Publications by authors named "Nasrien E Ibrahim"

63 Publications

Multiple Cardiac Biomarker Testing Among Patients With Acute Dyspnea From the ICON-RELOADED Study.

J Card Fail 2021 Oct 9. Epub 2021 Oct 9.

From the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; Baim Institute for Clinical Research, Boston, Massachusetts. Electronic address:

Background: Among patients with acute dyspnea, concentrations of N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP), high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T, and insulin-like growth factor binding protein-7 predict cardiovascular outcomes and death. Understanding the optimal means to interpret these elevated biomarkers in patients presenting with acute dyspnea remains unknown.

Methods And Results: Concentrations of NT-proBNP, high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T, and insulin-like growth factor binding protein-7 were analyzed in 1448 patients presenting with acute dyspnea from the prospective, multicenter International Collaborative of NT-proBNP-Re-evaluation of Acute Diagnostic Cut-Offs in the Emergency Department (ICON-RELOADED) Study. Eight biogroups were derived based upon patterns in biomarker elevation at presentation and compared for differences in baseline characteristics. Of 441 patients with elevations in all 3 biomarkers, 218 (49.4%) were diagnosed with acute heart failure (HF). The frequency of acute HF diagnosis in this biogroup was higher than those with elevations in 2 biomarkers (18.8%, 44 of 234), 1 biomarker (3.8%, 10 of 260), or no elevated biomarkers (0.4%, 2 of 513). The absolute number of elevated biomarkers on admission was prognostic of the composite end point of mortality and HF rehospitalization. In adjusted models, patients with one, 2, and 3 elevated biomarkers had 3.74 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.26-11.1, P = .017), 12.3 (95% CI, 4.60-32.9, P < .001), and 12.6 (95% CI, 4.54-35.0, P < .001) fold increased risk of 180-day mortality or HF rehospitalization.

Conclusions: A multimarker panel of NT-proBNP, hsTnT, and IGBFP7 provides unique clinical, diagnostic, and prognostic information in patients presenting with acute dyspnea. Differences in the number of elevated biomarkers at presentation may allow for more efficient clinical risk stratification of short-term mortality and HF rehospitalization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cardfail.2021.08.025DOI Listing
October 2021

Gender Differences in Medicare Payments Among Cardiologists.

JAMA Cardiol 2021 12;6(12):1432-1439

Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.

Importance: Women cardiologists receive lower salaries than men; however, it is unknown whether US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reimbursement also differs by gender and contributes to the lower salaries.

Objective: To determine whether gender differences exist in the reimbursements, charges, and reimbursement per charge from CMS.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This cross-sectional analysis used the CMS database to obtain 2016 reimbursement data for US cardiologists. These included reimbursements to cardiologists, charges submitted, and unique billing codes. Gender differences in reimbursement for evaluation and management and procedural charges from both inpatient and outpatient settings were also assessed. Analysis took place between April 2019 and December 2020.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Outcomes included median CMS payments received and median charges submitted in the inpatient and outpatient settings in 2016.

Results: In 2016, 17 524 cardiologists (2312 women [13%] and 15 212 men [87%]) received CMS payments in the inpatient setting, and 16 929 cardiologists (2151 women [13%] and 14 778 men [87%]) received CMS payments in the outpatient setting. Men received higher median payments in the inpatient (median [interquartile range], $62 897 [$30 904-$104 267] vs $45 288 [$21 371-$73 191]; P < .001) and outpatient (median [interquartile range], $91 053 [$34 820-$196 165] vs $51 975 [$15 622-$120 175]; P < .001) practice settings. Men submitted more median charges in the inpatient (median [interquartile range], 1190 [569-2093] charges vs 959 [569-2093] charges; P < .001) and outpatient settings (median [interquartile range], 1685 [644-3328] charges vs 870 [273-1988] charges; P < .001). In a multivariable-adjusted linear regression analysis, women received less CMS payments compared with men (log-scale β = -0.06; 95% CI, -0.11 to -0.02) after adjustment for number of charges, number of unique billing codes, complexity of patient panel, years since graduation of physicians, and physician subspecialty. Payment by billing codes, both inpatient and outpatient, did not differ by gender.

Conclusions And Relevance: There may be potential differences in CMS payments between men and women cardiologists, which appear to stem from gender differences in the number and types of charges submitted. The mechanisms behind these differences merit further research, both to understand why such gender differences exist and also to facilitate reductions in pay disparities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamacardio.2021.3385DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8427494PMC
December 2021

Evaluation of Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Cardiac Transplantation.

J Am Heart Assoc 2021 09 25;10(17):e021067. Epub 2021 Aug 25.

Section of Cardiovascular Medicine Yale School of Medicine New Haven CT.

Background Racial and ethnic disparities contribute to differences in access and outcomes for patients undergoing heart transplantation. We evaluated contemporary outcomes for heart transplantation stratified by race and ethnicity as well as the new 2018 allocation system. Methods and Results Adult heart recipients from 2011 to 2020 were identified in the United Network for Organ Sharing database and stratified into 3 groups: Black, Hispanic, and White. We analyzed recipient and donor characteristics, and outcomes. Among 32 353 patients (25% Black, 9% Hispanic, 66% White), Black and Hispanic patients were younger, more likely to be women and have diabetes mellitus or renal disease (all, <0.05). Over the study period, the proportion of Black and Hispanic patients listed for transplant increased: 21.7% to 28.2% (=0.003) and 7.7% to 9.0% (=0.002), respectively. Compared with White patients, Black patients were less likely to undergo transplantation (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 0.87; CI, 0.84-0.90; <0.001), but had a higher risk of post-transplant death (aHR, 1.14; CI, 1.04-1.24; =0.004). There were no differences in transplantation likelihood or post-transplant mortality between Hispanic and White patients. Following the allocation system change, transplantation rates increased for all groups (<0.05). However, Black patients still had a lower likelihood of transplantation than White patients (aHR, 0.90; CI, 0.79-0.99; =0.024). Conclusions Although the proportion of Black and Hispanic patients listed for cardiac transplantation have increased, significant disparities remain. Compared with White patients, Black patients were less likely to be transplanted, even with the new allocation system, and had a higher risk of post-transplantation death.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.120.021067DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8649228PMC
September 2021

How Feeling Like an Imposter Can Impede Your Success.

JACC Case Rep 2021 Feb 17;3(2):347-349. Epub 2021 Feb 17.

Department of Cardiology, St. Louis Heart and Vascular, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaccas.2021.01.003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8310963PMC
February 2021

Don't Be So Fast to Discard That Clean Catch!

JACC Heart Fail 2021 09 7;9(9):624-626. Epub 2021 Jul 7.

Duke Clinical Research Institute, Durham, North Carolina, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jchf.2021.05.015DOI Listing
September 2021

A Novel Circulating MicroRNA for the Detection of Acute Myocarditis.

N Engl J Med 2021 05;384(21):2014-2027

From the Vascular Pathophysiology Area (R.B.-D., R.S.-D., A.M.-M., M. Relaño, R.J.-A., B.L.-P., K.T., D.A.P.-F., V.F., F.S.-M., P.M.) and the Myocardial Pathophysiology Area (L.A.-H., M. Ricote, H.B., L.F.-F., B.I.), Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares (CNIC), the Department of Immunology (H.F., F.S.-M.), the Department of Cardiology (L.J.J.-B., M.M.G.-G., F.A.), the Department of Dermatology (E.D.), and the Department of Rheumatology (I.G.-A.), Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria, Hospital Universitario de la Princesa, Fundación Jiménez Díaz (M.L.M.-M., B.I.), the Cardiology Department, Hospital Universitario 12 de Octubre, and Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria Hospital 12 de Octubre (G.M., R.M.-A., H.B.), the Department of Immunology, Hospital Ramón y Cajal (L.M.V.-G.), HM Hospitales-Centro Integral de Enfermedades Cardiovasculares (L.F.-F.), and CIBER de Enfermedades Cardiovasculares (R.S.-D., H.F., L.J.J.-B., F.A., D.A.P.-F., B.I., F.S.-M., P.M.), Madrid, Hospital Universitario Central de Asturias, Oviedo (A.M.-L.), and the Cardiology Department, Hospital Universitario Virgen de la Arrixaca, Murcia (D.A.P.-F.) - all in Spain; the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL (K.A.B., D.F.); the Cardiovascular Division and Corrigan Minehan Heart Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, Boston (A.M.S.-G., S.A.M., N.E.I., J.L.J., S.D.); Kanntonsspital St. Gallen Klinik für Anesthesiologie und Intensivmedizin, St. Gallen, Switzerland (J.K.); Cardiology (S.I., A.B., A.L.P.C.) and the Cardiovascular Pathology Unit (C.B.), the Department of Cardiac, Thoracic, Vascular Sciences and Public Health, the Department of Laboratory Medicine (M.P., M.S.), and the Department of Medicine, Hematology and Clinical Immunology (R.M.), University of Padua, Padua, Italy; Charite Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Berlin (B.H.); Imperial College and Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospital, London (T.F.L.); and the Cardiovascular Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York (V.F.).

Background: The diagnosis of acute myocarditis typically requires either endomyocardial biopsy (which is invasive) or cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (which is not universally available). Additional approaches to diagnosis are desirable. We sought to identify a novel microRNA for the diagnosis of acute myocarditis.

Methods: To identify a microRNA specific for myocarditis, we performed microRNA microarray analyses and quantitative polymerase-chain-reaction (qPCR) assays in sorted CD4+ T cells and type 17 helper T (Th17) cells after inducing experimental autoimmune myocarditis or myocardial infarction in mice. We also performed qPCR in samples from coxsackievirus-induced myocarditis in mice. We then identified the human homologue for this microRNA and compared its expression in plasma obtained from patients with acute myocarditis with the expression in various controls.

Results: We confirmed that Th17 cells, which are characterized by the production of interleukin-17, are a characteristic feature of myocardial injury in the acute phase of myocarditis. The microRNA mmu-miR-721 was synthesized by Th17 cells and was present in the plasma of mice with acute autoimmune or viral myocarditis but not in those with acute myocardial infarction. The human homologue, designated hsa-miR-Chr8:96, was identified in four independent cohorts of patients with myocarditis. The area under the receiver-operating-characteristic curve for this novel microRNA for distinguishing patients with acute myocarditis from those with myocardial infarction was 0.927 (95% confidence interval, 0.879 to 0.975). The microRNA retained its diagnostic value in models after adjustment for age, sex, ejection fraction, and serum troponin level.

Conclusions: After identifying a novel microRNA in mice and humans with myocarditis, we found that the human homologue (hsa-miR-Chr8:96) could be used to distinguish patients with myocarditis from those with myocardial infarction. (Funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation and others.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2003608DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8258773PMC
May 2021

Racial, Ethnic, and Sex Disparities in Patients With STEMI and Cardiogenic Shock.

JACC Cardiovasc Interv 2021 03;14(6):653-660

Department of Cardiology, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Michigan, USA.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the combined impact of race, ethnicity, and sex on in-hospital outcomes using data from the National Inpatient Sample.

Background: Cardiogenic shock (CS) is a major cause of mortality following ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). Early revascularization reduces mortality in such patients. Mechanical circulatory support (MCS) devices are increasingly used to hemodynamically support patients during revascularization. Little is known about racial, ethnic, and sex disparities in patients with STEMI and CS.

Methods: The National Inpatient Sample was queried from January 2006 to September 2015 for hospitalizations with STEMI and CS. The associations between sex, race, ethnicity, and outcomes were examined using complex-samples multivariate logistic or generalized linear model regressions.

Results: Of 159,339 patients with STEMI and CS, 57,839 (36.3%) were women. In-hospital mortality was higher for all women (range 40% to 45.4%) compared with men (range 30.4% to 34.7%). Women (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 1.11; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.06 to 1.16; p < 0.001) as well as Black (aOR: 1.18; 95% CI: 1.04 to 1.34; p = 0.011) and Hispanic (aOR: 1.19; 95% CI: 1.06 to 1.33; p = 0.003) men had higher odds of in-hospital mortality compared with White men, with Hispanic women having the highest odds of in-hospital mortality (aOR: 1.46; 95% CI: 1.26 to 1.70; p < 0.001). Women were older (age: 69.8 years vs. 63.2 years), had more comorbidities, and underwent fewer invasive cardiac procedures, including revascularization, right heart catheterization, and MCS.

Conclusions: There are significant racial, ethnic, and sex differences in procedural utilization and clinical outcomes in patients with STEMI and CS. Women are less likely to undergo invasive cardiac procedures, including revascularization and MCS. Women as well as Black and Hispanic patients have a higher likelihood of death compared with White men.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcin.2021.01.003DOI Listing
March 2021

Habits Heart App for Patient Engagement in Heart Failure Management: Pilot Feasibility Randomized Trial.

JMIR Mhealth Uhealth 2021 01 20;9(1):e19465. Epub 2021 Jan 20.

Cardiology Division, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, United States.

Background: Due to the complexity and chronicity of heart failure, engaging yet simple patient self-management tools are needed.

Objective: This study aimed to assess the feasibility and patient engagement with a smartphone app designed for heart failure.

Methods: Patients with heart failure were randomized to intervention (smartphone with the Habits Heart App installed and Bluetooth-linked scale) or control (paper education material) groups. All intervention group patients were interviewed and monitored closely for app feasibility while receiving standard of care heart failure management by cardiologists. The Atlanta Heart Failure Knowledge Test, a quality of life survey (Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire), and weight were assessed at baseline and final visits.

Results: Patients (N=28 patients; intervention: n=15; control: n=13) with heart failure (with reduced ejection fraction: 15/28, 54%; male: 20/28, 71%, female: 8/28, 29%; median age 63 years) were enrolled, and 82% of patients (N=23; intervention: 12/15, 80%; control: 11/13, 85%) completed both baseline and final visits (median follow up 60 days). In the intervention group, 2 out of the 12 patients who completed the study did not use the app after study onboarding due to illnesses and hospitalizations. Of the remaining 10 patients who used the app, 5 patients logged ≥1 interaction with the app per day on average, and 2 patients logged an interaction with the app every other day on average. The intervention group averaged 403 screen views (per patient) in 56 distinct sessions, 5-minute session durations, and 22 weight entries per patient. There was a direct correlation between duration of app use and improvement in heart failure knowledge (Atlanta Heart Failure Knowledge Test score; ρ=0.59, P=.04) and quality of life (Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire score; ρ=0.63, P=.03). The correlation between app use and weight change was ρ=-0.40 (P=.19). Only 1 out of 11 patients in the control group retained education material by the follow-up visit.

Conclusions: The Habits Heart App with a Bluetooth-linked scale is a feasible way to engage patients in heart failure management, and barriers to app engagement were identified. A larger multicenter study may be warranted to evaluate the effectiveness of the app.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03238729; http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03238729.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/19465DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7857947PMC
January 2021

Challenges and the innovations in the care of advanced heart failure patients during COVID-19.

Heart Fail Rev 2022 01 12;27(1):235-238. Epub 2021 Jan 12.

Smidt Heart Institute, Cedars-Sinai, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

The COVID-19 pandemic underscored our healthcare system's unpreparedness to manage an unprecedented pandemic. Heart failure (HF) physicians from 14 different academic and private practice centers share their systems' challenges and innovations to care for patients with HF, heart transplantation, and patients on LVAD support during the COVID-19 pandemic. We discuss measures implemented to alleviate the fear in seeking care, ensure continued optimization of guideline directed medical therapy (GDMT), manage the heart transplant waiting list, continue essential outpatient monitoring of anticoagulation in LVAD patients and surveillance testing post-heart transplant, and prevent physician burnout. This collaborative work can build a foundation for better preparation in the face of future challenges.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10741-021-10074-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7801155PMC
January 2022

Promoting Health Equity in Heart Failure Amid a Pandemic.

JACC Heart Fail 2021 01;9(1):74-76

Cardiology Division, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jchf.2020.11.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7832813PMC
January 2021

"Rebranding" Natriuretic Peptides.

Clin Chem 2021 01;67(1):4-5

Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/clinchem/hvaa293DOI Listing
January 2021

Sodium-Glucose Co-Transporter 2 Inhibitors and Insights from Biomarker Measurement in Heart Failure Patients.

Clin Chem 2021 01;67(1):79-86

Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

Background: Several large trials have demonstrated cardiac benefits in patients with and without established cardiovascular disease treated with sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitors (SGLT2i). Most recently, in patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF), the risk of worsening HF or cardiovascular death was lower among those who received dapagliflozin than among those who received placebo, regardless of the presence or absence of diabetes. Biomarkers may provide insight into understanding the mechanism of cardiovascular benefit observed in patients receiving SLGT2i. Several mechanisms have been proposed, including improvement in ventricular unloading due to the natriuretic effects, afterload reduction via reduction in blood pressure and improvement in vascular function, improvement in cardiac metabolism and bioenergetics, and reduction in cardiac fibrosis and necrosis, among others.

Content: We discuss several animal and human studies on the effect of SGLT2i on various biomarkers. Modest reduction or blunting of rise over time in concentrations of atrial natriuretic peptide, B-type natriuretic peptide, and N-terminal pro B-type natriuretic peptide and reduction in high-sensitivity troponin has been observed in patients receiving SLGT2i. Concentrations of biomarkers such as sST2 and galectin-3 have been unchanged whereas inflammatory markers such as fibronectin 1, interleukin-6, matrix metalloproteinase 7, and tumor necrosis factor-1 are decreased with SGLT2i therapy.

Summary: The effect of SLGT2i on various circulating biomarkers allows insight into the understanding of mechanisms of cardiovascular benefits with SGLT2i use. Further studies are needed to understand such mechanisms and to understand how biomarkers can be used for risk prediction and personalization of care in patients receiving SLGT2i.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/clinchem/hvaa277DOI Listing
January 2021

Reverse Cardiac Remodeling Following Initiation of Sacubitril/Valsartan in Patients With Heart Failure With and Without Diabetes.

JACC Heart Fail 2021 02 9;9(2):137-145. Epub 2020 Dec 9.

University of Mississippi, Jackson, Mississippi, USA. Electronic address:

Objective: This study sought to determine whether patients with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) have similar reverse cardiac remodeling with sacubitril/valsartan as patients without T2DM.

Background: Sacubitril/valsartan promotes reverse cardiac remodeling and improves outcomes in patients with HFrEF. Patients with HFrEF with T2DM have worse prognosis than those without T2DM.

Methods: In this post hoc analysis of PROVE-HF (Prospective Study of Biomarkers, Symptom Improvement, and Ventricular Remodeling During Sacubitril/Valsartan Therapy for Heart Failure), we examined changes in N-terminal pro-b-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP), measures of cardiac remodeling, and Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire Overall Summary (KCCQ-OS) scores from baseline to 12 months following initiation of sacubitril/valsartan between patients with HFrEF with and without T2DM. Using latent growth curve modeling, we evaluated the longitudinal association between changes in NT-proBNP, left ventricular ejection fraction, and KCCQ-OS.

Results: Among 794 patients enrolled, 361 (45.5%) had T2DM. NT-proBNP concentrations were modestly higher at baseline among patients with T2DM but were reduced after initiation of sacubitril/valsartan. Cross-sectional improvement was observed in left ventricular ejection fraction (T2DM: 28.3% at baseline and 37% at 12 months vs. non-T2DM: 28.1% at baseline and 38.3% at 12 months) and KCCQ-OS (T2DM: 71 at baseline and 83 at 12 months vs. non-T2DM: 76 at baseline and 88 at 12 months). Similar changes were also observed for other echocardiographic measures. In longitudinal analyses, the average NT-proBNP change was similar in patients with T2DM (-5.6% vs. -7.1% per 90-day interval; p = 0.64), whereas improvements in KCCQ-OS scores were slightly smaller (2.1 vs. 3.46 per 90-day interval; p = 0.07).

Conclusions: Sacubitril/valsartan favorably affects natriuretic peptide levels, reverse cardiac remodeling, and health status in patients with HFrEF with and without T2DM. (Effects of Sacubitril/Valsartan Therapy on Biomarkers, Myocardial Remodeling and Outcomes [PROVE-HF]; NCT02887183).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jchf.2020.09.014DOI Listing
February 2021

Understanding the Mechanistic Benefit of Heart Failure Drugs Matters.

J Am Coll Cardiol 2020 12;76(23):2752-2754

Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2020.10.026DOI Listing
December 2020

Atrial Natriuretic Peptide and Treatment With Sacubitril/Valsartan in Heart Failure With Reduced Ejection Fraction.

JACC Heart Fail 2021 02 11;9(2):127-136. Epub 2020 Nov 11.

Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Baim Institute for Clinical Research, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Electronic address:

Objectives: This study sought to assess associations between longitudinal change in atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) and reverse cardiac remodeling following initiation of sacubitril/valsartan in patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF).

Background: Neprilysin inhibition results in an increase of several vasoactive peptides that may mediate the beneficial effects of sacubitril/valsartan, including ANP.

Methods: In a prospective study of initiation and titration of sacubitril/valsartan in patients with HFrEF, blood was collected at scheduled time points into tubes containing protease inhibitors. This pre-specified exploratory analysis included patients in whom ANP was measured at baseline and serially through 12 months of treatment.

Results: Among 144 participants (mean age: 64.5 years; left ventricular ejection fraction: 30.8%), following initiation of sacubitril/valsartan, there was an early and significant increase in ANP, with the majority of rise from 99 pg/ml at baseline to 156 pg/ml at day 14 (p < 0.001). There was a further trend toward a second increase from day 30 to day 45 (p = 0.07). At maximal rise, ANP had doubled. In longitudinal analyses, early rise in ANP was followed by a subsequent increase in urinary cycle guanosine monophosphate. Larger early increase in ANP was associated with larger later improvements in left ventricular ejection fraction and left atrial volume index (p < 0.001 for both).

Conclusions: Concentrations of ANP doubled after initiation of sacubitril/valsartan in patients with HFrEF. Larger early increases in ANP were associated with a greater magnitude of subsequent reverse cardiac remodeling. (Effects of Sacubitril/Valsartan Therapy on Biomarkers, Myocardial Remodeling and Outcomes [PROVE-HF]; NCT02887183).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jchf.2020.09.013DOI Listing
February 2021

Improvement of Health Status Following Initiation of Sacubitril/Valsartan in Heart Failure and Reduced Ejection Fraction.

JACC Heart Fail 2021 01 11;9(1):42-51. Epub 2020 Nov 11.

Cardiology Division, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Baim Institute for Clinical Research, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Electronic address:

Background: Treatment of heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (EF) may improve patient-reported health outcomes.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to determine timing and magnitude of change in Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire (KCCQ)-23 scores following initiation of sacubitril/valsartan and interaction with change in amino-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) concentrations.

Methods: From a single-arm, open-label study of patients initiated on sacubitril/valsartan, KCCQ-23 scores and NT-proBNP were obtained at baseline and follow-up through 12 months. Cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses evaluated magnitude and rate of change in KCCQ-23 scores and associations with NT-proBNP. Patient-level data from the randomized EVALUATE-HF study were used as historic controls.

Results: The analysis cohort (n = 678, age 64.7 years, 71.5% men, EF 28.9%) had a baseline KCCQ-23 overall score (OS) of 65.6. Following sacubitril/valsartan initiation, the majority (n = 412; 60.8%) of participants experienced a rise in KCCQ-23 OS ≥10 points; 26.0% increased by ≥20 points. Comparable improvement in KCCQ-23 scores was seen in various subgroups. Change in KCCQ-23 OS was inversely associated with change in circulating NT-proBNP concentrations. Among a control group of patients in EVALUATE-HF, linear rate of change in KCCQ-12 OS/14-day interval in the enalapril arm was 0.37 points (p = 0.06), whereas in the sacubitril/valsartan arm, scores increased at a rate of 1.19 points (p < 0.001), nearly identical to this dataset (1.08 points; p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Treatment of heart failure with reduced EF with sacubitril/valsartan is associated with rapid and significant improvement in KCCQ-23 scores which was significantly related to change in NT-proBNP. (Effects of Sacubitril/Valsartan Therapy on Biomarkers, Myocardial Remodeling and Outcomes [PROVE-HF]; NCT02887183).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jchf.2020.09.012DOI Listing
January 2021

Racial and Ethnic Differences in Biomarkers, Health Status, and Cardiac Remodeling in Patients With Heart Failure With Reduced Ejection Fraction Treated With Sacubitril/Valsartan.

Circ Heart Fail 2020 11 3;13(11):e007829. Epub 2020 Oct 3.

Cardiology Division, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston (N.E.I., A.C., D.B., J.L.J.).

Background: Among patients with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction (left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction ≤40%), sacubitril/valsartan (S/V) treatment is associated with improved health status and reverse cardiac remodeling. Data regarding racial and ethnic differences in response to S/V are lacking.

Methods: This was an analysis from the PROVE-HF study (Prospective Study of Biomarkers, Symptom Improvement and Ventricular Remodeling During Entresto Therapy for Heart Failure). Longitudinal changes in NT-proBNP (N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide), cardiac reverse remodeling, and health status scores were compared between groups using multivariate latent growth curve modeling.

Results: Among the 782 patients included in this study, 22.7% were non-Hispanic Black (from here referred to as Black), 14.9% were Hispanic, and 62.4% were non-Hispanic White (from here referred to as White). At baseline, compared with White patients, Black and Hispanic patients had lower NT-proBNP (=0.34) and differences between groups in baseline values for LV end-diastolic volume index and LV end-systolic volume index were negligible (<0.10). Following S/V initiation, NT-proBNP decreased in all 3 groups (<0.0001) associated with improvements in LV ejection fraction, LV end-diastolic volume index, and LV end-systolic volume index. Although total improvement in LV measures was similar between groups, Black patients averaged larger gains in the first half of the trial while White patients averaged larger gains in the second half. Improvements in Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire-23 Total Symptom scores were seen in all 3 groups. Treatment with S/V was well-tolerated.

Conclusions: Among Black, Hispanic, and White patients with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction, treatment with S/V was associated with similar reduction in NT-proBNP, improvement in health status, and reverse remodeling. More data regarding racial and ethnic responses to heart failure and reduced ejection fraction treatment are needed. Registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov; Unique identifier: NCT02887183.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.120.007829DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7769180PMC
November 2020

Sex-based differences in biomarkers, health status, and reverse cardiac remodelling in patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction treated with sacubitril/valsartan.

Eur J Heart Fail 2020 11 7;22(11):2018-2025. Epub 2020 Oct 7.

Cardiology Division, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.

Aims: We sought to determine sex-based differences in biomarkers, self-reported health status, and magnitude of longitudinal changes in measures of reverse cardiac remodelling among patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF, left ventricular ejection fraction ≤40%) treated with sacubitril/valsartan (S/V).

Methods And Results: This was a subgroup analysis of patients initiated on S/V in the Prospective Study of Biomarkers, Symptom Improvement and Ventricular Remodeling During Entresto Therapy for Heart Failure (PROVE-HF) study. There were 226 (28.5%) women in the study. Though women had lower baseline N-terminal pro B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP), they had more rapid early reduction in the biomarker after initiation of S/V. Compared to men, women had lower average baseline Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire (KCCQ)-23 Total Symptom score (67.6 vs. 71.9; P = 0.003) but showed greater linear improvement (7.4 vs. 5.5 points; P < 0.001) and faster pace of KCCQ change (P < 0.001) over the course of the trial. Women and men demonstrated similar degrees of reverse left ventricular remodelling following S/V initiation; however, women did so earlier than men with more consistent changes. These results remained unchanged with adjustment for relevant covariates. Reduction in NT-proBNP was associated with reverse cardiac remodelling in both women and men. Treatment with S/V was well tolerated in all.

Conclusions: In women with HFrEF, treatment with S/V was associated with significant NT-proBNP reduction, health status improvement and reverse cardiac remodelling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ejhf.2005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7756516PMC
November 2020

Proteomic Signatures During Treatment in Different Stages of Heart Failure.

Circ Heart Fail 2020 08 29;13(8):e006794. Epub 2020 Jul 29.

Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston (S.A.M., A.C., N.E.I., H.G., D.D., E.C., G.D.L., J.L.J.).

Background: Proteomics have already provided novel insights into the pathophysiology of heart failure (HF) with reduced ejection fraction. Previous studies have evaluated cross-sectional protein signatures of HF, but few have characterized proteomic changes following HF with reduced ejection fraction treatment with ARNI (angiotensin receptor/neprilysin inhibitor) therapy or left ventricular assist devices.

Methods: In this retrospective omics study, we performed targeted proteomics (N=625) of whole blood sera from patients with American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association stage D (N=29) and stage C (N=12) HF using proximity extension assays. Samples were obtained before and after (median=82 days) left ventricular assist device implantation (stage D; primary analysis) and ARNI therapy initiation (stage C; matched reference). Oblique principal component analysis and point biserial correlations were used for feature extraction and selection; standardized mean differences were used to assess within and between-group differences; and enrichment analysis was used to generate and cluster Gene Ontology terms.

Results: Core sets of proteins were identified for stage C (N=9 proteins) and stage D (N=18) HF; additionally, a core set of 5 shared HF proteins (NT-proBNP [N-terminal pro-B type natriuretic peptide], ESM [endothelial cell-specific molecule]-1, cathepsin L1, osteopontin, and MCSF-1) was also identified. For patients with stage D HF, moderate (δ, 0.40-0.60) and moderate-to-large (δ, 0.60-0.80) sized differences were observed in 8 of their 18 core proteins after left ventricular assist devices implantation. Additionally, specific protein groups reached concentration levels equivalent (<0.10) to stage C HF after initiation on ARNI therapy.

Conclusions: HF with reduced ejection fraction severity associates with distinct proteomic signatures that reflect underlying disease attributes; these core signatures may be useful for monitoring changes in cardiac function following initiation on ARNI or left ventricular assist device implantation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.119.006794DOI Listing
August 2020

Derivation and External Validation of a High-Sensitivity Cardiac Troponin-Based Proteomic Model to Predict the Presence of Obstructive Coronary Artery Disease.

J Am Heart Assoc 2020 08 6;9(16):e017221. Epub 2020 Aug 6.

Division of Cardiology Massachusetts General Hospital Boston MA.

Background Current noninvasive modalities to diagnose coronary artery disease (CAD) have several limitations. We sought to derive and externally validate a hs-cTn (high-sensitivity cardiac troponin)-based proteomic model to diagnose obstructive coronary artery disease. Methods and Results In a derivation cohort of 636 patients referred for coronary angiography, predictors of ≥70% coronary stenosis were identified from 6 clinical variables and 109 biomarkers. The final model was first internally validated on a separate cohort (n=275) and then externally validated on a cohort of 241 patients presenting to the ED with suspected acute myocardial infarction where ≥50% coronary stenosis was considered significant. The resulting model consisted of 3 clinical variables (male sex, age, and previous percutaneous coronary intervention) and 3 biomarkers (hs-cTnI [high-sensitivity cardiac troponin I], adiponectin, and kidney injury molecule-1). In the internal validation cohort, the model yielded an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.85 for coronary stenosis ≥70% (<0.001). At the optimal cutoff, we observed 80% sensitivity, 71% specificity, a positive predictive value of 83%, and negative predictive value of 66% for ≥70% stenosis. Partitioning the score result into 5 levels resulted in a positive predictive value of 97% and a negative predictive value of 89% at the highest and lowest levels, respectively. In the external validation cohort, the score performed similarly well. Notably, in patients who had myocardial infarction neither ruled in nor ruled out via hs-cTnI testing ("indeterminate zone," n=65), the score had an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.88 (<0.001). Conclusions A model including hs-cTnI can predict the presence of obstructive coronary artery disease with high accuracy including in those with indeterminate hs-cTnI concentrations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.120.017221DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7660799PMC
August 2020

Heart Failure With Reduced Ejection Fraction: A Review.

JAMA 2020 Aug;324(5):488-504

Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

Importance: Worldwide, the burden of heart failure has increased to an estimated 23 million people, and approximately 50% of cases are HF with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF).

Observations: Heart failure is a clinical syndrome characterized by dyspnea or exertional limitation due to impairment of ventricular filling or ejection of blood or both. HFrEF occurs when the left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) is 40% or less and is accompanied by progressive left ventricular dilatation and adverse cardiac remodeling. Assessment for heart failure begins with obtaining a medical history and physical examination. Also central to diagnosis are elevated natriuretic peptides above age- and context-specific thresholds and identification of left ventricular systolic dysfunction with LVEF of 40% or less as measured by echocardiography. Treatment strategies include the use of diuretics to relieve symptoms and application of an expanding armamentarium of disease-modifying drug and device therapies. Unless there are specific contraindications, patients with HFrEF should be treated with a β-blocker and one of an angiotensin receptor-neprilysin inhibitor, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor, or angiotensin receptor blocker as foundational therapy, with addition of a mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist in patients with persistent symptoms. Ivabradine and hydralazine/isosorbide dinitrate also have a role in the care of certain patients with HFrEF. More recently, sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors have further improved disease outcomes, significantly reducing cardiovascular and all-cause mortality irrespective of diabetes status, and vericiguat, a soluble guanylate cyclase stimulator, reduces heart failure hospitalization in high-risk patients with HFrEF. Device therapies may be beneficial in specific subpopulations, such as cardiac resynchronization therapy in patients with interventricular dyssynchrony, transcatheter mitral valve repair in patients with severe secondary mitral regurgitation, and implantable cardiac defibrillators in patients with more severe left ventricular dysfunction particularly of ischemic etiology.

Conclusions And Relevance: HFrEF is a major public health concern with substantial morbidity and mortality. The management of HFrEF has seen significant scientific breakthrough in recent decades, and the ability to alter the natural history of the disease has never been better. Recent developments include SGLT2 inhibitors, vericiguat, and transcatheter mitral valve repair, all of which incrementally improve prognosis beyond foundational neurohormonal therapies. Disease morbidity and mortality remain high, with a 5-year survival rate of 25% after hospitalization for HFrEF.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.2020.10262DOI Listing
August 2020

The Need to Innovate and Accelerate Clinical Trial Performance: BeAT the Clock.

J Am Coll Cardiol 2020 07;76(1):14-16

Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2020.05.036DOI Listing
July 2020

Survival After Heart Transplantation in Patients Bridged With Mechanical Circulatory Support.

J Am Coll Cardiol 2020 06;75(23):2892-2905

Division of Cardiac Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

Background: The United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) heart allocation policy designates patients on ECMO or with nondischargeable, surgically implanted, nonendovascular support devices (TCS-VAD) to higher listing statuses.

Objectives: This study aimed to explore whether temporary circulatory support-ventricular assist devices (TCS-VAD) have a survival advantage over extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) as a bridge to transplant.

Methods: The UNOS database was used to conduct a retrospective analysis of adult heart transplants performed in the United States between 2005 and 2017. Survival analysis was performed to compare patients bridged to transplant with different modalities.

Results: Of the 24,905 adult transplants performed, 7,904 (32%) were bridged with durable left ventricular assist devices (LVADs), 177 (0.7%) with ECMO, 203 (0.8%) with TCS-VAD, 44 (0.2%) with percutaneous endovascular devices, and 8 (0.03%) with TandemHeart (LivaNova, London, United Kingdom). Unadjusted survival at 1 and 5 years post-transplant was 90 ± 0.4% and 77 ± 0.7% for durable LVAD, 84 ± 3% and 71 ± 4% for all TCS-VAD types, 79 ± 9% and 73 ± 14% for biventricular TCS-VAD, and 68 ± 3% and 61 ± 8% for ECMO. After propensity-matched pairwise comparisons were made, survival after all TCS-VAD types continued to be superior to ECMO (p = 0.019) and similar to LVAD (p = 0.380). ECMO was a predictor of post-transplant mortality in the Cox analysis compared with TCS-VAD (hazard ratio 2.40; 95% confidence interval: 1.44 to 4.01; p = 0.001).

Conclusions: Post-transplant survival with TCS-VAD is superior to ECMO and similar to LVAD in a national database.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2020.04.037DOI Listing
June 2020

Diagnostic and Prognostic Utilities of Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein-7 in Patients With Dyspnea.

JACC Heart Fail 2020 05;8(5):415-422

Cardiology Division, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; Baim Institute for Clinical Research, Boston, Massachusetts. Electronic address:

Objectives: This study examined whether insulin-like growth factor binding protein-7 (IGFBP7) would aid in the diagnosis and prognosis of acute heart failure (HF) beyond N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) concentration.

Background: IGFBP7 is associated with impaired ventricular relaxation and worse prognosis.

Methods: The ICON-RELOADED (International Collaborative of NT-proBNP-Re-evaluation of Acute Diagnostic Cut-Offs in the Emergency Department) study was a prospective, multicenter clinical trial that enrolled subjects presenting with dyspnea. Six-month prognosis for death or repeat hospitalization was obtained.

Results: Among 1,449 patients, 274 (18.9%) were diagnosed with acute HF. Those with IGFBP7 concentrations in the highest quartile were older, male, had hypertension and HF, had lower estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and lowest ejection fraction (41 ± 20%; all p < 0.001). Independent predictors of IGFBP7 were age, male sex, history of diabetes, history of HF, and eGFR. Median concentrations of NT-proBNP (2,844 ng/ml vs. 99 ng/ml) and IGFBP7 (146.1 ng/ml vs. 86.1 ng/ml) were higher in those with acute HF (both; p < 0.001). Addition of IGFBP7 to NT-proBNP concentrations improved discrimination, therefore increasing the area under the receiver operating curve for diagnosis of acute HF (from 0.91 to 0.94; p < 0.001 for differences). Addition of IGFBP7 to a complete model of independent predictors of acute HF improved model calibration. IGFBP7 significantly reclassified acute HF diagnosis beyond NT-proBNP (net reclassification index: +0.25). Higher log-IGFBP7 concentrations in patients with acute HF predicted death or rehospitalization at 6 months (hazard ratio: 1.84 per log-SD; 95% confidence interval: 1.30 to 2.61; p = 0.001). In Kaplan-Meier analyses, supramedian concentrations of IGFBP7 were associated with shorter event-free survival (log-rank: p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Among patients with acute dyspnea, concentrations of IGFBP7 add to NT-proBNP for diagnosis of acute HF and provide added prognostic utility for short-term risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jchf.2020.02.009DOI Listing
May 2020

Natriuretic Peptides as Inclusion Criteria in Clinical Trials: A JACC: Heart Failure Position Paper.

JACC Heart Fail 2020 May 11;8(5):347-358. Epub 2020 Mar 11.

Cardiology Division, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; Baim Institute for Clinical Research, Boston, Massachusetts. Electronic address:

This study investigated the use of natriuretic peptides as inclusion criteria and to develop recommendations regarding their use. B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) and N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) are commonly used as inclusion criteria for heart failure (HF) clinical trials, but no consensus exists regarding their optimal use for this purpose. A comprehensive search of the Aggregate Analysis of ClincalTrials.gov database identified 3,446 HF trials. Of these, 365 recently completed or ongoing HF clinical trials (10.6%) used either BNP or NT-proBNP as inclusion criteria. A panel of experts discussed current practices and a path forward for the use of natriuretic peptides as inclusion criteria for HF trials. Significant variations existed across trials regarding which natriuretic peptide and which cutoff value were used. Overall, 43% used both natriuretic peptides, 33% used only NT-proBNP, and 24% used only BNP in determining eligibility. Studies using BNP and NT-proBNP concentrations as inclusion criteria had higher cardiovascular event rates and higher concentrations for study entry and were generally associated with higher event rates. Areas of uncertainty included use in certain patient populations in which natriuretic peptides are historically lower (e.g., black patients, obese patients, patients with HF with preserved ejection fraction) or higher (older patients, patients with atrial fibrillation). This paper discusses best practices regarding use of BNP or NT-proBNP in clinical trials and identification of gaps in medical literature, including importance of documentation in ClinicalTrials.gov studies to inform future research efforts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jchf.2019.12.010DOI Listing
May 2020

Neprilysin inhibition, endorphin dynamics, and early symptomatic improvement in heart failure: a pilot study.

ESC Heart Fail 2020 04 11;7(2):559-566. Epub 2020 Feb 11.

Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red Enfermedades Cardiovaculares, (CIBERCV,), Madrid, Spain.

Aim: Sacubitril/valsartan is a first-in-class angiotensin receptor-neprilysin inhibitor developed for the treatment of heart failure with reduced ejection fraction. Its benefits are achieved through the inhibition of neprilysin (NEP) and the specific blockade of the angiotensin receptor AT1. The many peptides metabolized by NEP suggest multifaceted potential consequences of its inhibition. We sought to evaluate the short-term changes in serum endorphin (EP) values and their relation with patients' physical functioning after initiation of sacubitril/valsartan treatment.

Methods And Results: A total of 105 patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction, who were candidates for sacubitril/valsartan treatment, were included in this prospective, observational, multicentre, and international study. In a first visit, and in agreement with current guidelines, treatment with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blocker was replaced by sacubitril/valsartan because of clinical indication by the responsible physician. By protocol, patients were reevaluated at 30 days after the start of sacubitril/valsartan. Serum levels of α- (α-EP), γ-Endorphin (γ-EP), and soluble NEP (sNEP) were measured using enzyme-linked immunoassays. New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class was used as an indicator of patient's functional status. Baseline median levels of circulating α-EP, γ-EP, and sNEP were 582 (160-772), 101 (37-287), and 222 pg/mL (124-820), respectively. There was not a significant increase in α-EP nor γ-EP serum values after sacubitril/valsartan treatment (P value = 0.194 and 0.102, respectively). There were no significant differences in sNEP values between 30 days and baseline (P value = 0.103). Medians (IQR) of Δα-EP, Δγ-EP, and ΔsNEP between 30 days and baseline were 9.3 (-34 - 44), -3.0 (-46.0 - 18.9), and 0 units (-16.4 - 157.0), respectively. In a pre-post sacubitril/valsartan treatment comparison, there was a significant improvement in NYHA class, with 36 (34.3%) patients experiencing improvement by at least one NYHA class category. Δα-EP and ΔsNEP showed to be significantly associated with NYHA class after 30 days of treatment (P = 0.014 and P < 0.001, respectively). Δα-EP was linear and significantly associated with NYHA class improvement after 30 days of sacubitril/valsartan treatment.

Conclusions: These preliminary data suggest that beyond the haemodynamic benefits achieved with sacubitril/valsartan, the altered cleavage of endorphin peptides by NEP inhibition may participate in patients' symptoms improvement.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ehf2.12607DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7160502PMC
April 2020

Soluble Urokinase Receptor and Acute Kidney Injury.

N Engl J Med 2020 01;382(5):416-426

From the Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (S.S.H.); the Divisions of Renal Medicine (D.E.L., S. Sharma, S.S.W.) and Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine (R.M.B.), Brigham and Women's Hospital, the Section of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine (S.S.W.), and the Divisions of Nephrology (S. Sever) and Cardiology (A.C., N.E.I., J.L.J.), Massachusetts General Hospital - all in Boston; Emory Clinical Cardiovascular Research Institute, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta (A.S.T., M.R., A.A.Q.); the Department of Medicine, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago (X.W., R.R.D., M.M.A., C.W., J.R.); the Section of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston (D.S.-H., J.S.-C.P., M.W.H.); and the Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh (S.D.W.).

Background: Acute kidney injury is common, with a major effect on morbidity and health care utilization. Soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR) is a signaling glycoprotein thought to be involved in the pathogenesis of kidney disease. We investigated whether a high level of suPAR predisposed patients to acute kidney injury in multiple clinical contexts, and we used experimental models to identify mechanisms by which suPAR acts and to assess it as a therapeutic target.

Methods: We measured plasma levels of suPAR preprocedurally in patients who underwent coronary angiography and patients who underwent cardiac surgery and at the time of admission to the intensive care unit in critically ill patients. We assessed the risk of acute kidney injury at 7 days as the primary outcome and acute kidney injury or death at 90 days as a secondary outcome, according to quartile of suPAR level. In experimental studies, we used a monoclonal antibody to urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) as a therapeutic strategy to attenuate acute kidney injury in transgenic mice receiving contrast material. We also assessed cellular bioenergetics and generation of reactive oxygen species in human kidney proximal tubular (HK-2) cells that were exposed to recombinant suPAR.

Results: The suPAR level was assessed in 3827 patients who were undergoing coronary angiography, 250 who were undergoing cardiac surgery, and 692 who were critically ill. Acute kidney injury developed in 318 patients (8%) who had undergone coronary angiography. The highest suPAR quartile (vs. the lowest) had an adjusted odds ratio of 2.66 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.77 to 3.99) for acute kidney injury and 2.29 (95% CI, 1.71 to 3.06) for acute kidney injury or death at 90 days. Findings were similar in the surgical and critically ill cohorts. The suPAR-overexpressing mice that were given contrast material had greater functional and histologic evidence of acute kidney injury than wild-type mice. The suPAR-treated HK-2 cells showed heightened energetic demand and mitochondrial superoxide generation. Pretreatment with a uPAR monoclonal antibody attenuated kidney injury in suPAR-overexpressing mice and normalized bioenergetic changes in HK-2 cells.

Conclusions: High suPAR levels were associated with acute kidney injury in various clinical and experimental contexts. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1911481DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7065830PMC
January 2020

Gender differences in industry payments among cardiologists.

Am Heart J 2020 05 18;223:123-131. Epub 2019 Dec 18.

Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD; Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Saolta University Healthcare Group, University College Hospital Galway, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland; National Institute for Prevention and Cardiovascular Health, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland.

Background: There is a wage gap among men and women practicing cardiology. Differences in industry funding can be both a consequence of and a contributor to gender differences in salaries. We sought to determine whether gender differences exist in the distribution, types, and amounts of industry payments among men and women in cardiology.

Methods: In this cross-sectional analysis, we used the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Open Payment program database to obtain 2016 industry payment data for US cardiologists. We also used UK Disclosure data to obtain 2016 industry payments to UK cardiologists. Outcomes included the proportions of male and female cardiologists receiving industry funding and the mean industry payment amounts received by male and female cardiologists. Where possible, we also assessed 2014 and 2015 data in both locations.

Results: Of the 22,848 practicing Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services US cardiologists in 2016, 20,037 (88%) were men and 2,811 (12%) were women. Proportionally more men than women received industry payments in 2016 (78.0% vs 68.5%, respectively; P < .001). Men received higher overall mean industry payments than women ($6,193.25 vs. $2,501.55, P < .001). Results were similar in 2014 and 2015. Among UK cardiologists, more men (24.4%) than women (13.5%) received industry payments in 2016 (P < .001). However, although the difference in overall industry payments was numerically larger among men compared to women, this did not achieve statistical significance (£2,348.31 vs £1,501.37, respectively, P = .35).

Conclusions: Industry payments to cardiologists are common, and there are gender differences in these payments on both sides of the Atlantic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ahj.2019.11.021DOI Listing
May 2020
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