Publications by authors named "Matjaz Bunc"

66 Publications

Optimal use of lipid-lowering therapy after acute coronary syndromes: A Position Paper endorsed by the International Lipid Expert Panel (ILEP).

Pharmacol Res 2021 Apr 17;166:105499. Epub 2021 Feb 17.

Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital Center Zagreb, School of Medicine, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia. Electronic address:

Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) and consequent acute coronary syndromes (ACS) are substantial contributors to morbidity and mortality across Europe. Much of these diseases burden is modifiable, in particular by lipid-lowering therapy (LLT). Current guidelines are based on the sound premise that with respect to low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), "lower is better for longer", and the recent data have strongly emphasized the need of also "the earlier the better". In addition to statins, which have been available for several decades, the availability of ezetimibe and inhibitors of proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) are additional very effective approach to LLT, especially for those at very high and extremely high cardiovascular risk. LLT is initiated as a response to an individual's calculated risk of future ASCVD and is intensified over time in order to meet treatment goals. However, in real-life clinical practice goals are not met in a substantial proportion of patients. This Position Paper complements existing guidelines on the management of lipids in patients following ACS. Bearing in mind the very high risk of further events in ACS, we propose practical solutions focusing on immediate combination therapy in strict clinical scenarios, to improve access and adherence to LLT in these patients. We also define an 'Extremely High Risk' group of individuals following ACS, completing the attempt made in the recent European guidelines, and suggest mechanisms to urgently address lipid-medicated cardiovascular risk in these patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.phrs.2021.105499DOI Listing
April 2021

Coronary sinus reducer transfemoral extraction after intraprocedural device migration: A case report.

Clin Case Rep 2021 Jan 24;9(1):386-390. Epub 2020 Nov 24.

Tel-Aviv Medical Center Sackler School of Medicine Tel-Aviv University Tel-Aviv Israel.

The coronary sinus reducer migration during implantation procedure is a rare complication with no standard bailout strategy. Transfemoral extraction of the reducer can be a safe and successful method, as demonstrated by this case report.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ccr3.3538DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7813095PMC
January 2021

Valve-in-valve transcatheter aortic valve implantation with fracturing of a failed small surgical aortic bioprosthesis: a case report.

Eur Heart J Case Rep 2020 Dec 19;4(6):1-5. Epub 2020 Nov 19.

Department of Cardiology, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Zaloska 2, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Background: Failure of a small surgical aortic bioprosthesis represents a challenging clinical scenario with valve-in-valve (ViV) transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) often resulting in patient-prosthesis mismatch. Bioprosthetic valve fracture (BVF) performed as a part of the ViV TAVI has recently emerged as an alternative approach with certain types of surgical bioprostheses.

Case Summary: An 81-year-old woman with a history of three surgical aortic valve procedures presented with heart failure. Aortic bioprosthesis degeneration with severe stenosis and moderate regurgitation was found. The patient was deemed a high-risk surgical candidate and the heart team decided that ViV TAVI was the preferred treatment option. Due to the very small 19 mm stented surgical aortic bioprosthesis Mitroflow 19 mm (Sorin Group, Italy) we decided to perform BVF as a part of ViV TAVI to prevent patient-prosthesis mismatch. Since this was the first BVF procedure in our centre, an BVF of the same kind of bioprosthetic valve was performed first. Subsequently, successful BVF with implantation of Evolut R 23 mm (Medtronic, USA) self-expandable transcatheter valve was performed. Excellent haemodynamic result was achieved and no periprocedural complications were present. The patient had an immediate major improvement in clinical status and remains asymptomatic after 6 months.

Discussion: Bioprosthetic valve fracture together with ViV TAVI is a safe and effective emerging technique for treatment of small surgical aortic bioprosthesis failure. Bioprosthetic valve fracture allows marked oversizing of implanted self-expandable transcatheter aortic valves, leading to excellent haemodynamic and clinical results. An BVF can serve as an important preparatory step when introducing the new method.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ehjcr/ytaa356DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7793178PMC
December 2020

Transcatheter Replacement of Transcatheter Versus Surgically Implanted Aortic Valve Bioprostheses.

J Am Coll Cardiol 2021 Jan;77(1):1-14

Centres for Heart Valve and Cardiovascular Innovation, St. Paul's and Vancouver General Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Electronic address:

Background: Surgical aortic valve replacement and transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) are now both used to treat aortic stenosis in patients in whom life expectancy may exceed valve durability. The choice of initial bioprosthesis should therefore consider the relative safety and efficacy of potential subsequent interventions.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to compare TAVR in failed transcatheter aortic valves (TAVs) versus surgical aortic valves (SAVs).

Methods: Data were collected on 434 TAV-in-TAV and 624 TAV-in-SAV consecutive procedures performed at centers participating in the Redo-TAVR international registry. Propensity score matching was applied, and 330 matched (165:165) patients were analyzed. Principal endpoints were procedural success, procedural safety, and mortality at 30 days and 1 year.

Results: For TAV-in-TAV versus TAV-in-SAV, procedural success was observed in 120 (72.7%) versus 103 (62.4%) patients (p = 0.045), driven by a numerically lower frequency of residual high valve gradient (p = 0.095), ectopic valve deployment (p = 0.081), coronary obstruction (p = 0.091), and conversion to open heart surgery (p = 0.082). Procedural safety was achieved in 116 (70.3%) versus 119 (72.1%) patients (p = 0.715). Mortality at 30 days was 5 (3%) after TAV-in-TAV and 7 (4.4%) after TAV-in-SAV (p = 0.570). At 1 year, mortality was 12 (11.9%) and 10 (10.2%), respectively (p = 0.633). Aortic valve area was larger (1.55 ± 0.5 cm vs. 1.37 ± 0.5 cm; p = 0.040), and the mean residual gradient was lower (12.6 ± 5.2 mm Hg vs. 14.9 ± 5.2 mm Hg; p = 0.011) after TAV-in-TAV. The rate of moderate or greater residual aortic regurgitation was similar, but mild aortic regurgitation was more frequent after TAV-in-TAV (p = 0.003).

Conclusions: In propensity score-matched cohorts of TAV-in-TAV versus TAV-in-SAV patients, TAV-in-TAV was associated with higher procedural success and similar procedural safety or mortality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2020.10.053DOI Listing
January 2021

Emergency veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA ECMO)-supported percutaneous interventions in refractory cardiac arrest and profound cardiogenic shock.

Resuscitation 2021 Mar 9;160:150-157. Epub 2020 Dec 9.

Center for Intensive Internal Medicine, University Medical Center, Ljubljana, Slovenia; Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. Electronic address:

Aims: We investigated the spectrum of emergency veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA ECMO)-supported interventions including percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) and invasive electrophysiology (EP).

Methods And Results: Between June 2010 and February 2020, 52 consecutive patients underwent VA ECMO implantation for refractory cardiac arrest (E-CPR) and 78 for profound cardiogenic shock. Percutaneous interventions on VA ECMO included PCI (n = 29), TAVI (n = 4) and EP (n = 1). Surgical interventions were cardiac (n = 36) or non-cardiac (n = 5). During PCI, ECMO flow was maintained at 2.7 ± 1.0 L/min. Of the 40 treated lesions, 48% were located on left anterior descending and 20% on the left main artery. An average 2.0 ± 1.8 DES/patient with diameter 3.2 ± 0.5 mm and stented length 41 ± 35 mm were implanted. PCI success was 83%. TAVI was performed in 4 patients with left ventricular ejection fraction 21 ± 10% and mean aortic valve gradient 41 ± 5 mmHg. After successful valve implantation supported by 1.4 ± 0.1 L/min ECMO flow, mean gradient decreased to 11 ± 5 mmHg without significant aortic regurgitation. In one patient radiofrequency ablation of His bundle followed by permanent pacemaker implantation was performed under ECMO flow of 2.8 L/min. Overall survival to hospital discharge with good neurological recovery was 29% in E-CPR and 44% in profound cardiogenic shock.

Conclusions: Our study showed feasibility and effectiveness of VA ECMO-supported percutaneous interventions in patients with profound hemodynamic collapse.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.resuscitation.2020.11.028DOI Listing
March 2021

Coronary Access After TAVR-in-TAVR as Evaluated by Multidetector Computed Tomography.

JACC Cardiovasc Interv 2020 11;13(21):2528-2538

Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess coronary accessibility after transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR)-in-TAVR using multidetector computed tomography.

Background: Expanding TAVR to patients with longer life expectancy may involve more frequent bioprosthetic valve failure and need for redo TAVR. Coronary access after TAVR-in-TAVR may be challenging, particularly as the leaflets from the initial transcatheter heart valve (THV) will form a neo-skirt following TAVR-in-TAVR.

Methods: In 45 patients treated with different combinations of CoreValve and Evolut (CV/EV) THVs with supra-annular leaflet position and SAPIEN THVs with intra-annular leaflet position, post-TAVR-in-TAVR multidetector computed tomographic scans were analyzed to examine coronary accessibility.

Results: After TAVR-in-TAVR, the coronary arteries originated below the top of the neo-skirt in 90% of CV/EV-first cases compared with 67% of SAPIEN-first cases (p = 0.009). For these coronary arteries originating below the top of the neo-skirt, the distance between the THV and the aortic wall was <3 mm in 56% and 25% of CV/EV-first and SAPIEN-first cases, respectively (p = 0.035). Coronary access may be further complicated by THV-THV stent frame strut misalignment in 53% of CV/EV-in-CV/EV cases. The risk for technically impossible coronary access was 27% and 10% in CV/EV-first and SAPIEN-first cases, respectively (p = 0.121). Absence of THV interference with coronary accessibility can be expected in 8% and 33% of CV/EV-first and SAPIEN-first cases, respectively (p = 0.005).

Conclusions: Coronary access after TAVR-in-TAVR may be challenging in a significant proportion of patients. THVs with intra-annular leaflet position or low commissural height and large open cells may be preferable in terms of coronary access after TAVR-in-TAVR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcin.2020.06.016DOI Listing
November 2020

Resynchronization therapy with His bundle pacing in a patient after coronary sinus reducer implantation.

J Cardiol Cases 2020 Nov 7;22(5):226-229. Epub 2020 Jul 7.

Department of Cardiology, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Symptomatic heart failure patients with ischemic heart disease may require both coronary sinus reducer (CSR) implantation due to refractory angina pectoris and cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT). Optimal approach to CRT in these patients is unknown as CSR implantation in the distal coronary sinus could deter left ventricular lead placement and thus preclude conventional CRT with biventricular pacing. We present a 70-year-old patient with ischemic cardiomyopathy and wide QRS complex after CSR implantation in whom we achieved successful cardiac resynchronization with His bundle pacing (HBP). HBP led to acute improvement in hemodynamic parameters and exercise capacity that persisted at follow-up. This case represents the first description of successful CRT with HBP in a patient after CSR implantation. HBP could present a feasible and safe resynchronization approach in these patients. < Optimal approach to cardiac resynchronization therapy in patients after coronary sinus reducer (CSR) implantation remains unknown as CSR implantation in the distal coronary sinus may deter left ventricular lead implantation and thus preclude conventional biventricular pacing. His bundle pacing could present a feasible and safe resynchronization approach in this growing group of patients.>.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jccase.2020.06.015DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7588480PMC
November 2020

Long-term outcomes after transcatheter aortic valve implantation in failed bioprosthetic valves.

Eur Heart J 2020 08;41(29):2731-2742

Division of Cardiology, University of Washington, 1959 NE Pacific Street, C502-A, PO Box 356422, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.

Aims: Due to bioprosthetic valve degeneration, aortic valve-in-valve (ViV) procedures are increasingly performed. There are no data on long-term outcomes after aortic ViV. Our aim was to perform a large-scale assessment of long-term survival and reintervention after aortic ViV.

Methods And Results: A total of 1006 aortic ViV procedures performed more than 5 years ago [mean age 77.7 ± 9.7 years; 58.8% male; median STS-PROM score 7.3% (4.2-12.0)] were included in the analysis. Patients were treated with Medtronic self-expandable valves (CoreValve/Evolut, Medtronic Inc., Minneapolis, MN, USA) (n = 523, 52.0%), Edwards balloon-expandable valves (EBEV, SAPIEN/SAPIEN XT/SAPIEN 3, Edwards Lifesciences, Irvine, CA, USA) (n = 435, 43.2%), and other devices (n = 48, 4.8%). Survival was lower at 8 years in patients with small-failed bioprostheses [internal diameter (ID) ≤ 20 mm] compared with those with large-failed bioprostheses (ID > 20 mm) (33.2% vs. 40.5%, P = 0.01). Independent correlates for mortality included smaller-failed bioprosthetic valves [hazard ratio (HR) 1.07 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.02-1.13)], age [HR 1.21 (95% CI 1.01-1.45)], and non-transfemoral access [HR 1.43 (95% CI 1.11-1.84)]. There were 40 reinterventions after ViV. Independent correlates for all-cause reintervention included pre-existing severe prosthesis-patient mismatch [subhazard ratio (SHR) 4.34 (95% CI 1.31-14.39)], device malposition [SHR 3.75 (95% CI 1.36-10.35)], EBEV [SHR 3.34 (95% CI 1.26-8.85)], and age [SHR 0.59 (95% CI 0.44-0.78)].

Conclusions: The size of the original failed valve may influence long-term mortality, and the type of the transcatheter valve may influence the need for reintervention after aortic ViV.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehaa544DOI Listing
August 2020

Mapping interventional cardiology in Europe: the European Association of Percutaneous Cardiovascular Interventions (EAPCI) Atlas Project.

Eur Heart J 2020 07;41(27):2579-2588

Städtische Kliniken Neuss, Lukaskrankenhaus GmbH, Neuss, Germany.

Aims: The European Association of Percutaneous Cardiovascular Interventions (EAPCI) Atlas of Interventional Cardiology has been developed to map interventional practice across European Society of Cardiology (ESC) member countries. Here we present the main findings of a 16-country survey in which we examine the national availability of interventional infrastructure, human resource, and procedure volumes.

Methods And Results: Sixteen ESC member countries participated in the EAPCI Atlas survey. Interventional data were collected by the National Cardiac Society of each participating country. An annual median of 5131 [interquartile range (IQR) 4013-5801] diagnostic heart procedures per million people were reported, ranging from <2500 in Egypt and Romania to >7000 in Turkey and Germany. Procedure rates showed significant correlation (r = 0.67, P = 0.013) with gross national income (GNI) per capita. An annual median of 2478 (IQR 1690-2633) percutaneous coronary interventions (PCIs) per million people were reported, ranging from <1000 in Egypt and Romania to >3000 in Switzerland, Poland, and Germany. Procedure rates showed significant correlation with GNI per capita (r = 0.62, P = 0.014). An annual median of 48.2 (IQR 29.1-105.2) transcatheter aortic valve implantation procedures per million people were performed, varying from <25 per million people in Egypt, Romania, Turkey, and Poland to >100 per million people in Denmark, France, Switzerland, and Germany. Procedure rates showed significant correlation with national GNI per capita (r = 0.92, P < 0.001).

Conclusion: The first report from the EAPCI Atlas has shown considerable international heterogeneity in interventional cardiology procedure volumes. The heterogeneity showed association with national economic resource, a reflection no doubt of the technological costs of developing an interventional cardiology service.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehaa475DOI Listing
July 2020

Repeat Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement for Transcatheter Prosthesis Dysfunction.

J Am Coll Cardiol 2020 04;75(16):1882-1893

A.O.U. Policlinico Vittorio Emanuele, University of Catania, Catania, Italy. Electronic address: https://twitter.com/barbanti_marco.

Background: Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) use is increasing in patients with longer life expectancy, yet robust data on the durability of transcatheter heart valves (THVs) are limited. Redo-TAVR may play a key strategy in treating patients in whom THVs fail.

Objectives: The authors sought to examine outcomes following redo-TAVR.

Methods: The Redo-TAVR registry collected data on consecutive patients who underwent redo-TAVR at 37 centers. Patients were classified as probable TAVR failure or probable THV failure if they presented within or beyond 1 year of their index TAVR, respectively.

Results: Among 63,876 TAVR procedures, 212 consecutive redo-TAVR procedures were identified (0.33%): 74 within and 138 beyond 1 year of the initial procedure. For these 2 groups, TAVR-to-redo-TAVR time was 68 (38 to 154) days and 5 (3 to 6) years. The indication for redo-TAVR was THV stenosis in 12 (16.2%) and 51 (37.0%) (p = 0.002) and regurgitation or combined stenosis-regurgitation in 62 (83.8%) and 86 (62.3%) (p = 0.028), respectively. Device success using VARC-2 criteria was achieved in 180 patients (85.1%); most failures were attributable to high residual gradients (14.1%) or regurgitation (8.9%). At 30-day and 1-year follow-up, residual gradients were 12.6 ± 7.5 mm Hg and 12.9 ± 9.0 mm Hg; valve area 1.63 ± 0.61 cm and 1.51 ± 0.57 cm; and regurgitation ≤mild in 91% and 91%, respectively. Peri-procedural complication rates were low (3 stroke [1.4%], 7 valve malposition [3.3%], 2 coronary obstruction [0.9%], 20 new permanent pacemaker [9.6%], no mortality), and symptomatic improvement was substantial. Survival at 30 days was 94.6% and 98.5% (p = 0.101) and 83.6% and 88.3% (p = 0.335) at 1 year for patients presenting with early and late valve dysfunction, respectively.

Conclusions: Redo-TAVR is a relatively safe and effective option for selected patients with valve dysfunction after TAVR. These results are important for applicability of TAVR in patients with long life expectancy in whom THV durability may be a concern.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2020.02.051DOI Listing
April 2020

Percutaneous mechanical thrombectomy in patients with high-risk pulmonary embolism and contraindications for thrombolytic therapy.

Radiol Oncol 2020 02 14;54(1):62-67. Epub 2020 Feb 14.

Institute of Radiology, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Background High-risk pulmonary embolism is associated with a high early mortality rate. We report our experience with percutaneous mechanical thrombectomy in patients with high-risk pulmonary embolism and contraindications for thrombolytic therapy. Patients and methods This was a retrospective analysis of consecutive patients with high-risk pulmonary embolism and contraindications to thrombolytic therapy. They were treated with percutaneous mechanical thrombectomy which included thrombectomy and additional thrombus aspiration when needed. Clinical parameters and survival to discharge were measured. Results From November 2005 to September 2015 we treated 25 patients with a mean age of 62.6 ± 12.7 years, 64% were men. Mean simplified Pulmonary Embolism Severity Index was 2.9. Mean maximum lactate levels were 7.8 ± 6.6 mmol/L, vasopressors were used in 77%, and 59% needed mechanical ventilation. Mechanical treatment included thrombus fragmentation complemented with aspiration (56%) and aspiration using Aspirex®S catheter (44%). Local (5 patients; 20%) and systemic (3 patients; 12%) thrombolytics were used as a salvage therapy. We observed nonsignificant improvements in systemic blood pressure (100 ± 41 mm Hg vs 119 ± 34; p = 0.100) and heart frequency (99 ± 35 min-1 vs 87 ± 31 min-1; p = 0.326) before and after treatment, respectively. Peak systolic tricuspid pressure gradient was significantly lower after treatment (57 ± 14 mm Hg vs 31 ± 3 mm Hg; p = 0.018). Overall the procedure was technically successful in 20 patients (80%) and 17 patients (68%) survived to hospital discharge. Conclusions In patients with high-risk pulmonary embolism who cannot receive thrombolytic therapy, percutaneous mechanical thrombectomy is a promising alternative to reduce pulmonary artery pressure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2478/raon-2020-0006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7087421PMC
February 2020

Minimalistic Approach for Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI): Open Vascular Vs. Fully Percutaneous Approach.

Pril (Makedon Akad Nauk Umet Odd Med Nauki) 2019 Oct;40(2):5-14

Department of Cardiology, University Medical Centre, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Background: Aortic stenosis (AS) is the most common valvular heart disease in elderly people. Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) has emerged as a revolutionary treatment for elderly patients with symptomatic severe aortic stenosis. The authors present the first experiences with transcatheter aortic valve implantation treatment in Macedonia and compare their findings in regard to differences between open vascular vs. minimalistic transfemoral TAVI approach.

Methods: The procedure was performed in 54 patients with severe and symptomatic AS in the period from December 2014 until February 2018. All patients were deemed having high surgical risk or were denied surgery. Pre-procedural screening included detailed clinical and echocardiographic evaluation, coronary, peripheral and carotid angiography and computed tomography scan of the aortic root. A self-expandable aortic valve (Core Valve/Evolut R, Medtronic, USA) was implanted in all patients.

Results: Mean patient age was 75 ± 7.2 years, 28 (52%) were female, 26 patients (48%) male. All interventions were successfully performed through right transfemoral approach with 100% implantation success. Ancillary right radial and ulnar approach was used for correct valve positioning and control. 22(40%) cases were performed under general anesthesia and open vascular access to the femoral artery. All other 32(60%) cases were performed with minimalistic approach (local anaesthesia and analgosedation of the patients, access site was closed with closure devices). Patients in the minimalistic approach group were older, with more chronic conditions as anaemia, chronic kidney disease, poor mobility and peripheral vascular disease (p<0.0001). Also 4(12.5%) patients in the minimalistic group had bicuspid valve TAVI implantation (p<0.0001). Procedural time and contrast amount spent were shorter in this group with 97± 38 vs. 121± 38.3(p<0.0001) and 287± 122 vs. 330± 115 ml, while fluoroscopy time was similar in both groups. Immediate hemodynamic improvement was obtained in all patients. Echocardiographic peak gradient decreased from 85 ± 25 to 17 ± 8 mmHg (p < 0.001) and mean pressure gradient from 49 ± 26 to 8.3 ± 4.2 mmHg, (p < 0.001). Effective valve orifice area was 1.8±0.4 cm2 after intervention. None of the patients had significant aortic regurgitation after implantation. After intervention 7(12%) patients developed a permanent heart block and required implantation of a permanent pacemaker. There was a larger Hgb drop after intervention with open vs. minimalistic approach 1,9±0.9 vs. 0.7±0,2 g/dL (p<0.0001). 3 (13% vs.0%) patients from the open vascular access group had a major bleeding complication with 2 requiring transfusion after intervention (p<0.0001). Mortality was 5.5%, 2 with open-vascular and 1 with minimalistic approach. MACCE rate that included MI, Stroke, Major bleeding and Death rate, was recorded in 5(18%) patients with open vascular approach vs. 1(3.1%) in minimalistic approach (p<0.0001). Hospital discharge was 8.7±3.1 vs. 4±3.1 days respectively (p<0.0001). All TAVI patients with minimalistic approach were discharged the following day after intervention. All discharged patients had a good neurological condition, which was assessed based on the CPC-1 (Cerebra Performance Categories Scale). After median follow up of 26 months, the survival rate was 95% with clinical improvement in all patients.

Conclusion: Percutaneous aortic valve implantation can be successfully conducted with high success rate and low rate of complications in patients with severe aortic stenosis. Using a less invasive approach with local anaesthesia and analgosedation is associated with shorter length of stay and a decrease in post-procedural complication rates and MACCE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2478/prilozi-2019-0009DOI Listing
October 2019

Transcatheter aortic valve-in-valve implantation in degenerative rapid deployment bioprostheses.

EuroIntervention 2019 May;15(1):37-43

Rabin Medical Center, Petah Tikva, Israel.

Aims: The aim of this study was to evaluate transcatheter aortic valve-in-valve (ViV) implantation performance in rapid deployment (ViVr) vs. conventional (ViVc) surgical heart valves.

Methods And Results: A multicentre registry was developed as part of the VIVID international registry. A total of 30 ViVr patients (Perceval, n=24, ATS 3f Enable™, n=5, and the INTUITY, n=1) were evaluated and compared with 2,288 ViVc patients. Propensity score (PS) matching was performed to adjust further for bias. Compared with ViVc, ViVr patients presented twice as early after surgical heart valve (SHV) implantation (55.2±36.1 vs. 118.4±57.7 months, p<0.001), were more commonly female (82.8% vs. 41.3%, p<0.001), and had shorter body stature and reduced body weight (p<0.05 for both) prior to PS. Implantation was successful in all ViVr cases and, compared with ViVc, was associated with equally favourable haemodynamic outcomes (mean gradient: 14.6±8.3 vs. 16.2±8.9 mmHg, p=0.356; regurgitation ≥mild: 3.7% vs. 5.2%, p=0.793). Periprocedural complication rates were similar and low in both groups. There was no coronary obstruction event in any ViVr case; one patient (3.6%) died during one year of follow-up.

Conclusions: ViVr appears effective, safe and associated with favourable haemodynamic outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4244/EIJ-D-18-00752DOI Listing
May 2019

Reply to the Letter to the Editor: "Accurate Patient Selection for Percutaneous Coronary Intervention for Coronary Chronic Total Occlusions".

Angiology 2019 01 18;70(1):93-94. Epub 2018 Jul 18.

1 Department of Cardiology, University Medical Centre, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0003319718789031DOI Listing
January 2019

Robustness of Percutaneously Completed Coronary Revascularization in Stable Coronary Artery Disease: Obstructive Versus Occlusive Lesions.

Angiology 2019 Jan 9;70(1):78-86. Epub 2018 Apr 9.

1 Department of Cardiology, University Medical Centre, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Our study sought to assess long-term outcomes of percutaneously completed coronary revascularization (CCR) in patients with obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD) comprising chronic total occlusions (CTOs). Between 2010 and 2014, percutaneous coronary interventions (PCIs) of the CTOs were attempted in 213 patients: the CCR was achieved in 125 patients (group 1), while the PCI failed in 88 patients (group 2). They were matched against 252 patients (group 3) with the CCR obtained by the non-CTO PCIs. In the 5-year follow-up, more adverse cardiovascular (CV) events occurred in group 2 (29.5% vs 4.8% in group 1 vs 3.5% in group 3, P = .0001), mainly due to recurrent severe symptoms and additional revascularization of the CTOs; CV mortality did not seem to be significantly affected. Survival curves for the successful CTO and non-CTO PCIs appeared indistinguishable. Stent thromboses were infrequent in the CCR groups. In conclusion, long-term outcomes of the patients with the obstructive CAD containing the CTOs showed a favorable outcome if the CCR had been achieved percutaneously.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0003319718767737DOI Listing
January 2019

Computed Tomographic Perfusion Imaging for the Prediction of Response and Survival to Transarterial Chemoembolization of Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

Radiol Oncol 2018 Mar 7;52(1):14-22. Epub 2017 Dec 7.

Department of Cardiology, University Medical Centre, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Background: The purpose of this retrospective cohort study was to evaluate the clinical value of computed tomographic perfusion imaging (CTPI) parameters in predicting the response to treatment and overall survival in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) treated with drug-eluting beads transarterial chemoembolization (DEBTACE).

Patients And Methods: Between December 2010 and January 2013 eighteen patients (17 men, 1 woman; mean age 69 ± 5.8 years) with intermediate stage HCC underwent CTPI of the liver prior to treatment with DEBTACE. Treatment response was evaluated on follow-up imaging according to modified Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors. Pre-treatment CTPI parameters were compared between patients with complete response and partial response with a Student t-test. We compared survival times with Kaplan-Meier method.

Results: CTPI parameters of patients with complete response and others did not show statistical significant difference. The mean survival time was 25.4 ± 3.2 months (95%; CI: 18.7-32.1). Survival was statistically significantly longer in patients with hepatic blood flow (BF) lower than 50.44 ml/100 ml/min ( = 0.033), hepatic blood volume (BV) lower than 13.32 ml/100 ml ( = 0.028) and time to peak (TTP) longer than 19.035 s ( = 0.015).

Conclusions: CTPI enables prediction of survival in patients with intermediate stage HCC, treated with DEBTACE based on the pre-treatment values of BF, BV and TTP perfusion parameters. CT perfusion imaging can't be used to predict treatment response to DEBTACE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/raon-2017-0052DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5839077PMC
March 2018

Initial Slovenian experience with MitraClip therapy : Careful selection of patients is crucial for optimal outcome.

Wien Klin Wochenschr 2018 Mar 4;130(5-6):211-219. Epub 2017 Dec 4.

Clinical Department of Cardiology, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Zaloška 7, 1000, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Background: MitraClip is a percutaneous mitral repair technology increasingly used for high surgical risk patients with primary or secondary mitral regurgitation. We describe initial Slovenian experience with MitraClip and discuss the importance of identifying the suitable candidates for this procedure.

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed the first 10 patients (mean age 75.6 ± 6.9 years, logistic Euroscore 28.4 ± 10.9%) with severe and moderate to severe mitral regurgitation (8 secondary, 1 primary and 1 mixed etiology) who underwent a MitraClip procedure between January 2015 and February 2017.

Results: Acute reduction of mitral regurgitation was achieved in all but one patient (90%). There were no periprocedural mortalities and at short to mid-term follow-up (median 12 months, interquartile range 3-15 months). In eight patients improvement of functional class was observed at discharge. No functional improvement was achieved in a patient with advanced ischemic cardiomyopathy, and in a patient with degenerative mitral disease in whom the MitraClip procedure had failed necessitating mitral valve surgery. One patient experienced late leaflet detachment and was effectively managed with a second MitraClip procedure. There were two vascular complications at the access site and one percutaneous closure of an iatrogenic atrial septal defect.

Conclusion: Our initial experiences with a small number of patients indicate that percutaneous mitral repair with MitraClip is a feasible and safe method in high-risk patients. Special attention should be paid to careful patient selection including detailed echocardiographic evaluation of mitral valve anatomy, technical performance and final result, particularly at the beginning of the learning curve in order to reduce the rate of serious complications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00508-017-1295-7DOI Listing
March 2018

Perioperative erythropoietin protects the CNS against ischemic lesions in patients after open heart surgery.

Wien Klin Wochenschr 2016 Dec 31;128(23-24):875-881. Epub 2016 Aug 31.

Department of Cardiology, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Zaloška cesta 7, 1000, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Aim: The aim of this study was to establish erythropoietin as a protective factor against brain ischemia during open heart surgery.

Methods: A total of 36 consecutive patients scheduled for revascularization heart surgery were included in the study. Of the patients 18 received 3 intravenous doses of recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEpo, 24,000 IU) and 18 patients received a placebo. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to detect new brain ischemic lesions was performed. Additionally, S100A, S100B, neuron-specific enolase A and B (NSE-A and B) and the concentration of antibodies against N‑methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDAR) to identify new neurological complications were determined.

Results: Patients who received rHuEpo showed no postoperative ischemic changes in the brain on MRI images. In the control group 5 (27.8 %) new ischemic lesions were found. The NMDAR antibody concentration, S100A, S100B and NSE showed no significant differences between the groups for new cerebral ischemia. High levels of lactate before and after external aortic compression (p = 0.022 and p = 0.048, respectively) and duration of operation could predict new ischemic lesions (p = 0.009).

Conclusions: The addition of rHuEpo reduced the formation of lesions detectable by MRI in the brain and could be used clinically as neuroprotection in cardiac surgery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00508-016-1063-0DOI Listing
December 2016

Transcatheter aortic valve implantation in a cancer patient denied for surgical aortic valve replacement-a case report.

Wien Klin Wochenschr 2016 Jul 16;128(13-14):516-20. Epub 2016 Mar 16.

Clinical Department of Cardiology, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Zaloška 4, 1000, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Background: Aortic stenosis is a progressive disease. Symptomatic aortic stenosis has a poor prognosis, which is frequently worse than that of a malignant disease. Cancer patients with severe aortic stenosis may be denied for optimal oncologic treatment because of high operative risk and for aortic valve replacement because of the significant comorbidity itself. In patients treated with medical therapy alone, 1-year-mortality exceeds 50 %.

Case Report: A 71-year-old woman with well-differentiated, surgically treated, ovarian carcinoma and two relapses treated with chemo- and radiotherapy presented with symptomatic severe aortic stenosis (aortic valve area 0.6 cm(2), mean gradient 60 mmHg). The tumor was in stagnation. She was rejected for surgical valve replacement. We implanted a 29 mm CoreValve aortic prosthesis via transfemoral approach. After the procedure haemodynamic variables remain stable, patient's exertional capacity is excellent.

Conclusion: Aortic valve replacement improves survival of cancer patients with symptomatic aortic stenosis. Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVI) is a treatment option in inoperable patients and patients at high surgical risk. Symptoms should not be confused for the progression of the malignant disease. In patient selection emphasis should be made on their frailty and futility. Eligible patients must have a life expectancy of at least 1 year. Final decision has to be made by a multidisciplinary heart team. TAVI can reduce treatment risk and facilitate the oncologic treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00508-016-0990-0DOI Listing
July 2016

All-comer treatment with bioresorbable vascular scaffold.

Wien Klin Wochenschr 2016 Mar 25;128(5-6):210-4. Epub 2016 Jan 25.

Department for Cardiology, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Gubčeve brigade 11, SI-1000, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Background: Bioresorbable vascular scaffolds (BVS) could overcome drug-eluting stents (DES) drawbacks connected with their permanent presence in the vessel wall. Studies exploring the clinical use of BVS are limited to the patients presenting with noncomplex, short and stable lesions. There are no prospective and randomized studies available in all-comer patients.

Methods And Results: We analyzed 31 patients, who received at least one BVS (Absorb(™)) between September 1, 2012 and November 1, 2014. Median follow-up period was 424 days. In one (3.2%) patient, we performed a target vessel revascularization (TVR). The death rate was 6.5%. One (3.2%) patient, who received both BVS and a bare metal stent (BMS), died of an acute stent thrombosis 8 days after the initial procedure. One (3.2%) patient died of a non-cardiac death. We did not encounter any target lesion revascularization (TLR) or myocardial infarction (MI). The major adverse cardiac events (MACE) rate was 3.2%.

Conclusions: Implantation of BVS is a safe treatment option. Lesions should be carefully selected and prepared before BVS implantation. We need more data about the safety of BVS and BMS overlapping.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00508-015-0914-4DOI Listing
March 2016

Balloon aortic valvuloplasty (BAV) as a bridge to aortic valve replacement in cancer patients who require urgent non-cardiac surgery.

Radiol Oncol 2014 Mar 22;48(1):62-6. Epub 2014 Jan 22.

Department of Cardiology, Division of Internal Medicine, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Background: Balloon aortic valvuloplasty (BAV) is a percutaneous treatment option for severe, symptomatic aortic stenosis. Due to early restenosis and failure to improve long term survival, BAV is considered a palliative measure in patients who are not suitable for open heart surgery due to increased perioperative risk. BAV can be used also as a bridge to surgical or transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) in haemodinamically unstable patients or in patients who require urgent major non-cardiac surgery.

Patients And Methods: We reported on 6 oncologic patients with severe aortic stenosis that required a major abdominal and gynaecological surgery. In 5 cases we performed BAV procedure alone; in one patient with concomitant coronary artery disease we combined BAV and percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).

Results: With angioplasty and BAV we achieved a good coronary artery flow and an increase in aortic valve area without any periprocedural complications. After the successful procedure, we observed a hemodynamic and symptomatic improvement. As a consequence the operative risk for non-cardiac surgery decreased and the surgical treatment of cancer was done without complications in all the 6 cases.

Conclusions: BAV can be utilized as a part of a complex therapy in severe aortic stenosis aimed to improve the quality of life, decrease the surgical risk for major non-cardiac surgery or as a bridge to surgical or transcatheter aortic valve implantation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2478/raon-2013-0078DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3908849PMC
March 2014

Double venous drainage through the superior vena cava in minimally invasive aortic valve replacement: a retrospective study.

Croat Med J 2012 Feb;53(1):11-6

Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Zaloska 7, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Aim: To compare the outcomes of patients who underwent upper mini-sternotomy or right mini-thoracotomy and those who underwent full sternotomy and to report a technical improvement in venous drainage by means of double venous cannulation of the superior vena cava (SVC) in mini surgical procedures.

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed the outcome of 217 patients who underwent aortic valve replacement through upper mini-sternotomy or right mini-thoracotomy at the Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Slovenia from 1996 till 2010. Cannulation of SVC and right atrial appendage was performed in 142/217 (65%) patients, while in the remaining 75 (35%) patients, double cannulation of SVC was used for venous drainage. The results of patients who underwent mini approaches were compared to 236 patients who underwent full sternotomy for the same purpose from 2009 to 2010 at the same center.

Results: We found a shorter mean length of intensive care unit stay, less volume chest-tube drainage, shorter crossclamp and cardio pulmonary bypass times, and less postoperative permanent pacemaker implantations in the minimally invasive group patients than in full sternotomy group patients. Using double cannulation of the SVC for venous drainage made venous cannulation in mini approaches easier and eliminated the need for obtaining femoral venous access.

Conclusion: Our study confirmed that even though technically challenging, upper mini-sternotomy and right mini-thoracotomy approaches for aortic valve replacement have potential advantages over conventional median sternotomy. They were proved to be safe, efficacious, and can significantly reduce surgical trauma and are therefore particularly valuable in some higher risk, obese, diabetic and elderly patients. Using double cannulation of SVC for venous drainage made venous cannulation easier and eliminated the need for obtaining femoral venous access.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3284179PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.3325/cmj.2012.53.11DOI Listing
February 2012

Low latency breathing frequency detection and monitoring on a personal computer.

J Med Eng Technol 2011 Aug-Oct;35(6-7):322-9. Epub 2011 Jul 18.

Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

We demonstrate a low latency respiratory/breathing frequency detection system that is fast (<5 ms), easy to operate, requires no batteries or external power supply and operates fully via computer-standard USB connection. Exercises in controlling ones breathing frequency, usually referred to as paced-breathing exercises, have shown positive effects in treating pulmonary diseases, cardiovascular diseases and stress/anxiety-related disorders. We developed a breathing frequency detection system which uses two pairs of microphones to detect exhalation activity, eliminate noise from the environment and stream the recording data via USB connection to a personal computer. It showed 97.1% reliability (10 subjects) when monitoring breathing activity in non-guided free breathing and 100% reliability (10 subjects) when monitoring breathing activity during interactive paced-breathing exercises. We also evaluated the breathing frequency detection systems noise elimination functionality which showed a reduction of 84.2 dB for stationary (white noise) and a reduction of 79.3 dB for non-stationary (hands clapping) noise.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/03091902.2011.591481DOI Listing
February 2012

The time-dependent protective effect of hyperbaric oxygen on neuronal cell apoptosis in carbon monoxide poisoning.

Inhal Toxicol 2010 Oct;22(12):1026-31

Poison Control Centre, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Introduction: The progressive clinical course with delayed neurological damage in carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning may be due to neuron apoptosis. The usefulness of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) in different time periods after CO exposure in neuronal cell apoptosis reduction has not been evaluated thus far. The aim was to evaluate HBO efficacy in reducing neuronal apoptosis in different time periods after CO exposure.

Methods: Wistar rats were exposed to 3000 ppm CO in air for 60 min and 100% oxygen at a pressure of three bar for 30 min 0-12 h after CO exposure. The apoptosis was evaluated by immunohistochemical analysis with antibodies against activated caspase-3 and the percentage of caspase-3 positive hippocampal ganglionic cells was reported.

Results: It was shown that CO poisoning results in ganglionic cell apoptosis. The percentage of apoptotic cells in rats exposed to CO was the highest (32%), whereas the percentage of apoptotic cells in rats exposed to HBO 0 and 1 h after CO was similar with a lower percentage than rats exposed to CO. The percentage of apoptotic cells in rats exposed to HBO 3 and 5 h after CO was similar with a lower percentage than rats exposed to HBO 0 and 1 h after CO. The percentage of apoptotic cells in rats exposed to HBO 7-12 h after CO was similar with a higher percentage than rats exposed to HBO 5 h after CO.

Conclusion: HBO has a time-dependent protective effect on CO-induced neuron apoptosis with the highest efficiency at 3 and 5 h after CO poisoning.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/08958378.2010.510152DOI Listing
October 2010

Multimodal therapy for the treatment of severe ischemic stroke combining endovascular embolectomy and stenting of long intracranial artery occlusion.

Case Rep Med 2010 7;2010:138023. Epub 2010 Jul 7.

Clinical Department for Cardiology, Zaloska cesta 2, University Clinical Centre Ljubljana, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Embolic occlusion of cerebral arteries is a major cause for stroke. Intravenous thrombolysis showed positive results in this condition, however even when strict criteria are used, the risk of hemorrhagic transformation is possible. Microsurgical embolectomy has been described earlier. Purpose. We performed multimodal therapy of cerebral artery occlusion. Case Report. We present a case of a 49-year-old female patient who-according to the National Institute of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS)-was rated as 19 due to acute occlusion of the horizontal segment of the left middle cerebral artery (MCA). After failed i.v. thrombolysis, only a part of the clot could be evacuated by the endovascular approach-without restoration of blood flow. Normal patency of the left MCA was re-established after stenting. Within 72 hours, the patient had an NIHSS score of 14, with a small haematoma in the left hemisphere. Conclusion. In our case multimodal therapy combining i.v. thrombolysis, mechanical disruption of thrombus, MCA stenting and platelet function antagonists, resulted in successful recanalization of the acutely occluded left MCA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2010/138023DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2909725PMC
July 2011

Superior mesenteric artery embolism treated with percutaneous mechanical thrombectomy.

Cardiovasc Intervent Radiol 2011 Feb 23;34 Suppl 2:S67-9. Epub 2010 Jun 23.

Institute of Radiology, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Zaloska cesta 7, 1525 Ljubljana, Slovenia.

A case of acute superior mesenteric artery embolism treated with percutaneous thrombus aspiration is described. A 63-year-old man with chronic atrial fibrillation was admitted to the hospital with progressive abdominal pain. Computed tomography angiography revealed an occlusion of the distal part of the superior mesenteric artery. The patient was effectively treated using transaxillary percutaneous mechanical thrombectomy using a 6F Aspirex thrombectomy catheter.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00270-010-9921-zDOI Listing
February 2011

Importance of erythropoietin in brain protection after cardiac surgery: a pilot study.

Heart Surg Forum 2010 Jun;13(3):E185-9

Department for Cardiovascular Surgery, University Medical Center Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Background: Neurologic complications after cardiac operations present an important medical problem, as well as a financial burden. They increase the morbidity and hospital stays of patients who have otherwise undergone successful heart operations. The current protocols for perioperative brain protection against ischemic events are not optimal. Because of its different pleiotropic mechanisms of action, recombinant human erythropoietin might provide neuroprotection.

Methods: In this study, we included 20 patients who were older than 18 years and required surgical revascularization of the heart with the use of the heart-lung machine. Ten patients received 3 consecutive intravenous doses (24,000 IU) of recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEpo). Neurologic and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examinations were done before and in the first 5 days after surgery.

Results: The erythropoietin-treated and control groups were comparable with respect to study protocol outcomes: number of coronary artery bypass grafts (3.3 and 3.2 grafts/patient, respectively), operative time (4.12 and 4.6 hours), and transfusion volume per patient (708 and 674 mL). The groups were also comparable with respect to blood pressure values at all stages of the operation. MRI scans revealed that 4 of 10 patients from the control group had fresh ischemic brain lesions after open heart surgery. None of the patients in the erythropoietin-treated group had fresh ischemic brain lesions.

Conclusion: Although the number of patients was small, the results regarding brain protection with rHuEpo are encouraging. rHuEpo is a promising neuroprotective agent.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1532/HSF98.20091150DOI Listing
June 2010

Trimetazidine shortens QTc interval in patients with ischemic heart failure.

J Cardiovasc Pharmacol Ther 2010 Mar 4;15(1):31-6. Epub 2009 Dec 4.

Advanced Heart Failure and Transplantation Center, Division of Cardiology, Ljubljana University Medical Center, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Background: Trimetazidine improves functional class and left ventricular function in patients with heart failure; however, its potential impact on QTc interval remains undefined. We analyzed the effects of trimetazidine on QTc interval in patients with ischemic heart failure.

Methods: A prospective trial included 42 patients with ischemic heart failure (New York Heart Association [NYHA] 2 or 3) and reduced left ventricular ejection fraction (<55%), who were randomly allocated to conventional therapy plus trimetazidine in a modulated release formulation (35 mg twice daily; 22 patients) or conventional therapy alone (20 patients; controls). We measured QTc interval at baseline and after 1 month.

Results: At baseline, QTc interval duration was similar in both groups (443 +/- 41 milliseconds in trimetazidine group vs 446 +/- 27 milliseconds in controls, P = .62). After 1 month, QTc interval decreased in the trimetazidine group (404 +/- 36 milliseconds, P = .0002) but not in controls (452 +/- 25 milliseconds, P = .74). QTc interval shortening with trimetazidine was more pronounced in patients with prolonged (>440 milliseconds) baseline QTc interval (-45 +/- 38 milliseconds) than in patients with normal QTc interval (-19 +/- 19 milliseconds P = .04). Significant QTc interval shortening (>20 milliseconds) was present in 14 of 22 patients (64%) in trimetazidine group compared to 3 of 20 (15%) patients in control group (P = .002).

Conclusions: Trimetazidine therapy is associated with QTc interval shortening in patients with ischemic heart failure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1074248409354601DOI Listing
March 2010

High-degree atrioventricular block in acute ethanol poisoning: a case report.

Cases J 2009 Sep 9;2:8559. Epub 2009 Sep 9.

Poison Control Centre, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Zaloška cesta 7, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Introduction: Acute ethanol ingestion can prolong the PR interval, but searching Medline, we have found only one report of Wenckebach-type atrioventricular block in ethanol poisoning. We present a high-degree atrioventricular block in an ethanol-poisoned patient.

Case Presentation: A 17-year-old woman with a non-contributory medical history ingested 3dcl of vodka and was found comatose. On arrival she was somnolent with nausea, tympanic temperature 36.0 degrees C, pulse 70 counts/min, blood pressure 90/60 mmHg, respiratory rate 12 counts/min and SpO(2) 96% on room air. Her blood ethanol level was 130 mg/dL; other blood laboratory test results were normal. ECG revealed sinus rhythm, first-degree atrioventricular block with a PR interval of 0.32 seconds and intermittent second- and third-degree atrioventricular blocks with up to 4-second-long pauses that appeared 15-30 seconds after each vomiting. She was given thiethylperazine and vomiting resolved within an hour. ECG 12 hours after admission revealed a first-degree atrioventricular block with a PR interval of 0.24 seconds. One month later Holter monitor showed a sinus rhythm and first-degree atrioventricular block with a PR interval of 0.21 seconds. Vagal maneuvers did not provoke high-degree atrioventricular block. The echocardiogram was normal.

Conclusion: Acute ethanol poisoning has the potential to prolong the PR interval in adults with first-degree atrioventricular block and provoke intermittent second- and third-degree atrioventricular blocks, possibly by its direct inhibitory action on the conduction system and increasing parasympathetic tone due to nausea and vomiting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4076/1757-1626-2-8559DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2769457PMC
September 2009

Massive pulmonary embolism: percutaneous emergency treatment using an aspirex thrombectomy catheter.

Cardiovasc Intervent Radiol 2010 Oct 29;33(5):1052-5. Epub 2009 Aug 29.

Institute of Radiology, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Zaloska, 7-1525, Slovenia.

Massive pulmonary embolism (PE) is a life-threatening condition with a high early mortality rate caused by acute right ventricular failure and cardiogenic shock. A 51-year-old woman with a massive PE and contraindication for thrombolytic therapy was treated with percutaneous mechanical thrombectomy using an Aspirex 11F catheter (Straub Medical AG, Wangs, Switzerland). The procedure was successfully performed and showed a good immediate angiographic result. The patient made a full recovery from the acute episode and was discharged on heparin treatment. Our case report indicates that in patients with contraindications to systemic thrombolysis, catheter thrombectomy may constitute a life-saving intervention for massive PE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00270-009-9693-5DOI Listing
October 2010