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Fulminant myocarditis (FM) is an uncommon syndrome characterized by sudden and severe diffuse cardiac inflammation often leading to death resulting from cardiogenic shock, ventricular arrhythmias, or multiorgan system failure. Historically, FM was almost exclusively diagnosed at autopsy. By definition, all patients with FM will need some form of inotropic or mechanical circulatory support to maintain end-organ perfusion until transplantation or recovery. Specific subtypes of FM may respond to immunomodulatory therapy in addition to guideline-directed medical care. Despite the increasing availability of circulatory support, orthotopic heart transplantation, and disease-specific treatments, patients with FM experience significant morbidity and mortality as a result of a delay in diagnosis and initiation of circulatory support and lack of appropriately trained specialists to manage the condition. This scientific statement outlines the resources necessary to manage the spectrum of FM, including extracorporeal life support, percutaneous and durable ventricular assist devices, transplantation capabilities, and specialists in advanced heart failure, cardiothoracic surgery, cardiac pathology, immunology, and infectious disease. Education of frontline providers who are most likely to encounter FM first is essential to increase timely access to appropriately resourced facilities, to prevent multiorgan system failure, and to tailor disease-specific therapy as early as possible in the disease process.
Over the past decade significant advancement has occurred in the biological and pathological role that Hp has in cardiovascular disease. Hp is an acute-phase protein with a role in the neutralization and clearance of free heme. Iron has tremendous potential for initiating vascular oxidation, inflammation and exacerbating coronary atherosclerosis. Hp genotype has been linked as a prognostic biomarker of acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, restenosis and cardiac transplant rejection. The increased understanding of Hp as a biomarker has provided new insights into the mechanisms of inflammation after cardiac injury and support the concept that Hp is not only an important antioxidant in vascular inflammation and atherosclerosis, but also an enhancer of inflammation in cardiac transplant.
BACKGROUND - In cardiac transplant recipients, the development of antibodies to the endothelial intermediate filament protein vimentin (antivimentin antibodies, AVA) has been associated with rejection and poor outcomes. However, the incidence of these antibodies prior to transplantation and their association with early rejection has not been investigated.
METHODS - Pre-transplant serum was analyzed from 50 patients who underwent de novo cardiac transplant at Johns Hopkins Hospital from 2004 to 2012. Demographic, one-yr rejection, and survival data were obtained from the transplant database.
RESULTS - The incidence of pre-transplant AVA was 34%. AVA-positive patients were younger (p = 0.03), and there was an a trend toward incidence in females (p = 0.08). Demographic data were similar among both groups. AVA positivity did not predict rejection in the first year post-transplant. There was no difference in rejection-free graft survival (53 vs. 52%, p = 0.85) at one yr. Similarly, there was no difference in graft survival at one yr (82 vs. 88%, p = 0.56) or graft survival at a median follow-up of 23 and 26 months, respectively (76 vs. 85%, p = 0.41).
CONCLUSIONS - AVA is common in the cardiac pre-transplant population with a higher incidence in the young. The presence of detectable AVA did not correlate with early post-transplant rejection or graft survival.
© 2015 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
BACKGROUND - The Berlin Heart EXCOR(®) ventricular assist device has been approved for use in the United States as a bridge to heart transplantation in children. We sought to characterize neurological events in children supported with the Berlin Heart EXCOR(®) device.
METHODS AND RESULTS - The multicenter prospective cohort consisted of all 204 children implanted with the Berlin Heart EXCOR(®) device at 47 centers in North America between May 2007 and December 2010. There were 73 neurological events in 59 patients, with 29% of the cohort experiencing ≥1 neurological event. Events included 52 strokes in 43 patients (21% of the cohort). The neurological event rate was 0.51 events per 100 patient-days. Many of the neurological events occurred early in the course of support, with 30 events recorded during the first 14 days of support. The mortality rate in participants with at least 1 neurological event was 42% (25 of 59), significantly higher than the 18% mortality rate (26 of 145) for those who did not have a neurological event (P=0.0006). Risk-factor analysis did not identify significant preimplantation predictors of neurological injury.
CONCLUSIONS - Of children treated with the Berlin Heart EXCOR(®) device as a bridge to transplant, 29% experienced at least 1 neurological event. The majority of neurological events were ischemic strokes, and many of those occurred early in the course of support. Neurological injury was the leading cause of death after implantation of the Berlin Heart EXCOR(®) device. Risk stratification for stroke or neurological injury is not possible based on baseline preimplantation characteristics.
CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION URL - www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique Identifier: NCT00583661.
© 2015 The Authors. Published on behalf of the American Heart Association, Inc., by Wiley Blackwell.
All patients supported with continuous flow-left ventricular assist devices (CF-LVADs) develop acquired von Willebrand syndrome due to the loss of von Willebrand factor (vWF) high molecular weight (HMW) multimers and this phenomenon has been associated with clinical manifestation of bleeding diatheses. The precise timing of postoperative recovery of HMW multimers and correction of this condition after CF-LVAD explantation and heart transplantation is unknown. We sought to determine the specific timing of HMW multimer recovery by serially quantifying plasma vWF multimer ratios after CF-LVAD explant and orthotopic heart transplantation (OHT) in a patient implanted with a HeartWare ventricular assist device. Using densitometric analysis of multimer patterns, we demonstrated complete recovery of HMW multimers within the first few hours following CF-LVAD explant and OHT. These findings have critical implications in the context of perioperative bleeding diatheses in patients bridged to transplantation with a CF-LVAD.
BACKGROUND - Renal insufficiency is common in status 1B patients supported with inotropes or a continuous flow left ventricular device (CF-LVAD) as a bridge to heart transplantation. We evaluated the association of renal function and inotrope versus CF-LVAD support on posttransplant graft survival in status 1B patients.
METHODS - The Scientific Registry for Transplant Recipients database was analyzed for posttransplant survival in status 1B patients bridged with inotropes or CF-LVAD who underwent transplantation between 2003 and 2012. Pretransplant renal function was measured by estimating glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and was stratified as less than 45 mL · min(-1) · 1.73 m(-2), 45 to 59, and 60 or greater. Univariate Kaplan-Meier and multivariate Cox regression models were used to evaluate the main effects of GFR strata and inotropes versus CF-LVAD, and the interaction effect of GFR strata by CF-LVAD, on graft survival.
RESULTS - This study included 4,158 status 1B patients (74% male, aged 53 ± 12 years). Of those, 659 patients had a CF-LVAD (HeartMate-II [Thoratec, Pleasanton, CA], n = 638; HVAD [HeartWare, Framingham, MA], n = 21), and 3,530 were receiving inotropes (31 CF-LVAD patients were also receiving inotropes). Kaplan-Meier analyses demonstrated reduced graft survival (p = 0.022) in patients with pretransplant GFR less than 45 versus GFR 45 to 59 (p = 0.062) and versus GFR 60 or greater (p = 0.007), and no effect of inotrope versus CF-LVAD support on graft survival (p = 0.402). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that, after adjusting for the main effects of GFR stratum, CF-LVAD, and inotropes, status 1B patients bridged with a CF-LVAD and GFR in the lowest stratum had reduced graft survival (interaction effect p = 0.040).
CONCLUSIONS - Pretransplant renal insufficiency was associated with reduced posttransplant graft survival in status 1B patients. This risk is increased for patients bridged with a CF-LVAD (versus inotropes) who have GFR in the lowest stratum.
Copyright © 2014 The Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - Peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs) are used to deliver continuous intravenous (IV) milrinone in stage D heart failure (HF) patients awaiting heart transplantation (HT).
METHODS - We retrospectively analyzed PICC adverse events (AEs) and associated cost in 129 status 1B patients from 2005 to 2012. End points were HT, left ventricular assist device (LVAD), and death. Regression analysis was used to identify AE risk factors.
RESULTS - Fifty-three PICC AEs occurred in 35 patients (27%), consisting of 48 infections, 4 thromboses, and 1 bleeding event. Median duration of PICC support was 63 (interquartile range [IQR] 34-131) days, and median time to first PICC infection was 44 (IQR 14-76) days. Among PICC infections, 9% required defibrillator removal and 30% were inactivated on the HT list for a mean of 23 ± 17 days. Rate of HT, LVAD, or death was similar between groups (P > .05). Regression analysis found that a double lumen PICC was associated with a shorter time to first PICC infection (hazard ratio 7.59, 95% CI 1.97-29.23; P = .003). Median cost per PICC infection was $10,704 (IQR $7,401-$26,083).
CONCLUSIONS - PICC infections were the most frequent AEs. PICCs with >1 lumen were associated with increased risk of infection. PICC AEs accounted for increased intensive care unit admissions, HT list inactivations, and overall cost.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - There are increasing numbers of patients undergoing orthotopic heart transplantation (OHT) with left ventricular assist device (LVAD) explantation (LVAD explant-OHT). We hypothesized that LVAD explant-OHT is a more challenging surgical procedure compared to OHT without LVAD explantation and that institutional LVAD explant-OHT procedural volume would be associated with post-transplant graft survival. We sought to assess the impact of institutional volume of LVAD explant-OHT on post-transplant graft survival.
METHODS - This is a retrospective analysis of the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients for adult OHTs with long-term LVAD explantation. LVAD explant-OHT volume was characterized on the basis of the center's year-specific total OHT volume (OHTvol) and year-specific LVAD explant-OHT volume quartile (LVADvolQ). The effect of LVADvolQ on graft survival (death or re-transplantation) was analyzed.
RESULTS - From 2004 to 2011, 2,681 patients underwent OHT with LVAD explantation (740 with HeartMate XVE, 1,877 with HeartMate II and 64 with HeartWare devices). LVAD explant-OHT at centers falling in the lowest LVADvolQ was associated with reduced post-transplant graft survival (p = 0.022). After adjusting for annualized OHTvol (HR = 0.998, 95% CI 0.993 to 1.003, p = 0.515 and pulsatile XVE (HR = 0.842, 95% CI 0.688 to 1.032, p = 0.098), multivariate analysis confirmed a significantly (approximately 37%) increased risk of post-transplant graft failure among explant-OHT procedures occurring at centers in the lowest volume quartile (HR = 1.371, 95% CI 1.030 to 1.825, p = 0.030).
CONCLUSION - Graft survival is decreased when performed at centers falling in the lowest quartile of LVAD explant-OHT for a given year. This volume-survival relationship should be considered in the context of limited donor organ availability and the rapidly growing number of LVAD centers.
Copyright © 2014 International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.