mouse and the human. And they found that despite the absence of infectious agents or an autoimmune trigger, induction of disease led to immune activation that involved far more cell types than previously thought. And that included neutrophils, B cells, natural killer cells, and mast cells. And this really opens up the field of cardio immunology to further investigation using toolkits that have already been developed to study these immune subsets.

Dr Greg Hundley: Ah, so Carolyn, do they have any specific examples?

Dr Carolyn Lam: Hmm, indeed they did. They found that activation lead to up regulation of key subset specific molecules such as pro inflammatory cytokine onco statin M in pro-inflammatory macrophages, and PD1 in T regulatory cells. Now these are significant because they may help to explain clinical findings such as the refractivity of heart failure patients to anti TNF therapy and cardio toxicity during anti PD1 cancer immunotherapy respectively, for the more these subset specific molecules may become useful targets for the diagnosis or therapy of heart failure.

Dr Greg Hundley: Oh, beautiful. Well Carolyn, my next article is from Ambarish Pandey from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and it's entitled Incorporation of Biomarkers into Risk Assessment for Allocation of any Hypertensive Medication, According to the 2017 ACC, AHA High Blood Pressure Guidelines, a Pooled Cohort Analysis.

Dr Carolyn Lam: So I suppose asking does consideration of troponin or BNP inform cardiovascular risk in those with hypertension?

Dr Greg Hundley: Great question Carolyn. So in this study, the authors included participant level data from 12,987 participants across three cohort studies, ERIC, the Dallas Heart Study and MESA. And they were pooled excluding individuals with prevalent cardiovascular disease and those taking antihypertension medications at baseline. Participants were analyzed according to blood pressure treatment group from the 2017 ACC AHA Blood Pressure Guideline and those with high blood pressure, 120 to 159 millimeters of mercury, were further stratified by biomarker status.

Dr Carolyn Lam: Okay. So what did they find Greg?

Dr Greg Hundley: Participants with elevated blood pressure or hypertension, not recommended for any hypertensive medication with versus without either elevated high sensitivity, cardiac troponin T or N terminal pro BNP, had a 10-year cardiovascular incidence rate of 11% and 4.6%, with a 10-year number needed to treat to prevent one event for intensive blood pressure lowering of 36 and 85 individuals respectively.

In addition, among participants with stage one or stage two hypertension recommended for antihypertensive medication with a blood pressure less than 160 over a hundred millimeters of mercury, those with versus without an elevated biomarker had a 10-year cardiovascular incidence rate of 15.1% and 7.9% with a 10-year number needed to treat, to prevent one event of 26 individuals and 49 individuals respectively.

Dr Carolyn Lam: Wow, Greg, those are impressive numbers. So does this mean we should be checking biomarkers in everyone?

Dr Greg Hundley: Great question again Carolyn. These results suggest that a biomarker based approach to cardiovascular risk assessment may help identify high risk individuals with elevated blood pressure or stage one hypertension who are currently not recommended for any hypertensive medication, according to the 2017 ACC AHA Blood Pressure Guideline, but who may benefit from blood pressure lowering therapy. And it seems the more we research blood pressure measures, the more we learn regarding individualizing targets for blood pressure lowering.

Dr Carolyn Lam: Very interesting Greg. Thanks. So my next paper sought to understand to what extent do drug costs, which are potentially actionable factors, contribute to medication non-adherence? A very interesting and relevant question, and this is from Dr Nasir from Yale New Haven Health System and colleagues who identified more than 14,000 US adults with a reported history of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in the national health interview survey from 2013 to 2017. Now participants were considered to have experienced cost related non-adherence if in the preceding 12 months they reported either skipping doses to save money or taking less medication to save money or delaying filling a prescription to save money. And they used survey analysis to obtain national estimates.

Dr Greg Hundley: Okay, Carolyn. So what did they find?

Dr Carolyn Lam: Listen to this. So they found that one in eight patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease reported non-adherence with medications due to cost, representing nearly 1.5 million estimated patients missing doses, 1.6 million taking lower than prescribed doses and 1.9 million intentionally delaying a medication fill to save costs, all in the United States. Patients less than 65 years of age, had a three fold higher rate of medication noncompliance due to cost, with significantly higher rates in women and among patients from low income families and those without health insurance. Now the take home message I think is that the removal of financial barriers to accessing medications, particularly among vulnerable patient groups, may help improve adherence to essential therapies to reduce atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, morbidity and mortality.

Dr Greg Hundley: Great paper, Carolyn. We've got a couple other articles in this issue. Let's just run through so our listeners get a synopsis. So Dr Javed Butler from University of Mississippi Medical Center has a nice white paper regarding heart failure endpoints in cardiovascular outcome trials of SGLT2 inhibitors in patients with type two diabetes. Dr Brahmajee Nallamothu in a perspective piece, discusses issues related to the legal prosecution of stent cases and the 70/30 rule. Remember Carolyn, the 70/30 rule, the operator may say a stenosis is 70% of an intracoronary luminal narrowing, but in review, others seem to think it's less than 30% and often these cases are prosecuted for performing coronary artery interventions on these lesions, but what Dr Nallamothu argues is perhaps, these definitions are really related to how that stenosis was measured. Are you taking approximately dilated segment or a distantly dilating segment as your reference point? Really interesting perspective piece.

The next article is from Dr Prateeti Khazanie at the University of Colorado in Denver and provides an on my mind piece with Dr Mark Drazner regarding ethical issues that arise during cardiac transplant allocation process. They review some of the pitfalls associated with current physician subjective assessments used for heart transplants in the United States. Dr Neil Kay presents another EKG challenge related to T, a new wave alternans and consumption of alcohol in association with combinations of antiarrhythmic drugs. Dr Dipan Shah from Houston Methodist provides new data in a letter, a research letter, regarding the association of extracellular volume fraction and MRI measure of interstitial fibrosis in the setting of chronic mitral regurgitation.

And finally, Carolyn, Dr Nirvik Pal and colleagues write a letter referring to an earlier publication related to LVAD adverse outcomes and cardiac transplantation. Well, shall we move on to that feature discussion?

Dr Carolyn Lam: Yeah, let's do that, Greg.

Dr Greg Hundley: Welcome everyone to our feature discussion and we're very excited today to have Dr Wouter Jukema from Leiden University Medical Center who's going to tell us about the utility of PCSK9 inhibitors on the impact of both ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke. A large study that comes from the Odyssey study. Welter, we are so glad that you're with us this morning, afternoon, evening, wherever you may be in the world. Could you tell us, what were the thoughts behind putting this study together?

Dr Wouter Jukema: As we all know that patients with acute coronary syndromes, ACS, are at an increased risk for a subsequent stroke. And we also do know that lowering of atherogenic lipoproteins, including LDL cholesterol of course, reduces the risk of ischemic stroke in chronic atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease or recent ACS.

However, concerns have been raised about very low LDL cholesterol levels and the potential risk and increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke.

So the effect of lipid lowering by PCSK9 inhibition, both ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke is actually not fully determined. So what we therefore did to better investigate this is that in the obviously outcomes trial, the main publication was of course in New England Journal of Medicine already, we did a pre-specified analysis. We was designed to assess the effect of LRO come up on the ischemic as well as on the hemorrhagic stroke in patients with a recent ACS in obviously outcomes, all patients had a recent ACS and we have hypothesized that for patients treated with LRO come up that would be one, A, a reduction in risk of ischemic stroke, B, without an increase in hemorrhagic stroke. And we also hypothesize that the results would be irrespective of baseline LDL cholesterol and the history of cerebral vascular disease.

So that was our background and objectives and we investigated this in urology outcomes trial a huge, huge trial. If you may all recall post ACS patients one to 12 months post ACS, they all had a run in period two to 16 weeks of high intensity or maximum tolerated dose of atorvastatin or rosuvastatin, and then you had to meet certain lipids criteria and then you were randomized to LRO come up circuitously every two weeks or placebo. And of course all the patients and investigators were blinded to lipid levels and treatment location. So this was a design.

Dr Greg Hundley: Wouter that was a fantastic description of why we're studying this particular series of issues as both ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes.

Tell us a little bit about your study results?

Dr Wouter Jukema: We looked at the entire population of the Odyssey outcomes trial. This is almost 19000 patients and then we looked if they had a history of prior cerebral vascular disease or we have no history of cerebral vascular disease. The majority, almost 18000 did not have a history of cerebral vascular disease and over 900 did have a history of cerebral vascular disease. And we've also looked at our baseline LDL cholesterol levels. Well, if you can of course, be sure we appreciate people with history of cerebral vascular disease or way out, there are a different study population. So that's of course what you may expect anyway. And that's what we saw.

But regardless if you have the history of a vascular disease or you didn't have that, we saw a reduction of any stroke and actually it was 28% reduction of any stroke, which is quite impressive, in my opinion, as highly significant with a P value of point 0.05 and then afterwards of course, we tried to split it in ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic strokes.

So as I told you, any stroke was reduced with 28% and if you then look at ischemic stroke, it was 27%. Also significant at the P value of 0.01. And then of course, the big question, what would happen with hemorrhagic stroke. And actually this was numerically less also in the LRO come up group. So there was not only a reduction in any stroke, but also in ischemic stroke. But also in hemorrhagic stroke, but this was 17% and then of course you are in the low numbers. So the ischemic ratio for hemorrhagic stroke was 0.83 in favor of LRO come up. And of course that by itself is not significant to the low numbers, but numerically there were less hemorrhagic strokes on top of that, there were less ischemic strokes and that was, I think a very reassuring finding. And the interesting part is that these results were more or less independent.

If you have a history of cerebral vascular disease are not, so people without a price were benefiting and with a price were benefiting. And it was also statistically independent of your baseline LDL cholesterol level. So the results were basically the same. If you had a baseline LDL starting below 80 between 80 and 100 and over 100 the results were the same. LRO come up was always better than placebo. If you look at the data, you could see that it was perhaps doing slightly even better if you had a slightly higher cholesterol from the start, which is conceivable. But the formal test returned 80 did not say show any difference. So you could say the beneficial effect of other LRO come up on stroke in post ACA patients is independent of your history of cerebral vascular disease, is independent of your baseline LDL. LRO come up is just better for ischemic strokes as well as for hemorrhagic strokes at least there was no sign.

Never mind add to that, we did even go one step further and we looked at the risk of hemorrhagic stroke in relation to the HG LDL cholesterol level. So not your baseline LDL cholesterol level, but the achieved LDL cholesterol level in the LRO come up group because there you find the, of course very low numbers and we divided them and below 25 milligrams per deciliter, which we could continue really low between 25 to 15, 15 to 17 over 17 and the numbers of hemorrhagic strokes were exactly the same, always 0.1, 0.2, 0.3%. So very low. And it was certainly not the case that they do very low numbers. We saw more hemorrhagic strokes. So this is again very reassuring data. So even at very low levels of LDL during the trial. Of course we should realize that this trial is of course only a medium duration of two per date, but we didn't see more erratic strokes.

So in my opinion, this is very reassuring data.

Dr Greg Hundley: Very good. I loved all that analysis of subgroups. I want to ask you one quick subgroup question. Was there any difference in outcomes related to gender or age?

Dr Wouter Jukema: As far as we could see there was no differential effect in gender nor in age. Of course you should realize that in very advanced age, of course the numbers get small and if you then start dividing them again in the history of stroke or not, then of course the numbers will get low. But in general there is no age or gender difference.

Dr Greg Hundley: Fantastic. So where do you think, does this field progress from here and what do you think will be the next study that we need related to PCSK9 inhibitors and adverse effects?

Dr Wouter Jukema: I think we have shown now that patients with a recent ACS and dyslipidemia, despite incentive therapy, they do benefit from the PCSK9 LRO Come up, which is reflected by a decrease in the risk of stroke. You should of course realize that this is a post ACS population, so it was not targeted in a post stroke population. This is a atherosclerotic disease population, so the results are applying for an atherosclerotic population of course, many people that have a stroke in the past may have and also from embolic processes from a FIP or whatsoever, and those results may be the same but may of course they may also be different. So that situation was not tested here. This is a atherosclerotic post ACS population. Of course you may be interested in what would happen with strokes in an embolic population with a FIP and that would of course be a very nice trial to do as well. But then you have to do an entirely new trial. And some of these trials are of course underway, but I cannot, with my publication circulation, I cannot provide you with the answer.

Dr Greg Hundley: Well listeners, we've had a great discussion on our feature article today from Dr Wouter Jukema from Leiden university medical center and really some important insights related to PCSK9 inhibitors and the fact in this study, a large study, a sub study from Odyssey that indicates really no increase incidents of both hemorrhagic or ischemic stroke in patients that receive these agents and had previously sustained acute coronary syndromes.

I want to wish you all a great week and on the half of Carolyn and myself. Hope to see you next week. Take care now.

This program is copyright American heart association 2019.


Dec 9, 2019

Dr Carolyn 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.

Dr Greg Hundley: And this is Dr Greg Hundley from VCU health, the Poly Heart Center in Richmond, Virginia. Well, Carolyn, this week's feature analyzed a pool cohort of all patients in partner one and partner two, both the trials and registries. Patients had severe aortic stenosis and were treated with TAVR or SAVR and then were analyzed with respect to the development of prosthetic valve endocarditis. But more to come on that later.

Dr Carolyn Lam: Let me start by telling you about my picks from this week's journal. So the first one is a really interesting natural experiment. First, do you think that a short term visit to a location with severe air pollution increases the risk of cardiovascular disease?

Dr Greg Hundley: Well, Carolyn, I would say yes.

Dr Carolyn Lam: Greg, you're too smart. But let me tell you what these investigators did. So their co-corresponding authors, Dr Araujo from David Geffen School of Medicine and UCLA, Dr Zhu from UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, and Dr Qiu from College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering in Peking University. These co-corresponding authors and their colleagues did a natural experiment by collecting urine and blood samples from 26 healthy adult residents of Los Angeles before, during, and after they spent 10 weeks in Beijing during the summer of 2014 and 2015.

Dr Greg Hundley: I am really excited to hear this. Carolyn, what did they find?

Dr Carolyn Lam: So traveling from less polluted Los Angeles to more polluted Beijing induced pro oxidative and pro inflammatory effects, which reversed after returning to Los Angeles. This is also the first human study associating exposures to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons with changes in paraoxonase 1, enzymatic activity, and circulating levels of hydroxyeicosatetraenoic and hydroxyoctadecadienoic acids. Cool, huh?

Dr Greg Hundley: Absolutely. Carolyn, you did an awesome job. Very nice. Well, my article comes from the world of basic science and it's from Dr Philip Shaul at the University of Texas Southwestern medical Center. So Carolyn, in recent studies of obesity induced insulin resistance in mice with corroborating findings in human type 2 diabetics, this group, Shaul’s group, previously made the surprising discovery that the insulin resistance is driven by an altered post-translational modification in IgG that leads to enhanced activation of FCYR2B in endothelial cells. And as a result, there is an attenuation of insulin transcytosis across endothelial cells and delivery to skeletal muscle myocytes where up to 80% of glucose disposal usually occurs.

Dr Carolyn Lam: Oh. Interesting, Greg. So what did the authors find in the study and how did these findings equate with obesity and hypertension?

Dr Greg Hundley: Well, they found that hyposialyation of the Fc glycan on IgG is identified as a key contributing factor in obesity induced hypertension. And therefore low levels of IgG Fc glycan sialylation may identify individuals at greater risk of developing hypertension. In addition, the degree of sialylation of IgG may predict the relative response of an individual to any hypertensive therapy.

Dr Carolyn Lam: Nice. So my next paper is from Dr Al-Lamee from Imperial College, London, and colleagues who studied the ability of a pre-randomization stress echocardiographic score to predict the placebo-controlled efficacy of PCI within the ORBITA trial. Now as a reminder, the primary results of the ORBITA trial showed us smaller than expected effect size of PCI in comparison with placebo in single vessel stable coronary artery disease on the primary end point of change in treadmill exercise time.

Now in the current study, 183 patients underwent dobutamine stress echo cardiography before randomization, and they found that the degree of ischemia assessed by dobutamine stress echo cardiography predicted the placebo-controlled efficacy of PCI on patient reported angina frequency.

Dr Greg Hundley: Hmm. Very interesting. So help me out again, Carolyn. What's the clinical importance of this?

Dr Carolyn Lam: Ah, so this study really provides the first placebo-controlled evidence of an association between stress echo cardiography, ischemia, and the magnitude of placebo-controlled benefit attributable to PCI. And the greater the downstream stress echo cardiography abnormality caused by the stenosis, the greater the reduction in symptoms from PCI. That's the take home.

Dr Greg Hundley: Oh wow. Very interesting. You know, especially we perform so many stress echo cardiograms. What a great relationship to unfold and present. Well, Carolyn, I'm going to walk through several other important publications in this issue of the journal. The first is from Dr Peter Eckman from the Minneapolis Heart Institute, and he provides an In-Depth review of veno-arterial extra corporal membrane oxygenation, or VA-ECMO, for cardiogenic shock and it's beautifully written for the busy clinician. Robert Platt, PhD, and colleagues discuss in an On My Mind piece the fact that those with adverse cardiovascular sequelae during pregnancy may require development of new cardiovascular risk prediction models. The hypertension or the diabetes that occurs during pregnancy, perhaps we need to incorporate that into our prediction models.

Next. Our own associate editor Torbjørn Omland provides results in a research letter from the peace trial relating the relationship between smoking and high sensitivity troponin T levels. Dr Allen Sniderman from McGill University Health Center writes a letter to Welsh and Associates regarding their study of the UK bio bank database and measures of HDLC. A paper we discussed just a few weeks ago. Dr Derek Chew from the DCRI and Durham North Carolina has another EKG challenge for us. And Dr Tracy Hampton provides an updated news report regarding cardiovascular disease from several recently published articles in the world of basic science. And then finally Dr Thomas Krieg from the University of Cambridge has a nice piece regarding clinical implications of targeting succinate metabolism in ischemia reperfusion injury.

Well, Carolyn, what a great slate, but I can't wait to get to that feature discussion related to prosthetic valve endocarditis.

Dr Carolyn Lam: Me too. Let's go.

Our feature discussion today is really the first paper that describes adjudicated evaluation of prosthetic valve endocarditis in patients with transcatheter and surgical aortic valve replacement. Very unique and valuable data from the partner's trial. I'm so pleased to have with us the corresponding author, Dr Wael Jaber from Cleveland Clinic as well as our associate editor, Dr Manos Brilakis from UT Southwestern. So Wael, very unique question. Could you please tell us how you went about doing this? And I suppose in this setting, the first question on everyone's mind is how did you make this diagnosis of prosthetic valve endocarditis?

Dr Wael Jaber: Actually we saw this as an opportunity that probably we should never miss. I think this is one of the rarer instances where we can objectively not only look at SAVR data but also TAVR data. And over the past maybe seven years, eight years, we started getting here as a referral center patients with TAVR endocarditis for surgery. And we never thought we'd start seeing these weird organisms, different bugs. Of course this is a population that's frail or elderly, but we never had any idea if they behave similarly to SAVR or differently than SAVR in our previous experience with SAVR endocarditis.

So we planned this actually about maybe five years ago, but we didn't have the data because you know the partner trials were undergoing another evolution by going to lower and lower risk population. So we pose this question about a year and a half ago to CRS by asking them, can you provide us with the data on all the endocarditis in partner.

The idea was not only to answer one question but to answer multiple questions. So the first question was in the modern era, what happens in SAVR? All the SAVR endocarditis information we have so far as you will know has been from mainly single center studies or even when we learn about it from multiple centers sites, usually IN European studies, the Swedish registry, the Danish registry, and these are usually limited by the fact that there are a multicenter. The adjudication is at the site what endocarditis happened. So that was the first question. Then the second issue for us was, does TAVR, because of the unusual access to the heart and the fact that we dilate the valve, post dilate the valve, their paravalvular AI, they could be micro-fractures of the refis. This is provide a different opportunity for these bugs to form on the valve, and do they behave differently?

And the third question was, is there any difference between SAVR and TAVR incidence of endocarditis? And bugs. And the final question was what happens to patients when they develop endocarditis in the current decade. Do they do well? Especially for septic endocarditis or do they succumb to their illness? And also this is how we came up with a strategy to answer all these questions.

Dr Carolyn Lam: Very nice. So Wael, could you just expand a little bit more about how the diagnosis or adjudication of prosthetic valve endocarditis was done? And then tell us please, what did you find?

Dr Wael Jaber: All the partner patients, the records were sent to a central place. So the ECHOS first were educated at central places. We were one of those centers. Other places were Columbia University, MedStar and Quebec, the group in Quebec. So all the ECHOS were adjudicated centrally. So that's first, as far as from the echo side of calling it endocarditis or not.

On the clinical side, again, all the records and the forms were sent to a central adjudication committee, CDC group. We served at the Cleveland Clinic as the CDC for most of these trials and actually even for the current trials. So they were sent and they were adjudicated according to the Duke criteria. Which is, you know, the most, probably, reliable way still today to adjudicate these.

And then there was the CDC and the echo core labs were separate. So the people who have information from the CDC did not have access to what's going on in the core lab and vice versa. So these were independently adjudicated as far as echocardiographic evidence and clinical evidence. And then they were fed into it. So by the end, when you hold it on a Duke criteria endocarditis, the echo was fed after the fact, not before. So this is in general how it happened. So all the events were educated centrally, not at the site. And the ECHOS, the same thing, were adjudicated centrally.

Dr Carolyn Lam: Fantastic. And I would love to hear the results.

Dr Wael Jaber: The first question was, what's the incidence of endocarditis? And we decided because of the way these trials were done, to report the incidents as you would see in the results section, to report the incidents of endocarditis per 1000 person year because of the imbalances in follow up and the competing risk for death from other reasons. So we found in general that the incidents of endocarditis was 5.2 endocarditis events per 1000 patients per year in the TAVR side and 4.1 in the SAVR side with a non statistically significant difference. More importantly, we found out that once you develop endocarditis, unfortunately most of these patients succumb to the illness and are dead after the diagnosis. So the risk of dying after developing endocarditis is 4.4 times higher than patients who did not have endocarditis in the trials. In all the trials.

Now there's some caveats here. First, these are trials with different patient populations, as you well know. Starting with partner with the inoperable patients moving on to the most modern S3 trial, which was on the lowest kind of side of population. So we have totally different population groups. Some of them had prolonged hospitalizations before and after, so this should be taken with a little bit of caution.

However, if you look at some of the individual trial data, we found that incidents of endocarditis at least have a trend towards a reduction of incidence of endocarditis over time going from partner, the initial experience with partner, all the way to the modern era.

Dr Carolyn Lam: That is so great. Manos, you know, as an interventional cardiologist yourself, could you tell us how important these results are? Does it affect your practice?

Dr Emmanouil Brilakis: Thanks again, Carolyn. I would like to congratulate Wael for a phenomenal paper. I think it's a very timely study and addresses one of the common concerns there is about whether TAVR does predispose people to more risk for endocarditis. Although again, the opposite grade was kind of low at 0.5% a year. I think this may be a little more than people are commonly seeing in the setting of TAVR, and I think the paper is a good reminder that this is something we should always be mindful and watching. Although typically we'll discuss with the patient about the risk of stroke or access complications, but the risk of infection may not be as well emphasized. And based on this one question I would have is about what can we do if there is something that could potentially lower that risk? I understand the limitations of retrospective study, but are there any recommendations that you have based on the study? Should give more aggressive antimicrobial therapy? Any other biotic prophylaxis or anything else that can be done to reduce the risk of endocarditis in those patients?

Dr Wael Jaber: Actually this is the question we raised. Unfortunately we did not. So the guidelines did not catch up with what we know. So if you look right now, like I was reviewing this paper that came up last month from the Swedish Registry for Endocarditis, it came out in Europe in the European Heart Journal, and one of the questions they raised is how to address, in the editorial, how to address the risk of endocarditis and prophylaxis in this population. There are no standards for that. This is one aspect of it. We need first an update of the guidelines of how to address this issue.

The second question is we do not have any idea, unfortunately, about duration of antibiotics. How the antibiotics prophylaxis were given before the procedure, like as we do right now commonly in surgery, and after the procedure in these patients. We do not know that. Like right now, at least at our center, if you go in for aortic or mitral valve surgery or any valve surgery, you have to have a dental clearance before you start, before you go to surgery. I don't know if this was rigorously applied in the setting of TAVR, and I think it would be a good idea to apply it to make sure that there are no dental, phosphide or potential infections and things like that. So I think it's a multi-front battle to get these patients to the lowest risk possible. I don't think there's one single silver bullet here.

Dr Emmanouil Brilakis: So thanks again, Wael for addressing this. I agree that there's a lot of information to be gained understanding the intricacies of endocarditis prophylaxis. And building on this, let's say another patient develops endocarditis as you've shown in your 170 patients in the study. It was fascinating that staph aureus was actually less common than it was for surgical valves, which has been shown in other studies as well. So you think this affects the choice of the biotic prophylaxis? And then also if the patient develops endocarditis, I understand many people who are not candidates for surgery, but from the ones who did actually undergo surgery, what are the outcomes encouraging?

Dr Wael Jaber: This is a fascinating question actually. This is one of the reasons we had... There was a delay for us in getting the paper out from when we presented it as an abstract at TCT a year and a half ago, is we didn't know. We wanted to answer that question. The second part of the question is how many patients went to surgery? And unfortunately, very few patients. So less than a handful of patients end up going to surgery. And we do not know why. So this is the dilemma here. Is why the rate of referral to surgery for redo surgery was very low.

Was it because these patients were the sickest of the sick? Maybe it is because we waited too long and we did not treat them the same way. We should have treated prosthetic valve endocarditis, which is surgery to be offered as soon as possible because there's no really antibiotic cure for that. So we do not have the answer for that because these very few patients went to surgery and actually I think of those who went to surgery, even the mortality there even was similar to people who did not go to surgery. But we cannot speculate on that because the very few patients.

As far as the bug involved, I think this could be a reflection of the antibiotics given at the time of the procedure, so probably we're covering that very well. But if you notice from the paper, most of the infections happen more than 30 days after the procedure. Whether this is something that was acquired because these patients are more likely to end up in the hospital again for other reasons, whether these patients had endocarditis because they have more instrumentation down the road... Remember this is a population in general above the age of 65 which would require colonoscopies, frequent urinary tract issues, and other procedures.

So we know that we're covering very well, at least I can speculate, we're covering very well for the first 30 days because very few patients had endocarditis right after the procedure, but we're not covering probably after the 30 days. And that remains to be studied. And the worrisome thing is to try to treat these patients with prophylactic antibiotics for a long time and then end up with bug resistance and things like that. Now the CDC issued a big warning about this yesterday. I am not comfortable to speculate from this small number of patients on how to treat for prophylaxis, but I'm comfortable to say probably patients should be sent to surgery as soon as possible after developing endocarditis, especially prosthetic valve endocarditis because the outcomes are dismal.

Dr Emmanouil Brilakis: And do you think... Let's say patient is not a candidate for surgery and gets endocarditis, and I presume they get into prolonged therapy. There were some patients like this that did okay, right? So there is some hope even for those patients.

Dr Wael Jaber: I feel like I'm the cup half full here because if you look at the mortality curves here, we're talking about north of 95% death in this population. So the people who survive this must be very few people survive. So probably about seven patients who survive. So the mortality was 96% at six months versus 46%. So there are very few people who survived that event. Maybe I should go back now and figure out what was the quality of life after survival. So I don't think the picture we have right now is very rosy as far as the way we're managing endocarditis.

Dr Carolyn Lam: Manos, I'm going to give you the final parting words from this very interesting discussion. I mean what do you think are the take home messages and future directions from here?

Dr Emmanouil Brilakis: I agree that this is a phenomenal landmark study and my key takeaways are the same ones that Dr Jaber presented before. But the main thing is, on the consent process, who can tell the patients there is about 0.5% per year. So it's not zero, but it's very high either. The second thing is that this choice between TAVR versus SAVR, that should not have to do with the risk of infection because as it was shown very convincingly, it was very similar to the two groups. And number three that everything possible should be done to prevent this because if you do get infection, the outcomes are not very good.

Dr Carolyn Lam: Thank you so much Manos, Wael. Thank you so much audience for joining us today. You've been listening to Circulation on the Run. Tune in again next week.

This program is copyright American Heart Association 2019.


Dec 2, 2019

Dr Carolyn 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.

Dr Greg Hundley: And I'm Dr Greg Hundley, associate editor from the Pauley Heart Center in Richmond, Virginia, from VCU Health.

Dr Carolyn Lam: You know what, Greg, I may have a hoarse voice today and I'm a little bit scratchy, but my goodness, I couldn't be more excited about this issue. It's the TCT issue.

Dr Greg Hundley: Well Carolyn, I cannot wait to discuss with our listeners the feature article that compares Apixaban and a P2Y12 inhibitor without Aspirin, versus regimens with Aspirin in patients with AFib who have ACS, whether managed medically or with PCI, or also those undergoing elective PCI that experience regimens that include vitamin K antagonists, aspirin, or both, but more to come later. Carolyn, should I start with my first discussion article and we grab a cup of coffee?

Dr Carolyn Lam: You bet, Greg.

Dr Greg Hundley: So my first article is from Seung-Jung Park from the Asan Medical Center at the University of Ulsan College of Medicine. So Carolyn, here's our first quiz question. In terms of Ticagrelor, have studies been performed in those from Asia evaluating bleeding risk?

Dr Carolyn Lam: You know, I have to admit, Greg, I'm not totally familiar with the literature, but I do know that it's a very important question for us practicing in Asia. We have a perception that the bleeding risk, especially intracranial bleeding, may be higher in Asians.

Dr Greg Hundley: Absolutely. Well, in this multicenter trial, 800 Korean patients hospitalized for acute coronary syndromes with or without ST elevation, and intended for invasive management, were randomly assigned to receive in a one to one ratio, Ticagrelor with a 180 milligram loading dose, and then 90 milligrams twice daily, or Clopidogrel with a 600 milligram loading dose and 75 milligrams daily thereafter, and the primary safety outcome was clinically significant bleeding, which was a composite of major bleeding or minor bleeding according to the PLATO outcomes criteria at 12 months.

Dr Carolyn Lam: Oh, so what did they find?

Dr Greg Hundley: Well Carolyn, at 12 months, the incidence of clinically significant bleeding was higher in the Ticagrelor group than in the Clopidogrel group. So it was 11.7% versus 5.3, and that included major bleeding and fatal bleeding. They were also higher in the Ticagrelor group. The incidents of death from cardiovascular causes, myocardial infarction or stroke, was not significantly different between the Ticagrelor group and the Clopidogrel group, although there was a strong trend toward a higher incidence in the Ticagrelor group with a P value of 0.07. So consequently, Carolyn, these results identified safety concerns regarding bleeding complications of standard dose Ticagrelor in East Asian, Korean patients with acute coronary syndromes, and therefore large adequately powered randomized trials are needed to determine the optimal antithrombotic regimen in this patient population.

Dr Carolyn Lam: Very important data for our patients, as is this next paper, which really examines the cost effectiveness of transcatheter mitral valve repair versus medical therapy in patients with heart failure and secondary mitral regurgitation. Now, these are results from the COAPT trial. As a reminder, the COAPT trial demonstrated that edge-to-edge transcatheter mitral valve repair using the MitraClip resulted in reduced mortality and heart failure hospitalizations and improved quality of life when compared with maximally tolerated guideline directed medical therapy in patients with heart failure and three to four plus secondary mitral regurgitation.

In the current paper, first author Dr Baron from Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington, Massachusetts and St. Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, as well as corresponding author Dr Cohen from University of Missouri, Kansas City, and their colleagues used data from the COAPT trial to perform a formal patient level economic analysis of the COAPT from the perspective of the US healthcare system, and they found that although the follow up costs were lower with the MitraClip compared with guideline directed medical therapy, and lower by more than $11,000 per patient. However, the cumulative two year costs remain higher by about $35,000 per patient with the transcatheter mitral valve repair, and this is all due to the upfront costs of the index procedure. Now when in trial survival, health, utilities, and costs were modeled over a lifetime horizon, transcatheter mitral valve repair was projected to increase life expectancy by 1.13 years, and quality adjusted life years, or QALYs, by 0.82 years at a cost of $45,648, yielding a lifetime incremental cost effectiveness ratio, or ICER, of $40,361 per life year gained, and $55,600 per QALY gained.

Dr Greg Hundley: Very interesting. So how do we interpret these results for clinical practice?

Dr Carolyn Lam: Ah, good question. So in order to place this in context, perhaps the most comparable case is the use of transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR. So based on the partner 1B trial, the ICER for TAVR, compared to medical therapy, was $61,889 per QALY gains. So this is very similar to what you just heard as the ICER for the transcatheter mitral valve repair. The cost effectiveness is also comparable for other commonly used treatments such as the implantable cardiac defibrillators for biventricular pacing, and was interestingly substantially more than the cost effectiveness of continuous flow LVADs, for example, and this is really discussed in a beautiful editorial by Dr Bonow, Mark, and O'Gara, and in this editorial, I think it's really important that they say the cost effectiveness projections really need to be placed in the context of continuing uncertainties regarding the interpretation of COAPT compared to that of the MITRA-FR trial, which reported no benefit of transcatheter mitral valve replacement compared to medical therapy, and so they warn that the current cost effectiveness analysis is not a carte blanche for interventional cardiologists to dramatically escalate their use of MitraClip procedure, and the data do support the thoughtful and deliberate use of this potentially life lengthening procedure in carefully selected patients and under very careful circumstances. You've got to read their editorial.

Dr Greg Hundley: That sounds excellent, Carolyn. I really like that, putting that editorial that puts that data in perspective. Well, my next study really emanates from the ABSORB III trial, and it's from Dr Dean Kereiakes at the Christ Hospital Heart and Vascular Center. The manuscript addresses the long-term cardiovascular event rates among bioresorbable vascular scaffolds and drug eluting metallic stents.

Dr Carolyn Lam: Greg, remind me, what were the results of the original ABSORB trial?

Dr Greg Hundley: Right, Carolyn. So the ABSORB III trial demonstrated non-inferior rates of target lesion failure, cardiac death, target vessel myocardial infarction, or ischemia driven target lesion revascularization at one year with the bioresorbable vascular scaffolds compared with cobalt chromium everolimus-eluting stents, but between one year and three years, and therefore the cumulative to 3 year time point, the adverse event rates, particularly for target vessel myocardial infarction and scaffold thrombosis, were increased with this bioresorbable vascular scaffold.

Dr Carolyn Lam: Ah, I see. Okay, so this current study evaluated the outcomes from three to five years beyond the implantation?

Dr Greg Hundley: Exactly. So what this study did is they looked at an interval of time between three and five years out, and they found reductions in the relative hazards for the bioresorbable vascular scaffolds compared to the common coated stents, and that particularly occurred for target lesion failure, either cardiac death or target vessel MI or ischemia driven target revascularization when compared to the earlier zero to three year time period. So therefore Carolyn, the authors conclude that improved scaffold design and development techniques to mitigate that zero to three year bio resorbable vascular scaffold risk may enhance the late benefits that one sees in this three to five year time point, because of the complete bioresorption.

Dr Carolyn Lam: So that's interesting Greg. Well, my next paper is kind of related. It is the first report of a randomized comparison between magnesium based bioresorbable scaffold and sirolimus-eluting stent in this clinical setting of STEMI with one year clinical and angiographic follow-up. So this study is from the Spanish group, Dr Sabaté and colleagues from the Interventional Cardiology Department and Cardiovascular Institute in Barcelona in Spain, and they found that at one year when compared to the sirolimus-eluting stent, the magnesium based bioresorbable scaffold demonstrated a higher capacity of vasal motor response to pharmacological agents, either endothelium, independent or dependent, at one year. However, the magnesium based bioresorbable scaffolds were also associated with a lower angiographic efficacy, a higher rate of target lesion revascularization, but without thrombotic safety concerns.

Dr Greg Hundley: Wow, Carolyn, very interesting, and Dr Lorenz Räber and Yasushi Ueki wrote a very nice editorial on this whole topic of bioresorbable scaffolds, and they wonder about some of the unfulfilled prophecies. Great for our readers to put these two articles together. Now, how about in that mailbox, Carolyn? What have you got in there?

Dr Carolyn Lam: First there's a research letter by Dr Kimura entitled Very Short Dual Antiplatelet Therapy After Drug-eluting Stent Implantation in Patients with High Bleeding Risk, and that's insights from the STOPDAPT-2 trial. There's another research letter by Dr Lopes entitled The Hospitalization Among Patients with Atrial Fibrillation and a Recent Acute Coronary Syndrome, or PCI, Treated with Apixaban or Aspirin, and that's insights from the AUGUSTUS trial. A very interesting perspective piece by Dr Rob Califf entitled The Balanced Dysfunction in the Health Care Ecosystem Harms Patients, a really, really interesting read, especially those working in the U.S. healthcare system. An ECG challenge deals with fast and slow, long and shorter. I would love to give you a clue to what it is. It's got to do with the atrial ventricular nodes, but I'll let you take a look and test yourself. There’re highlights from the TCT by Drs Giustino, Leon, and Greg Stone, and finally there's Highlights from the Circulation Family of Journals by Sara O'Brien.

Dr Greg Hundley: Very nice, Carolyn. Well, I've got just a couple reviews. Richard Whitlock in a primer provides a nice historical review of anticoagulation for mechanical valves. How do we get here in anticoagulating this particular patient population? Next, Dr Mark Brzezinski from Brigham Women's Hospital in the Harvard Medical School in an on my mind piece provides very elegant figures, beautiful figures, demonstrating inadequate angiogenesis within the fibrous cap of atherosclerotic plaques, and indicates this could be a source or thought of as a contributing factor toward plaque rupture. What an issue, and I can't wait to get onto that featured discussion.

Dr Carolyn Lam: For our featured discussion today, it is a super-hot topic, and a question that comes up again and again in clinical practice. What is the right antithrombotic therapy in patients with atrial fibrillation and acute coronary syndrome, not just those treated with PCI, but also in those treated medically? Well guess what? We're going to have answers right here. I'm so pleased to have with us Dr Renato Lopes, who's a corresponding author from Duke Clinical Research Institute and our associate editor, Dr Stefan James from Uppsala University in Sweden. Wow. Very, very important question here. Renato, could you just start by outlining what is the AUGUSTUS trial?

Dr Renato Lopes: The AUGUSTUS trial was basically one of the four trials trying to give an answer, or help answering about the antithrombotic therapy in patients with anti fibrillation and/or NACS and/or PCI. So in other words, this combination of patients undergoing PCI who require antiplatelet therapy and also patients with AFib who requires anticoagulation therapy, and in summary, what the AUGUSTUS trial did was randomize patients to Apixaban versus VKA, or aspirin placebo in a double blind fashion, and this was a two by two factorial design. So these were basically the two questions that we wanted to answer. Is Apixaban better than VKA, and is it safe to drop aspirin from this treatment strategy? Remembering that everybody received a P2Y12 inhibitor for at least eight months. So this was basically the design of the AUGUSTUS trial, trying to answer two questions in the same study, a two by two factorial design.

Dr Greg Hundley: Very, very nice. And Renato, if I could, I mean I said it in the intro, but may I make sure I got it right. This is the only trial in the field that included patients with ACS that was managed medically. So that's a very important group of patients that we still don't know what the best regimen is, is that right?

Dr Renato Lopes: That is correct. The other trials, the PIONEER, the RE-DUAL PCI and the VPCI, they only included patients undergoing PCI, and when we designed the trial, we thought that it would be important to also include the whole spectrum of ACS, including not only the PCI treated patients, but also the medically managed patients.

Dr Greg Hundley: Well, super. So could you tell us now what were the results?

Dr Renato Lopes: So first, in terms of the breakdown, we found that the breakdown of the PCI, ACS versus elective PCI, was really nice. We had about 60% of the trial being ACS patients, and about 39%-40% elective PCI, and then within the PCI, I think that our results pretty much reflect practice in a lot of parts of the world, which was about 39% medically managed and about 61% PCI treated patients. So to begin with, I think a very nice breakdown that gives us power to look at these three separate groups: ACS medically managed, ACS PCI treated, and also elective PCI, which allows us to understand the whole spectrum of coronary disease in patients also with AFib, and in summary, what we showed for the primary endpoint, which was clinical major or relevant non-major bleeding. Let's start with the Apixaban versus VKA comparison, and we show that Apixaban was safer than VKA in all three groups, in the ACS medically managed, in the PCI treated patients, and also in the elective PCI patients.

There was no significant direction for those three subgroups, although it was borderline 0.052, just showing maybe a little bit less pronounced results in the elective PCI group, but nonetheless, I would say that in general, very consistent, and in terms of Aspirin for the primary endpoint, also no difference, no interaction among those three groups. In other words, as we increase substantially the risk of bleeding about two folds in all the three groups, ACS medically managed, PCI treated patients, and elective PCI patients, with about again, two fold increase in bleeding compared to placebo. If we go to ischemic events, again, that's our hospitalization and other that are ischemic events. In terms of Apixaban versus VKA, the results were very consistent with the overall trial among these three groups, and in terms of as ACS versus placebo, the results also for the ischemic events were also similar among the three groups. So again, reassuring that the main results of the trial were very consistent, regardless how patients were managed in terms of the ACS, medically or through PCI, and also included in the elect PCI group.

Dr Carolyn Lam: Thank you for explaining that so well. Stephan, I would love for you to take us under the hood. What were the editors thinking when we saw this paper, why we're highlighting it now, and what do you think are the implications?

Dr Stefan James: The AUGUSTUS trial was unique in many aspects. I think Renato highlighted a few of them. As he told, there have been several similar trials without the other DOAX, factor 10A inhibitors and the dabigatran, but the AUGUSTUS trial was larger. It includes, as you mentioned previously, patients with ACS and medical management, and it also was designed as a two by two factorial design. So it actually asks two different questions and made two different randomizations, both anticoagulation with the two different agents, Warfarin versus Apixaban, but also Aspirin versus placebo, and so it's possible from this trial to understand more of the different aspects of treating patients, these complex patients with atrial fibrillation, NACS or PCI, and gave the study group and us an opportunity to better understand all these complexities. So with that, I'd like to turn to Renato and try to, with that background that I just outlaid, and you just try to make us understand what are the clinical implications of these aspects of the trial and the treatment of Apixaban and Aspirin in these patients?

Dr Renato Lopes: I think we were in the area that we desperately needed randomized data, because basically until five years ago, the standard of care of treating these patients was the classic triple therapy with Aspirin, Clopidogrel, and Warfarin, and this was based on no randomized trials and all observational data, and we know how problematic this is, and this field has evolved tremendously almost year after year since the PIONEER trial, since the RE-DUAL trial, and this year, we had AUGUSTUS and ENTRUST and I think now, as Mike Gibson used to say, that we have about 2.8 million different combination of antithrombotic strategies to treat these patients because we have different anticoagulants, different anti-platelets, different doses, different durations, different types of stents, which makes it really impossible for physicians or for any guidelines to contemplate all these options. So we really needed a few trials to at least try to give a few options that are evidence based and not just based on low quality of data, and I think now, if you look at the Augustus results, and the totality of the data from all these trials, which now is about almost 11,000 patients all together, actually almost 12,000 patients all together.

I think that what we know today is that yes, the initial period in hospital for some time it's important to use Aspirin. I think this is an important point to highlight, Stephan, that Aspirin still needs to be used for the acute treatment, and I would say at least for the first few initial days while patients are still in the hospital, but then by the time of discharge, which sometimes might be five days, six days, seven days, I think that now the totality of data show that it's reasonable to drop Aspirin for most patients.

So based on the AUGUSTUS results, what we show is that if you're going to use anticoagulation as Apixaban at the dose that is approved for stroke preventions in atrial fibrillation, combined with a P2Y12 inhibitor without Aspirin after the initial period, you have the best outcomes in terms of lower rates of bleeding, lower rates of hospitalizations, and we don't have to pay a cost in terms of ischemic events when we actually drop Aspirin and keep only the NOAC, in this case was Apixaban, plus a P2Y12 inhibitor, which most of the time was Clopidogrel, and here with AUGUSTUS, we basically show that this is true for patients with AFib and ACS, irrespective of the management with medical managing, with medical therapy, or with PCI. So I think that's an additional piece that that is true irrespective of how we're going to treat your ACS patient, or if the patient basically underwent elective PCI, and I think we learned today that the classic treatment therapy of VKA plus Aspirin plus P2Y12 inhibitor, so in other words, the triple classic triple therapy should generally be avoided.

Dr Stefan James: Thank you Renato. I think that that was a very complete answer in this complex arena. I'd like just to mention that of course the AUGUSTUS, as well as the other trials, have their limitations, as all trials. Although it was large, it was powered for safety, for bleeding events, and it was not powered for ischemic events. Having said that, we still want to look at ischemic events and clinical outcomes, and to what degree do you think we can do that? What conclusions can we draw from an ischemic point of view because of the fact that the trial was underpowered for that interpretation?

Dr Renato Lopes: That is a great question, Stephan, and in fact, if we look at events like stent thrombosis, they are very rare, and if you really want to attack a significant difference between Aspirin versus placebo in patients having stent thrombosis, we're really going to need a trial with about 30-40,000 people, which would be not feasible and not doable. So we need to be cautious when we analyze those events in the power trial for ischemic events. Nonetheless, there was a signal, if you look at all trials, and even in the meta-analysis that we published recently, that dropping Aspirin probably increased the risk of ischemic events, not in a statistically significant fashion, but nonetheless, this trend exists. The signal exists. So probably keeping Aspirin, add some protection for ischemic events, primarily stent thrombosis and myocardial infarction. The problem is a tradeoff. The problem is that the cost of adding aspirin is too high.

So now the question to us, Stephan, is to look further into our data and in the combined data sets that we're trying to work with the other authors and try to identify, okay, Aspirin really increased the risk of bleeding, but is there a group of patients who might benefit from a little bit longer Aspirin? So that's the first question. Who are those patients? May be complex PCI, maybe bifurcation lesions, maybe multiple lesions, multiple stents, and second, if we decide to give Aspirin longer, how much longer should we give? Because again, the cost is very high in terms of bad bleeds. So we are trying now to identify what is the trade off, and who most benefit from keeping Aspirin longer, and for how long in a way the cost might be worth it to pay in exchange of potentially save some ischemic events? And with that, we can further refine the treatment that I think I highlighted before. For most patients, I think what I said before is probably reasonable. We can drop Aspirin by the time of discharge after a few days, but for a few patients, for some patients, it might be wise to keep Aspirin a little bit longer, and we are trying now to identify first, who those patients are and second, form how much longer should we keep Aspirin, since the 40,000 patient trial is very unlikely to happen.

Dr Stefan James: I like his interpretation, Renato, although I wanted to highlight that there are limitations, I think this trial is extremely informant for clinicians. We learned a lot how to treat these very complex patients with complex treatments.

Dr Carolyn Lam: No, I couldn't have agreed more. I mean quoting Mike Gibson, 2.8 million combinations. Well, at least we've talked about some of them here and had a very clear take home message, although with the caveats that we were discussing. Thank you so much, Stefan and Renato. This was really a great discussion, and thank you audience for joining us today. You've been listening to Circulation on the Run. Don't forget to tune in again next week. This program is copyright American Heart Association 2019.