Publications by authors named "Peter van der Meer"

244 Publications

Protein Aggregation Is an Early Manifestation of Phospholamban p.(Arg14del)-Related Cardiomyopathy: Development of PLN-R14del-Related Cardiomyopathy.

Circ Heart Fail 2021 Sep 30:CIRCHEARTFAILURE121008532. Epub 2021 Sep 30.

Department of Cardiology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands (T.R.E., N.M.S., V.O.N.T., M.M.D., P.v.d.M., H.H.W.S., R.A.d.B.).

Background: The p.(Arg14del) pathogenic variant (R14del) of the (phospholamban) gene is a prevalent cause of cardiomyopathy with heart failure. The exact underlying pathophysiology is unknown, and a suitable therapy is unavailable. We aim to identify molecular perturbations underlying this cardiomyopathy in a clinically relevant PLN-R14del mouse model.

Methods: We investigated the progression of cardiomyopathy in PLN-R14 mice using echocardiography, ECG, and histological tissue analysis. RNA sequencing and mass spectrometry were performed on cardiac tissues at 3 (before the onset of disease), 5 (mild cardiomyopathy), and 8 (end stage) weeks of age. Data were compared with cardiac expression levels of mice that underwent myocardial ischemia-reperfusion or myocardial infarction surgery, in an effort to identify alterations that are specific to PLN-R14del-related cardiomyopathy.

Results: At 3 weeks of age, PLN-R14 mice had normal cardiac function, but from the age of 4 weeks, we observed increased myocardial fibrosis and impaired global longitudinal strain. From 5 weeks onward, ventricular dilatation, decreased contractility, and diminished ECG voltages were observed. PLN protein aggregation was present before onset of functional deficits. Transcriptomics and proteomics revealed differential regulation of processes involved in remodeling, inflammation, and metabolic dysfunction, in part, similar to ischemic heart disease. Altered protein homeostasis pathways were identified exclusively in PLN-R14 mice, even before disease onset, in concert with aggregate formation.

Conclusions: We mapped the development of PLN-R14del-related cardiomyopathy and identified alterations in proteostasis and PLN protein aggregation among the first manifestations of this disease, which could possibly be a novel target for therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.121.008532DOI Listing
September 2021

Rationale and Design of the Groningen Intervention Study for the Preservation of Cardiac Function with Sodium Thiosulfate after ST-segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction (GIPS-IV) Trial.

Am Heart J 2021 Sep 14. Epub 2021 Sep 14.

University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Department of Cardiology, Groningen, 9713 GZ, the Netherlands; Department of Cardiology, Division of Heart & Lungs, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, 3584 CX, the Netherlands.

Rationale: Ischemia and subsequent reperfusion cause myocardial injury in patients presenting with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). Hydrogen sulfide (HS) reduces "ischemia-reperfusion injury" in various experimental animal models, but has not been evaluated in humans. This trial will examine the efficacy and safety of the HS-donor sodium thiosulfate (STS) in patients presenting with a STEMI.

Study Design: The Groningen Intervention study for the Preservation of cardiac function with STS after STEMI (GIPS-IV) trial (NCT02899364) is a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial, which will enroll 380 patients with a first STEMI. Patients receive STS 12.5 gram intravenously or matching placebo in addition to standard care immediately at arrival at the catheterization laboratory after providing consent. A second dose is administered 6 hours later at the coronary care unit. The primary endpoint is myocardial infarct size as quantified by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging 4 months after randomization. Secondary endpoints include the effect of STS on peak CK-MB during admission and left ventricular ejection fraction and NT-proBNP levels at 4 months follow-up. Patients will be followed-up for 2 years to assess clinical endpoints.

Conclusions: The GIPS-IV trial is the first study to determine the effect of a HS-donor on myocardial infarct size in patients presenting with STEMI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ahj.2021.08.012DOI Listing
September 2021

Phospholamban antisense oligonucleotides improve cardiac function in murine cardiomyopathy.

Nat Commun 2021 08 30;12(1):5180. Epub 2021 Aug 30.

Department of Cardiology University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Heart failure (HF) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, highlighting an urgent need for novel treatment options, despite recent improvements. Aberrant Ca handling is a key feature of HF pathophysiology. Restoring the Ca regulating machinery is an attractive therapeutic strategy supported by genetic and pharmacological proof of concept studies. Here, we study antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) as a therapeutic modality, interfering with the PLN/SERCA2a interaction by targeting Pln mRNA for downregulation in the heart of murine HF models. Mice harboring the PLN R14del pathogenic variant recapitulate the human dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) phenotype; subcutaneous administration of PLN-ASO prevents PLN protein aggregation, cardiac dysfunction, and leads to a 3-fold increase in survival rate. In another genetic DCM mouse model, unrelated to PLN (Cspr3/Mlp), PLN-ASO also reverses the HF phenotype. Finally, in rats with myocardial infarction, PLN-ASO treatment prevents progression of left ventricular dilatation and improves left ventricular contractility. Thus, our data establish that antisense inhibition of PLN is an effective strategy in preclinical models of genetic cardiomyopathy as well as ischemia driven HF.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-25439-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8405807PMC
August 2021

Evaluation and management of cancer patients presenting with acute cardiovascular disease: a Consensus Document of the Acute CardioVascular Care (ACVC) association and the ESC council of Cardio-Oncology-Part 1: acute coronary syndromes and acute pericardial diseases.

Eur Heart J Acute Cardiovasc Care 2021 Aug 28. Epub 2021 Aug 28.

Insubria University, Via Ravasi 2, 21100 Varese, Italy.

Advances in treatment, common cardiovascular (CV) risk factors and the ageing of the population have led to an increasing number of cancer patients presenting with acute CV diseases. These events may be related to the cancer itself or the cancer treatment. Acute cardiac care specialists must be aware of these acute CV complications and be able to manage them. This may require an individualized and multidisciplinary approach. We summarize the most common acute CV complications of cytotoxic, targeted, and immune-based therapies. This is followed by a proposal for a multidisciplinary approach where acute cardiologists work close together with the treating oncologists, haematologists, and radiation specialists, especially in situations where immediate therapeutic decisions are needed. In this first part, we further focus on the management of acute coronary syndromes and acute pericardial diseases in patients with cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ehjacc/zuab056DOI Listing
August 2021

Impact of sex-specific target dose in chronic heart failure patients with reduced ejection fraction.

Eur J Prev Cardiol 2021 Aug;28(9):957-965

Department of Cardiology, University Medical Center Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Aims: A recent study suggested that women with heart failure and heart failure reduced ejection fraction might hypothetically need lower doses of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor blockers ( = renin-angiotensin-system inhibitors) and β-blockers than men to achieve the best outcome. We assessed the current medical treatment of heart failure reduced ejection fraction in men and women in a large contemporary cohort and address the hypothetical impact of changing treatment levels in women.

Methods: This analysis is part of a large contemporary quality of heart failure care project which includes 5320 (64%) men and 3003 (36%) women with heart failure reduced ejection fraction. Detailed information on heart failure therapy prescription and dosage were collected.

Results: Women less often received renin-angiotensin-system inhibitors (79% vs 83%, p < 0.01), but more often β-blockers (82% vs 79%, p < 0.01) than men. Differences in guideline-recommended target doses between sexes were relatively small. Implementing a hypothetical sex-specific dosing schedule (at 50% of the current recommended dose in the European Society of Cardiology guidelines in women only) would lead to significantly higher levels of women receiving appropriate dosing (β-blocker 87% vs 54%, p < 0.01; renin-angiotensin-system inhibitor 96% vs 75%, p < 0.01). Most interestingly, the total number of women with >100% of the new hypothetical target dose would be 24% for β-blockers and 52% for renin-angiotensin-system inhibitors, which can be considered as relatively overdosed.

Conclusion: In this large contemporary heart failure registry, there were significant but relatively small differences in drug dose between men and women with heart failure reduced ejection fraction. Implementation of the hypothetical sex-specific target dosing schedule would lead to considerably more women adequately treated. In contrast, we identified a group of women who might have been relatively overdosed with increased risk of side-effects and intolerance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2047487320923185DOI Listing
August 2021

Prehospital risk stratification in patients with chest pain.

Emerg Med J 2021 Aug 9. Epub 2021 Aug 9.

Expirimental Cardiology, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Objectives: The History, ECG, Age, Risk Factors and Troponin (HEART) Score is a decision support tool applied by physicians in the emergency department developed to risk stratify low-risk patients presenting with chest pain. We assessed the potential value of this tool in prehospital setting, when applied by emergency medical services (EMS), and derived and validated a tool adapted to the prehospital setting in order to determine if it could assist with decisions regarding conveyance to a hospital.

Methods: EMS personnel prospectively determined the HEART Score, including point-of-care (POC) troponin measurements, in patients presenting with chest pain, in the north of the Netherlands. The primary endpoint was a major adverse cardiac event (MACE), consisting of acute myocardial infarction or death, within 3 days. The components of the HEART Score were evaluated for their discriminatory value, cut-offs were calibrated for the prehospital setting and sex was substituted for cardiac risk factors to develop a prehospital HEART (preHEART) Score. This score was validated in an independent prospective cohort of 435 patients in 2018.

Results: Among 1208 patients prospectively recruited in the first cohort, 123 patients (10.2%) developed a MACE. The HEART Score had a negative predictive value (NPV) of 98.4% (96.4-99.3), a positive predictive value (PPV) of 35.5% (31.8-39.3) and an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) of 0.81 (0.78-0.85). The preHEART Score had an NPV of 99.3% (98.1-99.8), a PPV of 49.4% (42.0-56.9) and an AUC of 0.85 (0.82-0.88), outperforming the HEART Score or POC troponin measurements on their own. Similar results were found in a validation cohort.

Conclusions: The HEART Score can be used in the prehospital setting to assist with conveyance decisions and choice of hospitals; however, the preHEART Score outperforms both the HEART Score and single POC troponin measurements when applied by EMS personnel in the prehospital setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/emermed-2020-210212DOI Listing
August 2021

Gain-of-function mutation in ubiquitin-ligase KLHL24 causes desmin degradation and dilatation in hiPSC-derived engineered heart tissues.

J Clin Invest 2021 Jul 22. Epub 2021 Jul 22.

Department of Cardiology, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands.

The start codon c.1A>G mutation in KLHL24, encoding ubiquitin-ligase KLHL24, results in the loss of 28 N-terminal amino acids (KLHL24-ΔN28) by skipping the initial start codon. In skin, KLHL24-ΔN28 leads to gain of function, excessively targeting intermediate filament keratin-14 for proteasomal degradation, ultimately causing epidermolysis bullosa simplex (EBS). The majority of these EBS-patients are also diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), but the pathological mechanism in the heart is unknown. As desmin is the cardiac homologue of keratin-14, we hypothesized that KLHL24-ΔN28 leads to excessive degradation of desmin, resulting in DCM. Dynamically loaded engineered heart tissues (dyn-EHTs) were generated from human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived cardiomyocytes from two patients and three (non)familial controls. Ten-fold lower desmin protein levels were observed in patient-derived dyn-EHTs, in line with diminished desmin levels detected in patients' explanted heart. This was accompanied by tissue dilatation, impaired mitochondrial function, decreased force values and increased cardiomyocyte stress. HEK293 transfection studies confirmed KLHL24-mediated desmin degradation. KLHL24 RNA interference or direct desmin overexpression recovered desmin protein levels, restoring morphology and function in patient-derived dyn-EHTs. To conclude, presence of KLHL24-ΔN28 in cardiomyocytes leads to excessive degradation of desmin, affecting tissue morphology and function, that can be prevented by restoring desmin protein levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/JCI140615DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8409593PMC
July 2021

Dynamic loading of human engineered heart tissue enhances contractile function and drives a desmosome-linked disease phenotype.

Sci Transl Med 2021 07;13(603)

Regenerative Biomaterials and Therapeutics Group, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.

The role that mechanical forces play in shaping the structure and function of the heart is critical to understanding heart formation and the etiology of disease but is challenging to study in patients. Engineered heart tissues (EHTs) incorporating human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived cardiomyocytes have the potential to provide insight into these adaptive and maladaptive changes. However, most EHT systems cannot model both preload (stretch during chamber filling) and afterload (pressure the heart must work against to eject blood). Here, we have developed a new dynamic EHT (dyn-EHT) model that enables us to tune preload and have unconstrained contractile shortening of >10%. To do this, three-dimensional (3D) EHTs were integrated with an elastic polydimethylsiloxane strip providing mechanical preload and afterload in addition to enabling contractile force measurements based on strip bending. Our results demonstrated that dynamic loading improves the function of wild-type EHTs on the basis of the magnitude of the applied force, leading to improved alignment, conduction velocity, and contractility. For disease modeling, we used hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes from a patient with arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy due to mutations in the desmoplakin gene. We demonstrated that manifestation of this desmosome-linked disease state required dyn-EHT conditioning and that it could not be induced using 2D or standard 3D EHT approaches. Thus, a dynamic loading strategy is necessary to provoke the disease phenotype of diastolic lengthening, reduction of desmosome counts, and reduced contractility, which are related to primary end points of clinical disease, such as chamber thinning and reduced cardiac output.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.abd1817DOI Listing
July 2021

Multimarker profiling identifies protective and harmful immune processes in heart failure: findings from BIOSTAT-CHF.

Cardiovasc Res 2021 Jul 15. Epub 2021 Jul 15.

Department of Cardiology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands.

Aims: The exploration of novel immunomodulatory interventions to improve outcome in heart failure (HF) is hampered by the complexity/redundancies of inflammatory pathways, which remain poorly understood. We thus aimed to investigate the associations between the activation of diverse immune processes and outcomes in patients with HF.

Methods And Results: We measured 355 biomarkers in 2,022 patients with worsening HF and an independent validation cohort (n = 1,691) (BIOSTAT-CHF index and validation cohorts), and classified them according to their functions into biological processes based on the Gene Ontology classification. Principal component analyses were used to extract weighted scores per process. We investigated the association of these processes with all-cause mortality at 2-year follow-up. The contribution of each biomarker to the weighted score(s) of the processes was used to identify potential therapeutic targets. Mean age was 69 (±12.0) years and 537 (27%) patients were women. We identified 64 unique overrepresented immune-related processes representing 188 of 355 biomarkers. Of these processes, 19 were associated with all-cause mortality (10 positively and 9 negatively). Increased activation of "T-cell costimulation" and "response to interferon gamma/positive regulation of interferon gamma production" showed the most consistent positive and negative associations with all-cause mortality respectively, after external validation. Within T-cell costimulation, inducible co-stimulator-ligand (ICOSLG), CD28, CD70, and tumor necrosis factor superfamily member-14 (TNFSF14) were identified as potential therapeutic targets.

Conclusions: We demonstrate the divergent protective and harmful effects of different immune processes in HF and suggest novel therapeutic targets. These findings constitute a rich knowledge base for informing future studies of inflammation in HF.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cvr/cvab235DOI Listing
July 2021

Hypertensive disorders in women with peripartum cardiomyopathy: insights from the ESC EORP PPCM Registry.

Eur J Heart Fail 2021 Jun 11. Epub 2021 Jun 11.

Department of Cardiology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Aims: Hypertensive disorders occur in women with peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM). How often hypertensive disorders co-exist, and to what extent they impact outcomes, is less clear. We describe differences in phenotype and outcomes in women with PPCM with and without hypertensive disorders during pregnancy.

Methods And Results: The European Society of Cardiology EURObservational Research Programme PPCM Registry enrolled women with PPCM from 2012-2018. Three groups were examined: (i) women without hypertension (PPCM-noHTN); (ii) women with hypertension but without pre-eclampsia (PPCM-HTN); (iii) women with pre-eclampsia (PPCM-PE). Maternal (6-month) and neonatal outcomes were compared. Of 735 women included, 452 (61.5%) had PPCM-noHTN, 99 (13.5%) had PPCM-HTN and 184 (25.0%) had PPCM-PE. Compared to women with PPCM-noHTN, women with PPCM-PE had more severe symptoms (New York Heart Association class IV in 44.4% vs. 29.9%, P < 0.001), more frequent signs of heart failure (pulmonary rales in 70.7% vs. 55.4%, P = 0.002), a higher baseline left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) (32.7% vs. 30.7%, P = 0.005) and a smaller left ventricular end-diastolic diameter (57.4 ± 6.7 mm vs. 59.8 ± 8.1 mm, P = 0.001). There were no differences in the frequencies of death from any cause, rehospitalization for any cause, stroke, or thromboembolic events. Compared to women with PPCM-noHTN, women with PPCM-PE had a greater likelihood of left ventricular recovery (LVEF ≥ 50%) (adjusted odds ratio 2.08, 95% confidence interval 1.21-3.57) and an adverse neonatal outcome (composite of termination, miscarriage, low birth weight or neonatal death) (adjusted odds ratio 2.84, 95% confidence interval 1.66-4.87).

Conclusion: Differences exist in phenotype, recovery of cardiac function and neonatal outcomes according to hypertensive status in women with PPCM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ejhf.2264DOI Listing
June 2021

Left atrial volume and left ventricular mass indices in heart failure with preserved and reduced ejection fraction.

ESC Heart Fail 2021 Aug 4;8(4):2458-2466. Epub 2021 Jun 4.

Department of Cardiology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), PO Box 30.001, Groningen, 9700 RB, The Netherlands.

Aims: Two key echocardiographic parameters that are currently used to diagnose heart failure (HF) with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) are left atrial volume index (LAVi) and left ventricular mass index (LVMi). We investigated whether patients' characteristics, biomarkers, and co-morbidities are associated with these parameters and whether the relationships differ between patients with HFpEF or HF with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF).

Methods: We consecutively enrolled 831 outpatients with typical signs and symptoms of HF and elevated N-terminal prohormone of brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) levels and categorized patients based upon left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF): LVEF < 40% (HFrEF), LVEF between 40% and 50% (HF with mid-range ejection fraction), and LVEF ≥ 50% (HFpEF). The study includes consecutively enrolled HF patients from an HF outpatient clinic at a tertiary medical centre in the Netherlands. All patients underwent baseline characterization, laboratory measurements, and echocardiography.

Results: Four hundred sixty-nine patients had HFrEF, 189 HF with mid-range ejection fraction, and 173 HFpEF. The patients with HFrEF were rather male [HFrEF: 323 (69%); HFpEF: 80 (46%); P < 0.001], and the age was comparable (HFrEF 67 ± 13; HFpEF 70 ± 14; P = 0.069). In HFpEF, more patients had hypertension [190 (40.5%); 114 (65.9%); P < 0.001], higher body mass indices (27 ± 8; 30 ± 7; P < 0.001), and atrial fibrillation [194 (41.4); 86 (49.7); P = 0.029]. The correlation analyses showed that in HFrEF patients, LAVi was significantly associated with age (β 0.293; P < 0.001), male gender (β 0.104; P = 0.042), body mass index (β -0160; P = 0.002), diastolic blood pressure (β -0.136; P < 0.001), New York Heart Association (β 0.174; P = 0.001), atrial fibrillation (β 0.381; P < 0.001), galectin 3 (β 0.230; P < 0.001), NT-proBNP (β 0.183; P < 0.001), estimated glomerular filtration rate (β -0.205; P < 0.001), LVEF (β -0.173; P = 0.001), and LVMi (β 0.337; P < 0.001). In HFpEF patients, only age (β 0.326; P < 0.001), atrial fibrillation (β 0.386; P < 0.001), NT-proBNP (β 0.176; P = 0.036), and LVMi (β 0.213; P = 0.013) were associated with LAVi.

Conclusions: Although LVMi and LAVi are hallmark parameters to diagnose HFpEF, they only correlate with a few characteristics of HF and mainly with atrial fibrillation. In contrast, in HFrEF patients, LAVi relates strongly to several other HF parameters. These findings underscore the complexity in visualizing the pathophysiology of HFpEF and question the relation between cardiac structural remodeling and the impact of co-morbidities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ehf2.13366DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8318400PMC
August 2021

The effect of intravenous ferric carboxymaltose on health-related quality of life in iron-deficient patients with acute heart failure: the results of the AFFIRM-AHF study.

Eur Heart J 2021 Jun 3. Epub 2021 Jun 3.

Robertson Center for Biostatistics, University of Glasgow, Boyd Orr Building University Avenue, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK.

Aims: Patients with heart failure (HF) and iron deficiency experience poor health-related quality of life (HRQoL). We evaluated the impact of intravenous (IV) ferric carboxymaltose (FCM) vs. placebo on HRQoL for the AFFIRM-AHF population.

Methods And Results: The baseline 12-item Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire (KCCQ-12), which was completed for 1058 (535 and 523) patients in the FCM and placebo groups, respectively, was administered prior to randomization and at Weeks 2, 4, 6, 12, 24, 36, and 52. The baseline KCCQ-12 overall summary score (OSS) mean ± standard error was 38.7 ± 0.9 (FCM group) and 37.1 ± 0.8 (placebo group); corresponding values for the clinical summary score (CSS) were 40.9 ± 0.9 and 40.1 ± 0.9. At Week 2, changes in OSS and CSS were similar for FCM and placebo. From Week 4 to Week 24, patients assigned to FCM had significantly greater improvements in OSS and CSS scores vs. placebo [adjusted mean difference (95% confidence interval, CI) at Week 4: 2.9 (0.5-5.3, P = 0.018) for OSS and 2.8 (0.3-5.3, P = 0.029) for CSS; adjusted mean difference (95% CI) at Week 24: 3.0 (0.3-5.6, P = 0.028) for OSS and 2.9 (0.2-5.6, P = 0.035) for CSS]. At Week 52, the treatment effect had attenuated but remained in favour of FCM.

Conclusion: In iron-deficient patients with HF and left ventricular ejection fraction ≤50% who had stabilized after an episode of acute HF, treatment with IV FCM, compared with placebo, results in clinically meaningful beneficial effects on HRQoL as early as 4 weeks after treatment initiation, lasting up to Week 24.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehab234DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8370759PMC
June 2021

Iron deficiency contributes to resistance to endogenous erythropoietin in anaemic heart failure patients.

Eur J Heart Fail 2021 May 29. Epub 2021 May 29.

Department of Heart Diseases, Wroclaw Medical University, Wroclaw, Poland.

Aims: Abnormal endogenous erythropoietin (EPO) constitutes an important cause of anaemia in chronic diseases. We analysed the relationships between iron deficiency (ID) and the adequacy of endogenous EPO in anaemic heart failure (HF) patients, and the impact of abnormal EPO on 12-month mortality.

Methods And Results: We investigated 435 anaemic HF patients (age: 74 ± 10 years; males: 60%; New York Heart Association class I or II: 39%; left ventricular ejection fraction: 43 ± 17%). Patients with EPO higher than expected for a given haemoglobin were considered EPO-resistant whereas those with EPO lower than expected - EPO-deficient. ID was defined as serum ferritin <100 µg/L or 100-299 µg/L with transferrin saturation <20%. EPO-resistant patients (22%) had more advanced HF whereas those with EPO deficiency (57%) were more frequently females and had worse renal function. Lower serum ferritin (indicating depleted body iron stores) was related to higher EPO observed/predicted ratio when adjusted for significant clinical confounders, including C-reactive protein. One year all-cause mortality was 28% in patients with EPO resistance compared to 17% in patients with EPO deficiency and 10% in patients with adequate EPO (log-rank test for the comparison EPO resistance vs. adequate EPO: P = 0.02). When adjusted for other prognosticators, there was still a trend towards increased 12-month mortality in patients with higher EPO level.

Conclusion: Anaemic HF patients with endogenous EPO deficiency vs. resistance have different clinical and laboratory characteristics. In such patients, ID contributes to EPO resistance independently of inflammation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ejhf.2253DOI Listing
May 2021

Interleukin 6 and Development of Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction in the General Population.

J Am Heart Assoc 2021 06 17;10(11):e018549. Epub 2021 May 17.

Division of Nephrology Department of Internal Medicine University of GroningenUniversity Medical Center Groningen Groningen the Netherlands.

Background The cause of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) is poorly understood, and specific therapies are lacking. Previous studies suggested that inflammation plays a role in the development of HFpEF. Herein, we aimed to investigate in community-dwelling individuals whether a higher plasma interleukin 6 (IL-6) level is associated with an increased risk of developing new-onset heart failure (HF) over time, and specifically HFpEF. Methods and Results We performed a case-cohort study based on the PREVEND (Prevention of Renal and Vascular End-Stage Disease) study, a prospective general population-based cohort study. We included 961 participants, comprising 200 participants who developed HF and a random group of 761 controls. HF with reduced ejection fraction or HFpEF was defined on the basis of the left ventricular ejection fraction of ≤40% or >40%, respectively. In Cox proportional hazard regression analyses, IL-6 levels were statistically significantly associated with the development of HF (hazard ratio [HR], 1.28; 95% CI, 1.02-1.61; =0.03) after adjustment for key risk factors. Specifically, IL-6 levels were significantly associated with the development of HFpEF (HR, 1.59; 95% CI, 1.16-2.19; =0.004), whereas the association with HF with reduced ejection fraction was nonsignificant (HR, 1.05; 95% CI, 0.75-1.47; =0.77). In sensitivity analyses, defining HFpEF as left ventricular ejection fraction ≥50%, IL-6 levels were also significantly associated with the development of HFpEF (HR, 1.47; 95% CI, 1.04-2.06; =0.03) after adjustment for key risk factors. Conclusions IL-6 is associated with new-onset HFpEF in community-dwelling individuals, independent of potential confounders. Our findings warrant further research to investigate whether IL-6 might be a novel treatment target to prevent HFpEF.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.120.018549DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8483531PMC
June 2021

ATPase Inhibitory Factor-1 Disrupts Mitochondrial Ca Handling and Promotes Pathological Cardiac Hypertrophy through CaMKIIδ.

Int J Mol Sci 2021 Apr 23;22(9). Epub 2021 Apr 23.

Department of Cardiology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, P.O. Box 30.001, 9700 RB Groningen, The Netherlands.

ATPase inhibitory factor-1 (IF1) preserves cellular ATP under conditions of respiratory collapse, yet the function of IF1 under normal respiring conditions is unresolved. We tested the hypothesis that IF1 promotes mitochondrial dysfunction and pathological cardiomyocyte hypertrophy in the context of heart failure (HF). Methods and results: Cardiac expression of IF1 was increased in mice and in humans with HF, downstream of neurohumoral signaling pathways and in patterns that resembled the fetal-like gene program. Adenoviral expression of wild-type IF1 in primary cardiomyocytes resulted in pathological hypertrophy and metabolic remodeling as evidenced by enhanced mitochondrial oxidative stress, reduced mitochondrial respiratory capacity, and the augmentation of extramitochondrial glycolysis. Similar perturbations were observed with an IF1 mutant incapable of binding to ATP synthase (E55A mutation), an indication that these effects occurred independent of binding to ATP synthase. Instead, IF1 promoted mitochondrial fragmentation and compromised mitochondrial Ca handling, which resulted in sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca overloading. The effects of IF1 on Ca handling were associated with the cytosolic activation of calcium-calmodulin kinase II (CaMKII) and inhibition of CaMKII or co-expression of catalytically dead CaMKIIδC was sufficient to prevent IF1 induced pathological hypertrophy. Conclusions: IF1 represents a novel member of the fetal-like gene program that contributes to mitochondrial dysfunction and pathological cardiac remodeling in HF. Furthermore, we present evidence for a novel, ATP-synthase-independent, role for IF1 in mitochondrial Ca handling and mitochondrial-to-nuclear crosstalk involving CaMKII.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms22094427DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8122940PMC
April 2021

Prospective ARNI vs. ACE inhibitor trial to DetermIne Superiority in reducing heart failure Events after Myocardial Infarction (PARADISE-MI): design and baseline characteristics.

Eur J Heart Fail 2021 06 22;23(6):1040-1048. Epub 2021 Apr 22.

TIMI Study Group, Cardiovascular Division, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

Aims: Patients surviving an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) are at risk of developing symptomatic heart failure (HF) or premature death. We hypothesized that sacubitril/valsartan, effective in the treatment of chronic HF, prevents development of HF and reduces cardiovascular death following high-risk AMI compared to a proven angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor. This paper describes the study design and baseline characteristics of patients enrolled in the Prospective ARNI vs. ACE inhibitor trial to DetermIne Superiority in reducing heart failure Events after Myocardial Infarction (PARADISE-MI) trial.

Methods And Results: PARADISE-MI, a multinational (41 countries), double-blind, active-controlled trial, randomized patients within 0.5-7 days of presentation with index AMI to sacubitril/valsartan or ramipril. Transient pulmonary congestion and/or left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) ≤40% and at least one additional factor augmenting risk of HF or death (age ≥70 years, estimated glomerular filtration rate <60 mL/min/1.73 m , diabetes, prior myocardial infarction, atrial fibrillation, LVEF <30%, Killip class ≥III, ST-elevation myocardial infarction without reperfusion) were required for inclusion. PARADISE-MI was event-driven targeting 708 primary endpoints (cardiovascular death, HF hospitalization or outpatient development of HF). Randomization of 5669 patients occurred 4.3 ± 1.8 days from presentation with index AMI. The mean age was 64 ± 12 years, 24% were women. The majority (76%) qualified with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction; acute percutaneous coronary intervention was performed in 88% and thrombolysis in 6%. LVEF was 37 ± 9% and 58% were in Killip class ≥II.

Conclusions: Baseline therapies in PARADISE-MI reflect advances in contemporary evidence-based care. With enrollment complete PARADISE-MI is poised to determine whether sacubitril/valsartan is more effective than a proven ACE inhibitor in preventing development of HF and cardiovascular death following AMI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ejhf.2191DOI Listing
June 2021

Selenium, Selenoproteins, and Heart Failure: Current Knowledge and Future Perspective.

Curr Heart Fail Rep 2021 06 9;18(3):122-131. Epub 2021 Apr 9.

Department of Cardiology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Purpose Of Review: (Mal-)nutrition of micronutrients, like selenium, has great impact on the human heart and improper micronutrient intake was observed in 30-50% of patients with heart failure. Low selenium levels have been reported in Europe and Asia and thought to be causal for Keshan disease. Selenium is an essential micronutrient that is needed for enzymatic activity of the 25 so-called selenoproteins, which have a broad range of activities. In this review, we aim to summarize the current evidence about selenium in heart failure and to provide insights about the potential mechanisms that can be modulated by selenoproteins.

Recent Findings: Suboptimal selenium levels (<100 μg/L) are prevalent in more than 70% of patients with heart failure and were associated with lower exercise capacity, lower quality of life, and worse prognosis. Small clinical trials assessing selenium supplementation in patients with HF showed improvement of clinical symptoms (NYHA class), left ventricular ejection fraction, and lipid profile, while governmental interventional programs in endemic areas have significantly decreased the incidence of Keshan disease. In addition, several selenoproteins are found impaired in suboptimal selenium conditions, potentially aggravating underlying mechanisms like oxidative stress, inflammation, and thyroid hormone insufficiency. While the current evidence is not sufficient to advocate selenium supplementation in patients with heart failure, there is a clear need for high level evidence to show whether treatment with selenium has a place in the contemporary treatment of patients with HF to improve meaningful clinical endpoints. Graphical summary summarizing the potential beneficial effects of the various selenoproteins, locally in cardiac tissues and systemically in the rest of the body. In short, several selenoproteins contribute in protecting the integrity of the mitochondria. By doing so, they contribute indirectly to reducing the oxidative stress as well as improving the functionality of immune cells, which are in particular vulnerable to oxidative stress. Several other selenoproteins are directly involved in antioxidative pathways, next to excreting anti-inflammatory effects. Similarly, some selenoproteins are located in the endoplasmic reticulum, playing roles in protein folding. With exception of the protection of the mitochondria and the reduction of oxidative stress, other effects are not yet investigated in cardiac tissues. The systemic effects of selenoproteins might not be limited to these mechanisms, but also may include modulation of endothelial function, protection skeletal muscles, in addition to thyroid metabolism.

Abbreviations: DIO, iodothyronine deiodinase; GPx, glutathione peroxidase; MsrB2, methionine-R-sulfoxide reductase B2; SELENOK, selenoprotein K; SELENON, selenoprotein N; SELENOP, selenoprotein P; SELENOS, selenoprotein S; SELENOT, selenoprotein T; TXNRD, thioredoxin reductase.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11897-021-00511-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8163712PMC
June 2021

Iron deficiency in heart failure-time to redefine.

Eur J Prev Cardiol 2020 Nov 25. Epub 2020 Nov 25.

Department of Cardiology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Hazenplein 1, Groningen, The Netherlands.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurjpc/zwaa119DOI Listing
November 2020

Anticoagulation in patients with atrial fibrillation and active cancer: an international survey on patient management.

Eur J Prev Cardiol 2021 May;28(6):611-621

School of Medicine, University of Insubria, Via Ravasi, 2, 21100 Varese, Italy.

Background: In patients with active cancer and atrial fibrillation (AF) anticoagulation, thrombotic and bleeding risk still entail uncertainty.

Aim: We explored the results of an international survey examining the knowledge and behaviours of a large group of physicians.

Methods And Results: A web-based survey was completed by 960 physicians (82.4% cardiologists, 75.5% from Europe). Among the currently available anticoagulants for stroke prevention in patients with active cancer, direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) were preferred by 62.6%, with lower values for low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) (24.1%) and for warfarin (only 7.3%). About 46% of respondents considered that DOACs should be used in all types of cancers except in non-operable gastrointestinal cancers. The lack of controlled studies on bleeding risk (33.5% of respondents) and the risk of drug interactions (31.5%) were perceived as problematic issues associated with use of anticoagulants in cancer. The decision on anticoagulation involved a cardiologist in 27.8% of cases, a cardiologist and an oncologist in 41.1%, and a team approach in 21.6%. The patient also was involved in decision-making, according to ∼60% of the respondents. For risk stratification, use of CHA2DS2-VASc and HAS-BLED scores was considered appropriate, although not specifically validated in cancer patients, by 66.7% and 56.4%, respectively.

Conclusion: This survey highlights that management of anticoagulation in patients with AF and active cancer is challenging, with substantial heterogeneity in therapeutic choices. Direct oral anticoagulants seems having an emerging role but still the use of LMWH remains substantial, despite the absence of long-term data on thromboprophylaxis in AF.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurjpc/zwaa054DOI Listing
May 2021

Risk stratification and management of women with cardiomyopathy/heart failure planning pregnancy or presenting during/after pregnancy: a position statement from the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology Study Group on Peripartum Cardiomyopathy.

Eur J Heart Fail 2021 04 17;23(4):527-540. Epub 2021 Mar 17.

Department of Cardiology and Angiology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.

This position paper focusses on the pathophysiology, diagnosis and management of women diagnosed with a cardiomyopathy, or at risk of heart failure (HF), who are planning to conceive or present with (de novo or previously unknown) HF during or after pregnancy. This includes the heterogeneous group of heart muscle diseases such as hypertrophic, dilated, arrhythmogenic right ventricular and non-classified cardiomyopathies, left ventricular non-compaction, peripartum cardiomyopathy, Takotsubo syndrome, adult congenital heart disease with HF, and patients with right HF. Also, patients with a history of chemo-/radiotherapy for cancer or haematological malignancies need specific pre-, during and post-pregnancy assessment and counselling. We summarize the current knowledge about pathophysiological mechanisms, including gene mutations, clinical presentation, diagnosis, and medical and device management, as well as risk stratification. Women with a known diagnosis of a cardiomyopathy will often require continuation of drug therapy, which has the potential to exert negative effects on the foetus. This position paper assists in balancing benefits and detrimental effects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ejhf.2133DOI Listing
April 2021

The Additive Prognostic Value of Serial Plasma Interleukin-6 Levels over Changes in Brain Natriuretic Peptide in Patients with Acute Heart Failure.

J Card Fail 2021 Jul 23;27(7):808-811. Epub 2021 Jan 23.

Department of Cardiology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands. Electronic address:

Background: Elevated plasma interleukin-6 (IL-6) concentrations are frequently observed in patients with acute heart failure (AHF). However, the predictive value of serial IL-6 measurements beyond brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) remains poorly characterized.

Methods And Results: This was a retrospective analysis of the PROTECT cohort (2033 patients with AHF). Plasma IL-6 and BNP levels were determined on days 1, 2, 7 and 14 after admission for AHF in 1591 (78.3%), 1462 (71.9%), 1445 (71.1%) and 1451 (71.4%) patients, respectively. The primary endpoint was 180-day all-cause mortality. The median day-1 IL-6 concentration was 11.1 pg/mL (IQR: 6.6, 20.9) and decreased to 10.1 pg/mL (IQR: 5.6-18.5) at day-7. Higher cross-sectional IL-6 concentrations at all time-points predicted the primary endpoint, independent of a risk model for this cohort and changes in BNP. Each doubling of IL-6 between day-1 and day-7 predicted the primary endpoint independent of baseline IL-6 concentrations, the risk model, baseline BNP and changes in BNP [HR (95% CI): 1.18 (1.07-1.30), p=0.0013]. Collectively, 214 (17%) patients experienced at least a doubling of their IL-6 concentrations between day-1 and day-7.

Conclusions: We demonstrate that the temporal evolution patterns of IL-6 in patients with AHF have additive prognostic value independent of changes in BNP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cardfail.2021.01.008DOI Listing
July 2021

Electrocardiographic features and their echocardiographic correlates in peripartum cardiomyopathy: results from the ESC EORP PPCM registry.

ESC Heart Fail 2021 04 16;8(2):879-889. Epub 2021 Jan 16.

Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.

Aims: In peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM), electrocardiography (ECG) and its relationship to echocardiography have not yet been investigated in large multi-centre and multi-ethnic studies. We aimed to identify ECG abnormalities associated with PPCM, including regional and ethnic differences, and their correlation with echocardiographic features.

Methods And Results: We studied 411 patients from the EURObservational PPCM registry. Baseline demographic, clinical, and echocardiographic data were collected. ECGs were analysed for rate, rhythm, QRS width and morphology, and QTc interval. The median age was 31 [interquartile range (IQR) 26-35] years. The ECG was abnormal in > 95% of PPCM patients. Sinus tachycardia (heart rate > 100 b.p.m.) was common (51%), but atrial fibrillation was rare (2.27%). Median QRS width was 82 ms [IQR 80-97]. Left bundle branch block (LBBB) was reported in 9.30%. Left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy (LVH), as per ECG criteria, was more prevalent amongst Africans (59.62%) and Asians (23.17%) than Caucasians (7.63%, P < 0.001) but did not correlate with LVH on echocardiography. Median LV end-diastolic diameter (LVEDD) was 60 mm [IQR 55-65] and LV ejection fraction (LVEF) 32.5% [IQR 25-39], with no significant regional or ethnic differences. Sinus tachycardia was associated with an LVEF < 35% (OR 1.85 [95% CI 1.20-2.85], P = 0.006). ECG features that predicted an LVEDD > 55 mm included a QRS complex > 120 ms (OR 11.32 [95% CI 1.52-84.84], P = 0.018), LBBB (OR 4.35 [95% CI 1.30-14.53], P = 0.017), and LVH (OR 2.03 [95% CI 1.13-3.64], P = 0.017).

Conclusions: PPCM patients often have ECG abnormalities. Sinus tachycardia predicted poor systolic function, whereas wide QRS, LBBB, and LVH were associated with LV dilatation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ehf2.13172DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8006717PMC
April 2021

Is acute heart failure a distinctive disorder? An analysis from BIOSTAT-CHF.

Eur J Heart Fail 2021 01 22;23(1):43-57. Epub 2021 Jan 22.

Momentum Research, Inc., Durham, NC, USA.

Aims: This retrospective analysis sought to identify markers that might distinguish between acute heart failure (HF) and worsening HF in chronic outpatients.

Methods And Results: The BIOSTAT-CHF index cohort included 2516 patients with new or worsening HF symptoms: 1694 enrolled as inpatients (acute HF) and 822 as outpatients (worsening HF in chronic outpatients). A validation cohort included 935 inpatients and 803 outpatients. Multivariable models were developed in the index cohort using clinical characteristics, routine laboratory values, and proteomics data to examine which factors predict adverse outcomes in both conditions and to determine which factors differ between acute HF and worsening HF in chronic outpatients, validated in the validation cohort. Patients with acute HF had substantially higher morbidity and mortality (6-month mortality was 12.3% for acute HF and 4.7% for worsening HF in chronic outpatients). Multivariable models predicting 180-day mortality and 180-day HF readmission differed substantially between acute HF and worsening HF in chronic outpatients. Carbohydrate antigen 125 was the strongest single biomarker to distinguish acute HF from worsening HF in chronic outpatients, but only yielded a C-index of 0.71. A model including multiple biomarkers and clinical variables achieved a high degree of discrimination with a C-index of 0.913 in the index cohort and 0.901 in the validation cohort.

Conclusions: This study identifies different characteristics and predictors of outcome in acute HF patients as compared to outpatients with chronic HF developing worsening HF. The markers identified may be useful in better diagnosing acute HF and may become targets for treatment development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ejhf.2077DOI Listing
January 2021

Human iPSC-Derived Cardiomyocytes of Peripartum Patients With Cardiomyopathy Reveal Aberrant Regulation of Lipid Metabolism.

Circulation 2020 12 7;142(23):2288-2291. Epub 2020 Dec 7.

Department of Cardiology (M.F.H., N.B., K.F.A.G., P.v.d.M.), University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.119.044962DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7846285PMC
December 2020

Effects of empagliflozin on renal sodium and glucose handling in patients with acute heart failure.

Eur J Heart Fail 2021 01 16;23(1):68-78. Epub 2020 Dec 16.

University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Aims: Sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors improve clinical outcome in patients with heart failure (HF), but the mechanisms behind their beneficial effects are not yet fully understood. We examined the effects of empagliflozin on renal sodium and glucose handling in patients with acute HF.

Methods And Results: This study was a pre-defined sub-study of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, multicentre study (EMPA-RESPONSE-AHF). Patients were allocated within 24 h of an acute HF admission to either empagliflozin 10 mg/day (n = 40) or placebo (n = 39) for 30 days. Markers of glucose and sodium handling were measured daily during the first 96 h and at day 30. Patients were 76 (range 38-89) years old and 33% had diabetes. The use of loop diuretics during the first 96 h was similar in both groups. Empagliflozin increased fractional glucose excretion with a peak after 24 h (21.8% vs. 0.1%; P < 0.001), without affecting plasma glucose concentration, while fractional sodium and chloride excretion and urinary osmolality remained unchanged (P >0.3 for all). However, empagliflozin increased plasma osmolality (delta osmolality at 72 h: 5 ± 8 vs. 2 ± 5 mOsm/kg; P = 0.049). Finally, there was an early decline in estimated glomerular filtration rate with empagliflozin vs. placebo (-10 ± 12 vs. -2 ± 12 mL/min/1.73 m ; P = 0.009), which recovered within 30 days.

Conclusion: In patients with acute HF, empagliflozin increased fractional glucose excretion and plasma osmolality, without affecting fractional sodium excretion or urine osmolality and caused a temporary decline in estimated glomerular filtration rate. This suggests that empagliflozin stimulates osmotic diuresis through increased glycosuria rather than natriuresis in patients with acute HF.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ejhf.2066DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8048437PMC
January 2021

Discovery of rare variants associated with blood pressure regulation through meta-analysis of 1.3 million individuals.

Nat Genet 2020 12 23;52(12):1314-1332. Epub 2020 Nov 23.

Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital, Herlev, Denmark.

Genetic studies of blood pressure (BP) to date have mainly analyzed common variants (minor allele frequency > 0.05). In a meta-analysis of up to ~1.3 million participants, we discovered 106 new BP-associated genomic regions and 87 rare (minor allele frequency ≤ 0.01) variant BP associations (P < 5 × 10), of which 32 were in new BP-associated loci and 55 were independent BP-associated single-nucleotide variants within known BP-associated regions. Average effects of rare variants (44% coding) were ~8 times larger than common variant effects and indicate potential candidate causal genes at new and known loci (for example, GATA5 and PLCB3). BP-associated variants (including rare and common) were enriched in regions of active chromatin in fetal tissues, potentially linking fetal development with BP regulation in later life. Multivariable Mendelian randomization suggested possible inverse effects of elevated systolic and diastolic BP on large artery stroke. Our study demonstrates the utility of rare-variant analyses for identifying candidate genes and the results highlight potential therapeutic targets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-020-00713-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7610439PMC
December 2020

Ferric carboxymaltose for iron deficiency at discharge after acute heart failure: a multicentre, double-blind, randomised, controlled trial.

Lancet 2020 12 13;396(10266):1895-1904. Epub 2020 Nov 13.

Robertson Center for Biostatistics, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK.

Background: Intravenous ferric carboxymaltose has been shown to improve symptoms and quality of life in patients with chronic heart failure and iron deficiency. We aimed to evaluate the effect of ferric carboxymaltose, compared with placebo, on outcomes in patients who were stabilised after an episode of acute heart failure.

Methods: AFFIRM-AHF was a multicentre, double-blind, randomised trial done at 121 sites in Europe, South America, and Singapore. Eligible patients were aged 18 years or older, were hospitalised for acute heart failure with concomitant iron deficiency (defined as ferritin <100 μg/L, or 100-299 μg/L with transferrin saturation <20%), and had a left ventricular ejection fraction of less than 50%. Before hospital discharge, participants were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive intravenous ferric carboxymaltose or placebo for up to 24 weeks, dosed according to the extent of iron deficiency. To maintain masking of patients and study personnel, treatments were administered in black syringes by personnel not involved in any study assessments. The primary outcome was a composite of total hospitalisations for heart failure and cardiovascular death up to 52 weeks after randomisation, analysed in all patients who received at least one dose of study treatment and had at least one post-randomisation data point. Secondary outcomes were the composite of total cardiovascular hospitalisations and cardiovascular death; cardiovascular death; total heart failure hospitalisations; time to first heart failure hospitalisation or cardiovascular death; and days lost due to heart failure hospitalisations or cardiovascular death, all evaluated up to 52 weeks after randomisation. Safety was assessed in all patients for whom study treatment was started. A pre-COVID-19 sensitivity analysis on the primary and secondary outcomes was prespecified. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02937454, and has now been completed.

Findings: Between March 21, 2017, and July 30, 2019, 1525 patients were screened, of whom 1132 patients were randomly assigned to study groups. Study treatment was started in 1110 patients, and 1108 (558 in the carboxymaltose group and 550 in the placebo group) had at least one post-randomisation value. 293 primary events (57·2 per 100 patient-years) occurred in the ferric carboxymaltose group and 372 (72·5 per 100 patient-years) occurred in the placebo group (rate ratio [RR] 0·79, 95% CI 0·62-1·01, p=0·059). 370 total cardiovascular hospitalisations and cardiovascular deaths occurred in the ferric carboxymaltose group and 451 occurred in the placebo group (RR 0·80, 95% CI 0·64-1·00, p=0·050). There was no difference in cardiovascular death between the two groups (77 [14%] of 558 in the ferric carboxymaltose group vs 78 [14%] in the placebo group; hazard ratio [HR] 0·96, 95% CI 0·70-1·32, p=0·81). 217 total heart failure hospitalisations occurred in the ferric carboxymaltose group and 294 occurred in the placebo group (RR 0·74; 95% CI 0·58-0·94, p=0·013). The composite of first heart failure hospitalisation or cardiovascular death occurred in 181 (32%) patients in the ferric carboxymaltose group and 209 (38%) in the placebo group (HR 0·80, 95% CI 0·66-0·98, p=0·030). Fewer days were lost due to heart failure hospitalisations and cardiovascular death for patients assigned to ferric carboxymaltose compared with placebo (369 days per 100 patient-years vs 548 days per 100 patient-years; RR 0·67, 95% CI 0·47-0·97, p=0·035). Serious adverse events occurred in 250 (45%) of 559 patients in the ferric carboxymaltose group and 282 (51%) of 551 patients in the placebo group.

Interpretation: In patients with iron deficiency, a left ventricular ejection fraction of less than 50%, and who were stabilised after an episode of acute heart failure, treatment with ferric carboxymaltose was safe and reduced the risk of heart failure hospitalisations, with no apparent effect on the risk of cardiovascular death.

Funding: Vifor Pharma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)32339-4DOI Listing
December 2020
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