Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Oh , it’s a well recannalised IRA  and its flowing TIMI 3  as well.  Now, what shall we do sir” ?, An apparently worried senior resident queried after a second look at the images from a 8 hour old STMEI .Why you sound unhappy  man ?  As if recanalisation is an untoward event” ! I teased my resident !
and went on to ask . . .

What we mean by recannalised  IRA ? (Recan-IRA)

  • It is akin to natural or pharmacological angioplasty (or combination of the two )
  • It can be complete or incomplete from the IRA perspective.
  • It can either result in partial or fully salvaged myocardium.
  • It should be understood even a 30% recanlisation can result in TIMI 3 flow and result in near complete salvage
  • Even a 90% recannalisation may not accrue the same benefit if it has happened late. So its all in timing
  • Spontaneous recannalisation can some times even be  superior  to thrombus aspiration . However , some degree of residual thrombus would be present in most
  • Residual plaque burden is also an important factor that will decide the extent of angiographic recannalisation.
  • Some times the recannalisation  will make the vessel near normal with only luminal  irregularity
  • IVUS/OCT may provide accurate assessment of Recan-IRA , it’s is not logistically acceptable in STEMI setting.
  • After listening to my briefing on recannalised IRA , the fellow looked more confused than before. He bothered to ask again , what am I supposed to do once a well recannlised IRA is detected ?  Should I intervene or not ?

The term recanlised IRA generally convey a hemodynamic  meaning for a successful  early (natural plus or minus pharmacological ) reperfusion .If every parameter is fine , and the lesion is not significantly obstructing better to pause any further procedure ,  as consequences of deploying  stent in a well recannalised segment is not yet clear with a stro ng trend towards harm .The decision is to be taken on individual basis with reference to  symptoms, stability ,  residual ischemia and quantum of incomplete salvage and lesion morphology .

If you believe ,a spontaneously recannalised  IRA has provided a TIMI 3 flow , it is equivalent to well done job of natural thrombus aspiration by  a hidden hand and catheter . Consciously respect that .Most cardiologists would have  realised atleaset once ,  that any aggression on a God handled IRA can be counterproductive !

Is there a non academic angle to this issue ?

Undoubtedly yes , strangely  inspite of a positive phenomenon for the patient , recannalised IRA leads to a difficult debate  in cath lab .Suddenly , the  entire collective scientific wisdom of the cardiologist is put into a stress test. There is direct fight between reality , expectations .True patient benefits , obligations to hospitals , the parasitic  relations with device industry , do have a big say !

Final message

Practicing cardiology is simple , but when scientific and non scientific realities of life are in direct confrontation with patient welfare it becomes a huge struggle and only a determined few can win over this infinite fight against conscience !

Mohandas Karam Chand Gandhi ,  father of my country , India , made these observations in year 1925  about the  fundamental constituents of  violence in society . These words of monumental wisdom came when he was  addressing young Indians in a country- side rally .

mahatma gandhi quotes medical science humanity

Note, his finger points to , what  exactly is relevant to our profession ! He emphasized this  nearly  100 years ago, when medical science was at its infancy .One can only guess what would be Mahatma’s comment about our profession in it’s  current form !

Should we include moral, behavioral and ethical classes  right from the first year of medical  school along with Anatomy , physiology and bio chemistry.Medical council of India obviously need to burn more mid night oil , I wish it happens in my life time. !

 

The correct  answer could be any of the above , depending  upon the level of your knowledge.

Ever since Herrick reported coronary thrombosis as a cause for MI and Davies documented it by angiogram many decades later (1980) ,the fate of thrombus  and the mechanism of its dissolution is the key to our understanding of ACS.

Even though we are now able to take on this thrombus in a direct fight  by aspiration techniques ,still the hematological  aftermath  and the aberrant coronary behavior  can fool us at any time ! The major lesson learnt  in recent times  is the  success of pPCI  is not in clearing the thrombus but ensure it never accumulates again  at the site  in the future .This is why there is whole big industry working on post PCI anti coagulation and anti platelet strategies .

Clinical correlates of poor  perfusion in micro circulation.

Plugging of micro circulation is the most under-recognised  issue.This results in no reflow in acute fashion or LV  dysfunction and micro-vascular angina in long term . Late recovery of LV function is attributed to late clearance of thrombotic debri.

RCA vs LCA thrombus load.

*One interesting observation is RCA thrombus clears more slowly as it has no well formed venous circuits .most RCA blood drains through thebesian veins which traverses  RV  myocardium .this can be hemodynamic hurdle unlike the LCA venous drainage

 

 

 

Here is a  video recipe  !

Please click here to  see more videos from my you tube site

It is often said life is a cycle , time machine rolls without rest and reach  the same  point  again and again . This is  applicable for the  knowledge cycle as well .

We  live a life ,  which is infact a  “fraction of a time”(<100years) when we consider the evolution of life in our planet for over 4 million years.

Man has survived and succumbed to various natural and  self inflicted diseases &  disasters. Currently,  in this  brief phase of life  , CAD is the major epidemic , that confronts  modern  man.It determines the ultimate  life expectancy . The fact that ,  CAD is a new age  disease   and  it was  not  this rampant ,   in our ancestors  is well known .The disease has evolved with man’s pursuit for knowledge and wealth.

A simple example of how the management of CAD over 50 years will  help assess the importance of  “Time in medical therapeutics”

  • 1960s: Life style modification and Medical therapy  is  the standard of care in all stable chronic  CAD The fact is medical and lifestyle management remained the only choice in this period as   other options were not available. (Absence of choice was  a blessing as we subsequently realised  ! read further )
  • The medical  world started looking for options to manage CAD.
  • 1970s : CABG was  a major innovation for limiting angina .
  • 1980s: Plain balloon angioplasty a revolution in the management of CAD.
  • 1990s: Stent scaffolding of    the coronaries  was  a great add on .Stent  was too  dangerous  for routine use  was to be used only in bail out situations
  • Mid 1990s : Stents  reduced restenosis. Stents are  the greatest revolution for CAD management.Avoiding stent in a PCI  is unethical , stents  should be liberally used. Every PCI should be followed by stent.
  • Stents have potential complication so a good luminal dilatation with stent like result (SLR)  was  preferred so that we can avoid stent related complications.
  • 2000s: Simple  bare metal stents are not enough .It also has significant restenosis.
  • 2002: BMS are too notorius for restenosis and may be dangerous to use
  • 2004 : Drug eluting stents are god’s gift to mankind.It eliminates restenosis by 100% .
  • 2006:  Drug eluting stents not only eliminates restenosis it eliminates many patients suddenly by subacute stent thrombosis
  • 2007 : The drug is not  the culprit in DES it is the non bio erodable polymer that causes stent thrombosis. Polymer free DES  or   biodegradable stent , for temporary scaffolding  of the coronary artery  (Poly lactic acid )  are likely to  be the standard of care .
  • All stents  are  potentially dangerous for the simple reason any metal within the coronary artery  has a potential for acute occlusion.In chronic CAD it is not at all necessary to open the occluded coronary arteries , unless  CAD is severely symptomatic in spite of best  medical therapy.
  • 2007: Medical management is superior to PCI  in most of the situations in chronic CAD  .(COURAGE study ) .Avoid PCI whenever possible.
  • 2009 :The fundamental principle of CAD management  remain unaltered. Life style modification,  regular  exercise ,  risk factor reduction, optimal doses of anti anginal drug, statins and aspirin  is the time tested recipe for effective management of CAD .

So the CAD  therapeutic  journey  found  it’s  true  destination  ,  where it started in 1960s.

Final message

Every new option of therapy must be tested  against every past option .There are other reverse cycles  in cardiology  that includes the  role of diuretics  in SHT , beta blockers in CHF etc. It is ironical , we are in the era  of rediscovering common sense with sophisticated research methodology .What our ancestors know centuries ago , is perceived to be great scientific breakthroughs . It takes  a  pan continental , triple  blinded  randomised trial   to prove physical activity is good  for the heart .(INTERHEART , MONICA  studies etc) .

Medical profession is bound to experience hard times in the decades to come ,  unless we  look back in time and “constantly scrutinize”  the so called  scientific breakthroughs and  look  for genuine treasures for a great future !

Common sense protects more humans than modern science and  it comes free of cost  too . . .

NSTEMI  constitutes a  very heterogeneous population .The cardiac   risk   can vary  between very low to very high .  In contrast ,  STEMI patients  carry  a high risk for  electro mechanical complication including   sudden death .They all need immediate treatment  either with  thrombolysis or PCI to open up the blood vessel  and salvage the myocardium.

The above concept , may  be true in   many situations  ,  but what we fail to recognize   is  that ,   STEMI   also  is  a heterogeneous clinico pathological  with varying risks and outcome !

Let us see briefly ,  why this  is very important  in the management of STEMI

Management of STEMI  has undergone great  change  over the past 50 years and  it is the standing example of evidence based coronary care in the modern era ! The mortality  ,  in the early era was around 30-40% . The advent of coronary care units, defibrillators, reduced the mortality to around 10-15%  in 1960 /70s . Early use of heparin , aspirin   further improved the outcome .The inhospital mortality  was greatly  reduced to a level of  7-8% in the thrombolytic  era. And ,  then  came the interventional approach, namely primary PCI ,  which is now considered the best form of reperfusion when done early by an experienced team.

Inspite of this wealth of evidence   for the   superiority  of PCI  , it is only a fraction of  STEMI patients get  primary PCI   even in some  of the  well equipped centers ( Could be as low as  15 %)

Why ? this paradox

Primary PCI   has   struggled  to establish itself  as a global  therapeutic concept  for STEMI ,   even after   20 years of it’s introduction (PAMI trial)  .  If we  attribute ,  lack of   infrastructure  , expertise are  responsible for this low utility of primary PCI , we are mistaken ! There are so many institutions , at least in developing world ,   reluctant to do primary PCI  for varied reasons.( Affordability , support system , odd hours ,and finally perceived fear of untoward complication !)

Primary PCI may be a great treatment modality , but it comes with a inherent risk related to the procedure.

In fact the early hazard could exceed the potential benefit in many of the low risk STEMI  patients !

All STEMI’s are not  same , so all does not require same treatment !

Common sense and logic would   tell us any medical condition should be risk stratified before applying the management protocol. This will enable  us to avoid applying “high risk  – high benefit”  treatments in low risk patients . It is a great surprise,  the cardiology community has extensively researched to risk stratify NSTEMI/UA   ,  it has  rarely  considered risk stratification of STEMI before  starting the treatment.

In this context , it should  be emphasized  most of the clinical trails on   primary PCI  do not address  the clinical  relevance and the  differential outcomes   in various  subsets of  STEMI .

Consider the following two cases.

Two young men with STEMI  , both present within  3  hours   after  onset of symptoms

  1. ST elevation in V1 -V6 , 1 , AVL   ,  Low blood pressure , with severe  chest pain.
  2. ST elevation in 2 ,3, AVF , hemodynamically stable , with minimal  or no  discomfort .

In the above example,   a  small inferior  MI by a distal RCA occlusion  ,  and a proximal LAD lesion jeopardising entire anterior wall , both  are  categorized as STEMI !

Do you want to advocate same treatment  for both ?  or Will you  risk stratify the STEMI and treat individually ?  (As we do in NSTEMI !)

Current guidelines , would  suggest PCI for both situations. But , logistic ,  and real world experience would clearly favor thrombolysis for the second patient .

Does that mean,  the second patient is getting an inferior modality of treatment ?

Not at all . In fact there is a strong case for PCI being inferior in these patients as the risk of the procedure may far outweigh the benefit especially if it is done on a  random basis  by  not so well experienced cath lab team.

(Note : Streptokinase  or TPA does not  vary it’s action ,  whether given by  an ambulance drive or a staff nurse or even a  cardiologist !  .In contrast ,  the infrastructure and expertise have the  greatest impact on the success and failure  of PCI )

Final message

So , it is argued the world cardiology societies(ACC/ESC etc)  need to risk stratify STEMI (Like we do in NSTEMI ) into low risk, intermediate risk and high risk categories and advice primary PCI only for high risk patients.

Cardiac failure is defined as a clinical syndrome where the cardiac output is inadequate and fails to fulfill the metabolic demands of body  or its able to do so, only  at a raised filling pressure, causing the classical symptoms of exertional dyspnea.

Consider this simple equation,

A 70 kg normal human requires an EF of 60 %  to supply blood  to his total body mass. If his EF falls to 30 % , certainly he is going to  struggle with reduced cardiac  output by 50 %. Now , theoretically if he loses his weight by 50 % (70 to 35 kg ) in-proportion to the loss in EF, . . . isn’t likely , he goes back to the original ” comfort zone” again as his metabolic demands are  declined by 50 %  and hence easily managed with the severely compromised  EF of 30 % .

Is this a scientific or quixotic logic ?

By all means , it appears the later is right ! but wait . .  nothing is Idiotic in a true scientific democracy ! Human beings can live a near normal life with one kidney, one lung, half the liver function and brain function ! Nothing wrong in wondering  why not , one can live comfortably  with “half heart” function?(ie EF of 30 %)

Having said that ,cardiac failure is not a simple mathematics of EF % .It’s extremely important to understand cardiac failure is systemic disease (often an inflammatory reaction  as well) which progress to a  net catabolic sate  .Numerous named and unnamed counter hormone response(ACE,NEP, BNP etc)  retains salt and water.At some stage the body either adopts or  mal-adopts to it.Countering or mimicking these hormones has been a major therapeutic strategy.(ACEI, ARBs )

The final end point of cardiac cachexia is nothing but extreme response of the body to reduce its weight  (with Tumor necrosis factor /IL6) .Survival occurs with whatever available cardiac output that matches metabolic supply to tissue.

Now ,coming to the title discussion,  If weight-loss is the ultimate compensatory mechanism in chronic HF , what about conditioned and monitored weight reduction  regimen ?

The management of cardiac failure after addressing all specific problems like structural ,functional abnormalities plus or minus  revascularization should include a mandatory  exercise training program that help optimize the weight.Reducing total body mass is directly going to improve the cardiac function, or  at-least make it static and might dramatically  relive symptoms and increase survival.However , the beneficial effect of exercise is  mainly attributed to improving muscle mitochondrial function and augmenting exercise capacity.

Where is the evidence coming  from ?

 

excercise training in heart failure

wieght reduction in cardaca failure

A point of controversy !

There are few reports  that suggest good-weight is essential as a body reserve during the catabolic state of HF.In fact, low fat and cholesterol was unwelcome in some statin and  HF  studies. Some provocative papers even  suggested a paradox  where weight loss could be counterproductive in HF (I strongly dispute this as do many others.)

(T.B Horwich,The relationship between obesity and mortality in patients with heart failure J Am Coll Cardiol, 38 (2001), pp. 789–795)

Final message

Unfortunately , truths without  evidence is worse than plain falsehood !

When heart as a pump is failing , we go for  sophisticated drugs, ICDs CRT devices, variety of surgeries etc . Shall I say , none of them has conquered the inevitable. We know ,HF’s mortality and morbidity is next only to burden of cancer.Applying  all our wisdom , intentional and monitored weight reduction  may be  best bet to unload the heart in many of the HF patients .Mind you, this comes  free of cost ! and that is not the only reason it  should be tested in every such patients .My own experience and interpretation of available data would suggest its going to work in all  and the benefits are going to be  overwhelminng in overweight patients .

Dear heart failure patients . . .Wishing you all a  controlled weight loss  and a happy life !

 

RCA is known for unusual variants.Here is a right main trunk which divides into two major branches, both taking a surprisingly similar course.Shall we refer it to as Dual RCA  or is it an early RV branch ? But how can both run posterior and parallel ?

PS: His LAD and LCX  were  normal.

Aspirin for primary prevention of CVD is an ongoing controversy for more than 2 decades. Please note, the controversy is not in the competence of Aspirin to prevent cardiovascular  event, but in the potential risk of GI bleed and whether that risk is worth taking. Secondary prevention has no such issues as the benefits easily outweigh the potential bleeding risk .

Male vs female

There is a “gender” and “age” difference  in the ability of Aspirin to prevent vascular events.Aspirin primarily prevents MI in men(>45)  and stroke in women(>55)  (Funny it may look,  that’s what data says!)

Age

Hence, the target age group  for aspirin is between 45/55  to 80 years. (Up to 45 and beyond 80 it has no role .Beyond 80 ,  risk of hemorrhagic stroke is significant )

Diabetic vs non diabetic

Many believe  all diabetics should straightway  get Aspirin as it was considered  CAD equivalent.Its not acceptable to all. . American diabetic association  has risk stratified DM and advice Aspirin only in high / Intermediate risk.Look for Key word ie “Net benefit (Ref 2)

Why so much confusion  ?  and What can be  the conclusion ?

The confusion is because each scientific body like AHA, ESC, ACCP, ADA ,USPSTF have  their own inference and the presence of too many risk assessment tools adds further dizziness .(SCORE /FRAMINGHAM, etc). It tempts me to say ignore all these and use  cortical sense !

Fortunately ,we do have some clarity as there is a common theme in all these advisories .Aspirin is indeed a wonder drug and able to block the platelets to prevent acute thrombus formation in the critical circulations.(FDA doesn’t seem to agree with this , How can a cheap generic do that job so effectively  ? Let the Bayer fight ! ) 

It seems reasonable to conclude

All men and women  between 45/55  to 80 years should get Aspirin (81mg /day or 325mg alternate days ) if there is at least one or two CVD risk factors provided there is no major bleeding risk .

Ongoing  studies on primary prevention with Aspirin 

ASCEND: A Study of Cardiovascular Events in Diabetes; or with diabetes taking a statin 

ENVIS-ion (Aspirin for the Prevention of Cognitive Decline in the Elderly )

ASPREE (Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly) 

These  studies are  expected to  bring more data (and be ready for more confusion!)

Can we use Clopidogrel  for primary prevention if a person is intolerant to Aspirin ?

Logic may say yes.As of now it can not be advised.

Reference

1.A elegant advisory is hosted in Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) website with supportive data from U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

primary prevention of cad by aspirin

2.Pignone  M., Alberts  M.J., Colwell  J.A., et al; Aspirin for primary prevention of cardiovascular events in people with diabetes: a position statement of the American Diabetes Association, a scientific statement of the American Heart Association, and an expert consensus document of the American College of Cardiology Foundation. Circulation. 2010;121:2694-2701

3.Sigrun Halvorsen,Felicita Andreotti,  Jurriën M., Aspirin Therapy in Primary Cardiovascular Disease PreventionA Position Paper of the European Society of Cardiology Working Group on Thrombosis  J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014;64(3):319-327.

The concept of TAVR(Trancutaneous aortic valve replacement ) is trying hard  to prevail over surgical aortic valve replacement .Two companies Medtronic and Edwards life have their products (Core and Sapiens)  tested and used with varying success.Meanwhile, Boston scientific has come out with a new one , Lotus valve made with stainless steel and bovine pericardium.

 

lotus valve tavr

Lotus valve  seems to have a distinct  advantage* (over the Core and Sapiens ) in terms of easy delivery and adjustment (or retrieval ) of valve till  final position and efficient adoptive steel technology in preventing para-valvular leak.

* Outcome awaited.

Human  trials has started with lotus valve in USA 2014.The REPRISE III trial would compare  one to one Lotus vs core valve . Results will be out by 2017.Unlike many interventions the utility value and long-term outcome of  TAVR  seem to be genuine and patients  waiting for aortic valve surgery can look forward to this as a genuine non surgical alternative.

Responding to this , Medtronic and Edwards are  improving upon core valve with Evolute R /Engager and SAPIEN3 , expected  to give a tough time for LOTUS.

Reference

1.RESPOND registry , REPRISE 1, 2 and 3 trials

2.A review article on TAVR 

Less than a century ago an easy chair  was enough to manage this most important medical emergency of mankind. Of course, at that time mortality of STEMI was estimated to be around 30%.We have since pushed the in-hospital death rate down to less than 10 %  and its around 5-8% currently.(*The lifeless chairs were able to save 70 lives is a different story!)

Heparin , thrombolytic agents, critical coronary care has helped us to achieve this , of course It must be admitted primary PCI also played a small role (at best 1 % ) in our fight against this number one killer.

Now, why not combine  both lysis and PCI ?

The concept of PIA (Pharmaco Invasive approach) came into vogue  primarily for two reasons.

1.If thrombolysis and  pPCI are powerful strategies by individual merits why not combine both and achieve double the benefit ?

2. Since pPCI is going to be a logistical nightmare in most points of care and we can’t afford to lose time . So, let us lyse first and consider PCI later !

Unfortunately medical science is not math .One plus one in medicine is rarely two !

Though , it looks attractive , Pharmaco invasive approach  has its own troubles.Fortunately , most of them are man-made, few are beyond our knowledge though.

Following general rules  may help us

  • STEMI  should ideally managed by early thrombolysis (or PCI) in all deserving patients.
  • Don’t wait for PCI if you think , there will be delay or reduced expertise and poor track record of the center in this modality.
  • Pharmaco invasive  therapy is not a default in all STEMI .Do good quality , monitored  lysis , (Not necessarily new generation thrombolytic .(I prefer one hour sustained thrombolytic regimen , not the hit or miss bolus) .As a learned cardiologist we need to assess individual patients according to the type and risk of MI.Its not wise to blindly follow the guidelines ,because these guidelines , though based on evidence never answers a query in a single patient perspective !

The key “branch points”  in decision making  after lysis

  • Invasive strategy  should begin within one hour if the patient has failed  thrombolysis and has developed any mechanical issues.( Mind you, LVF requires good medical stabilization .Rushing  such patients to cath lab without application of mind can be disastrous )
  • If the Initial  lysis is excellent and the patient is asymptomatic  one need not proceed with invasive limb at all.(A significant chunk of apparently failed lysis by ECG are asymptomatic and comfortable , these are patients require delicate assessment regarding further intervention. )
  • If the MI is large and the clinical  stability is “not confirmed” one may  proceed urgently within 24 h.
  • In any case there is no role for invasive approach after 24 hours* Unless fresh ischemia  suspected to come from IRA or  non IRA.
  • Having  said that, there are many centers that do a diagnostic  angiogram alone just prior to discharge  (48-72h) for risk stratification and then take a genuine call for a possible PCI or  CABG. In my opinion it appears a sensible strategy , though a non invasive stress  test pre/post discharge can even avoid that  coronary angiogram !

One issue with Rescue PIA

Though by current definition  PIA is to be done  3-24 hours , don’t wait for the 4th hour if you have recognized a failed thrombolysis earlier than three hours.( Ofcourse , as the gap between P and I gets too narrowed it may  carry some adverse  effects witnessed in routine facilitated PCI -Refer FINESSE study ) Similarly,there need not be a blanket ban on PCI beyond 24 hours if residual ischemia is active.

Final message

PIA is a dynamic  coronary  re -perfusion strategy . Nothing is fixed in science. . The optimal gap between Pharmaco and invasive strategy  can be anywhere between  1 hour to “Infinitely deferred” depending upon individual risk perception and wisdom of the treating cardiologist.

 

 

 

I

 

It was delicate few minutes  in one of  my recent  visits to a corporate hospital , when I noticed an emergency physician  hesitated to follow my advice to  prescribe IV Digoxin for a patient with  Atrial fibrillation and fast ventricular rate.His fear was, his consultant, a modern day cardiologist wouldn’t like it as Amiodarone has become a default drug for atrial fibrillation in that Institution. I could sense. . .he felt so out of place to take on my suggestion.

I reminded the young physician , the uniqueness  of  Digoxin and its  un-diminished value for this particular indication ,still he was reluctant and didn’t oblige.

I realised , it was my mistake to expect  a place for the humble fox glove in corporate crash-carts of centrally climate controlled  cardiology suits !

“Medicine need to be practiced   not only with best science(Truth) but also in a holistic and  cost efficient manner . There is no place for glamor, glitter  and commerce in your prescriptions !  In near future , teaching Medicine to students would  essentially  become  “more of moral” than “science” .

Reference

Link -Which is the best combination for rate control in Atrial fibrillation

medical ethics stastistics www.drsvenkatesan.com

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 599 other followers