Publications by authors named "Sebastiaan C A M Bekkers"

54 Publications

Epicardial Surface Area of Infarction: A Stable Surrogate of Microvascular Obstruction in Acute Myocardial Infarction.

Circ Cardiovasc Imaging 2021 Feb 15;14(2):e010918. Epub 2021 Feb 15.

Duke Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Center, Department of Medicine and Radiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC (L.M.R.V.A., H.W.K., B.H., M.A.P., Y.K., R.M.J., R.J.K.).

Background: Microvascular obstruction (MO) is a pathophysiologic complication of acute myocardial infarction that portends poor prognosis; however, it is transient and disappears with infarct healing. Much remains unknown regarding its pathophysiology and whether there are predictors of MO that could function as stable surrogates. We tested for clinical and cardiovascular magnetic resonance predictors of MO to gain insight into its pathophysiology and to find a stable surrogate.

Methods: Three hundred two consecutive patients from 2 centers underwent cardiovascular magnetic resonance within 2 weeks of first acute myocardial infarction. Three measures of infarct morphology: infarct size, transmurality, and a new index-the epicardial surface area (EpiSA) of full-thickness infarction-were quantified on delayed-enhancement cardiovascular magnetic resonance.

Results: Considering all clinical characteristics, only measures of infarct morphology were independent predictors of MO. EpiSA was the strongest predictor of MO and provided incremental predictive value beyond that of infarct size and transmurality (<0.0001). In patients with 3-month follow-up cardiovascular magnetic resonance (n=81), EpiSA extent remained stable while MO disappeared, and EpiSA was a predictor of adverse ventricular remodeling. After 20 months of follow-up, 11 died and 1 had heart transplantation. Patients with an EpiSA larger than the median value (≥6%) had worse outcome than those with less than the median value (adverse events: 6.4% versus 1.9%, =0.045).

Conclusions: The EpiSA of infarction is a novel index of infarct morphology which accurately predicts MO during the first 2 weeks of MI, but unlike MO, does not disappear with infarct healing. This index has potential as a stable surrogate of the presence of acute MO and may be useful as a predictor of adverse remodeling and outcome which is less dependent on the time window of patient assessment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCIMAGING.120.010918DOI Listing
February 2021

MINOCA: The caveat of absence of coronary obstruction in myocardial infarction.

Int J Cardiol Heart Vasc 2020 Aug 1;29:100572. Epub 2020 Jul 1.

Department of Cardiology, Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, the Netherlands.

Aims: Whether patients with MINOCA (myocardial infarction with non-obstructive coronary arteries) have better outcomes than patients with obstructive coronary artery disease remains contradictory. The current study focussed on the clinical profile and prognosis of MINOCA patients.

Methods And Results: We performed a retrospective analysis of patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) admitted to the Isala hospital in Zwolle, the Netherlands, between 2006 and 2014. A total of 7693 patients were categorized into three groups: MINOCA, single-vessel obstructive ACS (SV-ACS), and multi-vessel obstructive ACS (MV-ACS). MINOCA patients (5.2% of the total population) were more likely to be female (51.5% vs. 30.3% and 26.0% in SV-ACS and MV-ACS, respectively, p < 0.001 for both). The prevalence of risk factors in the MINOCA group was in between the SV-ACS and MV-ACS groups. Logistic regression revealed a lower odds of dying in SV-ACS (odds ratio (OR) = 0.70 (p = 0.04)) and a similar odds in MV-ACS (OR = 0.88, p = 0.45) compared to MINOCA.

Conclusions: Patients with MINOCA show an 'intermediate' risk profile with mortality rates in between those of both ACS groups. Hence, MINOCA should be recognised as a potential risk factor for mortality, requiring adequate treatment and follow-up.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcha.2020.100572DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7334364PMC
August 2020

High-Sensitivity Cardiac Troponin I and T Kinetics after Non-ST-Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction.

J Appl Lab Med 2020 01;5(1):239-241

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

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1373/jalm.2019.029785DOI Listing
January 2020

Evaluating the diagnostic accuracy of maximal aortic diameter, length and volume for prediction of aortic dissection.

Heart 2020 Jun 8;106(12):892-897. Epub 2020 Mar 8.

Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, Limburg, The Netherlands.

Objective: Management of thoracic aortic aneurysms (TAAs) comprises regular diameter follow-up until the indication criterion for prophylactic surgery is reached. However, this approach is unable to predict the majority of acute type A aortic dissections (ATAADs). The current study aims to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of ascending aortic diameter, length and volume for occurrence of ATAAD.

Methods: This two-centre observational cohort study retrospectively screened 477 consecutive patients who presented with ATAAD between 2009 and 2018. Of those, 25 (5.2%) underwent CT angiography (CTA) within 2 years before dissection onset. Aortic diameter, length and volume of these patients ('pre-ATAAD') were compared with those of TAA controls (n=75). Receiver operating curve analysis was performed to evaluate the predictive accuracy of the three different measurements.

Results: 96% of patients with pre-ATAAD did not meet the surgical diameter threshold of 55 mm before dissection onset. Maximal aortic diameters (45 (40-49) mm vs 46 (44-49) mm, p=0.075) and volume (126 (95-157) cm vs 124 (102-136) cm, p=0.909) were comparable between patients with pre-ATAAD and TAA controls. Conversely, ascending aortic length (84±9 mm vs 90±16 mm, p=0.031) was significantly larger in patients with pre-ATAAD. All three parameters had an area under the curve of >0.800. At the 55 mm cut-off point, the maximal diameter yielded a positive predictive value (PPV) of 20%. While maintaining same specificity levels, measurements of aortic volume and length showed superior diagnostic accuracy (PPV 55% and 70%, respectively).

Conclusion: Measurements of aortic volume and length have superior diagnostic accuracy compared with the maximal diameter and could improve the timely identification of patients at risk for ATAAD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/heartjnl-2019-316251DOI Listing
June 2020

Initial Imaging-Guided Strategy Versus Routine Care in Patients With Non-ST-Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction.

J Am Coll Cardiol 2019 11;74(20):2466-2477

Department of Cardiology, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, the Netherlands; Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht (CARIM), Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands; Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, the Netherlands. Electronic address:

Background: Patients with non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction and elevated high-sensitivity cardiac troponin levels often routinely undergo invasive coronary angiography (ICA), but many do not have obstructive coronary artery disease.

Objectives: This study investigated whether cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) or computed tomographic angiography (CTA) may serve as a safe gatekeeper for ICA.

Methods: This randomized controlled trial (NCT01559467) in 207 patients (age 64 years; 62% male patients) with acute chest pain, elevated high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T levels (>14 ng/l), and inconclusive electrocardiogram compared a CMR- or CTA-first strategy with a control strategy of routine clinical care. Follow-up ICA was recommended when initial CMR or CTA suggested myocardial ischemia, infarction, or obstructive coronary artery disease (≥70% stenosis). Primary efficacy and secondary safety endpoints were referral to ICA during hospitalization and 1-year outcomes (major adverse cardiac events and complications), respectively.

Results: The CMR- and CTA-first strategies reduced ICA compared with routine clinical care (87% [p = 0.001], 66% [p < 0.001], and 100%, respectively), with similar outcome (hazard ratio: CMR vs. routine, 0.78 [95% confidence interval: 0.37 to 1.61]; CTA vs. routine, 0.66 [95% confidence interval: 0.31 to 1.42]; and CMR vs. CTA, 1.19 [95% confidence interval: 0.53 to 2.66]). Obstructive coronary artery disease after ICA was found in 61% of patients in the routine clinical care arm, in 69% in the CMR-first arm (p = 0.308 vs. routine), and in 85% in the CTA-first arm (p = 0.006 vs. routine). In the non-CMR and non-CTA arms, follow-up CMR and CTA were performed in 67% and 13% of patients and led to a new diagnosis in 33% and 3%, respectively (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: A novel strategy of implementing CMR or CTA first in the diagnostic process in non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction is a safe gatekeeper for ICA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2019.09.027DOI Listing
November 2019

Clinical assessment of aortic valve stenosis: Comparison between 4D flow MRI and transthoracic echocardiography.

J Magn Reson Imaging 2020 02 30;51(2):472-480. Epub 2019 Jun 30.

Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, the Netherlands.

Background: The prevalence of valvular aortic stenosis (AS) increases as the population ages. Echocardiographic measurements of peak jet velocity (V ), mean pressure gradient (P ), and aortic valve area (AVA) determine AS severity and play a pivotal role in the stratification towards valvular replacement. A multimodality imaging approach might be needed in cases of uncertainty about the actual severity of the stenosis.

Purpose: To compare four-dimensional phase-contrast magnetic resonance (4D PC-MR), two-dimensional (2D) PC-MR, and transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) for quantification of AS.

Study Type: Prospective.

Population: Twenty patients with various degrees of AS (69.3 ± 5.0 years).

Field Strength/sequences: 4D PC-MR and 2D PC-MR at 3T.

Assessment: We compared V , P , and AVA between TTE, 4D PC-MR, and 2D PC-MR. Flow eccentricity was quantified by means of normalized flow displacement, and its influence on the accuracy of TTE measurements was investigated.

Statistical Tests: Pearson's correlation, Bland-Altman analysis, paired t-test, and intraclass correlation coefficient.

Results: 4D PC-MR measured higher V (r = 0.95, mean difference + 16.4 ± 10.7%, P <0.001), and P (r = 0.92, mean difference + 14.9 ± 16.0%, P = 0.013), but a less critical AVA (r = 0.80, mean difference + 19.9 ± 20.6%, P = 0.002) than TTE. In contrast, unidirectional 2D PC-MR substantially underestimated AS severity when compared with TTE. Differences in V between 4D PC-MR and TTE showed to be strongly correlated with the eccentricity of the flow jet (r = 0.89, P <0.001). Use of 4D PC-MR improved the concordance between V and AVA (from 0.68 to 0.87), and between PG and AVA (from 0.68 to 0.86).

Data Conclusion: 4D PC-MR improves the concordance between the different AS parameters and could serve as an additional imaging technique next to TTE. Future studies should address the potential value of 4D PC-MR in patients with discordant echocardiographic parameters.

Level Of Evidence: 2 Technical Efficacy: Stage 2 J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2020;51:472-480.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jmri.26847DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7004028PMC
February 2020

Identifying the Infarct-Related Artery in Patients With Non-ST-Segment-Elevation Myocardial Infarction.

Circ Cardiovasc Interv 2019 05;12(5):e007305

Department of Medicine, Duke Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Center, Durham, NC (A.S., J.K.H., I.K., M.H.S., L.V.A., J. White, J. Washam, M.R.P., R.J.K.).

Background: Determining the infarct-related artery (IRA) in non-ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction (MI) can be challenging. Delayed-enhancement cardiac magnetic resonance (DE-CMR) can accurately identify small MIs. The purpose of this study was to determine whether DE-CMR improves the ability to identify the IRA in patients with non-ST-segment-elevation MI.

Methods And Results: In this 3-center, prospective study, we enrolled 114 patients presenting with their first MI. Patients underwent DE-CMR followed by coronary angiography. The interventional cardiologist was blinded to the DE-CMR results. Later, coronary angiography and DE-CMR images were reviewed independently and blindly for identification of the IRA. The pattern of DE-CMR hyperenhancement was also used to determine whether there was a nonischemic pathogenesis for myocardial necrosis. The IRA was not identifiable by coronary angiography in 37% of patients (n=42). In these, the IRA or a new noncoronary artery disease diagnosis was identified by DE-CMR in 60% and 19% of patients, respectively. Even in patients with an IRA determined by coronary angiography, a different IRA or a noncoronary artery disease diagnosis was identified by DE-CMR in 14% and 13%, respectively. Overall, DE-CMR led to a new IRA diagnosis in 31%, a diagnosis of nonischemic pathogenesis in 15%, or either in 46% (95% CI, 37%-55%) of patients. Of 55 patients undergoing revascularization, 27% had revascularization solely to nonculprit coronary artery territories as determined by DE-CMR.

Conclusions: Identification of the IRA by coronary angiography can be challenging in patients with non-ST-segment-elevation MI. In nearly half, DE-CMR may lead to a new IRA diagnosis or elucidate a nonischemic pathogenesis. Revascularization solely of coronary arteries that are believed to be nonculprit arteries by DE-CMR is not uncommon.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCINTERVENTIONS.118.007305DOI Listing
May 2019

Integration of cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, electrocardiographic imaging, and coronary venous computed tomography angiography for guidance of left ventricular lead positioning.

Europace 2019 Apr;21(4):626-635

Department of Cardiology, CARIM, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, the Netherlands.

Aims: An appropriate left ventricular (LV) lead position is a pre-requisite for response to cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) and is highly patient-specific. The purpose of this study was to develop a non-invasive pre-procedural CRT-roadmap to guide LV lead placement to a coronary vein in late-activated myocardium remote from scar.

Methods And Results: Sixteen CRT candidates were prospectively included. Electrocardiographic imaging (ECGI), computed tomography angiography (CTA), and delayed enhancement cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (DE-CMR) were integrated into a 3D cardiac model (CRT-roadmap) using anatomic landmarks from CTA and DE-CMR. Electrocardiographic imaging was performed using 184 electrodes and a CT-based heart-torso geometry. Coronary venous anatomy was visualized using a designated CTA protocol. Focal scar was assessed from DE-CMR. Cardiac resynchronization therapy-roadmaps were constructed for all 16 patients [left bundle branch block: n = 6; intraventricular conduction disturbance: n = 8; narrow-QRS (ablate and pace strategy); n = 1; right bundle branch block: n = 1]. The number of coronary veins ranged between 3 and 4 per patient. The CRT-roadmaps showed no (n = 5), 1 (n = 6), or 2 (n = 5) veins per patient located outside scar in late-activated myocardium [≥50% QRS duration (QRSd)]. Final LV lead position was outside scar in late-activated myocardium in 11 out of 14 implanted patients, while a LV lead in scar was unavoidable in the remaining three patients.

Conclusion: A non-invasive pre-implantation CRT-roadmap was feasible to develop in a case series by integration of coronary venous anatomy, myocardial-scar localization, and epicardial electrical activation patterns, anticipating on clinically relevant features.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euy292DOI Listing
April 2019

[Risk stratification and role for additional diagnostic testing in patients with acute chest pain and normal high-sensitivity cardiac troponin levels].

Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd 2018 12 5;162. Epub 2018 Dec 5.

Maastricht UMC+, afd. Cardiologie.

Background: Normal high sensitivity cardiac troponin (hs-cTn) assays rule out acute myocardial infarction (AMI) with great accuracy, but additional non-invasive testing is frequently ordered. This observational study evaluates whether clinical characteristics can contribute to risk stratification and could guide referral for additional testing.

Methods: This observational study included 918 patients with acute chest pain and normal hs-cTnT values. Major adverse cardiac events (MACE) and non-invasive test results were assessed during one-year follow-up. Patients were classified as low and high risk based on clinical characteristics.

Results: In total, 6,4% of patients experienced MACE during follow-up and mainly comprised revascularisations (86%). Absence of both recent abnormal stress test and suspicious history identified 86% of patients. These patients were at very low risk for MACE (0,4% in 30-days). Despite this, the majority (287/345=83%) of additional tests were performed in low risk patients, with 8% abnormal test findings (positive predictive value for MACE was 17%). The diagnostic yield was significantly higher in the remaining higher risk patients, 40% abnormal test findings and a positive predictive value of 70% for MACE.

Conclusion: Clinical characteristics can be used to identify low risk patients with acute chest pain and normal hs-cTnT levels. Current strategies in the emergency department result in numerous additional tests, which are mostly ordered in patients at very low risk and have a low diagnostic yield.
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December 2018

Adding Speckle-Tracking Echocardiography to Visual Assessment of Systolic Wall Motion Abnormalities Improves the Detection of Myocardial Infarction.

J Am Soc Echocardiogr 2019 01 17;32(1):65-73. Epub 2018 Oct 17.

Department of Cardiology, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, the Netherlands; Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, the Netherlands; CARIM School for Cardiovascular Diseases, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, the Netherlands.

Background: The aim of this study was to investigate whether speckle-tracking echocardiography (STE) improves the detection of myocardial infarction (MI) over visual assessment of systolic wall motion abnormalities (SWMAs) using delayed enhancement cardiac magnetic resonance imaging as a reference.

Methods: Transthoracic echocardiography was performed in 95 patients with first ST segment elevation MI 110 days (interquartile range, 97-171 days) after MI and in 48 healthy control subjects. Two experienced observers independently assessed SWMAs. Separately, longitudinal peak negative, peak systolic, end-systolic, global strain, and strain rate were measured and averaged for the American Heart Association-recommended coronary artery perfusion territories. Receiver operating characteristic analysis was used to determine a single optimal cutoff value for each strain parameter. The diagnostic accuracy of an algorithm combining visual assessment and STE was evaluated.

Results: Median infarct size and transmurality were 15% (interquartile range, 7%-24%) and 64% (interquartile range, 46%-78%), respectively. Sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of visual assessment to detect MI were 74% (95% CI, 63%-82%), 85% (95% CI, 72%-93%), and 78% (95% CI, 70%-84%), respectively. Among the strain parameters, SR had the highest diagnostic accuracy (area under the curve, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.83-0.94; cutoff value, -0.97 sec). The combination with STE improved sensitivity compared with visual assessment alone (94%; 95% CI, 86%-97%; P < .001), minimally affecting specificity (79%; 95% CI, 65%-89%; P = .607). Overall accuracy improved to 89% (95% CI, 82%-93%; P = .011). Multivariate analysis accounting for age and sex demonstrated that SR was independently associated with MI (odds ratio, 2.0; 95% CI, 1.6-2.7).

Conclusions: The sensitivity and diagnostic accuracy of visually detecting chronic MI by assessing SWMAs are moderate but substantially improve when adding STE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.echo.2018.09.007DOI Listing
January 2019

Late complications of an atrial septal occluder provoked by anticoagulant therapy.

J Cardiol Cases 2018 Feb 7;17(2):68-71. Epub 2017 Nov 7.

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

Late complications of an atrial septal occluder device (ASO) are rare but may be serious. We report a case with extensive hemopericardium five years after ASO implantation most likely triggered by anticoagulant therapy. Although not surgically confirmed, indirect clues for erosion of the atrial wall by the device were the exclusion of other etiologies, lack of recurrence after pericardial drainage and withdrawal of anticoagulants. In addition, multimodality imaging using echocardiography, computed tomography, and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging were helpful to elucidate this unusual cause. Initiation of anticoagulant treatment in patients with an ASO should be carefully balanced and may warrant more frequent echocardiographic follow-up. < Late complications of an atrial septal occlude device (ASO) are rare. Initiation of anticoagulant therapy in patients with an ASO may lead to late hemopericardium, suggesting that more frequent echocardiographic follow-up is warranted.>.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jccase.2017.09.010DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6149637PMC
February 2018

Risk stratification and role for additional diagnostic testing in patients with acute chest pain and normal high-sensitivity cardiac troponin levels.

PLoS One 2018 7;13(9):e0203506. Epub 2018 Sep 7.

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

Background: Normal high sensitivity cardiac troponin (hs-cTn) assays rule out acute myocardial infarction (AMI) with great accuracy, but additional non-invasive testing is frequently ordered. This observational study evaluates whether clinical characteristics can contribute to risk stratification and could guide referral for additional testing.

Methods: 918 serial patients with acute chest pain and normal hs-cTnT levels were prospectively included. Major adverse cardiac events (MACE) and non-invasive test results were assessed during one-year follow-up. Patients were classified as low and high risk based on clinical characteristics.

Results: MACE occurred in 6.1% of patients and mainly comprised revascularizations (86%). A recent abnormal stress test, suspicious history, a positive family history and higher baseline hs-cTnT levels were independent predictors of MACE with odds ratios of 16.00 (95%CI:6.25-40.96), 16.43 (6.36-42.45), 2.33 (1.22-4.42) and 1.10 (1.01-1.21), respectively. Absence of both recent abnormal stress test and suspicious history identified 86% of patients. These patients were at very low risk for MACE (0.4% in 30-days and 2.3% in one-year). Despite this, the majority (287/345 = 83%) of additional tests were performed in low risk patients, with <10% abnormal test findings. The diagnostic yield was significantly higher in the remaining higher risk patients, 40% abnormal test findings and a positive predictive value of 70% for MACE. Similar results were observed in patients without known coronary artery disease.

Conclusions: Clinical characteristics can be used to identify low risk patients with acute chest pain and normal hs-cTnT levels. Current strategies in the emergency department result in numerous additional tests, which are mostly ordered in patients at very low risk and have a low diagnostic yield.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0203506PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6128560PMC
February 2019

Bursts of reperfusion arrhythmias occur independently of area at risk size and are the first marker of reperfusion injury.

Int J Cardiol 2018 Nov 30;271:240-246. Epub 2018 May 30.

Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, the Netherlands.

Background: The presence of reperfusion ventricular arrhythmias (VA) has been shown to correlate with larger infarct size (IS). However it is unclear whether the initial area at risk (AAR), also a determining factor for IS, is responsible for this correlation. We hypothesized that IS would be significantly larger in the presence of VA, while AAR would not differ.

Methods: 68 STEMI patients from the MAST study with 24-hour, continuous, 12‑lead Holter monitoring initiated prior to primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) resulting in TIMI 3 flow post PCI were included. VA bursts were identified against subject-specific background VA rates using a previously validated statistical outlier method. IS, and infarct endocardial surface area (ESA) were obtained using CMR at mean 4.9 days after admission. Holter and CMR results were determined in core laboratories blinded to all other data.

Results: VA bursts were present in 69% (45/65) of patients. No significant differences were found for demographic characteristics, comorbidities, infarct location, number of diseased coronary vessels, or duration of ischemia between groups with and without VA burst. IS was significantly smaller in the group without VA bursts (median 9.3% vs 17.0%; p = 0.025). Infarct ESA did not significantly differ between the population with and without VA burst; median 24.3% vs 20.0%; p = 0.15.

Conclusion: VA bursts are a marker for larger IS independent of AAR, assessed by surrogate markers. These findings support the hypothesis that VA bursts are a marker of reperfusion damage occurring downstream at myocellular level.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2018.05.083DOI Listing
November 2018

Long-Term Prognostic Implications of Previous Silent Myocardial Infarction in Patients Presenting With Acute Myocardial Infarction.

JACC Cardiovasc Imaging 2018 12 18;11(12):1773-1781. Epub 2018 Apr 18.

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

Objectives: This study investigated the prevalence of silent myocardial infarction (MI) in patients presenting with first acute myocardial infarction (AMI), and its relation with mortality and major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) at long-term follow-up.

Background: Up to 54% of MI occurs without apparent symptoms. The prevalence and long-term prognostic implications of previous silent MI in patients presenting with seemingly first AMI are unclear.

Methods: A 2-center observational longitudinal study was performed in 392 patients presenting with first AMI between 2003 and 2013, who underwent late gadolinium enhancement cardiac magnetic resonance (LGE-CMR) examination within 14 days post-AMI. Silent MI was assessed on LGE-CMR images by identifying regions of hyperenhancement with an ischemic distribution pattern in other territories than the AMI. Mortality and MACE (all-cause death, reinfarction, coronary artery bypass grafting, and ischemic stroke) were assessed at 6.8 ± 2.9 years follow-up.

Results: Thirty-two patients (8.2%) showed silent MI on LGE-CMR. Compared with patients without silent MI, mortality risk was higher in patients with silent MI (hazard ratio: 3.87; 95% confidence interval: 1.21 to 12.38; p = 0.023), as was risk of MACE (hazard ratio: 3.10; 95% confidence interval: 1.22 to 7.86; p = 0.017), both independent from clinical and infarction-related characteristics.

Conclusions: Silent MI occurred in 8.2% of patients presenting with first AMI and was independently related to poorer long-term clinical outcome, with a more than 3-fold risk of mortality and MACE. Silent MI holds prognostic value over important traditional prognosticators in the setting of AMI, indicating that these patients represent a high-risk subgroup warranting clinical awareness.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcmg.2018.02.009DOI Listing
December 2018

Expert consensus recommendations on the cardiogenetic care for patients with thoracic aortic disease and their first-degree relatives.

Int J Cardiol 2018 05 7;258:243-248. Epub 2018 Feb 7.

Department of Clinical Genetics, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Electronic address:

Background: Thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA) is a potentially life-threatening disorder with a strong genetic component. The number of genes implicated in TAA has increased exponentially over the last decade. Approximately 20% of patients with TAA have a positive family history. As most TAA remain asymptomatic for a long time, screening of at risk relatives is warranted to prevent complications. Existing international guidelines lack detailed instructions regarding genetic evaluation and family screening of TAA patients. We aimed to develop a consensus document to provide medical guidance for all health care professionals involved in the recognition, diagnosis and treatment of patients with thoracic aortic disease and their relatives.

Methods: A multidisciplinary panel of experts including cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, clinical geneticists and general practitioners, convened to review and discuss the current literature, guidelines and clinical practice on genetic testing and family screening in TAA.

Results: There is a lack of high-quality evidence in the literature. This consensus statement, based on the available literature and expert opinions, summarizes our recommendations in order to standardize and optimize the cardiogenetic care for patients and families with thoracic aortic disease. In particular, we provide criteria to identify those patients most likely to have a genetic predisposition, and discuss the preferred modality and frequency of screening in their relatives.

Conclusions: Age, family history, aortic size and syndromic features determine who is advised to have genetic testing as well as screening of first-degree relatives. There is a need for more prospective multicenter studies to optimize current recommendations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2018.01.145DOI Listing
May 2018

The electrocardiogram as a predictor of successful pharmacological cardioversion and progression of atrial fibrillation.

Europace 2018 07;20(7):e96-e104

Department of Physiology, Maastricht University, Universiteitssingel 50, ER Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Aims: Non-invasive characterization of atrial fibrillation (AF) substrate complexity based on the electrocardiogram (ECG) may improve outcome prediction in patients receiving rhythm control therapies for AF. Multiple parameters to assess AF complexity and predict treatment outcome have been suggested. A comparative study of the predictive performance of complexity parameters on response to therapy and progression of AF in a large patient population is needed to standardize non-invasive analysis of AF.

Methods And Results: A large variety of ECG complexity parameters were systematically compared in patients with recent onset AF undergoing pharmacological cardioversion (PCV) with flecainide. Parameters were computed on 10-s 12-lead ECGs of 221 patients before drug administration. The ability of ECG parameters to predict successful PCV and progression to persistent AF (mean follow-up 49 months) was evaluated and compared with common clinical predictors. Optimal prediction performance of successful PCV using only one ECG parameter was low, using dominant atrial frequency [lead II, receiver operating area under curve (AUC) 0.66, 95% confidence interval [0.64-0.67]], but the optimal combination of several ECG parameters strongly improved predictive performance (AUC 0.78 [0.76-0.79]). While predictive value of the optimal combination of clinical predictors was low (AUC 0.68 [0.66-0.70], using right atrial volume and weight), adding ECG parameters strongly increased performance (AUC 0.81 [0.79-0.82], P < 0.001). Interestingly, higher dominant frequency and higher f-wave amplitude were associated with increased risk of progression to persistent AF during follow-up.

Conclusion: Assessment of AF complexity from 12-lead ECGs significantly improves prediction of successful PCV and progression to persistent AF compared with common clinical and echocardiographic predictors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/eux234DOI Listing
July 2018

Predictors of Intramyocardial Hemorrhage After Reperfused ST-Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction.

J Am Heart Assoc 2017 Aug 15;6(8). Epub 2017 Aug 15.

Department of Cardiology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Background: Findings from recent studies show that microvascular injury consists of microvascular destruction and intramyocardial hemorrhage (IMH). Patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) with IMH show poorer prognoses than patients without IMH. Knowledge on predictors for the occurrence of IMH after STEMI is lacking. The current study aimed to investigate the prevalence and extent of IMH in patients with STEMI and its relation with periprocedural and clinical variables.

Methods And Results: A multicenter observational cohort study was performed in patients with successfully reperfused STEMI with cardiovascular magnetic resonance examination 5.5±1.8 days after percutaneous coronary intervention. Microvascular injury was visualized using late gadolinium enhancement and T2-weighted cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging for microvascular obstruction and IMH, respectively. The median was used as the cutoff value to divide the study population with presence of IMH into mild or extensive IMH. Clinical and periprocedural parameters were studied in relation to occurrence of IMH and extensive IMH, respectively. Of the 410 patients, 54% had IMH. The presence of IMH was independently associated with anterior infarction (odds ratio, 2.96; 95% CI, 1.73-5.06 [<0.001]) and periprocedural glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitor treatment (odds ratio, 2.67; 95% CI, 1.49-4.80 [<0.001]). Extensive IMH was independently associated with anterior infarction (odds ratio, 3.76; 95% CI, 1.91-7.43 [<0.001]). Presence and extent of IMH was associated with larger infarct size, greater extent of microvascular obstruction, larger left ventricular dimensions, and lower left ventricular ejection fraction (all <0.001).

Conclusions: Occurrence of IMH was associated with anterior infarction and glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitor treatment. Extensive IMH was associated with anterior infarction. IMH was associated with more severe infarction and worse short-term left ventricular function in patients with STEMI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.117.005651DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5586425PMC
August 2017

Non-invasive assessment of microvascular dysfunction in patients with microvascular angina.

Int J Cardiol 2017 Dec 18;248:433-439. Epub 2017 Jul 18.

Department of Cardiology, Maastricht University Medical Center, The Netherlands; Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Maastricht University Medical Center, The Netherlands; Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht (CARIM), Maastricht University, The Netherlands. Electronic address:

Background: We aimed to evaluate the microvascular function in patients with microvascular angina (MVA) by assessing 1) the endothelial glycocalyx barrier properties using sublingual microscopy, and 2) the myocardial perfusion reserve using cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging.

Methods: Sublingual microscopy was performed in 13 MVA patients (angina pectoris, ST-depression on treadmill testing, normal coronary angiogram) and compared with 2 control groups of 13 volunteers and 14 patients with known obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD). To test the glycocalyx-mediated microvascular responsiveness, the erythrocyte perfused boundary region (PBR) was assessed at baseline and after nitroglycerin challenge.

Results: The baseline PBR of MVA patients was similar to controls with CAD (p=0.72), and larger than in volunteers (p=0.02). Only the volunteers demonstrated a significant increase in PBR after nitroglycerin (p=0.03). In the 13 MVA patients, adenosine stress CMR perfusion imaging was performed. Although a significant increase in myocardial perfusion was observed in both the subendocardium and subepicardium during stress, the subendocardial perfusion reserve was significantly lower (p=0.02). The PBR responsiveness of the sublingual microvasculature showed a strong correlation with the transmural myocardial perfusion reserve (r=0.86, p<0.001).

Conclusions: Patients with MVA can be characterized by microvascular glycocalyx dysfunction using sublingual microscopy. The strong correlation between sublingual PBR responsiveness and myocardial perfusion reserve suggests that the glycocalyx may play an important role in the regulation of microvascular volume for myocardial perfusion and supports the concept of impaired glycocalyx barrier properties in MVA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2017.05.010DOI Listing
December 2017

Evaluation of the use of unipolar voltage amplitudes for detection of myocardial scar assessed by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging in heart failure patients.

PLoS One 2017 5;12(7):e0180637. Epub 2017 Jul 5.

Center for Computational Medicine in Cardiology, Institute of Computational Science, Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano, Switzerland.

Background: Validation of voltage-based scar delineation has been limited to small populations using mainly endocardial measurements. The aim of this study is to compare unipolar voltage amplitudes (UnipV) with scar on delayed enhancement cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (DE-CMR).

Methods: Heart failure patients who underwent DE-CMR and electro-anatomic mapping were included. Thirty-three endocardial mapped patients and 27 epicardial mapped patients were investigated. UnipV were computed peak-to-peak. Electrograms were matched with scar extent of the corresponding DE-CMR segment using a 16-segment/slice model. Non-scar was defined as 0% scar, while scar was defined as 1-100% scar extent.

Results: UnipVs were moderately lower in scar than in non-scar (endocardial 7.1 [4.6-10.6] vs. 10.3 [7.4-14.2] mV; epicardial 6.7 [3.6-10.5] vs. 7.8 [4.2-12.3] mV; both p<0.001). The correlation between UnipV and scar extent was moderate for endocardial (R = -0.33, p<0.001), and poor for epicardial measurements (R = -0.07, p<0.001). Endocardial UnipV predicted segments with >25%, >50% and >75% scar extent with AUCs of 0.72, 0.73 and 0.76, respectively, while epicardial UnipV were poor scar predictors, independent of scar burden (AUC = 0.47-0.56). UnipV in non-scar varied widely between patients (p<0.001) and were lower in scar compared to non-scar in only 9/22 (41%) endocardial mapped patients and 4/19 (21%) epicardial mapped patients with scar.

Conclusion: UnipV are slightly lower in scar compared to non-scar. However, significant UnipV differences between and within patients and large overlap between non-scar and scar limits the reliability of accurate scar assessment, especially in epicardial measurements and in segments with less than 75% scar extent.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0180637PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5498065PMC
October 2017

Monocytic microRNA profile associated with coronary collateral artery function in chronic total occlusion patients.

Sci Rep 2017 05 8;7(1):1532. Epub 2017 May 8.

Department of Cardiology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

An expansive collateral artery network is correlated with improved survival in case of adverse cardiac episodes. We aimed to identify cellular microRNAs (miRNA; miR) important for collateral artery growth. Chronic total occlusion (CTO) patients (n = 26) were dichotomized using pressure-derived collateral flow index (CFI) measurements; high collateral capacity (CFI > 0.39; n = 14) and low collateral (CFI < 0.39; n = 12) capacity. MiRNA profiling via next generation sequencing from various monocyte phenotypes (freshly isolated monocytes, monocytes cultured without stimulant, or stimulation with lipopolysaccharide, interleukin 4, transforming growth factor beta-1, or interferon gamma) revealed significantly different miRNA expression patterns between high versus low collateral capacity patients. Validation by real-time polymerase chain reaction demonstrated significantly decreased expression of miR339-5p in all stimulated monocyte phenotypes of low collateral capacity patients. MiR339-5p showed significant correlation with CFI values in stimulated monocytes. Ingenuity pathway analysis of predicted gene targets of miR339-5p and differential gene expression data from high versus low CFI patients (n = 20), revealed significant association with STAT3 pathway, and also suggested a possible regulatory role for this signaling pathway. These results identify a novel association between miR339-5p and coronary collateral function. Future work examining modulation of miR339-5p and downstream effects on the STAT3 pathway and subsequent collateral vessel growth are warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-01695-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5431477PMC
May 2017

Comparison of the prognostic value of negative non-invasive cardiac investigations in patients with suspected or known coronary artery disease-a meta-analysis.

Eur Heart J Cardiovasc Imaging 2017 Sep;18(9):980-987

Department of Cardiology, Maastricht University Medical Center, P. Debyelaan 25, PO Box 5800, 6202 AZ Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Aims: To compare the prognostic value of negative non-invasive cardiac investigations (coronary computed tomographic angiography [CCTA], cardiovascular magnetic resonance [CMR], exercise electrocardiographic testing [EET], positron emission tomography [PET], stress-echocardiography [SE], and single-photon emission tomography [SPECT]) in patients with suspected or known coronary artery disease (CAD) and to explore the effect of adjustment for population event risk and presence of CAD.

Methods And Results: MEDLINE/PubMed database, EMBASE and Cochrane Library were searched from January-1990 to April-2015 for studies reporting annual event rates (AER) of myocardial infarction (MI) and cardiac death. Pooled estimates of AERs were calculated using a DerSimonian and Laird random-effects model. Multivariable linear meta-regression analysis was performed to compare the AER after a negative test result between modalities and to adjust for population event risk and proportion of patients with CAD. In 165 studies (122,721 patients), pooled AERs after negative test results differed significantly between modalities ranging from 0.32% for CCTA to 1.66% for SE, P < 0.001. However, the AER after a negative test result was positively correlated (r = 0.726, P < 0.001) with population event risk. Adjusting for population event risk and proportion of patients with CAD resulted in more similar event rates after a negative test result.

Conclusion: This meta-analysis is the first study comparing the prognostic value of all available non-invasive cardiac investigations. Outcome differences between modalities after a negative test result are profoundly influenced by large variations in population event risk and a negative test result for all modalities conveys an excellent prognosis for patients with suspected or known CAD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ehjci/jex014DOI Listing
September 2017

A novel approach for left ventricular lead placement in cardiac resynchronization therapy: Intraprocedural integration of coronary venous electroanatomic mapping with delayed enhancement cardiac magnetic resonance imaging.

Heart Rhythm 2017 01 20;14(1):110-119. Epub 2016 Sep 20.

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

Background: Placing the left ventricular (LV) lead at a site of late electrical activation remote from scar is desired to improve cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) response.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to integrate coronary venous electroanatomic mapping (EAM) with delayed enhancement cardiac magnetic resonance (DE-CMR) enabling LV lead guidance to the latest activated vein remote from scar.

Methods: Eighteen CRT candidates with focal scar on DE-CMR were prospectively included. DE-CMR images were semi-automatically analyzed. Coronary venous EAM was performed intraprocedurally and integrated with DE-CMR to guide LV lead placement in real time. Image integration accuracy and electrogram parameters were evaluated offline.

Results: Integration of EAM and DE-CMR was achieved using 8.9 ± 2.8 anatomic landmarks and with accuracy of 4.7 ± 1.1 mm (mean ± SD). Maximal electrical delay ranged between 72 and 197ms (57%-113% of QRS duration) and was heterogeneously located among individuals. In 12 patients, the latest activated vein was located outside scar, and placing the LV lead in the latest activated vein remote from scar was accomplished in 10 patients and prohibited in 2 patients. In the other 6 patients, the latest activated vein was located in scar, and targeting alternative veins was considered. Unipolar voltages were on average lower in scar compared to nonscar (6.71 ± 3.45 mV vs 8.18 ± 4.02 mV [median ± interquartile range), P <.001) but correlated weakly with DE-CMR scar extent (R -0.161, P <.001) and varied widely among individual patients.

Conclusion: Integration of coronary venous EAM with DE-CMR can be used during CRT implantation to guide LV lead placement to the latest activated vein remote from scar, possibly improving CRT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2016.09.015DOI Listing
January 2017

Acute chest pain in the high-sensitivity cardiac troponin era: A changing role for noninvasive imaging?

Am Heart J 2016 07 30;177:102-11. Epub 2016 Apr 30.

Department of Cardiology, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, the Netherlands; Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht (CARIM), School for Cardiovascular Diseases, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, the Netherlands. Electronic address:

Management of patients with acute chest pain remains challenging. Cardiac biomarker testing reduces the likelihood of erroneously discharging patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Despite normal contemporary troponins, physicians have still been reluctant to discharge patients without additional testing. Nowadays, the extremely high negative predictive value of current high-sensitivity cardiac troponin (hs-cTn) assays challenges this need. However, the decreased specificity of hs-cTn assays to diagnose AMI poses a new problem as noncoronary diseases (eg, pulmonary embolism, myocarditis, cardiomyopathies, hypertension, renal failure, etc) may also cause elevated hs-cTn levels. Subjecting patients with noncoronary diseases to unnecessary pharmacological therapy or invasive procedures must be prevented. Attempts to improve the positive predictive value to diagnose AMI by defining higher initial cutoff values or dynamic changes over time inherently lower the sensitivity of troponin assays. In this review, we anticipate a potential changing role of noninvasive imaging from ruling out myocardial disease when troponin values are normal toward characterizing myocardial disease when hs-cTn values are (mildly) abnormal.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ahj.2016.03.025DOI Listing
July 2016

Cardiac Troponin T and I Release After a 30-km Run.

Am J Cardiol 2016 Jul 4;118(2):281-7. Epub 2016 May 4.

Department of Clinical Chemistry, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, the Netherlands; Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, the Netherlands. Electronic address:

Prolonged endurance-type exercise is associated with elevated cardiac troponin (cTn) levels in asymptomatic recreational athletes. It is unclear whether exercise-induced cTn release mirrors a physiological or pathological underlying process. The aim of this study was to provide a direct comparison of the release kinetics of high-sensitivity cTnI (hs-cTnI) and T (hs-cTnT) after endurance-type exercise. In addition, the effect of remote ischemic preconditioning (RIPC), a cardioprotective strategy that limits ischemia-reperfusion injury, was investigated in a randomized controlled crossover manner. Twenty-five healthy volunteers completed an outdoor 30-km running trial preceded by RIPC (4 × 5 min 220 mm Hg unilateral occlusion) or control intervention. hs-cTnT, hs-cTnI, and sensitive cTnI (s-cTnI) concentrations were examined before, immediately after, 2 and 5 hours after the trial. The completion of a 30-km run resulted in a significant increase in circulating cTn (time: all p <0.001), with maximum hs-cTnT, hs-cTnI, and s-cTnI levels of 47 ± 27, 69 ± 62, and 82 ± 64 ng/L (mean ± SD), respectively. Maximum hs-cTnT concentrations were measured in 60% of the participants at 2 hours after exercise, compared with maximum hs-cTnI and s-cTnI concentrations at 5 hours in 84% and 80% of the participants. Application of an RIPC stimulus did not reduce exercise-induced cTn release (time × trial: all p >0.5). In conclusion, in contrast to acute myocardial infarction, maximum hs-cTnT levels after exercise precede maximum hs-cTnI levels. Distinct release kinetics of hs-cTnT and hs-cTnI and the absence of an effect of RIPC favors the concept that exercise-induced cTn release may be mechanistically distinct from cTn release in acute myocardial infarction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amjcard.2016.04.030DOI Listing
July 2016

Individually tailored contrast enhancement in CT pulmonary angiography.

Br J Radiol 2016 22;89(1061):20150850. Epub 2016 Jan 22.

1 Departments of Radiology, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, Netherlands.

Objective: The purpose was to evaluate individually shaped contrast media (CM) delivery in CT pulmonary angiography (CTPA) for suspected pulmonary embolism (PE).

Methods: 100 consecutive emergency patients with clinical suspicion of PE were evaluated. High-pitch CTPA was performed on a second-generation dual-source CT using the following parameters: 100 kV, 200-250 mAsref, rotation time 0.28 s, 128 × 0.6 mm col. and image reconstruction 1.0/0.8 mm (B30f). Group 1 (n = 50) then received a fixed CM bolus (300 = mgI ml(-1), volume = 90 ml and flow rate = 6 ml s(-1)); Group 2 (n = 50) received a body weight-adapted CM bolus determined by dedicated contrast injection software. For analysis, groups were further subdivided into low-weight (40-75 kg) and high-weight (76-117 kg) groups. Technical image quality was graded using a four-point Likert scale (1 = non-diagnostic; 2 = diagnostic; 3 = good and 4 = excellent image quality) at the level of the pulmonary trunk and pulmonary arteries. Objective image quality analysis was performed by measuring contrast enhancement in Hounsfield units (HU) at the same levels. Attenuation levels > 180 HU were considered diagnostic.

Results: All examinations were graded as diagnostic at each level. The individual minimum pulmonary attenuation was 184 and 270 HU for Group 1 and 2, respectively. Mean attenuation was as follows: Group 1: 475 ± 105 HU (40-75 kg) and 402 ± 115 HU (76-117 kg), p < 0.03. Group 2: 424 ± 76 HU (40-75 kg) and 418 ± 100 HU (76-117 kg), p = 0.8. For Group 2, CM volumes were: 55 ± 5 ml (40-75 kg) and 66 ± 5 ml (76-117 kg), leading to 16-51% CM reduction.

Conclusion: Even under emergency conditions, individualized CM protocols can provide diagnostic and robust image quality in CTPA for PE with a substantial reduction of CM volume for lower weight patients, compared with a fixed CM protocol.

Advances In Knowledge: CM volume can substantially be reduced by using individualized CM protocols in CT angiography for PE without compromising the diagnostic image quality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1259/bjr.20150850DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4985462PMC
September 2016

Fully Automated Versus Standard Tracking of Left Ventricular Ejection Fraction and Longitudinal Strain: The FAST-EFs Multicenter Study.

J Am Coll Cardiol 2015 Sep;66(13):1456-66

Zena and Michael A. Wiener Cardiovascular Institute and the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Center for Cardiovascular Health, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York. Electronic address:

Background: Echocardiographic determination of ejection fraction (EF) by manual tracing of endocardial borders is time consuming and operator dependent, whereas visual assessment is inherently subjective.

Objectives: This study tested the hypothesis that a novel, fully automated software using machine learning-enabled image analysis will provide rapid, reproducible measurements of left ventricular volumes and EF, as well as average biplane longitudinal strain (LS).

Methods: For a total of 255 patients in sinus rhythm, apical 4- and 2-chamber views were collected from 4 centers that assessed EF using both visual estimation and manual tracing (biplane Simpson's method). In addition, datasets were saved in a centralized database, and machine learning-enabled software (AutoLV, TomTec-Arena 1.2, TomTec Imaging Systems, Unterschleissheim, Germany) was applied for fully automated EF and LS measurements. A reference center reanalyzed all datasets (by visual estimation and manual tracking), along with manual LS determinations.

Results: AutoLV measurements were feasible in 98% of studies, and the average analysis time was 8 ± 1 s/patient. Interclass correlation coefficients and Bland-Altman analysis revealed good agreements among automated EF, local center manual tracking, and reference center manual tracking, but not for visual EF assessments. Similarly, automated and manual LS measurements obtained at the reference center showed good agreement. Intraobserver variability was higher for visual EF than for manual EF or manual LS, whereas interobserver variability was higher for both visual and manual EF, but not different for LS. Automated EF and LS had no variability.

Conclusions: Fully automated analysis of echocardiography images provides rapid and reproducible assessment of left ventricular EF and LS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2015.07.052DOI Listing
September 2015

Perimyocarditis Complicated by Early Development of Constrictive Pericarditis.

Can J Cardiol 2016 Mar 17;32(3):395.e11-2. Epub 2015 Jun 17.

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

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cjca.2015.06.004DOI Listing
March 2016

Prospective evaluation of where reperfusion ventricular arrhythmia "bursts" fit into optimal reperfusion in STEMI.

Int J Cardiol 2015 Sep 20;195:136-42. Epub 2015 May 20.

Duke University Medical Center, Durham, United States.

Background: Early reperfusion of ischemic myocytes is essential for optimal salvage in acute myocardial infarction. VA (ventricular arrhythmia) bursts after recanalization of the culprit vessel have been found to be related to larger infarct size (IS), using SPECT.

Objective: The hypothesis was tested that this finding could be confirmed in an independent cohort using a more accurate technique, i.e. delayed-enhancement cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (DE-CMR).

Methods: All 196 patients from the PREPARE and MAST studies who had 24-hour, continuous, 12-lead Holter, started before primary percutaneous coronary intervention resulting in brisk TIMI (thrombolysis in myocardial infarction) 3 flow and stable ST-recovery were included. VA bursts were identified against subject-specific background VA rates using a previously published statistical outlier method. IS was assessed using DE-CMR. Angiography, Holter and DE-CMR results were assessed in core laboratories, blinded to all other data.

Results: VA bursts were present in 154/196 (79%) of patients. Baseline characteristics between the groups with and without bursts were similar. VA burst was associated with significantly larger infarct size in the population as a whole (median 11.3% vs 5.3%; p=0.001) and also when divided in non-anterior (median 9.9% vs 4.9%; p=0.003) and anterior myocardial infarction (median 21.4% vs 12.0%; p=0.48), the latter not reaching statistical significance due to the small subset of patients.

Conclusion: Beyond the classical markers of "optimal" reperfusion such as TIMI 3 flow and stable ST-segment recovery, VA bursts occurring during the reperfusion phase are an early electrobiomarker of larger IS.

Clinical Trial Registration: PREPARE: ISRCTN71104460 http://www.controlled-trials.com/ISRCTN71104460.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2015.05.106DOI Listing
September 2015

MRS: a noninvasive window into cardiac metabolism.

NMR Biomed 2015 Jul 25;28(7):747-66. Epub 2015 May 25.

Maastricht University Medical Center, Radiology, Maastricht, the Netherlands.

A well-functioning heart requires a constant supply of a balanced mixture of nutrients to be used for the production of adequate amounts of adenosine triphosphate, which is the main energy source for most cellular functions. Defects in cardiac energy metabolism are linked to several myocardial disorders. MRS can be used to study in vivo changes in cardiac metabolism noninvasively. MR techniques allow repeated measurements, so that disease progression and the response to treatment or to a lifestyle intervention can be monitored. It has also been shown that MRS can predict clinical heart failure and death. This article focuses on in vivo MRS to assess cardiac metabolism in humans and experimental animals, as experimental animals are often used to investigate the mechanisms underlying the development of metabolic diseases. Various MR techniques, such as cardiac (31) P-MRS, (1) H-MRS, hyperpolarized (13) C-MRS and Dixon MRI, are described. A short overview of current and emerging applications is given. Cardiac MRS is a promising technique for the investigation of the relationship between cardiac metabolism and cardiac disease. However, further optimization of scan time and signal-to-noise ratio is required before broad clinical application. In this respect, the ongoing development of advanced shimming algorithms, radiofrequency pulses, pulse sequences, (multichannel) detection coils, the use of hyperpolarized nuclei and scanning at higher magnetic field strengths offer future perspective for clinical applications of MRS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/nbm.3320DOI Listing
July 2015

Myocardial scar predicts monomorphic ventricular tachycardia but not polymorphic ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation in nonischemic dilated cardiomyopathy.

Heart Rhythm 2015 Oct 22;12(10):2106-14. Epub 2015 May 22.

Department of Cardiology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands. Electronic address:

Background: The relation between myocardial scar and different types of ventricular arrhythmias in patients with nonischemic dilated cardiomyopathy (NIDCM) is unknown.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to analyze the effect of myocardial scar, assessed by late gadolinium enhancement cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (LGE-CMR), on the occurrence and type of ventricular arrhythmia in patients with NIDCM.

Methods: Consecutive patients with NIDCM who underwent LGE-CMR and implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) implantation at either of 2 centers were included. LGE was defined by signal intensity ≥35% of maximal signal intensity, subdivided into core and border zones (≥50% and 35%-50% of maximal signal intensity, respectively), and categorized according to location (basal or nonbasal) and transmurality. ICD recordings and electrocardiograms were reviewed to determine the occurrence and type of ventricular arrhythmia during follow-up.

Results: Of 87 patients (age 56 ± 13 y, 62% male, left ventricular ejection fraction 29% ± 12%), 55 (63%) had LGE (median 6.3 g, interquartile range 0.0-13.8 g). During a median follow-up of 45 months, monomorphic ventricular tachycardia (VT) occurred in 18 patients (21%) and polymorphic VT/ventricular fibrillation (VF) in 10 (11%). LGE predicted monomorphic VT (log-rank, P < .001), but not polymorphic VT/VF (log-rank, P = .40). The optimal cutoff value for the extent of LGE to predict monomorphic VT was 7.2 g (area under curve 0.84). Features associated with monomorphic VT were core extent, basal location, and area with 51%-75% LGE transmurality.

Conclusions: Myocardial scar assessed by LGE-CMR predicts monomorphic VT, but not polymorphic VT/VF, in NIDCM. The risk for monomorphic VT is particularly high when LGE shows a basal transmural distribution and a mass ≥7.2 g. Importantly, patients without LGE on CMR remain at risk for potentially fatal polymorphic VT/VF.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2015.05.026DOI Listing
October 2015