Research Spotlight

Posted January 15th 2021

Health-Related Quality of Life in Patients With a Left Ventricular Assist Device (QOLVAD) Questionnaire: Initial Psychometrics of a New Instrument.

Susan M. Joseph M.D.

Susan M. Joseph M.D.

Sandau, K.E., Lee, C.S., Faulkner, K.M., Pozehl, B., Eckman, P., Garberich, R., Weaver, C.E., Joseph, S.M., Hall, S., Carey, S.A., Chaudhry, S.P., Schroeder, S.E., Hoffman, R.O., 3rd, Feldman, D., Birati, E.Y., Soni, M., Marble, J.F., Jurgens, C.Y., Hoglund, B. and Cowger, J.A. (2020). “Health-Related Quality of Life in Patients With a Left Ventricular Assist Device (QOLVAD) Questionnaire: Initial Psychometrics of a New Instrument.” J Cardiovasc Nurs Dec 9. [Epub ahead of print].

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BACKGROUND: Patients with a left ventricular assist device are a unique and growing population who deserve their own valid, reliable instrument for health-related quality of life. OBJECTIVE: We developed and tested the Health-Related Quality of Life with a Left Ventricular Assist Device (QOLVAD) questionnaire. METHODS: In a prospective, descriptive study, patients from 7 sites completed the QOLVAD and comparator questionnaires. Construct validity was tested using confirmatory factor analysis. Convergent validity was tested using correlations of QOLVAD scores to well-established measures of subjective health status, depression, anxiety, and meaning/faith. Reliability and test-retest reliability were quantified. RESULTS: Patients (n = 213) were 58.7 ± 13.9 years old; 81.0% were male, 73.7% were White, and 48.0% had bridge to transplant. Questionnaires were completed at a median time of 44 weeks post ventricular assist device. The 5 QOLVAD domains had acceptable construct validity (root mean square error of approximation = 0.064, comparative and Tucker-Lewis fit indices > 0.90, weighted root mean square residual = 0.95). The total score and domain-specific scores were significantly correlated with the instruments to which they were compared. Internal consistency reliability was acceptable for all subscales (α = .79-.83) except the cognitive domain (α = .66). Unidimensional reliability for the total score was acceptable (α = .93), as was factor determinacy for multidimensional reliability (0.95). Total test-retest reliability was 0.875 (P < .001). CONCLUSION: Our analysis provided initial support for validity and reliability of the QOLVAD for total score, physical, emotional, social, and meaning/spiritual domains. The QOLVAD has potential in research and clinical settings to guide decision making and referrals; further studies are needed.


Posted January 15th 2021

Long-term safety and efficacy of sodium zirconium cyclosilicate for hyperkalaemia in patients with mild/moderate versus severe/end-stage chronic kidney disease: comparative results from an open-label, Phase 3 study.

Peter McCullough, M.D.

Peter McCullough, M.D.

Roger, S.D., Lavin, P.T., Lerma, E.V., McCullough, P.A., Butler, J., Spinowitz, B.S., von Haehling, S., Kosiborod, M., Zhao, J., Fishbane, S. and Packham, D.K. (2021). “Long-term safety and efficacy of sodium zirconium cyclosilicate for hyperkalaemia in patients with mild/moderate versus severe/end-stage chronic kidney disease: comparative results from an open-label, Phase 3 study.” Nephrol Dial Transplant 36(1): 137-150.

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BACKGROUND: Sodium zirconium cyclosilicate (SZC; formerly ZS-9) is a selective potassium (K+) binder for the treatment of adults with hyperkalaemia. This post hoc analysis of an open-label, single-arm trial (NCT02163499) compared SZC efficacy and safety >12 months among outpatients with hyperkalaemia and Stages 4 and 5 chronic kidney disease (CKD) versus those with Stages 1-3 CKD. METHODS: Adults with serum K+ ≥5.1 mmol/L (measured by point-of-care i-STAT device) received SZC 10 g three times daily for 24-72 h until normokalaemia (i-STAT K+ 3.5-5.0 mmol/L) was achieved [correction phase (CP)], followed by once daily SZC 5 g for ≤12 months [maintenance phase (MP)]. Here, patients were stratified by baseline estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR <30 or ≥30 mL/min/1.73 m2). Study endpoints included percent achieving normokalaemia during CP and MP, mean serum K+ and bicarbonate during MP, and adverse events (AEs). RESULTS: Of 751 patients enrolled, 289 (39%), 453 (60%) and 9 (1%) had baseline eGFR values of <30, ≥30 mL/min/1.73 m2 or missing, respectively. During the CP, 82% of patients achieved normokalaemia in both eGFR subgroups within 24 h, and 100 and 95% with baseline eGFR <30 and ≥30 mL/min/1.73 m2, respectively, within 72 h. Corresponding proportions with normokalaemia during the MP were 82 and 90% at Day 365, respectively. Mean serum K+ reduction from baseline during the CP was sustained throughout the MP and serum bicarbonate increased. AEs during the MP were more common in the eGFR <30 ≥30 mL/min/1.73 m2 subgroup. CONCLUSIONS: SZC corrects hyperkalaemia and maintains normokalaemia among outpatients regardless of the CKD stage.


Posted January 15th 2021

Melflufen and Dexamethasone in Heavily Pretreated Relapsed and Refractory Multiple Myeloma.

Christopher Maisel M.D.

Christopher Maisel M.D.

Richardson, P.G., Oriol, A., Larocca, A., Bladé, J., Cavo, M., Rodriguez-Otero, P., Leleu, X., Nadeem, O., Hiemenz, J.W., Hassoun, H., Touzeau, C., Alegre, A., Paner, A., Maisel, C., Mazumder, A., Raptis, A., Moreb, J.S., Anderson, K.C., Laubach, J.P., Thuresson, S., Thuresson, M., Byrne, C., Harmenberg, J., Bakker, N.A. and Mateos, M.V. (2020). “Melflufen and Dexamethasone in Heavily Pretreated Relapsed and Refractory Multiple Myeloma.” J Clin Oncol Dec 9;JCO2002259. [Epub ahead of print]. Jco2002259.

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PURPOSE: Melphalan flufenamide (melflufen) is a first-in-class peptide-drug conjugate that targets aminopeptidases and rapidly and selectively releases alkylating agents into tumor cells. The phase II HORIZON trial evaluated the efficacy of melflufen plus dexamethasone in relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma (RRMM), a population with an important unmet medical need. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients with RRMM refractory to pomalidomide and/or an anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody received melflufen 40 mg intravenously on day 1 of each 28-day cycle plus once weekly oral dexamethasone at a dose of 40 mg (20 mg in patients older than 75 years). The primary end point was overall response rate (partial response or better) assessed by the investigator and confirmed by independent review. Secondary end points included duration of response, progression-free survival, overall survival, and safety. The primary analysis is complete with long-term follow-up ongoing. RESULTS: Of 157 patients (median age 65 years; median five prior lines of therapy) enrolled and treated, 119 patients (76%) had triple-class-refractory disease, 55 (35%) had extramedullary disease, and 92 (59%) were refractory to previous alkylator therapy. The overall response rate was 29% in the all-treated population, with 26% in the triple-class-refractory population. In the all-treated population, median duration of response was 5.5 months, median progression-free survival was 4.2 months, and median overall survival was 11.6 months at a median follow-up of 14 months. Grade ≥ 3 treatment-emergent adverse events occurred in 96% of patients, most commonly neutropenia (79%), thrombocytopenia (76%), and anemia (43%). Pneumonia (10%) was the most common grade 3/4 nonhematologic event. Thrombocytopenia and bleeding (both grade 3/4 but fully reversible) occurred concomitantly in four patients. GI events, reported in 97 patients (62%), were predominantly grade 1/2 (93%); none were grade 4. CONCLUSION: Melflufen plus dexamethasone showed clinically meaningful efficacy and a manageable safety profile in patients with heavily pretreated RRMM, including those with triple-class-refractory and extramedullary disease.


Posted January 15th 2021

Design of a Randomized Clinical Trial of Perioperative Vaginal Estrogen Versus Placebo With Transvaginal Native Tissue Apical Prolapse Repair (Investigation to Minimize Prolapse Recurrence of the Vagina using Estrogen: IMPROVE).

Wilma I Larsen, M.D.

Wilma I Larsen, M.D.

Rahn, D.D., Richter, H.E., Sung, V.W., Larsen, W.I. and Hynan, L.S. (2021). “Design of a Randomized Clinical Trial of Perioperative Vaginal Estrogen Versus Placebo With Transvaginal Native Tissue Apical Prolapse Repair (Investigation to Minimize Prolapse Recurrence of the Vagina using Estrogen: IMPROVE).” Female Pelvic Med Reconstr Surg 27(1): e227-e233.

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OBJECTIVES: To provide the rationale and design for a randomized, double-blind clinical trial of conjugated estrogen vaginal cream (applied for at least 5 weeks preoperatively and continued twice-weekly through 12 months postoperatively) compared with placebo in postmenopausal women with symptomatic pelvic organ prolapse undergoing a standardized transvaginal native tissue apical repair. METHODS: Study population, randomization process, study cream intervention, masking of participants and evaluators, placebo cream manufacture, standardized surgical intervention, and collection of adverse events are described. The primary outcome of surgical success is a composite of objectively no prolapse beyond the hymen and the vaginal cuff descending no more than one third the vaginal length; subjectively, no sense of vaginal pressure or bulging; and no retreatment for prolapse at 12 months. Time-to-failure postoperatively will be compared in the 2 groups with continued surveillance to 36 months. Secondary outcomes assessed at baseline, preoperatively (ie, after at least 5 weeks of study cream), and postoperatively at 6 month intervals include validated condition-specific and general quality-of-life metrics, overall impression of improvement, sexual function, vaginal atrophy symptoms, and body image. Challenges unique to this study include design and manufacture of placebo and defining and measuring study drug adherence. RESULTS: Recruitment of 204 women is complete with 197 randomized. There have been 174 surgeries completed with 15 more pending; 111 have completed their 12 month postoperative visit. CONCLUSIONS: This trial will contribute evidence-based information regarding the effect of perioperative vaginal estrogen as an adjunct therapy to standardized transvaginal native tissue prolapse surgical repair.


Posted January 15th 2021

Clinical outcomes after early ambulatory multidrug therapy for high-risk SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) infection.

Peter McCullough, M.D.

Peter McCullough, M.D.

Procter, B.C., Ross, C., Pickard, V., Smith, E., Hanson, C. and McCullough, P.A. (2020). “Clinical outcomes after early ambulatory multidrug therapy for high-risk SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) infection.” Rev Cardiovasc Med 21(4): 611-614.

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There is an emergency need for early ambulatory treatment of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in acutely ill patients in an attempt to reduce disease progression and the risks of hospitalization and death. Such management should be applied in high-risk patients age > 50 years or with one or more medical problems including cardiovascular disease. We evaluated a total of 922 outpatients from March to September 2020. All patients underwent contemporary real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay tests from anterior nasal swab samples. Patients age 50.5 ± 13.7 years (range 12 to 89), 61.6% women, at moderate or high risk for COVID-19 received empiric management via telemedicine. At least two agents with antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 (zinc, hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin) and one antibiotic (azithromycin, doxycycline, ceftriaxone) were used along with inhaled budesonide and/or intramuscular dexamethasone consistent with the emergent science on early COVID-19 treatment. For patients with high severity of symptoms, urgent in-clinic administration of albuterol nebulizer, inhaled budesonide, and intravenous volume expansion with supplemental parenteral thiamine 500 mg, magnesium sulfate 4 grams, folic acid 1 gram, vitamin B12 1 mg. A total of 320/922 (34.7%) were treated resulting in 6/320 (1.9%) and 1/320 (0.3%) patients that were hospitalized and died, respectively. We conclude that early ambulatory (not hospitalized, treated at home), multidrug therapy is safe, feasible, and associated with low rates of hospitalization and death. Early treatment should be considered for high-risk patients as an emergency measure while we await randomized trials and guidelines for ambulatory management.