Publications by authors named "Bas C T van Bussel"

26 Publications

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Better COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit survival in females, independent of age, disease severity, comorbidities, and treatment.

Sci Rep 2022 01 14;12(1):734. Epub 2022 Jan 14.

Department of Intensive Care Medicine, Maastricht University Medical Center + (Maastricht UMC+), P. Debyelaan 25, 6229 HX, Maastricht, the Netherlands.

Although male Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) patients have higher Intensive Care Unit (ICU) admission rates and a worse disease course, a comprehensive analysis of female and male ICU survival and underlying factors such as comorbidities, risk factors, and/or anti-infection/inflammatory therapy administration is currently lacking. Therefore, we investigated the association between sex and ICU survival, adjusting for these and other variables. In this multicenter observational cohort study, all patients with SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia admitted to seven ICUs in one region across Belgium, The Netherlands, and Germany, and requiring vital organ support during the first pandemic wave were included. With a random intercept for a center, mixed-effects logistic regression was used to investigate the association between sex and ICU survival. Models were adjusted for age, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II (APACHE II) score, comorbidities, and anti-infection/inflammatory therapy. Interaction terms were added to investigate effect modifications by sex with country and sex with obesity. A total of 551 patients (29% were females) were included. Mean age was 65.4 ± 11.2 years. Females were more often obese and smoked less frequently than males (p-value 0.001 and 0.042, respectively). APACHE II scores of females and males were comparable. Overall, ICU mortality was 12% lower in females than males (27% vs 39% respectively, p-value < 0.01) with an odds ratio (OR) of 0.62 (95%CI 0.39-0.96, p-value 0.032) after adjustment for age and APACHE II score, 0.63 (95%CI 0.40-0.99, p-value 0.044) after additional adjustment for comorbidities, and 0.63 (95%CI 0.39-0.99, p-value 0.047) after adjustment for anti-infection/inflammatory therapy. No effect modifications by sex with country and sex with obesity were found (p-values for interaction > 0.23 and 0.84, respectively). ICU survival in female SARS-CoV-2 patients was higher than in male patients, independent of age, disease severity, smoking, obesity, comorbidities, anti-infection/inflammatory therapy, and country. Sex-specific biological mechanisms may play a role, emphasizing the need to address diversity, such as more sex-specific prediction, prognostic, and therapeutic approach strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-04531-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8760268PMC
January 2022

Characteristics and outcome of COVID-19 patients admitted to the ICU: a nationwide cohort study on the comparison between the first and the consecutive upsurges of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Netherlands.

Ann Intensive Care 2022 Jan 13;12(1). Epub 2022 Jan 13.

National Intensive Care Evaluation (NICE) Foundation, PO Box 23640, 1100 EC, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Background: To assess trends in the quality of care for COVID-19 patients at the ICU over the course of time in the Netherlands.

Methods: Data from the National Intensive Care Evaluation (NICE)-registry of all COVID-19 patients admitted to an ICU in the Netherlands were used. Patient characteristics and indicators of quality of care during the first two upsurges (N = 4215: October 5, 2020-January 31, 2021) and the final upsurge of the second wave, called the 'third wave' (N = 4602: February 1, 2021-June 30, 2021) were compared with those during the first wave (N = 2733, February-May 24, 2020).

Results: During the second and third wave, there were less patients treated with mechanical ventilation (58.1 and 58.2%) and vasoactive drugs (48.0 and 44.7%) compared to the first wave (79.1% and 67.2%, respectively). The occupancy rates as fraction of occupancy in 2019 (1.68 and 1.55 vs. 1.83), the numbers of ICU relocations (23.8 and 27.6 vs. 32.3%) and the mean length of stay at the ICU (HRs of ICU discharge = 1.26 and 1.42) were lower during the second and third wave. No difference in adjusted hospital mortality between the second wave and the first wave was found, whereas the mortality during the third wave was considerably lower (OR = 0.80, 95% CI [0.71-0.90]).

Conclusions: These data show favorable shifts in the treatment of COVID-19 patients at the ICU over time. The adjusted mortality decreased in the third wave. The high ICU occupancy rate early in the pandemic does probably not explain the high mortality associated with COVID-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13613-021-00978-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8755895PMC
January 2022

Vital Signs Prediction for COVID-19 Patients in ICU.

Sensors (Basel) 2021 Dec 5;21(23). Epub 2021 Dec 5.

E-MEDIA, STADIUS, Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT), Campus Group T, KU Leuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium.

This study introduces machine learning predictive models to predict the future values of the monitored vital signs of COVID-19 ICU patients. The main vital sign predictors include heart rate, respiration rate, and oxygen saturation. We investigated the performances of the developed predictive models by considering different approaches. The first predictive model was developed by considering the following vital signs: heart rate, blood pressure (systolic, diastolic and mean arterial, pulse pressure), respiration rate, and oxygen saturation. Similar to the first approach, the second model was developed using the same vital signs, but it was trained and tested based on a leave-one-subject-out approach. The third predictive model was developed by considering three vital signs: heart rate (HR), respiration rate (RR), and oxygen saturation (SpO2). The fourth model was a leave-one-subject-out model for the three vital signs. Finally, the fifth predictive model was developed based on the same three vital signs, but with a five-minute observation rate, in contrast with the aforementioned four models, where the observation rate was hourly to bi-hourly. For the five models, the predicted measurements were those of the three upcoming observations (on average, three hours ahead). Based on the obtained results, we observed that by limiting the number of vital sign predictors (i.e., three vital signs), the prediction performance was still acceptable, with the average mean absolute percentage error (MAPE) being 12%,5%, and 21.4% for heart rate, oxygen saturation, and respiration rate, respectively. Moreover, increasing the observation rate could enhance the prediction performance to be, on average, 8%,4.8%, and 17.8% for heart rate, oxygen saturation, and respiration rate, respectively. It is envisioned that such models could be integrated with monitoring systems that could, using a limited number of vital signs, predict the health conditions of COVID-19 ICU patients in real-time.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/s21238131DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8662454PMC
December 2021

The QUality of Interhospital Transportation in the Euregion Meuse-Rhine (QUIT-EMR) score: a cross-validation study.

BMJ Open 2021 11 19;11(11):e051100. Epub 2021 Nov 19.

Department of Intensive Care Medicine, Maastricht University Medical Centre+, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Objectives: Interhospital transports of critically ill patients are high-risk medical interventions. Well-established parameters to quantify the quality of transports are currently lacking. We aimed to develop and cross-validate a score for interhospital transports.

Setting: An expert panel developed a score for interhospital transport by a Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MICU), the QUality of Interhospital Transportation in the Euregion Meuse-Rhine (QUIT-EMR) score. The QUIT-EMR score is an overall sum score that includes component scores of monitoring and intervention variables of the neurological (proxy for airway patency), respiratory and circulatory organ systems, ranging from -12 to +12. A score of 0 or higher defines an adequate transport. The QUIT-EMR score was tested to help to quantify the quality of transport.

Participants: One hundred adult patients were randomly included and the transport charts were independently reviewed and classified as adequate or inadequate by four transport experts (ie, anaesthetists/intensivists).

Outcome Measures: Subsequently, the level of agreement between the QUIT-EMR score and expert classification was calculated using Gwet's AC.

Results: From April 2012 to May 2014, a total of 100 MICU transports were studied. The median (IQR) QUIT-EMR score was 1 (0-2). Experts classified six transports as inadequate. The percentage agreement between the QUIT-EMR score and experts' classification for adequate/inadequate transport ranged from 84% to 92% (Gwet's AC0.81-0.91). The interobserver agreement between experts was 87% to 94% (Gwet's AC0.89-0.98).

Conclusion: The QUIT-EMR score is a novel validated tool to score MICU transportation adequacy in future studies contributing to quality control and improvement.

Trial Registration Number: NTR 4937.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2021-051100DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8606780PMC
November 2021

In-Depth Investigation of Conjunctival Swabs and Tear Fluid of Symptomatic COVID-19 Patients, an Observational Cohort Study.

Transl Vis Sci Technol 2021 10;10(12):32

University Eye Clinic Maastricht, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, the Netherlands.

Purpose: The putative presence of SARS-CoV-2 in ocular specimen puts healthcare workers at risk. We thoroughly examined conjunctival swabs and tear fluid in a large cohort of COVID-19 patients.

Methods: A total of 243 symptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patients were included in this observational multicenter study. Conjunctival swabs were analyzed by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction for detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Next-generation sequencing and phylogenetic analysis were performed to identify viral strains and to determine tissue tropism. Schirmer tear samples from 43 hospitalized COVID-19 patients and 25 healthy controls were analyzed by multiplex cytokine immunoassays.

Results: Viral SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in conjunctival swabs from 17 (7.0%) of 243 COVID-19 patients. Conjunctival samples were positive for viral SARS-CoV-2 RNA as long as 12 days after disease onset. Cycle threshold (Ct) values for conjunctival swabs (mean 34.5 ± 5.1) were significantly higher than nasopharyngeal swabs (mean 16.7 ± 3.6). No correlation between Ct values of conjunctival and nasopharyngeal swabs was observed. The majority of positive conjunctival samples were detected only once and primarily during the first visit. Next-generation sequencing analysis revealed that the virus strain found in the conjunctiva was most often identical to the one found in the nasopharynx. Tear cytokine levels IL-1β and IL-6 were elevated in COVID-19 patients compared to healthy controls.

Conclusions: Conjunctival samples that were positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA contained the same viral strain as the nasopharynx.

Translational Relevance: The presence of SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA and elevated cytokines in tear fluid confirm the involvement of the ocular surface in COVID-19 disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1167/tvst.10.12.32DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8543390PMC
October 2021

Differences and Similarities Among Coronavirus Disease 2019 Patients Treated in Seven ICUs in Three Countries Within One Region: An Observational Cohort Study.

Crit Care Med 2021 10 12. Epub 2021 Oct 12.

Department of Intensive Care, Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg, Genk, Belgium. UHasselt, Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences, Diepenbeek, Belgium. Department of Intensive Care, Maastricht University Medical Center +, Maastricht, The Netherlands. Department of Intensive Care, Laurentius Ziekenhuis, Roermond, The Netherlands. Care and Public Health Research Institute, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands. Department of Intensive Care, Jessa Hospital, Hasselt, Belgium. Department of Intensive Care, VieCuri Medisch Centrum, Venlo, The Netherlands. Department of Intensive Care, Zuyderland Medisch Centrum, Heerlen/Sittard, The Netherlands. Department of Surgery, Maastricht University Medical Center +, Maastricht, The Netherlands. School for Nutrition and Translational Research in Metabolism, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands. Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands. Division for Acute and Emergency Medicine, Maastricht University Medical Center +, Maastricht, The Netherlands. Department of Intensive Care, University Hospital Rheinisch Westfälische Hochschule Aachen, Aachen, Germany.

Objectives: To investigate healthcare system-driven variation in general characteristics, interventions, and outcomes in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients admitted to the ICU within one Western European region across three countries.

Design: Multicenter observational cohort study.

Setting: Seven ICUs in the Euregio Meuse-Rhine, one region across Belgium, The Netherlands, and Germany.

Patients: Consecutive COVID-19 patients supported in the ICU during the first pandemic wave.

Interventions: None.

Measurements And Main Results: Baseline demographic and clinical characteristics, laboratory values, and outcome data were retrieved after ethical approval and data-sharing agreements. Descriptive statistics were performed to investigate country-related practice variation. From March 2, 2020, to August 12, 2020, 551 patients were admitted. Mean age was 65.4 ± 11.2 years, and 29% were female. At admission, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II scores were 15.0 ± 5.5, 16.8 ± 5.5, and 15.8 ± 5.3 (p = 0.002), and Sequential Organ Failure Assessment scores were 4.4 ± 2.7, 7.4 ± 2.2, and 7.7 ± 3.2 (p < 0.001) in the Belgian, Dutch, and German parts of Euregio, respectively. The ICU mortality rate was 22%, 42%, and 44%, respectively (p < 0.001). Large differences were observed in the frequency of organ support, antimicrobial/inflammatory therapy application, and ICU capacity. Mixed-multivariable logistic regression analyses showed that differences in ICU mortality were independent of age, sex, disease severity, comorbidities, support strategies, therapies, and complications.

Conclusions: COVID-19 patients admitted to ICUs within one region, the Euregio Meuse-Rhine, differed significantly in general characteristics, applied interventions, and outcomes despite presumed genetic and socioeconomic background, admission diagnosis, access to international literature, and data collection are similar. Variances in healthcare systems' organization, particularly ICU capacity and admission criteria, combined with a rapidly spreading pandemic might be important drivers for the observed differences. Heterogeneity between patient groups but also healthcare systems should be presumed to interfere with outcomes in coronavirus disease 2019.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/CCM.0000000000005314DOI Listing
October 2021

Hemostasis and fibrinolysis in COVID-19 survivors 6 months after intensive care unit discharge.

Res Pract Thromb Haemost 2021 Aug 24;5(6):e12579. Epub 2021 Sep 24.

Central Diagnostic Laboratory Maastricht University Medical Centre+ Maastricht the Netherlands.

Background: The prothrombotic phenotype has been extensively described in patients with acute coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, potential long-term hemostatic abnormalities are unknown.

Objective: To evaluate the changes in routine hemostasis laboratory parameters and tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA) rotational thromboelastometry (ROTEM) 6 months after COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) discharge in patients with and without venous thromboembolism (VTE) during admission.

Methods: Patients with COVID-19 of the Maastricht Intensive Care COVID cohort with tPA ROTEM measurement at ICU and 6-month follow-up were included. TPA ROTEM is a whole blood viscoelastic assay that illustrates both clot development and fibrinolysis due to simultaneous addition of tissue factor and tPA. Analyzed ROTEM parameters include clotting time, maximum clot firmness (MCF), lysis onset time (LOT), and lysis time (LT).

Results: Twenty-two patients with COVID-19 were included and showed extensive hemostatic abnormalities before ICU discharge. TPA ROTEM MCF (75 mm [interquartile range, 68-78]-59 mm [49-63];  ≤ .001), LOT (3690 seconds [2963-4418]-1786 seconds [1465-2650];  ≤ .001), and LT (7200 seconds [6144-7200]-3138 seconds [2591-4389];  ≤ .001) normalized 6 months after ICU discharge. Of note, eight and four patients still had elevated fibrinogen and D-dimer concentrations at follow-up, respectively. In general, no difference in median hemostasis parameters at 6-month follow-up was observed between patients with (n=14) and without (n=8) VTE, although fibrinogen appeared to be lower in the VTE group (VTE-, 4.3 g/L [3.7-4.7] vs VTE+, 3.4 g/L [3.2-4.2];  = .05).

Conclusions: Six months after COVID-19 ICU discharge, no persisting hypercoagulable or hypofibrinolytic profile was detected by tPA ROTEM. Nevertheless, increased D-dimer and fibrinogen concentrations persist up to 6 months in some patients, warranting further exploration of the role of hemostasis in long-term morbidity after hospital discharge.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/rth2.12579DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8463660PMC
August 2021

Systemic inflammation down-regulates glyoxalase-1 expression: an experimental study in healthy males.

Biosci Rep 2021 07;41(7)

Department of Intensive Care Medicine, Maastricht University Medical Center +, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Background: Hypoxia and inflammation are hallmarks of critical illness, related to multiple organ failure. A possible mechanism leading to multiple organ failure is hypoxia- or inflammation-induced down-regulation of the detoxifying glyoxalase system that clears dicarbonyl stress. The dicarbonyl methylglyoxal (MGO) is a highly reactive agent produced by metabolic pathways such as anaerobic glycolysis and gluconeogenesis. MGO leads to protein damage and ultimately multi-organ failure. Whether detoxification of MGO into D-lactate by glyoxalase functions appropriately under conditions of hypoxia and inflammation is largely unknown. We investigated the effect of inflammation and hypoxia on the MGO pathway in humans in vivo.

Methods: After prehydration with glucose 2.5% solution, ten healthy males were exposed to hypoxia (arterial saturation 80-85%) for 3.5 h using an air-tight respiratory helmet, ten males to experimental endotoxemia (LPS 2 ng/kg i.v.), ten males to LPS+hypoxia and ten males to none of these interventions (control group). Serial blood samples were drawn, and glyoxalase-1 mRNA expression, MGO, methylglyoxal-derived hydroimidazolone-1 (MG-H1), D-lactate and L-lactate levels, were measured serially.

Results: Glyoxalase-1 mRNA expression decreased in the LPS (β (95%CI); -0.87 (-1.24; -0.50) and the LPS+hypoxia groups; -0.78 (-1.07; -0.48) (P<0.001). MGO was equal between groups, whereas MG-H1 increased over time in the control group only (P=0.003). D-Lactate was increased in all four groups. L-Lactate was increased in all groups, except in the control group.

Conclusion: Systemic inflammation downregulates glyoxalase-1 mRNA expression in humans. This is a possible mechanism leading to cell damage and multi-organ failure in critical illness with potential for intervention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1042/BSR20210954DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8411911PMC
July 2021

Serial markers of coagulation and inflammation and the occurrence of clinical pulmonary thromboembolism in mechanically ventilated patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection; the prospective Maastricht intensive care COVID cohort.

Thromb J 2021 May 31;19(1):35. Epub 2021 May 31.

Department of Intensive Care Medicine, Maastricht University Medical Centre+, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Background: The incidence of pulmonary thromboembolism is high in SARS-CoV-2 patients admitted to the Intensive Care. Elevated biomarkers of coagulation (fibrinogen and D-dimer) and inflammation (c-reactive protein (CRP) and ferritin) are associated with poor outcome in SARS-CoV-2. Whether the time-course of fibrinogen, D-dimer, CRP and ferritin is associated with the occurrence of pulmonary thromboembolism in SARS-CoV-2 patients is unknown. We hypothesise that patients on mechanical ventilation with SARS-CoV-2 infection and clinical pulmonary thromboembolism have lower concentrations of fibrinogen and higher D-dimer, CRP, and ferritin concentrations over time compared to patients without a clinical pulmonary thromboembolism.

Methods: In a prospective study, fibrinogen, D-dimer, CRP and ferritin were measured daily. Clinical suspected pulmonary thromboembolism was either confirmed or excluded based on computed tomography pulmonary angiography (CTPA) or by transthoracic ultrasound (TTU) (i.e., right-sided cardiac thrombus). In addition, patients who received therapy with recombinant tissue plasminogen activator were included when clinical instability in suspected pulmonary thromboembolism did not allow CTPA. Serial data were analysed using a mixed-effects linear regression model, and models were adjusted for known risk factors (age, sex, APACHE-II score, body mass index), biomarkers of coagulation and inflammation, and anticoagulants.

Results: Thirty-one patients were considered to suffer from pulmonary thromboembolism ((positive CTPA (n = 27), TTU positive (n = 1), therapy with recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (n = 3)), and eight patients with negative CTPA were included. After adjustment for known risk factors and anticoagulants, patients with, compared to those without, clinical pulmonary thromboembolism had lower average fibrinogen concentration of - 0.9 g/L (95% CI: - 1.6 - - 0.1) and lower average ferritin concentration of - 1045 μg/L (95% CI: - 1983 - - 106) over time. D-dimer and CRP average concentration did not significantly differ, 561 μg/L (- 6212-7334) and 27 mg/L (- 32-86) respectively. Ferritin lost statistical significance, both in sensitivity analysis and after adjustment for fibrinogen and D-dimer.

Conclusion: Lower average concentrations of fibrinogen over time were associated with the presence of clinical pulmonary thromboembolism in patients at the Intensive Care, whereas D-dimer, CRP and ferritin were not. Lower concentrations over time may indicate the consumption of fibrinogen related to thrombus formation in the pulmonary vessels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12959-021-00286-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8165953PMC
May 2021

Serial EXTEM, FIBTEM, and tPA Rotational Thromboelastometry Observations in the Maastricht Intensive Care COVID Cohort-Persistence of Hypercoagulability and Hypofibrinolysis Despite Anticoagulation.

Front Cardiovasc Med 2021 26;8:654174. Epub 2021 Apr 26.

Central Diagnostic Laboratory, Maastricht University Medical Centre+, Maastricht, Netherlands.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients often present with thromboembolic events. In COVID-19 patients, routine hemostatic assays cannot correctly identify patients at risk for thromboembolic events. Viscoelastic testing with rotational thromboelastometry (ROTEM) might improve the characterization of COVID-19-associated coagulopathy. To unravel underlying coagulopathy and fibrinolysis over time as measured by serial assessment heparin-independent (FIBTEM and EXTEM) and fibrinolysis illustrating (tissue plasminogen activator; tPA) ROTEM assays. Between April 23 and June 12, consecutive adult patients enrolled within the Maastricht Intensive Care COVID (MaastrICCht) cohort were included, and a comprehensive set of clinical, physiological, pharmaceutical, and laboratory variables were collected daily. Twice per week, EXTEM, FIBTEM, and tPA ROTEM were performed. Clotting time (CT), clot formation time (CFT), maximum clot firmness (MCF), lysis onset time (LOT), and lysis time (LT) were determined to assess clot development and breakdown and were compared to routine hemostatic assays. In 36 patients, 96 EXTEM/FIBTEM and 87 tPA ROTEM tests were performed during a 6-week follow-up. CT prolongation was present in 54% of EXTEM measurements, which were not matched by prothrombin time (PT) in 37%. Respectively, 81 and 99% of all EXTEM and FIBTEM MCF values were above the reference range, and median MCF remained elevated during follow-up. The ROTEM fibrinolysis parameters remained prolonged with median LOT consequently >49 min and unmeasurable LT in 56% of measurements, suggesting a severe hypofibrinolytic phenotype. ROTEM tests in COVID-19 ICU patients show hypercoagulability and severe hypofibrinolysis persisting over at least 6 weeks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fcvm.2021.654174DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8107372PMC
April 2021

Functional Outcomes and Their Association With Physical Performance in Mechanically Ventilated Coronavirus Disease 2019 Survivors at 3 Months Following Hospital Discharge: A Cohort Study.

Crit Care Med 2021 10;49(10):1726-1738

Department of Intensive Care Medicine, Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Objectives: We performed a comprehensive health assessment in mechanically ventilated coronavirus disease 2019 survivors to assess the impact of respiratory and skeletal muscle injury sustained during ICU stay on physical performance at 3 months following hospital discharge.

Design: Preregistered prospective observational cohort study.

Setting: University hospital ICU.

Patients: All mechanically ventilated coronavirus disease 2019 patients admitted to our ICU during the first European pandemic wave.

Measurements And Main Results: At 3 months after hospital discharge, 46 survivors underwent a comprehensive physical assessment (6-min walking distance, Medical Research Council sum score and handgrip strength), a full pulmonary function test, and a chest CT scan which was used to analyze skeletal muscle architecture. In addition, patient-reported outcomes measures were collected. Physical performance assessed by 6-minute walking distance was below 80% of predicted in 48% of patients. Patients with impaired physical performance had more muscle weakness (Medical Research Council sum score 53 [51-56] vs 59 [56-60]; p < 0.001), lower lung diffusing capacity (54% [44-66%] vs 68% of predicted [61-72% of predicted]; p = 0.002), and higher intermuscular adipose tissue area (p = 0.037). Reduced lung diffusing capacity and increased intermuscular adipose tissue were independently associated with physical performance.

Conclusions: Physical disability is common at 3 months in severe coronavirus disease 2019 survivors. Lung diffusing capacity and intermuscular adipose tissue assessed on CT were independently associated with walking distance, suggesting a key role for pulmonary function and muscle quality in functional disability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/CCM.0000000000005089DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8439632PMC
October 2021

The "sex gap" in COVID-19 trials: a scoping review.

EClinicalMedicine 2020 Dec 30;29:100652. Epub 2020 Nov 30.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Maastricht University Medical Centre (MUMC+), Maastricht, the Netherlands.

Background: Many studies investigate the role of pharmacological treatments on disease course in Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Sex disparities in genetics, immunological responses, and hormonal mechanisms may underlie the substantially higher fatality rates reported in male COVID-19 patients. To optimise care for COVID-19 patients, prophylactic and therapeutic studies should include sex-specific design and analyses. Therefore, in this scoping review, we investigated whether studies on pharmacological treatment in COVID-19 were performed based on a priori sex-specific design or post-hoc sex-specific analyses.

Methods: We systematically searched PubMed, EMBASE, UpToDate, clinical trial.org, and MedRxiv for studies on pharmacological treatment for COVID-19 until June 6th, 2020. We included case series, randomized controlled trials, and observational studies in humans (≥18 years) investigating antiviral, antimalarial, and immune system modulating drugs. Data were collected on 1) the proportion of included females, 2) whether sex stratification was performed (a priori by design or post-hoc), and 3) whether effect modification by sex was investigated.

Findings: 30 studies were eligible for inclusion, investigating remdesivir ( = 2), lopinavir/ritonavir ( = 5), favipiravir ( = 1), umifenovir ( = 1), hydroxychloroquine/chloroquine ( = 8), convalescent plasma ( = 6), interleukin-6 (IL-6) pathway inhibitors ( = 5), interleukin-1 (IL-1) pathway inhibitors ( = 1) and corticosteroids ( = 3). Only one study stratified its data based on sex in a post-hoc analysis, whereas none did a priori by design. None of the studies investigated effect modification by sex. A quarter of the studies included twice as many males as females.

Interpretation: Analyses assessing potential interference of sex with (side-)effects of pharmacological therapy for COVID-19 are rarely reported. Considering sex differences in case-fatality rates and genetic, immunological, and hormonal mechanisms, studies should include sex-specific analyses in their design to optimise COVID-19 care.

Funding: None.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2020.100652DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7701906PMC
December 2020

Decreased serial scores of severe organ failure assessments are associated with survival in mechanically ventilated patients; the prospective Maastricht Intensive Care COVID cohort.

J Crit Care 2021 04 17;62:38-45. Epub 2020 Nov 17.

Department of Intensive Care, Maastricht University Medical Centre+, P. Debyelaan 25, 6202 AZ Maastricht, the Netherlands; Care and Public Health Research Institute (CAPHRI), Maastricht University, Universiteitssingel 40, 6229 ER Maastricht, the Netherlands. Electronic address:

Background: The majority of patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection are admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for mechanical ventilation. The role of multi-organ failure during ICU admission as driver for outcome remains to be investigated yet.

Design And Setting: Prospective cohort of mechanically ventilated critically ill with SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Participants And Methods: 94 participants of the MaastrICCht cohort (21% women) had a median length of stay of 16 days (maximum of 77). After division into survivors (n = 59) and non-survivors (n = 35), we analysed 1555 serial SOFA scores using linear mixed-effects models.

Results: Survivors improved one SOFA score point more per 5 days (95% CI: 4-8) than non-survivors. Adjustment for age, sex, and chronic lung, renal and liver disease, body-mass index, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular risk factors, and Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score did not change this result. This association was stronger for women than men (P-interaction = 0.043).

Conclusions: The decrease in SOFA score associated with survival suggests multi-organ failure involvement during mechanical ventilation in patients with SARS-CoV-2. Surviving women appeared to improve faster than surviving men. Serial SOFA scores may unravel an unfavourable trajectory and guide decisions in mechanically ventilated patients with SARS-CoV-2.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcrc.2020.11.006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7669472PMC
April 2021

Monitoring of Unfractionated Heparin in Severe COVID-19: An Observational Study of Patients on CRRT and ECMO.

TH Open 2020 Oct 19;4(4):e365-e375. Epub 2020 Nov 19.

Central Diagnostic Laboratory, Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, the Netherlands.

 Severe cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) can require continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) and/or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). Unfractionated heparin (UFH) to prevent circuit clotting is mandatory but monitoring is complicated by (pseudo)-heparin resistance. In this observational study, we compared two different activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT) assays and a chromogenic anti-Xa assay in COVID-19 patients on CRRT or ECMO in relation to their UFH dosages and acute phase reactants.  The aPTT (optical [aPTT-CS] and/or mechanical [aPTT-STA] clot detection methods were used), anti-Xa, factor VIII (FVIII), antithrombin III (ATIII), and fibrinogen were measured in 342 samples from 7 COVID-19 patients on CRRT or ECMO during their UFH treatment. Dosage of UFH was primarily based on the aPTT-CS with a heparin therapeutic range (HTR) of 50-80s. Associations between different variables were made using linear regression and Bland-Altman analysis.  Dosage of UFH was above 35,000IU/24 hours in all patients. aPTT-CS and aPTT-STA were predominantly within the HTR. Anti-Xa was predominantly above the HTR (0.3-0.7 IU/mL) and ATIII concentration was >70% for all patients; mean FVIII and fibrinogen were 606% and 7.5 g/L, respectively. aPTT-CS correlated with aPTT-STA (  = 0.68) with a bias of 39.3%. Correlation between aPTT and anti-Xa was better for aPTT-CS (0.78 ≤   ≤ 0.94) than for aPTT-STA (0.34 ≤   ≤ 0.81). There was no general correlation between the aPTT-CS and ATIII, FVIII, fibrinogen, thrombocytes, C-reactive protein, or ferritin.  All included COVID-19 patients on CRRT or ECMO conformed to the definition of heparin resistance. A patient-specific association was found between aPTT and anti-Xa. This association could not be explained by FVIII or fibrinogen.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-0040-1719083DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7676995PMC
October 2020

The prevalence of pulmonary embolism in patients with COVID-19 and respiratory decline: A three-setting comparison.

Thromb Res 2020 12 15;196:486-490. Epub 2020 Oct 15.

Department of Internal Medicine, Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, the Netherlands; Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht (CARIM), Maastricht University Medical Centre+, Maastricht, the Netherlands; Thrombosis Expert Centre Maastricht and Department of Internal Medicine, Section Vascular Medicine, Maastricht University Medical Centre+, Maastricht, the Netherlands.

Background: The risk of pulmonary embolism (PE) in patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is recognized. The prevalence of PE in patients with respiratory deterioration at the Emergency Department (ED), the regular ward, and the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) are not well-established.

Objectives: We aimed to investigate how often PE was present in individuals with COVID-19 and respiratory deterioration in different settings, and whether or not disease severity as measured by CT-severity score (CTSS) was related to the occurrence of PE.

Patients/methods: Between April 6th and May 3rd, we enrolled 60 consecutive adult patients with confirmed COVID-19 from the ED, regular ward and ICU who met the pre-specified criteria for respiratory deterioration.

Results: A total of 24 (24/60: 40% (95% CI: 28-54%)) patients were diagnosed with PE, of whom 6 were in the ED (6/23: 26% (95% CI: 10-46%)), 8 in the regular ward (8/24: 33% (95% CI: 16-55%)), and 10 in the ICU (10/13: 77% (95% CI: 46-95%)). CTSS (per unit) was not associated with the occurrence of PE (age and sex-adjusted OR 1.06 (95%CI 0.98-1.15)).

Conclusion: The number of PE diagnosis among patients with COVID-19 and respiratory deterioration was high; 26% in the ED, 33% in the regular ward and 77% in the ICU respectively. In our cohort CTSS was not associated with the occurrence of PE. Based on the high number of patients diagnosed with PE among those scanned we recommend a low threshold for performing computed tomography angiography in patients with COVID-19 and respiratory deterioration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.thromres.2020.10.012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7557291PMC
December 2020

Serial measurements in COVID-19-induced acute respiratory disease to unravel heterogeneity of the disease course: design of the Maastricht Intensive Care COVID cohort (MaastrICCht).

BMJ Open 2020 09 29;10(9):e040175. Epub 2020 Sep 29.

Department of Intensive Care, Maastricht University Medical Center+, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Introduction: The course of the disease in SARS-CoV-2 infection in mechanically ventilated patients is unknown. To unravel the clinical heterogeneity of the SARS-CoV-2 infection in these patients, we designed the prospective observational Maastricht Intensive Care COVID cohort (MaastrICCht). We incorporated serial measurements that harbour aetiological, diagnostic and predictive information. The study aims to investigate the heterogeneity of the natural course of critically ill patients with a SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Methods And Analysis: Mechanically ventilated patients admitted to the intensive care with a SARS-CoV-2 infection will be included. We will collect clinical variables, vital parameters, laboratory variables, mechanical ventilator settings, chest electrical impedance tomography, ECGs, echocardiography as well as other imaging modalities to assess heterogeneity of the course of a SARS-CoV-2 infection in critically ill patients. The MaastrICCht is also designed to foster various other studies and registries and intends to create an open-source database for investigators. Therefore, a major part of the data collection is aligned with an existing national intensive care data registry and two international COVID-19 data collection initiatives. Additionally, we create a flexible design, so that additional measures can be added during the ongoing study based on new knowledge obtained from the rapidly growing body of evidence. The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic requires the swift implementation of observational research to unravel heterogeneity of the natural course of the disease of SARS-CoV-2 infection in mechanically ventilated patients. Our study design is expected to enhance aetiological, diagnostic and prognostic understanding of the disease. This paper describes the design of the MaastrICCht.

Ethics And Dissemination: Ethical approval has been obtained from the medical ethics committee (Medisch Ethische Toetsingscommissie 2020-1565/3 00 523) of the Maastricht University Medical Centre+ (Maastricht UMC+), which will be performed based on the Declaration of Helsinki. During the pandemic, the board of directors of Maastricht UMC+ adopted a policy to inform patients and ask their consent to use the collected data and to store serum samples for COVID-19 research purposes. All study documentation will be stored securely for fifteen years after recruitment of the last patient. The results will be published in peer-reviewed academic journals, with a preference for open access journals, while particularly considering deposition of the manuscripts on a preprint server early.

Trial Registration Number: The Netherlands Trial Register (NL8613).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-040175DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7526030PMC
September 2020

Increased Dicarbonyl Stress as a Novel Mechanism of Multi-Organ Failure in Critical Illness.

Int J Mol Sci 2017 Feb 7;18(2). Epub 2017 Feb 7.

Department of Intensive Care, Maastricht University Medical Centre +, Maastricht 6229 HX, The Netherlands.

Molecular pathological pathways leading to multi-organ failure in critical illness are progressively being unravelled. However, attempts to modulate these pathways have not yet improved the clinical outcome. Therefore, new targetable mechanisms should be investigated. We hypothesize that increased dicarbonyl stress is such a mechanism. Dicarbonyl stress is the accumulation of dicarbonyl metabolites (i.e., methylglyoxal, glyoxal, and 3-deoxyglucosone) that damages intracellular proteins, modifies extracellular matrix proteins, and alters plasma proteins. Increased dicarbonyl stress has been shown to impair the renal, cardiovascular, and central nervous system function, and possibly also the hepatic and respiratory function. In addition to hyperglycaemia, hypoxia and inflammation can cause increased dicarbonyl stress, and these conditions are prevalent in critical illness. Hypoxia and inflammation have been shown to drive the rapid intracellular accumulation of reactive dicarbonyls, i.e., through reduced glyoxalase-1 activity, which is the key enzyme in the dicarbonyl detoxification enzyme system. In critical illness, hypoxia and inflammation, with or without hyperglycaemia, could thus increase dicarbonyl stress in a way that might contribute to multi-organ failure. Thus, we hypothesize that increased dicarbonyl stress in critical illness, such as sepsis and major trauma, contributes to the development of multi-organ failure. This mechanism has the potential for new therapeutic intervention in critical care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms18020346DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5343881PMC
February 2017

Trousseau's sign at the emergency department.

BMJ Case Rep 2016 Aug 1;2016. Epub 2016 Aug 1.

Department of Internal Medicine, Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bcr-2016-216270DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4986008PMC
August 2016

A healthy diet is associated with less endothelial dysfunction and less low-grade inflammation over a 7-year period in adults at risk of cardiovascular disease.

J Nutr 2015 Mar 31;145(3):532-40. Epub 2014 Dec 31.

Department of Medicine Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht Top Institute Food and Nutrition, Wageningen, The Netherlands

Background: A healthy diet rich in fish, fruit, and vegetables, but moderate in alcohol and low in dairy products and meat, has been associated with a lower rate of incident cardiovascular disease (CVD). The underlying mechanisms, however, remain unclear. Endothelial dysfunction and low-grade inflammation play important roles in CVD. A healthy diet might modify these phenomena.

Objective: We investigated the associations between the above food groups and overall biomarker scores of endothelial dysfunction and low-grade inflammation in a 7-y longitudinal study.

Methods: Using longitudinal data from 557 participants at increased CVD risk from the CODAM (Cohort on Diabetes and Atherosclerosis Maastricht) Study, we assessed diet intake by food-frequency questionnaire and measured plasma biomarkers of endothelial dysfunction [von Willebrand factor, soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule 1, soluble endothelial selectin, soluble thrombomodulin, soluble intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (sICAM-1)] and low-grade inflammation [C-reactive protein, serum amyloid A, interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, tumor necrosis factor α, and sICAM-1]. At baseline, participants were aged 59.6 ± 6.9 y. Measurements were performed then and after 7 y. Biomarkers were combined into overall scores (sum of z scores; higher scores indicating worse function). Longitudinal data were analyzed with generalized estimating equations and adjusted for sex, age, glucose metabolism, energy intake, body mass index, physical activity, alcohol consumption, and smoking.

Results: Higher consumption of fish (per 100 g/wk), but not total consumption of vegetables, fruit, alcohol-containing beverages, dairy products, or meat, was associated with a lower overall endothelial dysfunction score over 7 y (β: -0.027; 95% CI: -0.051, -0.004). No associations were observed with the overall low-grade inflammation score. Further food component analyses indicated that consumption of more lean fish (per 100 g/wk) and raw vegetables (per 100 g/d), and fewer high-fat dairy products (per 100 g/d) was associated with less endothelial dysfunction [(β: -0.038; 95% CI: -0.072, -0.005), (β: -0.095; 95% CI: -0.191, 0.000), and (β: -0.070; 95% CI: -0.131, -0.009), respectively]. Consumption of more fresh fruit (per 100 g/d), wine (per 100 mL/wk), and poultry (per 100 g/d), and fewer high-fat dairy products (per 100 g/d) was associated with less low-grade inflammation [(β: -0.074; 95% CI: -0.133, -0.015), (β:-0.006; 95% CI: -0.013, 0.001), (β:-0.247; 95% CI: -0.479, -0.014), and (β:-0.100; 95% CI: -0.182, -0.019), respectively].

Conclusion: These data suggest that the dietary modification of endothelial dysfunction and low-grade inflammation, processes that are important in atherothrombosis, is possible.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3945/jn.114.201236DOI Listing
March 2015

A control systems approach to quantify wall shear stress normalization by flow-mediated dilation in the brachial artery.

PLoS One 2015 18;10(2):e0115977. Epub 2015 Feb 18.

Department of Biomedical Engineering, Maastricht University Medical Centre+, Maastricht, The Netherlands; School for Cardiovascular Diseases (CARIM), Maastricht University Medical Centre+, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Flow-mediated dilation is aimed at normalization of local wall shear stress under varying blood flow conditions. Blood flow velocity and vessel diameter are continuous and opposing influences that modulate wall shear stress. We derived an index FMDv to quantify wall shear stress normalization performance by flow-mediated dilation in the brachial artery. In 22 fasting presumed healthy men, we first assessed intra- and inter-session reproducibilities of two indices pFMDv and mFMDv, which consider the relative peak and relative mean hyperemic change in flow velocity, respectively. Second, utilizing oral glucose loading, we evaluated the tracking performance of both FMDv indices, in comparison with existing indices [i.e., the relative peak diameter increase (%FMD), the peak to baseline diameter ratio (Dpeak/Dbase), and the relative peak diameter increase normalized to the full area under the curve of blood flow velocity with hyperemia (FMD/shearAUC) or with area integrated to peak hyperemia (FMD/shearAUC_peak)]. Inter-session and intra-session reproducibilities for pFMDv, mFMDv and %FMD were comparable (intra-class correlation coefficients within 0.521-0.677 range). Both pFMDv and mFMDv showed more clearly a reduction after glucose loading (reduction of ~45%, p≤0.001) than the other indices (% given are relative reductions): %FMD (~11%, p≥0.074); Dpeak/Dbase (~11%, p≥0.074); FMD/shearAUC_peak (~20%, p≥0.016) and FMD/shearAUC (~38%, p≤0.038). Further analysis indicated that wall shear stress normalization under normal (fasting) conditions is already far from ideal (FMDv << 1), which (therefore) does not materially change with glucose loading. Our approach might be useful in intervention studies to detect intrinsic changes in shear stress normalization performance in conduit arteries.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0115977PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4333124PMC
November 2015

Multiple inflammatory biomarker detection in a prospective cohort study: a cross-validation between well-established single-biomarker techniques and an electrochemiluminescense-based multi-array platform.

PLoS One 2013 5;8(3):e58576. Epub 2013 Mar 5.

Department of Internal Medicine, Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Background: In terms of time, effort and quality, multiplex technology is an attractive alternative for well-established single-biomarker measurements in clinical studies. However, limited data comparing these methods are available.

Methods: We measured, in a large ongoing cohort study (n = 574), by means of both a 4-plex multi-array biomarker assay developed by MesoScaleDiscovery (MSD) and single-biomarker techniques (ELISA or immunoturbidimetric assay), the following biomarkers of low-grade inflammation: C-reactive protein (CRP), serum amyloid A (SAA), soluble intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (sICAM-1) and soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (sVCAM-1). These measures were realigned by weighted Deming regression and compared across a wide spectrum of subjects' cardiovascular risk factors by ANOVA.

Results: Despite that both methods ranked individuals' levels of biomarkers very similarly (Pearson's r all≥0.755) absolute concentrations of all biomarkers differed significantly between methods. Equations retrieved by the Deming regression enabled proper realignment of the data to overcome these differences, such that intra-class correlation coefficients were then 0.996 (CRP), 0.711 (SAA), 0.895 (sICAM-1) and 0.858 (sVCAM-1). Additionally, individual biomarkers differed across categories of glucose metabolism, weight, metabolic syndrome and smoking status to a similar extent by either method.

Conclusions: Multiple low-grade inflammatory biomarker data obtained by the 4-plex multi-array platform of MSD or by well-established single-biomarker methods are comparable after proper realignment of differences in absolute concentrations, and are equally associated with cardiovascular risk factors, regardless of such differences. Given its greater efficiency, the MSD platform is a potential tool for the quantification of multiple biomarkers of low-grade inflammation in large ongoing and future clinical studies.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0058576PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3589355PMC
December 2013

Lower lifetime dietary fiber intake is associated with carotid artery stiffness: the Amsterdam Growth and Health Longitudinal Study.

Am J Clin Nutr 2012 Jul 23;96(1):14-23. Epub 2012 May 23.

Department of Internal Medicine, Maastricht University Medical Centre+, Maastricht, Netherlands.

Background: Fiber intake is associated with lower cardiovascular disease risk. Whether arterial stiffness is influenced by lifetime fiber intake is not known. Any such association could explain, at least in part, the cardioprotective effects attributed to fiber intake.

Objective: The objective was to investigate whether a lower intake of fiber (and fiber-rich foods) throughout the course of young life (ie, from adolescence to adulthood) is associated with arterial stiffness in adulthood.

Design: This was a longitudinal cohort study among 373 participants in whom dietary intake was assessed between the ages of 13 to 36 y (2-8 repeated measures, median of 5), and arterial stiffness estimates of 3 large arteries (ultrasonography) were ascertained at age 36 y.

Results: After adjustment for sex, height, total energy intake, and other lifestyle variables, subjects with stiffer carotid arteries consumed less fiber (in g/d) during the 24-y study than did those with less stiff carotid arteries, as defined on the basis of the highest compared with the lowest sex-specific tertiles of the distensibility and compliance coefficients (reversed) and Young's elastic modulus: -1.9 (95% CI: -3.1, -0.7), -2.3 (-3.5, -1.1), and -1.3 (-2.5, -0.0), respectively. Furthermore, subjects with stiffer carotid arteries were characterized by a lower lifetime consumption of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains-deleterious associations that could be explained, to a great extent, by related low fiber intake.

Conclusions: Lower lifetime intake of fiber during the course of young age is associated with carotid artery stiffness in adulthood. Promoting consumption of fiber-rich foods among the young may offer a means to prevent accelerated arterial stiffening in adulthood and related cardiovascular sequelae.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.111.024703DOI Listing
July 2012

Low-grade inflammation, but not endothelial dysfunction, is associated with greater carotid stiffness in the elderly: the Hoorn Study.

J Hypertens 2012 Apr;30(4):744-52

Department of Medicine, Maastricht University Medical Centre, The Netherlands.

Objective: Biomarkers of low-grade inflammation and endothelial dysfunction are associated with cardiovascular disease. Arterial stiffening may be a mechanism through which low-grade inflammation and (or) endothelial dysfunction lead to cardiovascular disease. Therefore, we investigated whether low-grade inflammation and endothelial dysfunction were associated with greater carotid stiffness in a population-based cohort of elderly individuals.

Methods: We determined biomarkers of low-grade inflammation (C-reactive protein, serum amyloid A, interleukin 6, interleukin 8, tumour necrosis factor α and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule 1), and of endothelial dysfunction (von Willebrand factor, soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule 1, soluble endothelial selectin, soluble thrombomodulin, soluble intercellular adhesion molecule 1 and flow-mediated dilation), and combined these into mean z-scores (n = 572; women = 286; age 67.5 ± 6.6 years). Additionally, we determined by ultrasonography carotid diameter, distension, pulse pressure and intima-media thickness. Carotid stiffness indices were determined by calculation of the distensibility and compliance coefficient, Young's elastic modulus and β stiffness index.

Results: The study population was characterized by a high prevalence of cardiovascular disease (46%), hypertension (66%) and the use of lipid-lowering (16%) and antihypertensive (34%) medication. After adjustment for the above in addition to sex, age, glucose tolerance status and current smoking, the low-grade inflammation z-score was positively associated with Young's elastic modulus [β (95% confidence interval) 0.080 (0.021-0.139), P = 0.008]. This association was primarily driven through greater diameter. After adjustment for the variables above, the endothelial dysfunction z-score was not associated with carotid stiffness.

Conclusion: These data suggest that low-grade inflammation, in the elderly, plays an important role in carotid artery remodelling and stiffening.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/HJH.0b013e328350a487DOI Listing
April 2012

Fish consumption in healthy adults is associated with decreased circulating biomarkers of endothelial dysfunction and inflammation during a 6-year follow-up.

J Nutr 2011 Sep 13;141(9):1719-25. Epub 2011 Jul 13.

Department of Medicine, Maastricht University Medical Center +, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

A healthy diet rich in fish, fruit, and vegetables, moderate in alcoholic beverages, and low in dairy products has been associated with lower circulating concentrations of biomarkers of endothelial dysfunction (ED) and low-grade inflammation (LGI). It is, however, unknown how consumption of these food groups affects ED and/or LGI over time. We measured diet by the computer-assisted crosscheck dietary history method at 36 ± 0.63 y of age (n = 301, women = 161). At 36 and 42 y of age, we measured von Willebrand factor, soluble intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (sICAM-1), soluble endothelial selectin, soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 and soluble thrombomodulin (circulating biomarkers of ED); and C-reactive protein, serum amyloid A, IL-6, IL-8, TNFα, and sICAM-1 (circulating biomarkers of LGI). We investigated the associations between food groups and changes in combined biomarker Z-scores of ED and LGI [higher scores associated with greater risk of (incident) cardiovascular disease]. After adjustment for sex, energy intake, BMI, physical activity, alcohol consumption, smoking behavior, and other food groups, consumption of fish (per 100 g/wk), but none of the other food groups, was inversely associated with changes in ED [β (95%CI) = -0.06 (-0.10; -0.02); P = 0.003] and LGI [-0.05 (-0.09; -0.003); P = 0.036]. Additionally, EPA+DHA intake was inversely associated with changes in ED [β (95%CI) = -0.13 (-0.19; -0.07); P ≤ 0.001] and LGI [-0.09 (-0.16; -0.02); P = 0.013] and explained 83 and 40% of the association between fish and changes in ED and LGI. In conclusion, fish consumption, but not fruit, vegetable, alcoholic beverage, or dairy product consumption, was associated with decreased ED and LGI in healthy adults.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3945/jn.111.139733DOI Listing
September 2011
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