Publications by authors named "Elfriede Ruttmann"

48 Publications

A new way to use transit-time flow measurement for coronary artery bypass grafting.

Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg 2021 Jan 23. Epub 2021 Jan 23.

Department of Cardiac Surgery, Medical University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.

Objectives: Transit-time flow measurement is a recognized method for graft evaluation in coronary surgery. However, single flow measurement has been associated with a low specificity for detecting graft dysfunction. The goal of this study was to assess the value of transit-time flow measurement for assessing in situ internal mammary artery grafts during non-existent native coronary circulation and the relevance of collateral blood flow in target vessels.

Methods: Between 2014 and 2018, a total of 134 patients undergoing on-pump coronary artery bypass grafting were evaluated using transit-time flow measurement. We analysed 111 single left internal mammary artery and 57 single right internal mammary artery bypasses. Correlations between coronary relevant parameters were calculated using Spearman's ρ coefficient. Risk factors for decreased flow with an arrested heart (FAH) <30 ml/min and an increased pulsatility index (PI) >3.0 as well as flow reduction >30% were calculated.

Results: FAH correlated with the diameter of the target vessel (Spearman's ρ = 0.32; P < 0.001), the amount of blood distribution (Spearman's ρ = 0.34; P < 0.001), the PI (Spearman's ρ = 0.19; P = 0.019) and the degree of stenosis (Spearman's ρ = -0.17; P = 0.042). The percentage of flow change was found to correlate with the PI (Spearman's ρ = -0.47; P < 0.0001), the degree of stenosis (Spearman's ρ = 0.42; P < 0.001), the diameter of the target vessel (Spearman's ρ = -0.22; P = 0.008) and the area of blood distribution (Spearman's ρ = -0.19; P = 0.018). A small blood distribution area was the only risk factor for decreased FAH [odds ratio (OR) 8.43, confidence interval (CI) 95% (3.04-23.41); P < 0.001]. Binary logistic regression identified PI [OR 2.05, CI 95% (1.36-3.10); P = 0.001], FAH [OR 0.98, CI 95% (0.97-0.99); P = 0.005] and degree of stenosis [OR 0.95, CI 95% (0.92-0.99); P = 0.011] as risk factors for decreased flow after cardiopulmonary bypass (<30 ml/min). An increased PI (>3) was mainly influenced by percentage of flow change [OR 0.99, CI 95% (0.98-1.00); P = 0.031].

Conclusions: FAH and percentage of flow change are related to the dimensions of the target vessel and the degree of stenosis. The addition of flow measurements with the heart arrested provides additional information about the bypass graft, the quality of the anastomosis and the physiology of the coronary circulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icvts/ivaa328DOI Listing
January 2021

Endocarditis-related stroke is not a contraindication for early cardiac surgery: an investigation among 440 patients with left-sided endocarditis.

Eur J Cardiothorac Surg 2020 12;58(6):1161-1167

Department of Cardiac Surgery, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria.

Objectives: A treatment dilemma arises when surgery is indicated in patients with infective endocarditis (IE) complicated by stroke. Neurologists recommend surgery to be postponed for at least 1 month. This study aims to investigate the neurological complication rate and neurological recovery potential in patients with IE-related stroke.

Methods: A total of 440 consecutive patients with left-sided IE undergoing surgery were investigated. During follow-up, neurological recovery was assessed using the modified Rankin scale and the Barthel index. Mortality was assessed with regression models adjusting for age.

Results: The median follow-up time was 9.0 years. Patients with previous strokes were more likely to suffer from mitral valve endocarditis (29.5% vs 47.4%, P < 0.001). Symptomatic stroke was found in 135 (30.7%) patients; of them, 42 patients presented with complicated stroke (additional meningitis, haemorrhagic stroke or intracranial abscess). Driven by symptomatic stroke, the age-adjusted hospital mortality risk was 1.4-fold [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.74-2.57; P = 0.31] higher and the long-term mortality risk was 1.4-fold higher (95% CI 1.003-2.001; P = 0.048). Hospital mortality was higher in patients with complicated stroke (21.4% vs 9.7%; P = 0.06) only; however, mortality rates were similar comparing uncomplicated stroke versus no stroke. Among patients with complicated ischaemic strokes, the observed risk for intraoperative cerebral haemorrhage was 2.3% only and the increased hospital mortality was not driven by cerebral complications. In the long-term follow-up, full neurological recovery was observed in 84 out of 118 survivors (71.2%), and partial recovery was observed in 32 (27.1%) patients. Neurological recovery was lower in patients with complete middle cerebral artery stroke compared to other localization (52.9% vs 77.6%; P = 0.003).

Conclusions: Contrary to current clinical practice and neurological recommendations, early surgery in IE is safe and neurological recovery is excellent among patients with IE-related stroke.

Clinical Registration Number Local Irb: UN4232 382/3.1 (retrospective study).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ejcts/ezaa239DOI Listing
December 2020

Positive family history of cardiovascular disease and long-term outcomes after coronary artery bypass grafting: a genetic paradox?

Eur J Cardiothorac Surg 2020 05;57(5):986-993

Department of Medical Statistics, Informatics and Health Economics, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria.

Objectives: Parental cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a known risk factor for premature CVD. It is unknown whether a positive family history (PFH) affects outcomes after coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG).

Methods: Data come from a retrospective longitudinal study of CABG patients consecutively recruited from 2001 to 2018 (n = 5389). From this study, 2535 patients with premature CVD undergoing CABG under the age of 60 years and information on parental CVD were identified. The Framingham offspring study criteria were used to identify PFH of CVD. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to assess the effect of PFH on overall and major adverse cardiovascular and cerebrovascular event-free survival.

Results: A total of 273 deaths and 428 major adverse cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events occurred during follow-up. PFH of CVD was found in 54.2% of patients (n = 1375). Within these patients, 66.1% had a father who experienced a premature cardiovascular event (n = 909), 27.8% a mother (n = 382) and 6.1% both a mother and a father (n = 84). In the majority of cases, the patient's parent had experienced a cardiac event (85.9%, n = 1181) and 14.1% of patients with PFH reported parental stroke (n = 194). Following CABG, PFH was associated with improved overall [adjusted hazards ratio (HR) 0.67, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.50-0.90; P = 0.008] and major adverse cardiovascular and cerebrovascular event-free survival (adjusted HR 0.73, 95% CI 0.68-0.89; P = 0.01). Among the covariates adjusted for age, diabetes, renal insufficiency, peripheral arterial disease, ejection fraction, previous cerebrovascular events and previous mediastinal radiation were all associated with poorer outcomes.

Conclusions: Although it is well established that a PFH increases the risk of requiring CABG at younger ages, this study shows that, paradoxically, PFH is also protective regarding long-term outcomes.

Registration Number Local Irb: UN4232 297/4.3 (retrospective study).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ejcts/ezz333DOI Listing
May 2020

Extracorporeal Life Support in Myocardial Infarction-Induced Cardiogenic Shock: Weaning Success.

Ann Thorac Surg 2019 11 5;108(5):1383-1390. Epub 2019 Jun 5.

Department of Cardiac Surgery, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria. Electronic address:

Background: Outcome data of patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI)-induced cardiogenic shock (CS) receiving extracorporeal life support (ECLS) are sparse.

Methods: A consecutive series of 106 patients with AMI-induced CS receiving ECLS was evaluated regarding ECLS weaning success, hospital mortality, and long-term outcome. The Intraaortic Balloon Pump in Cardiogenic Shock II (IABP-SHOCK II) risk score was applied, and multivariable Cox regression analysis was performed.

Results: Mean patient age was 58.2 ± 11.2 years, and 78.3% were men. In 34 patients (32.1%), ECLS was implemented during ongoing cardiopulmonary resuscitation. De novo AMI was present in 58 patients (54.7%), and percutaneous coronary intervention complications were causative among 48 patients (45.3%). Multivessel coronary artery disease was diagnosed among 73.6% with mean Synergy between PCI with Taxus and Cardiac Surgery (SYNTAX) scores of 30.8 ± 4.8. Actuarial survival was 54.4% at 30 days, 42.2% at 1 year, and 38.0% at 5 years and was significantly higher among patients with low and intermediate IABP-SHOCK II risk scores at ECLS onset (log-rank P = .017). ECLS weaning with curative intention after a mean perfusion time of 6.6 ± 5.1 days was feasible in 51 patients (48.1%) and more likely among patients with complete revascularization (P = .026). Multivariable Cox regression analysis identified complete revascularization (hazard ratio, 2.38; 95% confidence interval, 1.1 to 5.1; P = .028) and absence of relevant mitral regurgitation at ECLS discontinuation (hazard ratio, 2.71; 95% confidence interval, 1.2 to 6.0; P = .014) to be associated with beneficial long-term survival after ECLS discontinuation.

Conclusions: Emergency ECLS is a valuable option among patients with AMI-induced CS with low and intermediate IABP-SHOCK II risk scores. ECLS weaning is manageable, but additional revascularization of all nonculprit lesions is mandatory after ECLS implementation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.athoracsur.2019.04.049DOI Listing
November 2019

Long-term clinical outcome and graft patency of radial artery and saphenous vein grafts in multiple arterial revascularization.

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2019 08 14;158(2):442-450. Epub 2018 Nov 14.

Department of Medical Statistics, Informatics and Health Economics, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria.

Objective: The long-term benefits of multiple arterial revascularization (MAR) in coronary artery bypass grafting remain uncertain. The aim of this study was to investigate the clinical outcome, graft patency, and need for subsequent target revascularization of radial artery (RA) versus saphenous vein graft in patients undergoing MAR in both patient- and graft-specific analyses.

Methods: Between 2001 and 2016, we followed 1654 patients over a median of 7.4 years in a prospective, longitudinal study. Major adverse cardiac and cerebrovascular events, graft patency, and need for revascularization were assessed through clinical manifestation, coronary angiography, or coronary computed tomography and analyzed with propensity score-adjusted Cox regression, general estimating equation, and competing risk models.

Results: Bilateral internal thoracic artery (BITA) grafting was performed in 910 patients (55.0%), and 744 patients (45.0%) received a left internal thoracic artery graft together with at least 1 RA graft. Patients receiving BITA, of whom 187 received an additional RA, showed improved survival (hazard ratio, 0.57; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.38-0.86; P = .009), major adverse cardiac and cerebrovascular event-free survival (hazard ratio, 0.33; 95% CI, 0.23-0.46; P < .001), and lower need for repeat revascularization (subhzhard ratio, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.39-0.90; P = .015). In a subgroup of 512 patients, comparing 419 RA with 487 saphenous vein grafts, RA grafting showed a lower risk for graft occlusion (odds ratio, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.47-0.73; P < .001) and target revascularization (subhazard ratio, 0.58; 95% CI, 0.43-0.78; P < .001).

Conclusions: MAR with BITA and RA grafting revealed to be the recommended strategy in coronary artery bypass grafting to achieve long-term beneficial results. The use of saphenous vein graft showed less favorable outcomes regarding patency and the need for target-vessel revascularization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcvs.2018.10.135DOI Listing
August 2019

Characteristics and outcome of patients with hypothermic out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: Experience from a European trauma center.

Resuscitation 2017 11 1;120:57-62. Epub 2017 Sep 1.

Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Medical University of Innsbruck, Anichstrasse 35, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria. Electronic address:

Background: Aim of the study was to investigate patient characteristics, survival rates and neurological outcome among hypothermic patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) admitted to a trauma center.

Methods: A review of patients with OHCA and a core temperature ≤32°C admitted to a trauma center between 2004 and 2016.

Results: Ninety-six patients (mean temperature 25.8°C±3.9°C) were entered in the study, 37 (39%) of them after avalanche burial. 47% showed return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) prior to hospital admission. Survival with Glasgow-Pittsburgh Cerebral Performance Category (CPC) scale 1 or 2 was achieved in 25% of all patients and was higher in non-avalanche than in avalanche cases (35.6% vs 8.1%, p=0.002). Witnessed cardiac arrest was the most powerful predictor of favourable neurological outcome (RR: 10.8; 95% Confidence Interval: 3.2-37.1; Wald: 14.3; p<0.001), whereas ROSC prior to admission and body core temperature were not associated with survival with favourable neurological outcome. Cerebral CT scan pathology within 12h of admission increased the risk for unfavourable neurological outcome 11.7 fold (RR: 11.7; 95% CI: 3.1-47.5; p<0.001). Favourable neurological outcome was associated lower S 100-binding protein (0.69±0.5μg/l vs 5.8±4.9μg/l, p 0.002) and neuron-specific enolase (34.7±14.2μg/l vs 88.4±42.7μg/l, p 0.004) concentrations on intensive care unit (ICU) admission.

Conclusions: Survival with favourable neurological outcome was found in about a third of all hypothermic non-avalanche patients with OHCA admitted to a trauma center.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.resuscitation.2017.08.242DOI Listing
November 2017

Antithrombin III is associated with acute liver failure in patients with end-stage heart failure undergoing mechanical circulatory support.

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2017 06 9;153(6):1374-1382. Epub 2017 Feb 9.

Department of Cardiac Surgery, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria. Electronic address:

Objective: There are few data on the role of liver dysfunction in patients with end-stage heart failure supported by mechanical circulatory support. The aim of our study was to investigate predictors for acute liver failure in patients with end-stage heart failure undergoing mechanical circulatory support.

Methods: A consecutive 164 patients with heart failure with New York Heart Association class IV undergoing mechanical circulatory support were investigated for acute liver failure using the King's College criteria. Clinical characteristics of heart failure together with hemodynamic and laboratory values were analyzed by logistic regression.

Results: A total of 45 patients (27.4%) with heart failure developed subsequent acute liver failure with a hospital mortality of 88.9%. Duration of heart failure, cause, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, use of vasopressors, central venous pressure, pulmonary capillary wedge pressure, pulmonary pulsatility index, cardiac index, and transaminases were not significantly associated with acute liver failure. Repeated decompensation, atrial fibrillation (P < .001) and the use of inotropes (P = .007), mean arterial (P = .005) and pulmonary pressures (P = .042), cholinesterase, international normalized ratio, bilirubin, lactate, and pH (P < .001) were predictive of acute liver failure in univariate analysis only. In multivariable analysis, decreased antithrombin III was the strongest single measurement indicating acute liver failure (relative risk per %, 0.84; 95% confidence interval, 0.77-0.93; P = .001) and remained an independent predictor when adjustment for the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease score was performed (relative risk per %, 0.89; 95% confidence interval, 0.80-0.99; P = .031). Antithrombin III less than 59.5% was identified as a cutoff value to predict acute liver failure with a corresponding sensitivity of 81% and specificity of 87%.

Conclusions: In addition to the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease score, decreased antithrombin III activity tends to be superior in predicting acute liver failure compared with traditionally thought predictors. Antithrombin III measurement may help to identify patients more precisely who are developing acute liver failure during mechanical circulatory support.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcvs.2017.01.053DOI Listing
June 2017

Long term complications following 54 consecutive lung transplants.

J Thorac Dis 2016 Jun;8(6):1234-44

1 Liechtensteinisches Landesspital, Vaduz, Liechtenstein ; 2 Department of Surgery, University of Maryland, Shore Health System, Easton, MD, USA ; 3 State Hospital Natters-Hochzirl, Innsbruck, Austria ; 4 Department of Cardiac Surgery, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria ; 5 Medical University Innsbruck, Department Hygiene and Microbiology, Innsbruck, Austria ; 6 MB-LAB Mikrobiologisches Labor, Innsbruck, Austria ; 7 Kreisklinik Bad Reichenhall, Pulmonology, Bad Reichenhall, Germany.

Background: Due to the complex therapy and the required high level of immunosuppression, lung recipients are at high risk to develop many different long term complications.

Methods: From 1993-2000, a total of 54 lung transplantation (LuTx) were performed at our center. Complications, graft and patient survival of this cohort was retrospectively analyzed.

Results: One/five and ten-year patient survival was 71.4%, 41.2% and 25.4%; at last follow up (4/2010), twelve patients were alive. Of the 39 deceased patients, 26 died from infectious complications. Other causes of death were myocardial infarction (n=1), progressive graft failure (n=1), intracerebral bleeding (n=2), basilary vein thrombosis (n=1), pulmonary emboli (n=1), others (n=7). Surgical complication rate was 27.7% during the first year and 25% for the 12 long term survivors. Perioperative rejection rate was 35%, and 91.6% for the 12 patients currently alive. Infection incidence during first hospitalization was 79.6% (1.3 episodes per transplant) and 100% for long term survivors. Commonly isolated pathogens were cytomegalovirus (56.8%), Aspergillus (29.4%), RSV (13.7%). Other common complications were renal failure (56.8%), osteoporosis (54.9%), hypertension (45%), diabetes mellitus (19.6%).

Conclusions: Infection and rejection remain the most common complications following LuTx with many other events to be considered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.21037/jtd.2016.05.03DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4885970PMC
June 2016

Prehospital management and outcome of avalanche patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: a retrospective study in Tyrol, Austria.

Eur J Emerg Med 2017 Dec;24(6):398-403

aInstitute of Mountain Emergency Medicine, EURAC Research, Bolzano, Italy Departments of bAnesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine cCardiac Surgery, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria.

Aim: The aim of this study is to describe the prehospital management and outcome of avalanche patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in Tyrol, Austria, for the first time since the introduction of international guidelines in 1996.

Patients And Methods: This study involved a retrospective analysis of all avalanche accidents involving out-of-hospital cardiac arrest between 1996 and 2009 in Tyrol, Austria.

Results: A total of 170 completely buried avalanche patients were included. Twenty-eight victims were declared dead at the scene. Of 34 patients with short burial, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was performed in 27 (79%); 15 of these patients (56%) were transported to hospital with ongoing CPR and four patients were rewarmed with extracorporeal circulation; no patient survived. Of 108 patients with long burial, 49 patients had patent or unknown airway status; CPR was performed in 25 of these patients (51%) and 14 patients (29%) were transported to hospital. Four patients were rewarmed, but only one patient with witnessed cardiac arrest survived. Since the introduction of guidelines in 1996, there has been a marginally significant increase in the rate of documenting airway assessment, but no change in documenting the duration of burial or CPR.

Conclusion: CPR is continued to hospital admission in patients with short burial and asphyxial cardiac arrest, but withheld or terminated at the scene in patients with long burial and possible hypothermic cardiac arrest. Insufficient transfer of information from the accident site to the hospital may partially explain the poor outcome of avalanche victims with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest treated with emergency cardiac care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/MEJ.0000000000000390DOI Listing
December 2017

Mediation analysis of the relationship between sex, cardiovascular risk factors and mortality from coronary heart disease: Findings from the population-based VHM&PP cohort.

Atherosclerosis 2015 Nov 4;243(1):86-92. Epub 2015 Sep 4.

Department of Medical Statistics, Informatics and Health Economics, Medical University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria. Electronic address:

Background: In Europe, annually about 77,000 women, but 253,000 men die prematurely from coronary heart disease (CHD) before the age of 65 years. This gap narrows with increasing age and disappears after the eighth life decade. However, little is known regarding the contribution of cardiovascular risk factors to this sex difference.

Objective: We investigated to what extent men's higher risk of dying from CHD is explained through a different risk factor profile, as compared to women.

Methods: Mediation analysis technique was used to assess the specific contributions of blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, and smoking to the difference between men and women regarding CHD mortality in a large Austrian cohort consisting of 117,264 individuals younger than 50 years (as a proxy for pre-menopausal status) and 54,998 older ones, with 3892 deaths due to CHD during a median follow-up of 14.6 years.

Results: Adjusting for age and year of examination, we observed a male versus female CHD mortality hazard ratio (HR) of 4.7 (95% CI: 3.4-5.9) in individuals younger than 50 years, of which 40.9% (95% CI: 27.1%-54.7%) was explained through risk factor pathways, mainly through blood pressure. In older participants, there was a HR of 1.9 (95% CI: 1.8-2.0) of which 8.2% (95% CI: 4.6%-11.7%) was mediated through the risk factors.

Conclusion: The extent to which major risk factors contribute to the sex difference regarding CHD mortality decreases with age. The female survival advantage was explained to a substantial part through the pathways of major risk factors only in younger individuals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2015.08.048DOI Listing
November 2015

Is extracorporeal rewarming indicated in avalanche victims with unwitnessed hypothermic cardiorespiratory arrest?

High Alt Med Biol 2014 Dec;15(4):500-3

1 Department of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Innsbruck Medical University Hospital , Innsbruck, Austria .

International guidelines recommend using extracorporeal rewarming in all hypothermic avalanche victims with prolonged cardiac arrest if they have patent airways and a plasma potassium level≤12 mmol/L. The aim of this study was to evaluate outcome data to determine if available experience with extracorporeal rewarming of avalanche victims supports this recommendation. At Innsbruck Medical University Hospital, 28 patients with hypothermic cardiac arrest following an avalanche accident were resuscitated using extracorporeal circulation. Of these patients, 25 were extricated from the snow masses with no vital signs and did not survive to hospital discharge. Three patients had witnessed cardiac arrest after extrication and a core temperature of 21.7°C, 22°C, and 24.0°C, two of whom survived long-term with full neurological recovery. A search of the literature revealed only one asystolic avalanche victim with unwitnessed hypothermic cardiac arrest (core temperature 19°C) surviving long-term. All other avalanche victims in the medical literature surviving prolonged hypothermic cardiac arrest suffered witnessed arrest after extrication with a core temperature below 24°C. Our results suggest that prognosis of hypothermic avalanche victims with unwitnessed asystolic cardiac arrest and a core temperature>24°C is extremely poor. Available outcome data do not support the use of extracorporeal rewarming in these patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/ham.2014.1066DOI Listing
December 2014

Simple adaptations of surgical technique to critically reduce the risk of postoperative sternal complications in patients receiving bilateral internal thoracic arteries.

Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg 2013 Aug 16;17(2):378-82. Epub 2013 May 16.

Department of Cardiac Surgery, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria.

Objectives: Limited blood supply to the thoracic chest wall is a known risk factor for sternal wound complications after CABG. Therefore, bilateral internal thoracic arteries are still rarely utilized despite their proven superior graft patency. The aim of our study was to analyse whether modification of the surgical technique is able to limit the risk of sternal wound complications in patients receiving bilateral internal thoracic artery grafting.

Methods: All 418 non-emergent CABG patients receiving bilateral internal thoracic artery CABG procedures (BITA) from January 2001 to January 2012 were analysed for sternal wound complications. Surgical technique together with known risk factors and relevant comorbidity were analysed for their effect on the occurrence of sternal wound complications by means of multivariate logistic regression analysis.

Results: Sternal wound complications occurred in 25 patients (5.9%), with a sternal dehiscence rate of 2.4% (10 patients). In multivariate analysis, diabetes (odds ratio [OR]: 4.8, 95% CI: 1.9-11.7, P=0.001), but not obesity (OR: 1.6, 95% CI: 0.7-4.2, P=0.28) or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (OR: 2.2, 95% CI: 0.87-5.6, P=0.1) was a relevant comorbid condition for sternal complications. Skeletonization of ITA grafts (OR: 0.17, 95% CI: 0.06-0.5, P=0.001) and the augmented use of sternal wires (OR: 0.24, 95% CI: 0.06-0.95, P=0.04) were highly effective in preventing sternal complications. The use of platelet-enriched-fibrin glue (PRF) sealant, however, was associated with more superficial sternal infections (OR: 3.7, 95% CI: 1.3-10.5, P=0.02).

Conclusions: Adjusted for common risk factors, skeletonization of BITA grafts together with augmented sternal wires is effective in preventing sternal complications. The use of PRF sealant, however, increased the risk for superficial wound complications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icvts/ivt089DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3715158PMC
August 2013

Primary cardiac tumours: a single-center 41-year experience.

ISRN Cardiol 2012 27;2012:906109. Epub 2012 Jun 27.

Department of Pathology, Innsbruck Medical University, Müllerstraße 44, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.

Primary cardiac tumours are extremely rare with the most commonest being left atrial myxomas. In general, surgical resection is indicated, whenever the tumour formation is mobile and embolization can be suspected. Within 17280 patients receiving heart surgery at the Innsbruck Medical University, 78 patients (0.45%) underwent tumourectomy of primary cardiac tumours. The majority of patients (63) suffered from a left or right atrial myxoma, 12 showed a papillary fibroelastoma of the valves at echocardiographical or histological examination, 1 suffered from a hemangioma, 1 from a chemodectoma, and another one from a rhabdomyosarcoma. The mean age of cardiac tumour patients was 54.29 ± 13.28 years (ranging from 18 to 83 years). 67.95% of the patients were female and 32.05% were male. The majority of tumours were found incidentally; 97.44% of the patients showed no tumour recurrence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5402/2012/906109DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3391967PMC
August 2012

Alternative valve-in-root concepts for redo procedures.

J Heart Valve Dis 2011 Sep;20(5):593-5

Department of Cardiac Surgery, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria.

Since aortic root reoperations are challenging procedures, alternative lower-risk procedures should be considered in certain cases. Herein are presented two different approaches to high-risk root reoperations. The first patient, a 59-year-old male who had undergone root replacement 11 years previously with an Edwards Prima stentless valve, presented with severe aortic regurgitation and a heavily calcified aortic root. An open implantation of an Edwards Sapien valve was performed via an aortotomy distal to the calcified aortic root. The second patient, a 60-year-old female, underwent transapical implantation of an Edwards Sapien transcatheter valve for stenosis of the aortic valve in an aortic homograft implanted 11 years previously. The long-term durability of these implants has yet to be evaluated.
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September 2011

Second internal thoracic artery versus radial artery in coronary artery bypass grafting: a long-term, propensity score-matched follow-up study.

Circulation 2011 Sep 6;124(12):1321-9. Epub 2011 Sep 6.

Department of Cardiac Surgery, Innsbruck Medical University, Austria.

Background: The best second arterial conduit for multiple arterial revascularization (MAR) is still a matter of debate. Previous studies on the benefit of either using the radial artery (RA) or the right internal thoracic artery (RITA) in coronary artery bypass grafting are not conclusive. The aim of our study was to compare the perioperative and long-term outcome of either RA or RITA grafts as second conduits for MAR.

Methods And Results: A consecutive series of 1001 patients undergoing first nonemergent coronary artery bypass grafting receiving either RA or RITA as second graft for MAR between 2001 and 2010 were studied. There were 277 patients receiving a RITA and 724 patients receiving a RA in addition to a left internal thoracic artery (LITA). Concomitant saphenous vein grafts (SVG) were grafted in addition as necessary. Propensity score-matched analysis was performed to compare the 2 groups, bilateral ITA±SVG (BITA±SVG group) and the LITA+RA±SVG group relative to overall survival and major adverse cardiac and cerebrovascular events-free survival. Hazard ratios and their 95% confidence intervals were estimated by COX regression stratified on matched pairs. The incidence of perioperative major adverse cardiac and cerebrovascular events was significantly lower in the BITA±SVG group (1.4% versus 7.6%, P<0.001). Overall survival (hazard ratio 0.23; 95% confidence interval 0.066-0.81; P=0.022) and major adverse cardiac and cerebrovascular events-free survival (hazard ratio 0.18; 95% confidence interval 0.08-0.42; P<0.001) were significantly better in the BITA±SVG group compared to the LITA+RA±SVG group.

Conclusions: The results of our study provide strong evidence for the superiority of a RITA graft compared to RA as a second conduit in MAR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.111.030536DOI Listing
September 2011

Propensity score-matched analysis of aortic valve replacement by mini-thoracotomy.

J Heart Valve Dis 2010 Sep;19(5):606-14

Department of Cardiac Surgery, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria.

Background And Aim Of The Study: Although minimally invasive aortic valve replacement (MIAVR) through an anterolateral mini-thoracotomy has been shown to reduce surgical trauma, the technique is utilized only at a few selected heart surgery centers. The study aim was to demonstrate the implementation of a MIAVR program at the Innsbruck Medical University, Austria.

Methods: Between October 2006 and January 2009, a total of 315 patients underwent elective isolated aortic valve replacement (AVR). Of these patients, 87 (27.6%) received MIAVR, while the remainder (n = 228) underwent 'conventional' AVR by full sternotomy. In the MIAVR group, 76 patients (87%) were cannulated via the femoral artery. The mean EuroSCORE was 5.7 +/- 2.2 in the MIAVR group, and 6.7 +/- 2.9 in the AVR group (p < 0.001). Propensity score matching was used to reduce the impact of treatment selection in the comparison of MIAVR with conventional AVR. The propensity score was used to yield two matched groups by means of a 1:1 sample matching.

Results: The total operative, cardiopulmonary bypass and aortic cross-clamp times were significantly longer in the MIAVR group compared to the matched AVR group. The actuarial one-year survival was 96% in the MIAVR group, and 98% in the propensity-matched AVR group (p = 0.57). Reoperation due to bleeding was necessary in 4.6% of the MIAVR group (four patients, three by mini-thoracotomy) compared to 5.7% in the matched AVR group (n = 5; p = 0.38). A total of six MIAVR patients (6.9%) had complications from the cannulated groin, predominantly lymphatic fistula formation. Additionally, there was a trend towards a higher rate of renal insufficiency in the MIAVR group (p = 0.07).

Conclusion: MIAVR can be safely implemented as routine cardiac surgery procedure, although the operative times are significantly longer. The early postoperative outcome was equal to that of the sternotomy approach, but postoperative complications were predominantly associated with femoral cannulation.
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September 2010

Prospective study of the association of serum gamma-glutamyltransferase with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia III and invasive cervical cancer.

Cancer Res 2010 May 13;70(9):3586-93. Epub 2010 Apr 13.

Departments of Medical Statistics, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria.

Epidemiologic studies indicate that elevated levels of gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT), a key enzyme of glutathione metabolism, might be associated with increased cancer risk. Furthermore, preclinical studies support a role for GGT in tumor invasion and progression. However, the relationship between GGT and risks of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia III (CIN-III) and invasive cervical cancer (ICC) have not been evaluated. We investigated the association of enzymatically determined GGT in blood serum with subsequent incidence of CIN-III and ICC in a prospective population-based cohort of 92,843 women ages 18 to 95, of whom 79% had at least one gynecologic examination including Pap smear testing during follow-up. Cox regression was used to compute adjusted hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals for the association of GGT with CIN-III and ICC. During median follow-up of 13.8 years, 702 CIN-III and 117 ICC diagnoses were observed. Compared with normal low GGT (<17.99 units/L), risk of ICC was significantly elevated for all other baseline GGT categories, with adjusted HRs of 2.31 (1.49-3.59) for normal high GGT (18.00-35.99 units/L), 2.76 (1.52-5.02) for elevated GGT (36.00-71.99 units/L), and 3.38 (1.63-7.00) for highly elevated GGT [>72.00 units/L; P trend < 0.0001, HR log unit increase 3.45 (1.92-6.19)]. In contrast, associations between GGT serum levels and CIN-III risk were not statistically significant in the main analysis. Exclusion of the first 2 or 5 years of follow-up did not change the results. Effects did not differ by age, body mass index, or socioeconomic status. Our findings implicate GGT in the progression of premalignant cervical lesions to invasive cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-3197DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5911687PMC
May 2010

[Health-related quality of life, anxiety and depression before and after coronary artery bypass grafting].

Wien Med Wochenschr 2010 Jan;160(1-2):44-53

Universitätsklinik für Allgemeine und Sozialpsychiatrie, Department für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Medizinische Universität Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Osterreich.

Aim of the study was to assess health-related quality of life as well as anxiety and depression in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft (CABG). A total of 54 patients answered questionnaires assessing quality of life (SF-36, MacNew), anxiety and depression (STAI, HADS-D) before surgery as well as 4 weeks and 3 months afterwards. Significant improvements in health-related quality of life (MacNew) were identified 3 months after surgery. Whereas preoperative anxiety significantly correlated with health-related quality of life (MacNew) three months after surgery, correlations between preoperative depression and postoperative quality of life were only found for singular scales. Regarding clinical practice providing information about the probable course of quality of life and explaining surgery as a kind of input for the benefit of long-term enhancement seems necessary. Furthermore the assessment of preoperative well-being should be integrated in routine care in order to identify and support patients with higher levels of anxiety and/or depression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10354-009-0722-4DOI Listing
January 2010

Shunt or snare: coronary endothelial damage due to hemostatic devices for beating heart coronary surgery.

Ann Thorac Surg 2008 Dec;86(6):1873-7

Department of Cardiac Surgery, Medical University Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.

Background: Occlusion of coronary arteries during off-pump coronary bypass operations bears the potential for endothelial injury. The aim of this study was to elucidate the effects of hemostatic devices on the beating heart in human coronaries by means of scanning electron microscopy.

Methods: The coronary arteries of 9 patients with dilated cardiomyopathy and 13 with ischemic heart disease undergoing heart transplantation were handled with intracoronary shunts as well as external snaring techniques on a beating heart, after cannulation but before starting cardiopulmonary bypass. Adjacent noninstrumented coronary artery segments served as controls. Integrity of endothelial lining was observed with scanning electron microscopy.

Results: Nearly all coronary artery segments manipulated with a shunt exhibited a severe injury with extensive endothelial denudation. Endothelial injury was significantly higher after manipulation with intracoronary shunts compared with external occlusion devices (p < 0.001) or control specimens (p < 0.001). Plaque rupture was apparent in 3 samples.

Conclusions: Manipulation of human coronary arteries during off-pump operations leads to endothelial denudation and plaque rupture. From this investigation we conclude that insertion of intracoronary shunts during beating heart operations leads to severe endothelial denudation in human coronary arteries. We therefore recommend using shunts selectively in cases where critical ischemia or technical difficulties due to anatomic conditions are expected during anastomosis. The clinical significance of these structural damages has to be further investigated with clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.athoracsur.2008.06.047DOI Listing
December 2008

Use of penalized splines in extended Cox-type additive hazard regression to flexibly estimate the effect of time-varying serum uric acid on risk of cancer incidence: a prospective, population-based study in 78,850 men.

Ann Epidemiol 2009 Jan 4;19(1):15-24. Epub 2008 Oct 4.

Department of Medical Statistics, Informatics and Health Economics, Innsbruck Medical University, Austria.

Purpose: We sought to investigate the effect of serum uric acid (SUA) levels on risk of cancer incidence in men and to flexibly determine the shape of this association by using a novel analytical approach.

Methods: A population-based cohort of 78,850 Austrian men who received 264,347 serial SUA measurements was prospectively followed-up for a median of 12.4 years. Data were collected between 1985 and 2003. Penalized splines (P-splines) in extended Cox-type additive hazard regression were used to flexibly model the association between SUA, as a time-dependent covariate, and risk of overall and site-specific cancer incidence and to calculate adjusted hazard ratios with their 95% confidence intervals.

Results: During follow-up 5189 incident cancers were observed. Restricted maximum-likelihood optimizing P-spline models revealed a moderately J-shaped effect of SUA on risk of overall cancer incidence, with statistically significantly increased hazard ratios in the upper third of the SUA distribution. Increased SUA (>/=8.00 mg/dL) further significantly increased risk for several site-specific malignancies, with P-spline analyses providing detailed insight about the shape of the association with these outcomes.

Conclusions: Our study is the first to demonstrate a dose-response association between SUA and cancer incidence in men, simultaneously reporting on the usefulness of a novel methodological framework in epidemiologic research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.annepidem.2008.08.009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2666912PMC
January 2009

Prospective study of the association of gamma-glutamyltransferase with cancer incidence in women.

Int J Cancer 2008 Oct;123(8):1902-6

Department of Medical Statistics, Informatics and Health Economics, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria.

Although several epidemiologic studies have shown that gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) is associated with cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality, its relationship with cancer incidence remains widely unexplored. In experimental models the ability of cellular GGT to modulate crucial redox-sensitive functions has been established, and it may thus play a role in tumor progression. In the present study, we investigated the association of GGT with overall and site-specific cancer incidence in a population-based cohort of 92,843 Austrian women with 349,674 serial GGT measurements, prospectively followed-up for a median of 13.5 years. The relationship between GGT and cancer incidence was analyzed using adjusted Cox regression models with age as underlying time metric with age as underlying time metric including GGT concentrations at baseline and incorporating repeated GGT measurements as a time-dependent variable. During follow-up, 4,884 incidence cancers were observed. Compared to normal low GGT (<17.99 U/L), cancer risk was elevated for all other GGT categories (p for trend < 0.0001), with adjusted hazard ratios (95% confidence intervals) of 1.06 (0.99-1.13) for GGT levels between 18.00 and 35.99 U/L (normal high), 1.12 (1.02-1.22) for GGT levels between 36.00 and 71.99 U/L (elevated) and 1.43 (1.28-1.61) for highly elevated GGT (>72.00 U/L). Very similar results were seen when GGT was analyzed as a time-dependent variable. In cancer-site specific models, elevated GGT statistically significantly increased the risk for malignant neoplasms of digestive organs, the respiratory system/intrathoracic organs, breast and female genital organs and lymphoid and haematopoietic cancers (all, p < 0.006). Our study is the first to demonstrate in a large population-based cohort that high GGT levels significantly increased cancer risk in women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.23714DOI Listing
October 2008

Longitudinal change in serum gamma-glutamyltransferase and cardiovascular disease mortality: a prospective population-based study in 76,113 Austrian adults.

Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2008 Oct 10;28(10):1857-65. Epub 2008 Jul 10.

Department of Medical Statistics, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the association of longitudinal change in serum gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) with mortality from cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Methods And Results: A population-based cohort of 76,113 Austrian men and women with 455,331 serial GGT measurements was prospectively followed-up for a median of 10.2 years after assessment of longitudinal GGT change during an average period of 6.9 years. Cox proportional hazards regression with time-varying covariates was used to evaluate GGT change as an independent predictor for CVD death. Independently of baseline GGT and other classical CVD risk factors, a pronounced increase in GGT (7-year change >9.2 U/L) was significantly associated with increased total CVD mortality in men (P=0.005); the adjusted hazard ratio (95% confidence interval) in comparison to stable GGT (7-year change -0.7 to 1.3 U/L) was 1.40 (1.09 to 1.81). Similarly, total CVD risk was elevated for increasing GGT in women, although effects were less pronounced and statistically significant only in subanalyses regarding coronary heart disease. Age of participants significantly modified the relation between GGT change and CVD mortality, with markedly stronger associations to be observable for younger individuals.

Conclusions: Our study is the first to demonstrate that a longitudinal increase in GGT, independently of baseline GGT and even within its normal range, significantly increases risk of fatal CVD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/ATVBAHA.108.170597DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2643843PMC
October 2008

Association of gamma-glutamyltransferase and risk of cancer incidence in men: a prospective study.

Cancer Res 2008 May;68(10):3970-7

Departments of Medical Statistics, Informatics and Health Economics, Innsbruck Medical University, Austria.

Although several epidemiologic studies have shown that gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) is independently associated with cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality, its relationship with cancer incidence remains widely unexplored. In several experimental models, the ability of cellular GGT to modulate crucial redox-sensitive functions has been established, and it thus may play a role in tumor progression, as has been repeatedly suggested. We prospectively investigated the association between GGT and risk of overall and site-specific cancer incidence in a large population-based cohort of 79,279 healthy Austrian men with serial GGT measurements. Median follow-up was 12.5 years. Adjusted Cox proportional hazards models were calculated to evaluate GGT as an independent predictor for cancer incidence, and nonparametric regression splines were fitted to flexibly capture the dose-response relationship. Elevated GGT significantly increased overall cancer risk, showing a clear dose-response relationship (P for GGT log-unit increase < 0.0001; P for trend < 0.0001). In comparison with the reference GGT concentration (25 units/L), we found adjusted relative risks (95% confidence intervals) equalling 1.19 (1.15-1.22) for GGT concentrations of 60 units/L, 1.32 (1.28-1.36) for 100 units/L, 1.67 (1.60-1.75) for 200 units/L, and 2.30 (2.14-2.47) for 400 units/L. In cancer site-specific models, GGT was significantly associated with malignant neoplasms of digestive organs, the respiratory system/intrathoracic organs, and urinary organs (all P < 0.0001). Age of participants significantly modified the association of GGT and cancer risk (P < 0.001), revealing markedly stronger associations in participants ages
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-07-6686DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5955388PMC
May 2008

Serum uric acid is an independent predictor for all major forms of cardiovascular death in 28,613 elderly women: a prospective 21-year follow-up study.

Int J Cardiol 2008 Apr 30;125(2):232-9. Epub 2008 Jan 30.

Department of Medical Statistics, Informatics and Health Economics, Innsbruck Medical University, Schoepfstrasse 41, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria.

Background: The role of serum uric acid (SUA) as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains controversial. Little is known about its predictive value for mortality from congestive heart failure (CHF) and stroke, particularly in elderly, post-menopausal women.

Methods: The relation of SUA to risk of death from total CVD, CHF, stroke and coronary heart disease (CHD) was examined prospectively in a large cohort of 28613 elderly Austrian women (mean age 62.3 years), followed-up for a median of 15.2 years. Adjusted Cox proportional hazards models were calculated to evaluate SUA as an independent predictor for fatal CVD events.

Results: SUA in the highest quartile (>or=5.41 mg/dL) was significantly associated with mortality from total CVD (p<0.0001), showing a clear dose-response relationship; the adjusted hazard ratio (95%CI) in comparison to the lowest SUA quartile was 1.35 (1.20-1.52). In subgroup analyses SUA was independently predictive for deaths from acute and subacute (p<0.0001) and chronic forms (p=0.035) of CHD, yielding adjusted hazard ratios for the highest versus lowest SUA quartile of 1.58 (1.19-2.10) and 1.25 (1.01-1.56), respectively. SUA was further significantly related to fatal CHF (p<0.0001) and stroke (p=0.018); the adjusted hazard ratios for the highest versus lowest SUA quartile were 1.50 (1.04-2.17) and 1.37 (1.09-1.74), respectively.

Conclusions: These findings, for the first time, demonstrate that SUA is an independent predictor for all major forms of death from CVD including acute, subacute and chronic forms of CHD, CHF and stroke in elderly, post-menopausal women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2007.11.094DOI Listing
April 2008

Single time point measurement by C2 or C3 is highly predictive in cyclosporine area under the curve estimation immediately after lung transplantation.

Clin Transplant 2008 Jan-Feb;22(1):35-40

Department of Cardiac Surgery, Innsbruck Medical University, Austria.

Background: The two h post-dose cyclosporine (CsA) concentration has been advocated as the optimal time point measurement for CsA area under the curve (AUC) estimation after solid organ transplantation. The aim of the study was to investigate whether intensified CsA monitoring is necessary, or if a single time point measurement is accurate to estimate the AUC in the very early period following lung transplantation (LuTX).

Methods: Within the first two wk following transplantation, daily AUCs were calculated by serial CsA measurements at zero, one, two, three, four, and six h (C0-C6) in 12 consecutive lung transplant recipients. Correlation of single CsA measurements and AUC as well as linear regression analysis was performed to evaluate the most predictive single CsA blood level regarding the AUC.

Results: A total of 606 CsA concentration measurements were performed and the 101 corresponding AUCs were calculated for each patient. Mean AUC was 3443 +/- 1451 microg/L. C0: 361 +/- 118 microg/L, C1: 481 +/- 231 microg/L, C2: 682 +/- 314 microg/L, C3: 715 +/- 347 microg/L, C4: 658 +/- 271 microg/L, C6: 571 +/- 260 microg/L. The correlation of CsA serum levels with AUC was the lowest at trough levels (C0) with a correlation coefficient (r = 0.31) and highest at three h (C3: r = 0.89) and two h (C2: r = 0.88).

Conclusions: Similar to a stable post-transplant period, CsA trough levels turned out to have poor correlation with the corresponding AUC early after LuTX. The highest correlation of C3 with the AUC may be explained by delayed intestinal resorption immediately post-operative, however C2 is a peer parameter. Optimum AUCs and corresponding C2 or C3 levels in the immediate post-operative phase however remain to be determined.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1399-0012.2007.00738.xDOI Listing
February 2008

Serum uric acid and risk of cardiovascular mortality: a prospective long-term study of 83,683 Austrian men.

Clin Chem 2008 Feb 26;54(2):273-84. Epub 2007 Nov 26.

Department of Medical Statistics, Informatics and Health Economics, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria.

Background: The role of serum uric acid (SUA) as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains controversial, and little is known about its prognostic importance for mortality from congestive heart failure (CHF) and stroke. Few large-scale epidemiologic studies with sufficient follow-up have addressed the association of SUA and CVD mortality in apparently healthy men across a wide age range.

Methods: A cohort of 83 683 Austrian men (mean age, 41.6 years) was prospectively followed for a median of 13.6 years. We used Cox proportional hazards models adjusted for established risk factors to evaluate SUA as an independent predictor for CVD mortality.

Results: The highest quintile of SUA concentration (>398.81 mumol/L) was significantly related to mortality from CHF (P = 0.03) and stroke (P <0.0001); adjusted hazard ratios (95% confidence interval) for the highest vs lowest quintiles of SUA were 1.51 (1.03-2.22) and 1.59 (1.23-2.04), respectively. SUA was not associated, however, with mortality from acute, subacute, or chronic forms of coronary heart disease (CHD) after adjustment for potential confounding factors (P = 0.12). Age was a significant effect modifier for the relation of SUA to fatal CHF (P = 0.05), with markedly stronger associations found in younger individuals.

Conclusions: Our study demonstrates for the first time in a large prospective male cohort that SUA is independently related to mortality from CHF and stroke. Although increased SUA is not necessarily a causal risk factor, our results suggest the clinical importance of monitoring and intervention based on the presence of an increased SUA concentration, especially because SUA is routinely measured.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1373/clinchem.2007.094425DOI Listing
February 2008

Prolonged extracorporeal membrane oxygenation-assisted support provides improved survival in hypothermic patients with cardiocirculatory arrest.

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2007 Sep;134(3):594-600

Department of Cardiac Surgery, Innsbruck Medical University, Tyrol, Austria.

Objective: Extracorporeal circulation is considered the gold standard in the treatment of hypothermic cardiocirculatory arrest; however, few centers use extracorporeal membrane oxygenation instead of standard extracorporeal circulation for this indication. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether extracorporeal membrane oxygenation-assisted resuscitation improves survival in patients with hypothermic cardiac arrest.

Methods: A consecutive series of 59 patients with accidental hypothermia in cardiocirculatory arrest between 1987 and 2006 were included. Thirty-four patients (57.6%) were resuscitated by standard extracorporeal circulation, and 25 patients (42.4%) were resuscitated by extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Accidental hypothermia was caused by avalanche in 22 patients (37.3%), drowning in 22 patients (37.3%), exposure to cold in 8 patients (13.5%), and falling into a crevasse in 7 patients (11.9%). Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to compare extracorporeal membrane oxygenation with extracorporeal circulation resuscitation, with adjustment for relevant parameters.

Results: Restoration of spontaneous circulation was achieved in 32 patients (54.2%). A total of 12 patients (20.3%) survived hypothermia. In the extracorporeal circulation group, 64% of the nonsurviving patients who underwent restoration of spontaneous circulation died of severe pulmonary edema, but none died in the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation group. In multivariate analysis, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation-assisted resuscitation showed a 6.6-fold higher chance for survival (relative risk: 6.6, 95% confidence interval: 1.2-49.3, P = .042). Asphyxia-related hypothermia (avalanche or drowning) was the most predictive adverse factor for survival (relative risk: 0.09, 95% confidence interval: 0.01-0.60, P = .013). Potassium and pH failed to show statistical significance in the multivariate analysis.

Conclusions: Extracorporeal rewarming with an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation system allows prolonged cardiorespiratory support after initial resuscitation. Our data indicate that prolonged extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support reduces the risk of intractable cardiorespiratory failure commonly observed after rewarming.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcvs.2007.03.049DOI Listing
September 2007

Serum uric acid and risk of cancer mortality in a large prospective male cohort.

Cancer Causes Control 2007 Nov 31;18(9):1021-9. Epub 2007 Jul 31.

Department of Medical Statistics, Informatics and Health Economics, Innsbruck Medical University, Schoepfstrasse 41, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.

Objective: To examine the prognostic role of serum uric acid (SUA) for cancer mortality in apparently healthy men across a wide age range.

Methods: Prospective data from a large cohort of 83,683 male Austrian adults with a median follow-up of 13.6 years was analyzed. Cox proportional hazards models, adjusted for established risk factors, were calculated to evaluate SUA as a predictive marker for fatal cancer events.

Results: High SUA (>6.71 mg/dl) was independently associated with increased risk of mortality from all cancers, showing a clear dose-response relationship (p for trend < 0.0001); the adjusted hazard ratio for the highest versus lowest quintile of SUA was 1.41 (1.22-1.62). In subgroup analyses this hazard ratio increased to 1.53 (1.29-1.80) for participants aged <65 years. When considering the time interval between baseline SUA measurement and subsequent death, SUA levels were more predictive for "late deaths", occurring 10 or more years after screening (HR 1.65 [1.35-2.03], p < 0.0001), in comparison to deaths within 10 years after SUA measurement. In cancer site-specific analyses, SUA was significantly associated with deaths from malignant neoplasms of digestive organs (p = 0.03) and respiratory system and intrathoracic organs (p < 0.0001). Elevated SUA was further independently related to an increased risk of all-cause mortality (p < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Our results are contrary to the proposed antioxidant, inhibitory effect of SUA against cancer and rather suggest high SUA to be a valuable long-term surrogate parameter, indicative for a life-style at increased risk for the development of cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10552-007-9043-3DOI Listing
November 2007

Training models for coronary surgery.

Heart Surg Forum 2007 ;10(4):E248-50

Department of Cardiac Surgery, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria.

This paper reviews currently used training models for coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). Training models for CABG are extremely helpful not only for training surgical techniques, but also for the evaluation of new technologies and for research on bypass graft pathophysiology. Wet-lab models serve as training platforms for surgical residents and allow the evaluation of new technology (e.g., robotically enhanced CABG). The right coronary artery to left anterior descending artery model on the slaughterhouse pig heart is easily available, cheap, and effective. In vivo animal models for CABG are much more sophisticated and cost intensive. Pigs and dogs are the most commonly used animals for CABG training. Offpump CABG techniques, totally endoscopic CABG, endoscopic gastroepiploic artery harvesting, and axillocoronary bypass grafting have been evaluated in animal models.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1532/HSF98.20070704DOI Listing
June 2007