ResearchPad - pulmonary-hypertension https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Right ventricular pressure overload directly affects left ventricular torsion mechanics in patients with precapillary pulmonary hypertension]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_8470 This study examined the impact of septal flattening on left ventricular (LV) torsion in patients with precapillary pulmonary hypertension (PH). Fifty-two patients with proven precapillary PH and 13 healthy controls were included. Ventricular function was assessed including 4D-measurements, tissue velocity imaging, and speckle tracking analysis. Increased eccentricity index (1.39 vs. 1.08, p<0.001), systolic pulmonary artery pressure (64 vs. 29mmHg, p<0.001) and right ventricular Tei index (0.55 vs. 0.28, p = 0.007), and reduced tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion (19.0 vs. 26.5mm, p<0.001) were detected in PH patients as compared to controls. With increasing eccentricity of left ventricle, LV torsion was both decreased and delayed. Torsion rate paralleled this pattern of change during systole, but not during diastole. In conclusion, right ventricular pressure overload directly affects LV torsion mechanics. The echocardiographic methodology applied provides novel insights in the interrelation of right- and left ventricular function.

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<![CDATA[Pulmonary Hypertension in Heart Failure Patients]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Ne527a637-ce23-492b-b20d-8c4e66c3b8f2 The development of pulmonary hypertension (PH) in patients with heart failure is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. In this article, the authors examine recent changes to the definition of PH in the setting of left heart disease (PH-LHD), and discuss its epidemiology, pathophysiology and prognosis. They also explore the complexities of diagnosing PH-LHD and the current evidence for the use of medical therapies, promising clinical trials and the role of left ventricular assist device and transplantation.

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<![CDATA[Nocturnal hypercapnia with daytime normocapnia in patients with advanced pulmonary arterial hypertension awaiting lung transplantation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nacc6463a-eb28-4f4a-acf0-c81fc9df01f4

Background

Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is frequently complicated by sleep disordered breathing (SDB), and previous studies have largely focused on hypoxemic SDB. Even though nocturnal hypercapnia was shown to exacerbate pulmonary hypertension, the clinical significance of nocturnal hypercapnia among PAH patients has been scarcely investigated.

Method

Seventeen patients with PAH were identified from 246 consecutive patients referred to Kyoto University Hospital for the evaluation of lung transplant registration from January 2010 to December 2017. Included in this study were 13 patients whose nocturnal transcutaneous carbon dioxide partial pressure (PtcCO2) monitoring data were available. Nocturnal hypercapnia was diagnosed according to the guidelines of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Associations of nocturnal PtcCO2 measurements with clinical features, the findings of right heart catheterization and pulmonary function parameters were evaluated.

Results

Nocturnal hypercapnia was diagnosed in six patients (46.2%), while no patient had daytime hypercapnia. Of note, nocturnal hypercapnia was found for 5 out of 6 patients with idiopathic PAH (83.3%). Mean nocturnal PtcCO2 levels correlated negatively with the percentage of predicted total lung capacity (TLC), and positively with cardiac output and cardiac index.

Conclusion

Nocturnal hypercapnia was prevalent among advanced PAH patients who were waiting for lung transplantation, and associated with %TLC. Nocturnal hypercapnia was associated with the increase in cardiac output, which might potentially worsen pulmonary hypertension especially during sleep. Further studies are needed to investigate hemodynamics during sleep and to clarify whether nocturnal hypercapnia can be a therapeutic target for PAH patients.

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<![CDATA[Exploring clinical, echocardiographic and molecular biomarkers to predict bronchopulmonary dysplasia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c89778ad5eed0c4847d2f5c

Introduction

Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) is the most common chronic lung disease in childhood, related to prematurity, and the most common cause of pulmonary hypertension (PH) secondary to pulmonary disease in children. Moderate and severe BPD have a worse outcome and relate more frequently with PH. The prediction of moderate or severe BPD development in extremely premature newborns is vital to implement preventive strategies. Starting with the hypothesis that molecular biomarkers were better than clinical and echocardiographic factors, this study aims to explore the ability of clinical, echocardiographic and analytical variables to predict moderate or severe BPD in a cohort of extremely preterm infants.

Patients and methods

We designed a prospective longitudinal study, in which we followed a cohort of preterm newborns (gestational age <28 weeks and weight ≤ 1250 grams). In these newborns we recorded weekly clinical and echocardiographic variables as well as blood and tracheal aspirate samples, to analyze molecular biomarkers (IL-6, IL-1, IP10, uric acid, HGF, endothelin-1, VEGF, CCL5). Variables and samples were collected since birth up to week 36 (postmenstrual age), time-point at which the diagnosis of BPD is established.

Results

We included 50 patients with a median gestational age of 26 weeks (IQR 25–27) and weight of 871 g (SD 161,0) (range 590-1200g). Three patients were excluded due to an early death. Thirty-five patients (74.5%) developed BPD (mild n = 14, moderate n = 15, severe n = 6). We performed a logistic regression in order to identify risk factors for moderate or severe BPD. We compared two predictive models, one with two variables (mechanical ventilation and inter-ventricular septum flattening), and another-one with an additional molecular biomarker (ET-1).

Conclusions

The combination of clinical and echocardiographic variables is a valuable tool for determining the risk of BPD. We find the two variable model (mechanical ventilation and echocardiographic signs of PH) more practical for clinical and research purposes. Future research on BPD prediction should be oriented to explore the potential role of ET-1.

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<![CDATA[Elevated levels of autoantibodies against EXD2 and PHAX in the sera of patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dca33d5eed0c48452a8b5

While circulating autoantibodies have been detected in patients with several cardiovascular diseases, such studies have not been performed for chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) and pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Here we investigated the production of certain auto-antibodies in CTEPH patients. Initial screening was performed in 5 CTEPH patients and 5 healthy donors (HDs) using a ProtoArray Human Protein Microarray v5.1 containing 9,375 human proteins, and we selected 34 antigens recognized by IgG antibodies more strongly in the sera of CTEPH patients than in the sera of HDs. In subsequent second/third analyses, we validated the auto-antibody level using amplified luminescent proximity homogeneous assay-linked immunosorbent assay (AlphaLISA) in 96 CTEPH patients and 96 HDs as follows: At the second screening, we used 63 crude peptides derived from those selected 34 antigens and found that the serum levels of autoantibodies for 4 peptides seemed higher in CTEPH patients than in HDs. In third analysis, we used the purified peptides of those selected in second screening and found that serum antibodies against peptides derived from exonuclease 3'-5' domain-containing 2 (EXD2) and phosphorylated adaptor for RNA export (PHAX) were significantly higher in CTEPH patients than in HDs. The serum antibody levels to these antigens were also elevated in PAH patients. The titers against EXD2 peptide decreased after surgical treatment in CTEPH patients. These autoantibodies may be useful as biomarkers of CTEPH and PAH, and further investigations may provide novel insight into the etiology.

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<![CDATA[Role of BRCA1-associated protein (BRAP) variant in childhood pulmonary arterial hypertension]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5ca2b0d5eed0c48441e8b1

Although mutations in several genes have been reported in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), most of PAH cases do not carry these mutations. This study aimed to identify a novel cause of PAH. To determine the disease-causing variants, direct sequencing and multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification were performed to analyze 18 families with multiple affected family members with PAH. In one of the 18 families with PAH, no disease-causing variants were found in any of BMPR2, ACVRL1, ENG, SMAD1/4/8, BMPR1B, NOTCH3, CAV1, or KCNK3. In this family, a female proband and her paternal aunt developed PAH in their childhood. Whole-exome next-generation sequencing was performed in the 2 PAH patients and the proband’s healthy mother, and a BRCA1-associated protein (BRAP) gene variant, p.Arg554Leu, was identified in the 2 family members with PAH, but not in the proband’s mother without PAH. Functional analyses were performed using human pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (hPASMCs). Knockdown of BRAP via small interfering RNA in hPASMCs induced p53 signaling pathway activation and decreased cell proliferation. Overexpression of either wild-type BRAP or p.Arg554Leu-BRAP cDNA constructs caused cell death confounding these studies, however we observed higher levels of p53 signaling inactivation and hPASMC proliferation in cells expressing p.Arg554Leu-BRAP compared to wild-type BRAP. In addition, p.Arg554Leu-BRAP induced decreased apoptosis of hPASMCs compared with wild-type BRAP. In conclusion, we have identified a novel variant of BRAP in a Japanese family with PAH and our results suggest it could have a gain-of-function. This study sheds light on new mechanism of PAH pathogenesis.

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<![CDATA[Elevated pulmonary arterial pressure in Zucker diabetic fatty rats]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c58d612d5eed0c484031535

Diabetes is a very strong predictor of chronic systemic vascular diseases and acute cardiovascular events. Recently, associations between metabolic disorders and pulmonary hypertension have also been reported in both humans and animal models. In order to get some further insight into the relationship of pulmonary hypertension with obesity, insulin resistance and hyperglycemia, herein we have used the Zucker diabetic fatty rats (ZDF/clr-lepr fa) at 20 weeks fed a standard diet and compared to their lean Zucker littermates (ZL). ZDF rats were obese, had elevated plasma glucose levels and insulin resistance, i.e. a clinically relevant model of type 2 diabetes. They presented elevated systolic, diastolic and mean pulmonary arterial pressures and a parallel increase in the Fulton index. Systemic arterial pressures were also increased but the left ventricle plus septum weight was similar in both groups and the heart rate was reduced. Wall media thickening was observed in the small pulmonary arteries from the ZDF rats. Isolated pulmonary arteries mounted in a wire myograph showed similar vasoconstrictor responses to phenylephrine and 5-HT and similar responses to the endothelium-dependent vasodilator acetylcholine. However, the iNOS inhibitor 1400W enhanced the vasoconstrictor responses in ZDF but not in ZL rats. The protein expression of eNOS and iNOS was not significantly different in the lungs of the two groups. The lung expression of Bmpr2 mRNA was downregulated. However, the mRNA expression of Kcna5, Kcnk3, Kcnq1, Kcnq4 or Kcnq5, which encode for the potassium channels Kv1.5, TASK-1, Kv7.1, Kv7.4 and Kv7.5, respectively, was similar in ZL and ZDF rats. In conclusion, ZDF rats show increased pulmonary arterial pressure, right ventricular hypertrophy, pulmonary arterial medial thickening and downregulated lung Bmpr2 despite leptin resistance. These changes were mild but are consistent with the view that diabetes is a risk factor for pulmonary hypertension.

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<![CDATA[Pathophysiology of the right ventricle and of the pulmonary circulation in pulmonary hypertension: an update]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6862ccd5eed0c484022d79

The function of the right ventricle determines the fate of patients with pulmonary hypertension. Since right heart failure is the consequence of increased afterload, a full physiological description of the cardiopulmonary unit consisting of both the right ventricle and pulmonary vascular system is required to interpret clinical data correctly. Here, we provide such a description of the unit and its components, including the functional interactions between the right ventricle and its load. This physiological description is used to provide a framework for the interpretation of right heart catheterisation data as well as imaging data of the right ventricle obtained by echocardiography or magnetic resonance imaging. Finally, an update is provided on the latest insights in the pathobiology of right ventricular failure, including key pathways of molecular adaptation of the pressure overloaded right ventricle. Based on these outcomes, future directions for research are proposed.

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<![CDATA[Pathology and pathobiology of pulmonary hypertension: state of the art and research perspectives]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6862cad5eed0c484022d6a

Clinical and translational research has played a major role in advancing our understanding of pulmonary hypertension (PH), including pulmonary arterial hypertension and other forms of PH with severe vascular remodelling (e.g. chronic thromboembolic PH and pulmonary veno-occlusive disease). However, PH remains an incurable condition with a high mortality rate, underscoring the need for a better transfer of novel scientific knowledge into healthcare interventions. Herein, we review recent findings in pathology (with the questioning of the strict morphological categorisation of various forms of PH into pre- or post-capillary involvement of pulmonary vessels) and cellular mechanisms contributing to the onset and progression of pulmonary vascular remodelling associated with various forms of PH. We also discuss ways to improve management and to support and optimise drug development in this research field.

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<![CDATA[β2-Adrenergic Receptor-Dependent Attenuation of Hypoxic Pulmonary Vasoconstriction Prevents Progression of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension in Intermittent Hypoxic Rats]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daeeab0ee8fa60bc0345

In sleep apnea syndrome (SAS), intermittent hypoxia (IH) induces repeated episodes of hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction (HPV) during sleep, which presumably contribute to pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). However, the prevalence of PAH was low and severity is mostly mild in SAS patients, and mild or no right ventricular hypertrophy (RVH) was reported in IH-exposed animals. The question then arises as to why PAH is not a universal finding in SAS if repeated hypoxia of sufficient duration causes cycling HPV. In the present study, rats underwent IH at a rate of 3 min cycles of 4–21% O2 for 8 h/d for 6w. Assessment of diameter changes in small pulmonary arteries in response to acute hypoxia and drugs were performed using synchrotron radiation microangiography on anesthetized rats. In IH-rats, neither PAH nor RVH was observed and HPV was strongly reversed. Nadolol (a hydrophilic β1, 2-blocker) augmented the attenuated HPV to almost the same level as that in N-rats, but atenolol (a hydrophilic β1-blocker) had no effect on the HPV in IH. These β-blockers had almost no effect on the HPV in N-rats. Chronic administration of nadolol during 6 weeks of IH exposure induced PAH and RVH in IH-rats, but did not in N-rats. Meanwhile, atenolol had no effect on morphometric and hemodynamic changes in N and IH-rats. Protein expression of the β1-adrenergic receptor (AR) was down-regulated while that of β2AR was preserved in pulmonary arteries of IH-rats. Phosphorylation of p85 (chief component of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)), protein kinase B (Akt), and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) were abrogated by chronic administration of nadolol in the lung tissue of IH-rats. We conclude that IH-derived activation of β2AR in the pulmonary arteries attenuates the HPV, thereby preventing progression of IH-induced PAH. This protective effect may depend on the β2AR-Gi mediated PI3K/Akt/eNOS signaling pathway.

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<![CDATA[Quantification of Coupled Stiffness and Fiber Orientation Remodeling in Hypertensive Rat Right-Ventricular Myocardium Using 3D Ultrasound Speckle Tracking with Biaxial Testing]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da10ab0ee8fa60b797b5

Mechanical and structural changes of right ventricular (RV) in response to pulmonary hypertension (PH) are inadequately understood. While current standard biaxial testing provides information on the mechanical behavior of RV tissues using surface markers, it is unable to fully assess structural and mechanical properties across the full tissue thickness. In this study, the mechanical and structural properties of normotensive and pulmonary hypertension right ventricular (PHRV) myocardium through its full thickness were examined using mechanical testing combined with 3D ultrasound speckle tracking (3D-UST). RV pressure overload was induced in Sprague–Dawley rats by pulmonary artery (PA) banding. The second Piola–Kirchhoff stress tensors and Green-Lagrangian strain tensors were computed in the RV myocardium using the biaxial testing combined with 3D-UST. A previously established non-linear curve-fitting algorithm was applied to fit experimental data to a Strain Energy Function (SEF) for computation of myofiber orientation. The fiber orientations obtained by the biaxial testing with 3D-UST compared well with the fiber orientations computed from the histology. In addition, the re-orientation of myofiber in the right ventricular free wall (RVFW) along longitudinal direction (apex-to-outflow-tract direction) was noticeable in response to PH. For normotensive RVFW samples, the average fiber orientation angles obtained by 3D-UST with biaxial test spiraled from 20° at the endo-cardium to -42° at the epi-cardium (Δ = 62°). For PHRV samples, the average fiber orientation angles obtained by 3D-UST with biaxial test had much less spiral across tissue thickness: 3° at endo-cardium to -7° at epi-cardium (Δ = 10°, P<0.005 compared to normotensive).

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<![CDATA[The Effect of Haemodialysis Access Types on Cardiac Performance and Morbidities in Patients with Symptomatic Heart Disease]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dad8ab0ee8fa60bb8c30

Background

Little is known about whether the arteriovenous type haemodialysis access affects cardiac function and whether it is still advantageous to the uremic patient with symptomatic heart disease.

Methods

We conducted a retrospective comparative study. Patients with heart disease and end-stage renal disease that had a new chronic access created between January 2007 and December 2008 and met the inclusion criteria were assessed. The endpoint was major adverse event (MAE)-free survivals of arteriovenous access (AVA) and tunneled cuffed double-lumen central venous catheter (CVC) groups. Whether accesses worsened heart failure was also evaluated.

Results

There were 43 CVC patients and 60 AVA patients. The median follow-up time from access creation was 27.6 months (IQR 34.7, 10.9~45.6). Although CVC patients were older than AVA patients (median age 78.0, IQR 14.0 vs. 67.5, IQR 16.0, respectively, p = .009), they manifested non-inferior MAE-free survival (mean 17.1, 95% CI 10.3~24.0 vs. 12.9, 95% CI 8.5~17.4 months in CVC and AVA patients, respectively, p = .290). During follow-up, more patients in the AVA group than in the CVC group deteriorated in heart failure status (35 of 57 vs. 10 of 42, respectively, odds ratio 5.1, p < .001). Preoperative-postoperative pairwise comparison of echocardiographic scans revealed an increased number of abnormal findings in the AVA group (Z = 3.91, p < .001), but not in the CVC group.

Conclusions

In patients with both symptomatic heart disease and end stage renal disease (ESRD), CVC patients showed non-inferior MAE-free survival in comparison to those in the AVA group. AV type access could deteriorate heart failure. Accordingly, uremic patients with symptomatic heart disease are not ideal candidates for AV type access creation.

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<![CDATA[Which prognostic factors should be used in pulmonary arterial hypertension in elderly patients?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b3733ec463d7e65e08fd68d

In recent times, the prevalence of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is more commonly seen among elderly populations. The increased prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, arterial stiffness, as well as diastolic dysfunction, may cause endothelial dysfunction and affect pulmonary vasculature. Furthermore, older patients have certain differences in clinical characteristics and outcomes. In this article, the special characteristics of aging in PAH patients have been reviewed, while the risk predictors of elderly patients are also discussed.

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<![CDATA[High Frequency of Pulmonary Hypertension-Causing Gene Mutation in Chinese Patients with Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9f4ab0ee8fa60b6fb70

The pathogenesis of chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) is unknown. Histopathologic studies revealed that pulmonary vasculature lesions similar to idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) existed in CTEPH patients as well. It’s well-known that genetic predisposition plays an important role in the mechanism of PAH. So we hypothesized that PAH-causing gene mutation might exist in some CTEPH patients and act as a background to facilitate the development of CTEPH. In this study, we analyzed 7 PAH-causing genes including BMPR2, ACVRL1, ENG, SMAD9, CAV1, KCNK3, and CBLN2 in 49 CTEPH patients and 17 patients recovered from pulmonary embolism (PE) but without pulmonary hypertension(PH). The results showed that the nonsynonymous mutation rate in CTEPH patients is significantly higher than that in PE without PH patients (25 out of 49 (51%) CTEPH patients vs. 3 out of 17 PE without PH patients (18%); p = 0.022). Four CTEPH patients had the same point mutation in ACVRL1 exon 10 (c.1450C>G), a mutation approved to be associated with PH in a previous study. In addition, we identified two CTEPH associated SNPs (rs3739817 and rs55805125). Our results suggest that PAH-causing gene mutation might play an important role in the development of CTEPH.

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<![CDATA[Impact Evaluation of a System-Wide Chronic Disease Management Program on Health Service Utilisation: A Propensity-Matched Cohort Study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da00ab0ee8fa60b73d0f

Background

The New South Wales Health (NSW Health) Chronic Disease Management Program (CDMP) delivers interventions to adults at risk of hospitalisation for five target chronic conditions that respond well to ambulatory care: diabetes, hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, and coronary artery disease. The intervention consists of two main components: (1) care coordination across sectors (acute, ambulatory, and community care from both public and private sectors) and clinical specialties, facilitated by program care coordinators, and (2) health coaching including management of lifestyle risk factors and medications and self-management. These components were broadly prescribed by the head office of NSW Health, which funded the program, and were implemented by regional health services (local health districts) in ways that best suited their own history, environment, workforce, and patient need. We used a propensity-matched cohort study to evaluate health service utilisation after enrolment in the CDMP.

Methods and Findings

The evaluation cohort included 41,303 CDMP participants enrolled between 1 January 2011 and 31 December 2013 who experienced at least one hospital admission or emergency department (ED) presentation for a target condition in the 12 mo preceding enrolment. Potential controls were selected from patients not enrolled in the CDMP but experiencing at least one hospital admission or ED presentation over the same period. Each CDMP patient in the evaluation cohort was matched to one control using 1:1 propensity score matching. The primary outcome was avoidable hospitalisations. Secondary outcomes included avoidable readmissions, avoidable bed days, unplanned hospitalisations, unplanned readmissions, unplanned bed days, ED presentations, and all-cause death.

The primary analysis consisted of 30,057 CDMP participants and 30,057 matched controls with a median follow-up of 15 mo. Of those, 25,638 (85.3%) and 25,597 (85.2%) were alive by the end of follow-up in the CDMP and control groups, respectively. Baseline characteristics (including history of health service utilisation) were well balanced between the matched groups. In both groups, utilisation peaked just before the time of enrolment/matching, declined sharply immediately following enrolment, and then continued to decrease more gradually; however, after enrolment, avoidable and unplanned health service utilisation remained higher for CDMP participants compared to controls. The adjusted yearly rate of avoidable hospital admissions was 0.57 (95% CI 0.52 to 0.62) in the CDMP group versus 0.33 (95% CI 0.31 to 0.37) in the control group (adjusted rate ratio 1.70, 95% CI 1.62 to 1.79, p < 0.001). Significant increases in service utilisation were also observed for unplanned hospitalisations (1.42, 95% CI 1.37 to 1.47, p < 0.001) and ED presentations (1.37, 95% CI 1.32 to 1.42, p < 0.001) as well as avoidable (2.00, 95% CI 1.80 to 2.22, p < 0.001) and unplanned (1.51, 95% CI 1.40 to 1.62, p < 0.001) readmissions and avoidable (1.70, 95% CI 1.59 to 1.82, p < 0.001) and unplanned (1.43, 95% CI 1.36 to 1.49, p < 0.001) bed days. No evidence of a difference was seen for all-cause death (adjusted risk ratio 0.96, 95% CI 0.96 to 1.01, p = 0.10) or non-avoidable hospitalisations (all hospitalisations minus avoidable hospitalisations; adjusted rate ratio 1.03, 95% CI 0.97 to 1.10, p = 0.26).

Despite the robustness of these results to sensitivity analyses, in the absence of a randomised control group, one cannot exclude the possibility of residual or unmeasured confounding that was not controlled for by the matching process and multivariable analyses.

Conclusions

Participation in the CDMP was associated with an increase in avoidable hospital admissions compared to matched controls but no difference in the rate of other types of hospitalisation or death. A possible explanation is that the program identified conditions that required participants to be hospitalised. Service utilisation decreased sharply following its peak for both groups. This finding reflects the natural tendency for high-risk patients to show reductions in use following intense phases of service utilisation and highlights that, despite the additional complexity, a carefully selected control group is essential when assessing the effectiveness of interventions on hospital use.

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<![CDATA[The 2013 American College of Rheumatology/European League Against Rheumatism Classification Criteria for Systemic Sclerosis Could Classify Systemic Sclerosis Patients at Earlier Stage: Data from a Chinese EUSTAR Center]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db06ab0ee8fa60bc8940

Objectives

To evaluate the performance of the 2013 ACR/EULAR classification criteria for systemic sclerosis (SSc) in clinical practice in a Chinese patient cohort, and to compare outcomes with the 1980 ACR criteria.

Methods

Patients clinically diagnosed with SSc between September 2013 and May 2015 were prospectively recruited from the EUSTAR database of the Peking Union Medical College Hospital. Diagnosis of SSc was based on the evaluation of three experienced rheumatologists. Patients diagnosed with other connective tissue diseases were recruited as disease controls. The 1980 ACR and 2013 ACR/EULAR criteria were applied to the cohort, and patients who fulfilled the criteria were classified as definite SSc patients. Sensitivity and specificity were analyzed for the 2013 and 1980 criteria.

Results

A total of 143 SSc patients and 87 patients with other connective diseases were recruited. 41 (28.7%) and 102 (71.3%) cases were diffuse cutaneous SSc and limited cutaneous SSc, respectively. Although the sensitivity of the 2013 criteria (94.4%) exceeded the 1980 criteria (72.7%) (P<0.001), the 1980 and 2013 criteria sets showed no significant difference in specificity (97.7% and 93.1%, respectively, P = 0.278). The sensitivity of the 2013 criteria was significantly higher than the 1980 criteria in some SSc subgroups (e.g., lcSSc, abnormal pattern of nailfold videocapillaroscopy [NVC] and presence of Raynaud’s phenomenon [RP]) compared to others.

Conclusions

Relative to the 1980 ACR criteria, in Chinese SSc patients the new 2013 ACR/EULAR criteria had similar specificity and higher sensitivity, especially for patients with mild skin thickening or prominent microvascular diseases.

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<![CDATA[Mitochondrial Haplogroups and Risk of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db03ab0ee8fa60bc7462

Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a serious and often fatal disease. It is a panvasculopathy of the pulmonary microcirculation characterized by vasoconstriction and arterial obstruction due to vascular proliferation and remodeling and ultimately right ventricular failure. Mitochondrial dysfunction is a universal finding in pulmonary vascular cells of patients with PAH, and is mechanistically linked to disease origins in animal models of pulmonary hypertension. Mitochondria have their own circular DNA (mtDNA), which can be subgrouped into polymorphic haplogroup variants, some of which have been identified as at-risk or protective from cardiovascular and/or neurodegenerative diseases. Here, we hypothesized that mitochondrial haplogroups may be associated with PAH. To test this, mitochondrial haplogroups were determined in a cohort of PAH patients and controls [N = 204 Caucasians (125 PAH and 79 controls) and N = 46 African Americans (13 PAH and 33 controls)]. Haplogroup L was associated with a lower rate of PAH as compared to macrohaplogroups N and M. When haplogroups were nested based on ancestral inheritance and controlled for age, gender and race, haplogroups M and HV, JT and UK of the N macro-haplogroup had significantly higher rates of PAH compared to the ancestral L (L0/1/2 and L3) (all p ≤ 0.05). Overall, the findings suggest that mitochondrial haplogroups influence risk of PAH and that a vulnerability to PAH may have emerged under the selective enrichment of specific haplogroups that occurred with the migration of populations out of Africa.

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<![CDATA[BMP4 Increases the Expression of TRPC and Basal [Ca2+]i via the p38MAPK and ERK1/2 Pathways Independent of BMPRII in PASMCs]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da23ab0ee8fa60b7fd68

Multiple abnormalities of bone morphogenetic protein (BMPs) signaling are implicated in the process of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). BMP4 plays an important role during the process of pulmonary arterial remodeling and mutant of the principle BMP4 receptor, BMP receptors II (BMPRII), is found to associate with the development of PAH. However, the likely mechanism defining the contribution of BMPRII to BMP4 mediated signaling in pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (PASMCs) remains comprehensively unclear. We previously found that enhanced store operated calcium entry (SOCE) and basal intracellular calcium concentration [Ca2+]i were induced by BMP4 via upregulation of TRPC1, 4 and 6 expression in PASMCs, and that BMP4 modulated TRPC channel expression through activating p38MAPK and ERK1/2 signaling pathways. In this study, BMPRII siRNA was used to knockdown BMPRII expression to investigate whether BMP4 upregulates the expression of TRPC and activating Smad1/5/8, ERK1/2 and p38MAPK pathway via BMPRII in distal PASMCs. Our results showed that knockdown of BMPRII: 1) attenuated BMP4 induced activation of P-Smad1/5/8, without altering BMP4 induced P-p38MAPK and P-ERK1/2 activation in PASMCs; 2) did not attenuate the BMP4-induced TRPC1, 4 and 6 expression; 3) did not affect BMP4-enhanced SOCE and basal [Ca2+]i. Thus, we concluded that BMP4 activated Smad1/5/8 pathway is BMPRII-dependent, while the BMP4 – ERK/p-P38 – TRPC – SOCE signaling axis are likely mediated through other receptor rather than BMPRII.

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<![CDATA[Utility of the Physical Examination in Detecting Pulmonary Hypertension. A Mixed Methods Study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daccab0ee8fa60bb4a90

Introduction

Patients with pulmonary hypertension (PH) often present with a variety of physical findings reflecting a volume or pressure overloaded right ventricle (RV). However, there is no consensus regarding the diagnostic utility of the physical examination in PH.

Methods

We conducted a systematic review of publications that evaluated the clinical examination and diagnosis of PH using MEDLINE (1946–2013) and EMBASE (1947–2013). We also prospectively evaluated the diagnostic utility of the physical examination findings. Patients who underwent right cardiac catheterization for any reason were recruited. After informed consent, participants were examined by 6 physicians (3 “specialists” and 3 “generalists”) who were unaware of the results of the patient's hemodynamics. Each examiner independently assessed patients for the presence of a RV lift, loud P2, jugular venous distension (JVD), tricuspid insufficiency murmur and right-sided 4th heart sound at rest and during a slow inspiration. A global rating (scale of 1–5) of the likelihood that the patient had pulmonary hypertension was provided by each examiner.

Results

31 articles that assessed the physical examination in PH were included in the final analysis. There was heterogeneity amongst the studies and many did not include control data. The sign most associated with PH in the literature was a loud pulmonic component of the second heart sound (P2). In our prospective study physical examination was performed on 52 subjects (25 met criteria for PH; mPAP ≥25 mmHg). The physical sign with the highest likelihood ratio (LR) was a loud P2 on inspiration with a LR +ve 1.9, 95% CrI [1.2, 3.1] when data from all examiners was analyzed together. Results from the specialist examiners had higher diagnostic utility; a loud P2 on inspiration was associated with a positive LR of 3.2, 95% CrI [1.5, 6.2] and a right sided S4 on inspiration had a LR +ve 4.7, 95% CI [1.0, 15.6]. No aspect of the physical exam, could consistently rule out PH (negative LRs 0.7–1.3).

Conclusions

The presence of a loud P2 or audible right-sided 4th heart sound are associated with PH. However the physical examination is unreliable for determining the presence of PH.

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<![CDATA[Circulating Progenitor Cells and Vascular Dysfunction in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da79ab0ee8fa60b97eaa

Background

In chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), decreased progenitor cells and impairment of systemic vascular function have been suggested to confer higher cardiovascular risk. The origin of these changes and their relationship with alterations in the pulmonary circulation are unknown.

Objectives

To investigate whether changes in the number of circulating hematopoietic progenitor cells are associated with pulmonary hypertension or changes in endothelial function.

Methods

62 COPD patients and 35 controls (18 non-smokers and 17 smokers) without cardiovascular risk factors other than cigarette smoking were studied. The number of circulating progenitors was measured as CD45+CD34+CD133+ labeled cells by flow cytometry. Endothelial function was assessed by flow-mediated dilation. Markers of inflammation and angiogenesis were also measured in all subjects.

Results

Compared with controls, the number of circulating progenitor cells was reduced in COPD patients. Progenitor cells did not differ between control smokers and non-smokers. COPD patients with pulmonary hypertension showed greater number of progenitor cells than those without pulmonary hypertension. Systemic endothelial function was worse in both control smokers and COPD patients. Interleukin-6, fibrinogen, high sensitivity C-reactive protein, vascular endothelial growth factor and tumor necrosis factor were increased in COPD. In COPD patients, the number of circulating progenitor cells was inversely related to the flow-mediated dilation of systemic arteries.

Conclusions

Pulmonary and systemic vascular impairment in COPD is associated with cigarette smoking but not with the reduced number of circulating hematopoietic progenitors. The latter appears to be a consequence of the disease itself not related to smoking habit.

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