Research Spotlight

Baylor Health Sciences Library brings to you each month the latest published research from the Baylor Scott & White community. Each newly published article features the researcher, the abstract, and link to the full text. For information on including your own research, please contact John Fullinwider, john.fullinwider@baylorhealth.edu. 214-828-8989.


Posted June 15th 2017

Importance of endogenous compensatory vasoactive peptides in broadening the effects of inhibitors of the renin-angiotensin system for the treatment of heart failure.

Milton Packer M.D.

Milton Packer M.D.

Packer, M. and J. J. V. McMurray (2017). “Importance of endogenous compensatory vasoactive peptides in broadening the effects of inhibitors of the renin-angiotensin system for the treatment of heart failure.” Lancet 389(10081): 1831-1840.

Full text of this article.

The magnitude of the clinical benefits produced by inhibitors of the renin-angiotensin system in heart failure has been modest, possibly because of the ability of renin-angiotensin activity to escape from suppression during long-term treatment. Efforts to intensify pharmacological blockade by use of dual inhibitors that interfere with the renin-angiotensin system at multiple sites have not yielded consistent incremental clinical benefits, but have been associated with serious adverse reactions. By contrast, potentiation of endogenous compensatory vasoactive peptides can act to enhance the survival effects of inhibitors of the renin-angiotensin system, as evidenced by trials that have compared angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors with drugs that inhibit both the renin-angiotensin system and neprilysin. Several endogenous vasoactive peptides act as adaptive mechanisms, and their augmentation could help to broaden the benefits of renin-angiotensin system inhibitors for patients with heart failure.


Posted June 15th 2017

Angiotensin II for the Treatment of Vasodilatory Shock.

Harold M. Szerlip M.D.

Harold M. Szerlip M.D.

Karakkattil, P. P. M., E. P. P. Trudelle-Jackson, H. H. D. Brown, P. D. Hammontree and M. D. Okolo (2017). “Outcomes of botulinum toxin type a for equinovarus deformity in patients with cva: A case series.” Physiother Theory Pract 33(5): 410-419.

Full text of this article.

BACKGROUND: There is evidence that Botulinum Toxin-A (BTX-A) reduces focal spasticity associated with equinovarus to improve gait in patients poststroke. However, there is little research examining whether gait improvements are maintained after the effectiveness period of BTX-A injections. The purpose of this observational study was to determine whether there was a difference in gait parameters in three patients before BTX-A injection versus four and ten weeks after. CASE SERIES: Three women, ages 63, 60, and 42 postischemic stroke with hemiparesis and equinovarus underwent measurements for: plantar flexor spasticity, ankle dorsiflexion ROM, temporal-spatial gait parameters, and gait endurance. All participants improved in ankle ROM. At week 10, spasticity had returned to initial measurement levels in participants A and C. Base of support and step length symmetry ratios did not improve following injections. Participants A and B, who received physical therapy during the study, showed modest gains in gait endurance and velocity. CONCLUSION: Although BTX-A injections improved spasticity, this improvement did not translate to gait outcomes. Addition of physical therapy interventions appeared to improve gait outcomes in this case series. We suggest future randomized control studies to compare effects of physical therapy alone to BTX-A combined with physical therapy on gait outcomes.


Posted June 15th 2017

Levosimendan in Patients with Left Ventricular Dysfunction Undergoing Cardiac Surgery.

Randy J. Marcel M.D.

Randy J. Marcel M.D.

Mehta, R. H., J. D. Leimberger, S. van Diepen, J. Meza, A. Wang, R. Jankowich, R. W. Harrison, D. Hay, S. Fremes, A. Duncan, E. G. Soltesz, J. Luber, S. Park, M. Argenziano, E. Murphy, R. Marcel, D. Kalavrouziotis, D. Nagpal, J. Bozinovski, W. Toller, M. Heringlake, S. G. Goodman, J. H. Levy, R. A. Harrington, K. J. Anstrom and J. H. Alexander (2017). “Levosimendan in patients with left ventricular dysfunction undergoing cardiac surgery.” N Engl J Med 376(21): 2032-2042.

Full text of this article.

BACKGROUND: Levosimendan is an inotropic agent that has been shown in small studies to prevent or treat the low cardiac output syndrome after cardiac surgery. METHODS: In a multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial, we evaluated the efficacy and safety of levosimendan in patients with a left ventricular ejection fraction of 35% or less who were undergoing cardiac surgery with the use of cardiopulmonary bypass. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either intravenous levosimendan (at a dose of 0.2 mug per kilogram of body weight per minute for 1 hour, followed by a dose of 0.1 mug per kilogram per minute for 23 hours) or placebo, with the infusion started before surgery. The two primary end points were a four-component composite of death through day 30, renal-replacement therapy through day 30, perioperative myocardial infarction through day 5, or use of a mechanical cardiac assist device through day 5; and a two-component composite of death through day 30 or use of a mechanical cardiac assist device through day 5. RESULTS: A total of 882 patients underwent randomization, 849 of whom received levosimendan or placebo and were included in the modified intention-to-treat population. The four-component primary end point occurred in 105 of 428 patients (24.5%) assigned to receive levosimendan and in 103 of 421 (24.5%) assigned to receive placebo (adjusted odds ratio, 1.00; 99% confidence interval [CI], 0.66 to 1.54; P=0.98). The two-component primary end point occurred in 56 patients (13.1%) assigned to receive levosimendan and in 48 (11.4%) assigned to receive placebo (adjusted odds ratio, 1.18; 96% CI, 0.76 to 1.82; P=0.45). The rate of adverse events did not differ significantly between the two groups. CONCLUSIONS: Prophylactic levosimendan did not result in a rate of the short-term composite end point of death, renal-replacement therapy, perioperative myocardial infarction, or use of a mechanical cardiac assist device that was lower than the rate with placebo among patients with a reduced left ventricular ejection fraction who were undergoing cardiac surgery with the use of cardiopulmonary bypass.


Posted June 15th 2017

Effect of Ularitide on Cardiovascular Mortality in Acute Heart Failure.

Milton Packer M.D.

Milton Packer M.D.

Packer, M., C. O’Connor, J. J. V. McMurray, J. Wittes, W. T. Abraham, S. D. Anker, K. Dickstein, G. Filippatos, R. Holcomb, H. Krum, A. P. Maggioni, A. Mebazaa, W. F. Peacock, M. C. Petrie, P. Ponikowski, F. Ruschitzka, D. J. van Veldhuisen, L. S. Kowarski, M. Schactman and J. Holzmeister (2017). “Effect of ularitide on cardiovascular mortality in acute heart failure.” N Engl J Med 376(20): 1956-1964.

Full text of this article.

BACKGROUND: In patients with acute heart failure, early intervention with an intravenous vasodilator has been proposed as a therapeutic goal to reduce cardiac-wall stress and, potentially, myocardial injury, thereby favorably affecting patients’ long-term prognosis. METHODS: In this double-blind trial, we randomly assigned 2157 patients with acute heart failure to receive a continuous intravenous infusion of either ularitide at a dose of 15 ng per kilogram of body weight per minute or matching placebo for 48 hours, in addition to accepted therapy. Treatment was initiated a median of 6 hours after the initial clinical evaluation. The coprimary outcomes were death from cardiovascular causes during a median follow-up of 15 months and a hierarchical composite end point that evaluated the initial 48-hour clinical course. RESULTS: Death from cardiovascular causes occurred in 236 patients in the ularitide group and 225 patients in the placebo group (21.7% vs. 21.0%; hazard ratio, 1.03; 96% confidence interval, 0.85 to 1.25; P=0.75). In the intention-to-treat analysis, there was no significant between-group difference with respect to the hierarchical composite outcome. The ularitide group had greater reductions in systolic blood pressure and in levels of N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide than the placebo group. However, changes in cardiac troponin T levels during the infusion did not differ between the two groups in the 55% of patients with paired data. CONCLUSIONS: In patients with acute heart failure, ularitide exerted favorable physiological effects (without affecting cardiac troponin levels), but short-term treatment did not affect a clinical composite end point or reduce long-term cardiovascular mortality.


Posted June 15th 2017

Pathology of balloon-expandable transcatheter aortic valves.

Michael J. Mack M.D.

Michael J. Mack M.D.

Yahagi, K., E. Ladich, R. Kutys, H. Mori, L. G. Svensson, M. J. Mack, H. C. Herrmann, C. R. Smith, M. B. Leon, R. Virmani and A. V. Finn (2017). “Pathology of balloon-expandable transcatheter aortic valves.” Catheter Cardiovasc Interv: 2017 Jun [Epub ahead of print].

Full text of this article.

BACKGROUND: The Placement of AoRtic TraNscathetER Valves trials (PARTNER) showed favorable safety and efficacy versus medical or surgical therapy in inoperable, high, and intermediate surgical risk patients with severe aortic stenosis. However, the biological responses to transcatheter aortic valves have not been well characterized. OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to perform pathologic assessment of Edwards SAPIEN transcatheter aortic valves removed either at autopsy or surgically during the PARTNER I and II clinical trials. METHODS: Explanted valves and frame were evaluated for pathologic responses including extent of thrombus, inflammation, neointima, and leaflet degeneration/calcification according to semiquantitative grading by implant duration (90 days). RESULTS: A total of 22 cases (median age 82.0 years, 45% men) were included, with a duration of implantation that ranged from 0 to 1739 days (median duration 16.5 days [interquartile range, 2.8-68.3]). Valve thrombosis resulting in severe aortic stenosis was observed in one case. Moderate leaflet thrombus was seen in 14% of cases (n = 3) and all were asymptomatic. Calcification was seen in two valves: one with severe leaflet calcification had severe aortic stenosis requiring surgical replacement, while the other showed early calcification. Mild structural leaflet changes were exclusively seen in valve implants >90 days. Valve inflammation and thrombus formation was mild in majority of the cases. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, our study demonstrates moderate thrombus formation in 14% and calcification in only 2 valves, >/=4 years duration. In this short-duration study, acceptable durability and biocompatibility of the Edwards SAPIEN transcatheter valve system was demonstrated; however, further studies are required to confirm the significance and application of our findings.