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Who is a doctor?  Where are they made?

I haven’t clearly understood the true meaning of customary Dr tag, my name carries for more than 3 decades, till I saw this. Wish, this video is played to all young medical students on their graduation day.

             I am realizing with guilt, it requires a Holywood movie buff to remind us the true meaning of the famous WHO – definition of Health, done in the most holistic fashion in the year 1948. 

Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

So, technically, whoever serves to improve these three components and alleviate human suffering becomes a doctor. 

Happy to share this on July 1st, the official Doctor’s day in India in memory of the Bharat Ratna Dr.B.C.Roy of Bengal. 

Reference

The clip is from the movie Patch Adams, Directed by Tom Shadyac.  A Hollywood celebrity movie maker, Virginian professor of communication turned philanthropist, now retired to a minimalist life. He is also known for his famous documentary I am that talks about the problems faced by the world. Though his works are much appreciated, I  must say, they are underrated. Deserves more than an Oscar for communicating his thoughts on the medical profession perfectly and for social equality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think it is an Invalid question. Whether you like it or not , medical science and philosophy are always bonded together and its relationship is eternal. It doesn’t make sense to separate them. I think we have misunderstood the meaning of philosophy. While science is presumed truths, philosophy is trying to believe in unknown truths. Philosophical truths are built-into every decision a medical professional takes.

If the expected natural history of any disease is science, unexpected deviations are philosophy. (RT PCR testing for diagnosing  Corona is science, why 90% of them are not infective and don’t transform disease is philosophy) When something is not seen or quantifiable like human immunity, it is a perfect example of concealed science or manifest philosophy.

Taking about what we think we know is science, Talking about what we really don’t know is philosophy. The term Idiopathic syndrome finds a  proud of the place in every specialty in medicine, Isn’t? 

 What will be your answer when your patient wants an assurance that a stent, you had just implanted will not get occluded in the next 6 months or so.“I don’t know, I cant assure you about that”  will be your most likely answer. (Though, we do it in style, hiding behind  the scientific hyperbole decorated with numbers,  also referred to as statistics) Please realize, this is the expression of medical philosophy in the finest form.

Final message 

My Impression is, philosophical truths should be liberally used in a regular fashion right from the first-year medical school to advanced specialty teaching. This seems essential as science in the current times suffers from too much sanctity. This has spilled over to the doctor population as well, and make them appear invincible. 

If only we realize science often trails behind the philosophical truths at least by a few decades, our patients will not be injured inappropriately and prematurely. Mixing science with philosophy in the right composition ( a perfect academic cocktail ) will bring out the best from the noble profession.   

Postamble

Can anyone guess, why scientists are given a doctorate in Philosophy degree  (PhD ) ?

A young man aged around 40 years, had a STEMI was promptly thrombolysed in a small hospital located about 40 KM away in the suburbs of my city Chennai. They did an awesome job of saving the patient life and salvaging the myocardium.

Now begins the story . . . one of the non-medical person who is the owner of the hospital has an unfortunate working  business relationship with a frighteningly big nearby hospital  which had signed a memorandum of irresponsible understanding . It demanded any  patient who arrives in the small hospital with MI should be transferred at earliest opportunity to them.

So, an ambulance was arranged  and the patient (with a fairly well reperfused heart ) was shifted  in an emergency fashion . It reached desired destination after nicely chugging along the choked chaotic Chennai evening traffic for 45 minutes.

The guy was taken directly to cath lab through the side doors to perform a second salvage  procedure on a successfully opened IRA. Young cardiology consultants  in designer cath suite welcomed the smiling ACS patient to their posh new lab .Did few rapid radial shots, mumbled among themselves for few minutes,  decided to stent  a minimal LAD lesion for a patient who was in  zero distress with well-preserved LV function.

*The relatives of the patients were curious when they were asked sign a fresh set of consent which elaborately  mentioned about possible life risk during the procedure.

The patient’s wife  was clearly  amused and she pointed out to the superior cardiologists about  the earlier briefing by the Inferior freelance cardiologist who treated him in the previous hospital. She recalled , “I was told in confident terms  that  Initial thrombolysis  has been spectacularly  successful and bulk of the treatment is over and risk of complication has dramatically reduced”.

Then why is this distressing risk taking story again ,  she asked ?

The doctors hurriedly explained ,”this procedure is different. We are sorry to say we have no other option but to add  further risk to you” ! but , its all for your good !

Why should I ?  If the initial lysis is very successful  why do you want to meddle with it again ?

No Madam , you are ill-informed , you can’t talk like that .This is what modern  science  is all about. Leave the professional decision to us. We need to check immediately  whether the lysis is really successful .We can’t rely on the ECG.Further, true success lies in stenting the lesion as we fear the ill-fated site may close again.We are  taught to practice protocols based on standard scientific guidelines. This hospital has highest rating in-terms of quality care. That’s why we got updated ISO 2000  NABH accreditation

The women who is a soft ware engineer was smartly and  scientifically silenced in 5 minutes flat !

Post-amble :

What happened  to the patient then ? (When you fear something it happens is in’t the  Murphy’s law ?)

The apparently asymptotic and comfortable patient had uneventful PCI. A  long drug eluting  stent  was  implanted in recanalized  lesion in LAD with around 30 % narrowing that ended with an innocuous looking diagonal pinch. The procedure was uneventful , however next day he developed some fresh ECG changes and chest pain . The worried team took him for another angio found  stent was patent But , ultimately after a stressful 3 days of stay , some thing went wrong he ended up with new LV dysfunction.He got discharged fine with a caution  that , his stent needs to intensively monitored for the next 1 year since technically he had recurrent ACS !

Lessons we don’t learn from such cases.

When two procedures are done to accomplish the same aim (Reperfusion) , but with  differing success rates, expertise, time ,and unpredictable hazards , the benefits from them may not add together. There is clear knowledge deficit here. Scientific data can never provide fair answers to  these questions  as all real life cofounders can never be recreated in study population.

While we expect 1+1 to become  two in pharmaco-Invasvie strategy  ,one should realise it may end up with  either zero or even  – 2 .

1 -1 = 0

-1 + (-1)=  -2 ?

Learning cardiology from lay persons 

The patient’s shrewd wife threw this question ,

After two modes of re-perfusion done sequentially in my  husband’s  heart ,  at a total cost of Rs4.5Lakhs Why he  is  still left with significant LV dysfunction (Which was  around 40% EF.)

The query raised by the lady appeared much more crucial and logical than the ones discussed in many top-notch live interventional workshops we attend every few months!

As usual , I started mulling over the issue. There is something wrong with the way , we  understand  the pharmaco invasive approach-PIA .You go with it only if  initial pharmacological  approach has failed.

Of Course ,there is one more modality possible ie Pharmaco -Angio strategy where in, you look at the coronary anatomy and take a call ! This sounds good , the only issue is taking a right call ! My experience suggests wrong calls are the rule and  exceptions are rare. Then a whole new issue erupts about all those non IRA lesions

Final message

So,  til we have gain complete self-control over our evolved ignorance and evolving knowledge , it is better to follow this proposed  funny new ACS algorithm called “Pharmaco -non invasive” approach (PNIA)  in asymptomatic ACS patients  who have had apparently successful lysis.

*Please note, Incidentally  PNIA actually  refers to simple good old traditional stand alone thrombolysis.

Counter point

No one can deny Interventional cardiology carries a risk of untoward effects.Don’t blow this out of proportion. Do you know, how many lives have been saved by routine Pharmaco -Invasive approach ?

I am not sure , my experience may be limited.Let me ask the readers. Is routine PIA is warranted in all asymptomatic , successfully lysed STEMIs ?

100% occlusion of a coronary artery result in STEMI.This includes both thrombus and mechanical component .We are very much blinded till we touch , feel and see the lesion with a wire or IVUS to quantify the mechanical component’s  contribution in the genesis of  STEMI.It is generally believed (True as well ) thrombus is the chief culprit .It can even be 100 % thrombotic STEMI with  just a residual endothelial  erosion and hence
zero mechanical component .However , the point of contention that non flow limiting lesion is more likely to cause a thrombotic STEMI than a flow liming
lesion  seems to be biased and misunderstood scientific fact .

What happens once 100 % occlusion take place ?

Sudden occlusion , is expected to evoke a strong fire fighting response within the coronary artery.The immediate reaction is the activation of  tissue plasminogen system. In this aftermath  few succumb . ( Re-perfusion arrhythmia  generated as VF ) .The TPA system activates and tries to lyse the clot.The volume , morphology, attachment, content of thrombus ,  and the elasticity of fibrin mesh , location of  platelet core would determine the life and dissolvablity of thrombus. Even a trickle flow can keep the distal vessel patent .(Please note a timely TIMI 2 flow can be a greater achievement than a delayed TIMI 3  flow !)

thrombus propgation
What happens to the natural history of thrombus in STEMI ?
Thrombus formed over the culprit lesion can follow any of the following course

  •  Can remain static
  •  Get lysed by natural or pharmacological means
  •  Progress distally (By fragmentation or by moving en-mass )
  •  Grow proximal and and involve more serious proximal side branch obstruction
  • Organise and become a CTO

Factors determining thrombus migration

The interaction between the hemodynamic  forces that push a thrombus distally and hemo-rheological factors that promote fresh proximal thrombus formation are poorly understood. The altered intra-coronary milieu with a fissured plaque covered by  platelet vs RBC / fibrin core,  totally of obstruction,  reperfusing forces , re-exposure of raw areas and  the distal vessel integrity all matters.

While, logic would tell us,  thrombus more often migrates  distally  assisted by the direction of blood flow, an  opposite concept also seeks attention , ie since the blood flow is sluggish  in the proximal (to obstruction site )more thrombus forms in segments proximal to obstruction.

(In fact, its presumed  in any acute massive proximal LAD STEMI , it takes hardly few minutes for the thrombus to  queue up proximaly and  clog the bifurcation and spill over to LCX or even reach left main and result in instant mechanical death.)

What is the significance of length and longitudinal resistance of the thrombotic segment in STEMI ?

If thrombus is the culprit let us get rid of it , this concept looks nice on paper , but still  we don’t  know why thrombus aspiration in STEMI is not consistently useful. We also know little about  the length of the thrombotic  segment .When a guide wire is passed over a STEMI ATO it may cross smoothly like  “cutting a slice of  butter” in some , while in few we struggle and  end up with severe no-reflow inspite of great efforts .Why ?

What is the Impact of distal collateral flow in flushing fresh thrombus ?

The efficacy of collateral flow in salvaging myocardium is underestimated. Distal vessel flow if perfused partially by acute collaterals the thrombus load is not only less it’s soft and fail to get organised early that would help cross the lesion easily.

medical education critics cardiology evdnce based medicine growth ethics

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. !

Here is a  video recipe  !

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

Prosthetic valve implantation has revolutionized the management of  valvular heart disease . The original concept valve  was a ball in a cage valve  , still considered as a  fascinating discovery.  It was conceived by the young Dr Starr and made by Engineer Edwards  .This was followed   by long hours of arguments,  debates and  experiments that ran into many months . The  silent corridors of  Oregon hospital Portland USA remain the only witness  to their hard work and motivation.  At last,  it happened , the first human valve was implanted in the year 1960. Since then . . . for nearly  50 years these valves  have done a seminal  job for the mankind.

With the advent of  disc valve and bi-leaflet valve in the  later decades of 20th century , we had to say a reluctant good-bye to this valve.

There is a  lingering question among many of the current generation cardiologists and surgeons why this valve became extinct ?

Starr and Edwards with their child !

We in India , are witnessing these old warrior inside the heart functioning for more than 30 years.From my institute of Madras medical college  which probably has inserted more Starr Edwards valve than any other  during the 1970s and 80s by Prof . Sadasivan , Solomon victor , and Vasudevan and others .

It is still a mystery why this valve lost its popularity and ultimately died a premature death.The modern hemodynamic  men  working from a theoretical labs thought  this valve was  hemodynamically  inferior. These Inferior valves worked  like a  power horse  inside the hearts  the poor Indian laborers  for over 30 years.

A Starr Edwards valve rocking inside the heart in mitral position

The cage which gives  a radial support* mimic  sub valvular apparatus, which none of the other valves can provide.

* Mitral  apparatus has 5 major  components. Annulus, leaflets, chordae, pap muscle, LV free wall.None of the artificial valves has all these components.  Though , we would love to have all of them technically it is simply not possible.  The metal cage of Starr Edwards  valve partially satisfies this  , as  it acts as a virtual sub valvular apparatus.Even though the cage has no contact with LV free wall, the mechano hydrolic  transduction of  LV forces to the annulus  is possible .

Further , the good hemodyanmics of this valve indicate , the cage ensures co axial blood  flow  across the mitral inflow throughout diastole. .Unlike the bi-leaflet valve ,  where the direction of  blood flow is determined by the quantum of leaflet excursion  in every beat . In bileaflet valves  each leaflet has independent determinants of valve  motion . In Starr Edwards valve the ball is the leaflet . In contrast to bi-leaflet valve , the contact area  of the  ball and the blood in Starr Edwards  is a smooth affair  and  ball makes sure  the LV forces are equally transmitted to it’s surface .

The superiority of bi-leaflet valves and disc valves  (Over ball and cage ) were  never proven convincingly in a randomized fashion . The other factor which pulled down this valve’s popularity was the supposedly high profile nature of this valve. LVOT tend to get narrowed in few undersized hearts.  This  can not be an  excuse , as no consistent  efforts were made to miniaturize this valve which is  distinctly possible.

Sudden deaths from  Starr Edwards valve  .

  • Almost unheard in our population.
  • The major reason  for the long durability of this valve is due to the  lack of  any metallic moving points .
  • Absence of hinge  in this  valve  confers  a huge mechanical  advantage with  no stress points.
  • A globe / or a ball  has  the universal hemodynamic advantage. This shape makes it difficult for thrombotic focus to stick and grow.

Final message

Science is considered as sacred as our religion Patients believe in us. We believe in science. A  good  durable valve  was  dumped from this world  for no good reason. If commerce is the  the main issue ( as many still believe it to be ! )  history will never  forgive those people who were  behind the murder of this innocent device.

Cardiologists and Cardio thoracic surgeons are equally culpable  for the pre- mature exit of this valve from human domain.  Why didn’t they protest ?  We  can get some solace  ,  if  only we can impress upon  the current valve manufacturers  to  give a fresh lease of life to this valve .

http://www.heartlungcirc.org/article/S1443-9506%2810%2900076-4/abstract

This was written originally in 2009 early days of this blog. Now, re-posting it in 2021  , wonder any one has new data on this! 

We know diabetes, smoking, hyperlidemia, hypertension are major risk factors for progressive vascular disease. They damage the vascular endothelium either directly or indirectly , by aggravating the atheroscelortic process .  Diabetes apart from affecting the medium sized arteries , also affect the microvasculature.  Smoking  has a direct effect on endothelial function .It depletes vascular nitric oxide. High levels of circulating lipids injures the sub endothelial structures and invades the media by entering macrophages .So , all these 4 risk factors either operate independently or interact with each other and result in progressive vascular    disease.

While we  believe , these risk factors do not have any bias in attacking the human vascular  tree, in the real world it is observed they have their own  behavior pattern and  have unique predilection and a deadly alliance .

For example , in  chronic smokers TAO is the commonest manifestation , thrombo angitis is far too less common to occur in the coronary arteries.

Similarly  hypertension  per se  rarely results in an acute coronary syndrome while it is  the  single  important  cause for cerebro vascular  disease. Diabetes especially in women has very strong predilection for CAD , while diabetic per se is a lesser risk for stroke. Hyperlipedimia may be the one which has fairly even risk throughout the vasculature. Similarly there is  a difference in renal and   carotid arterial involvement with reference to  the conventional  risk factors .

SHT diabetes dyslipidemia coroanry risk factor

Why this apparent difference ?

We are unlikely  to get an answer to this question in the near future .  Left to the youngsters  . . . of tomorrow !

* Note of  clarification

The source for the above chart is collected from various studies and also a huge observational data from our hospital. There could be some geographical variation , a given individual may respond differently to these risk factor depending upon his genetic predisposition and susceptibility . So the above data can be applied to general population and not to a individual.

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.

A 75-year-old male post CABG with severe LV dysfunction and ICD and dual-chamber pacer in situ presented with NSTEMI.

An angiogram revealed something, and he got this form of treatment. ? What is it?

Image and case courtesy Patel R, Ghadiam H, Patel P, et al. (April 05, 2020) Angina Leading to Metal in the Heart: An Interesting Case of Saphenous Vein Graft Coiling. Cureus 12(4): e7546. doi:10.7759/cureus.7546

Features of SVG venous graft aneurysm

Graft aneurysm what are the risks?

  • Thrombosis
  • Recurrent ACS
  • Rupture 

Management 

  • Vascular plug
  • Multiple coils  (Does coil occlusion offer a permanent cure?  I can’t think so )
  • Covered stent
  • None. No Intervention Just OAC & observe, follow up can be a good option and can beat all above three in many patients.

Reference

1.Ramirez FD, Hibbert B, Simard T, Pourdjabbar A, Wilson KR, Hibbert R, Kazmi M, Hawken S, Ruel M, Labinaz M, et al. Natural history and management of aortocoronary saphenous vein graft aneurysms: a systematic review of published cases. Circulation 2012;126:2248–2256.CrossrefMedlineGoogle Schola

2.Dieter RS, Patel AK, Yandow D, Pacanowski JP Jr, Bhattacharya A, Gimelli G, Kosolcharoen P, Russell D. Conservative vs. invasive treatment of aortocoronary saphenous vein graft aneurysms: treatment algorithm based upon a large series. Cardiovasc Surg 2003;11:507–513.CrossrefMedlineGoogle Scholar

3.Nolke L, McGovern E, Wood AE: Saphenous vein graft aneurysms; the true, false and ugly!. Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg. 2004, 3:631-633. 10.1016/j.icvts.2004.07.011

TAVR is a game-changing structural interventional procedure that delivers an Aortic valve percutaneously. With hardware and expertise constantly Improving, excellent outcomes are common. However, this video clip reminds us, nothing can be taken for granted in any Intervention. (Sharing a Twitter feed Courtesy Raffaele Piccolo)

Why did this complication happen? Hardware, technique, or a fragile Aorta?  or just bad time  The fatal perforation seems to have occurred near the distal arch, with no visible signs of porcelain Aorta or gothic aortic arch. What could have been done? Could an ultra-fast deployment of a covered stent with ECMO support possible? Extremely difficult task.

Further reading 

Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is being projected as a scientific God’s secret specialty. Physicians who don’t follow EBM are considered unfit non-professionals. Presumably, in pursuit of truth, all those glamorous official bodies in cardiology bring out umpteen number of protocols, guidelines, advisories, and recommendations.

The blueprint for EBM

We have the famous 3 levels of recommendation backed up by different levels of evidence. Many of us trust these as the jury’s final verdict for most illnesses in cardiology. I would like to bring one particular issue about this hugely popular model of EBM. It is about one specific class of Indication referred to as 2b. The other day, there was an intense argument for an ICD in a young HCM patient and CRT in DCM based on this 2b stuff. Kindly request all of you to pause for a moment and introspect. We can realize, class 2b plays a mischievous game in EBM with the English language “may and may not”. It tries to push subconsciously an interventional bias from equipoise, in spite of lack of good evidence and clear divergence of opinion and a possible trend towards harm.

Further, there is widespread reluctance in many cardiac workgroups to refer class 3 recommendations as an absolute (or at least relative contraindication) It was strange to note one of my colleagues argued that,  class 3 is also a fair recommendation, to accept or reject is in our domain. I was initially shocked to hear that but had to agree with him ultimately as we realized a significant chunk of interventions we do, like delayed PCI > 24 hrs, CTOs, and chronic stable belongs to the proud class 3 recommendation. The debate came to a funny end when a senior cardiologist confessed somehow class 3 seemed to be a lesser evil than even class 2B.

Final message

For the sake of our patients, we need to bring an urgent reform in the EBM. Let us merge class 2b with class 3 and put it in a single basket and keep it out of reach to all tempting stakeholders. We shall display only class 1 in our therapeutic showcase.

Counterpoint

(*Dynamic recommendations is the norm in science, as we accumulate evidence with time.. Agreed, let us do this silently in research labs. Don’t bring it to practical guidelines. No, can’t agree. Freedom to indulge with an experimental modality in a no-option patient must always be there as we are able to give the benefit of doubt to these helpless patients. This is a valid argument but we must not forget even in dire situations  good option need not be a compulsive action, it can be in action as well)

 

 

Why ISCHEMIA trial conclusions often make us nervous?

Because, we know we can’t follow the lessons from it with true intent, as many of us are near slaves to Invisible Interventional forces in some form or other.

I would think, ISCHEMIA trial in one sense was a wasted effort. We always knew OMT is superior to any sort of PCI in stable CAD  (Backed up with COURAGE /BARI 2D/and of course the deadly exposure by ORBITA )

Anyway, we did ISCHEMIA for the sake of deniers, with huge public funding to prove the truth as truth.

Still, I am sure ISCHEMIA will be looked down, by most elite Intervenionlists. For the rest, it becomes a tough fight with their conscience. 

A recent review on European cardiology review 

Final message 

I don’t know, how many more trials would be required to tell us the same story all over again. Hope we grow enough COURAGE to follow the ISCHEMIA lessons. Let us (try to ) make a full stop on this issue.

 

 

 

 

 

“Third wave? what is that”

Basic science lessons are promptly forgotten by the time we reach the final year of medical school. How about recalling them decades into clinical practice ? The mechanism of systemic edema revolves around the interplay between hydrostatic pressure, colloid pressure, interstitial pressure. However, In the pulmonary circuit, it gets a little more complex. Acute pulmonary edema begins to occur at around 18mmhg  PCWP. What is special about this number 18? Nothing great. The lung begins to ooze when the LVEDP/LA mean pressure exceeds the colloid osmotic pressure, (that keeps fluid in situ) within the pulmonary capillaries, which is about 18mmhg. Interstitial fluid begins to collect as the basal rales go onto develop frank alveolar edema at 25mmhg. Of course, chronic situations like mitral stenosis both lymphatic reserve and thickened interstitial fibrotic process keep threshold still higher) 

To simplify, whatever be the mechanism on the left heart, during acute pulmonary edema for the lungs to get flooded, we need a well-functioning right ventricle. If only the RV has enough wisdom*, it should take the cue and slow down and help the LV out by reducing its preload. (RV’s afterload is LV’s preload right )

We know, the lungs are protected from congestion in a number of chronic right ventricular diseases, pericardial disorders, severe PH. This happens in RV infarction. This lung-protective effect might explain the heterogeneous nature of outcome in RVMI (bad to excellent) 

Final message

We know, the commonest cause of pulmonary edema is due to acute LVF. Now add one more mechanism in the genesis/and or maintenance of pulmonary edema. Vigorously contracting, RV is equally culpable. 

Here is an Important paper that discusses the key role of RV in the precipitation of acute pulmonary edema.

Some more questions relevant to this topic

1.What is the effect of RV dysfunction on paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea & orthopnea? 

2.Explain class 3 Forrester’s hemodynamic grading of acute MI. (Why PCWP goes down in grade 3 compared to grade 2?)

 

Syncope is one of the common, yet difficult symptoms to evaluate especially in the elderly. Post-prandial syncope is one condition likely to be missed out.As the name suggests It has a distinct relationship with food intake. Mild fall in postprandial BP is an expected response but if it exceeds a  limit* syncope is triggered. (*Highly variable)

Hemodynamics of Postprandial state

  1. Normally splanchnic circulation demands up to a 25%  increase in blood volume after a moderately large meal. 
  2. When this happens there must be compensatory vasoconstriction elsewhere especially in muscles. Lack of this response results in inappropriate falls in SVR. (The second mechanism is more constant and can be disproportionate to fall of BP)
  3. The mediators for this are either neurogenic or hormonal or both.
  4. Gastrointestinal mediator (Vasoactive Intestinal polypeptide dysregulation) is thought to play a major role. 

From Jansen et al  Archives of Internal medicine 1995

When does it occur?

It can manifest as early as 15 minutes, up to 2 hrs. The fall in systolic  BP is around 20mmhg. More common with large, hot meals. The fact that it can occur up to 2 hrs post meals, there is a likelyhood we might overlook it in history.

Other differential diagnoses 

Management 

There is no specific therapy. Some of the following might be effective.

  • Caffeine,
  • Somatostatin,
  • Acarbose,( α-Glucosidase Inhibitor ) 
  • Avoiding acute high carbohydrate intake.
  • A psychogenic component can be noted in a few that is attenuated by cognitive-behavioral therapy.
  • Midoridine, an Alpha¹ receptor stimulant  can be surprisingly more effective in some who have overlap with orthostatic hypo  (Cleve Clin J Med. 2010 May; 77(5): 298–306.)

Final message

Postprandial hypotension/syncope is a less recognized entity. As always, history is the most important diagnostic tool in the evaluation of syncope, which comes free of cost as well. The diagnostic yield is much greater than sophisticated Holter and event monitors.

Please note, there is a much more prevalent, lesser version of this condition, ie postprandial dizziness or giddiness. However, as already stated there is a significant overlap between orthostatic hypotension and postprandial syncope. It’s worth ruling out diabetes and autonomic dysfunction, (even subclinical Parkinsons) in elders with such symptoms. 

Reference

Here is a  comprehensive and elegant study (I think, It is only one of that kind on this topic )

1.Jansen RWMM, Connelly CM, Kelley-Gagnon MM, Parker JA, Lipsitz LA. Postprandial Hypotension in Elderly Patients With Unexplained Syncope. Arch Intern Med. 1995;155(9):945–952.

Postprandial hypotension Jansen1995

 

 

 

 

 

Nearly a century ago, Carl Wiggers helped us understand the dynamics of cardiac cycle with a historical diagram depicting systole and diastole. We know diastole has 4 phases. They are  IVRT(nil)  early rapid filling,(70%) diastasis,(0-5%) atrial contraction(25%) (Percentage filling within the brackets)

What is mid diastole?

The easiest way to define mid diastole is to divide diastole into three parts with reference to time and call the mid-third as mid-diastole. (.5 seconds/ divided by 3). But, Physiologically we can’t do that. Even hemodynamically there is no distinct mid diastole as diastole is divided into 4 phases as described earlier. When there are 4 parts how can we slice out mid diastole without an overlap? 

So, what shall we do? Technically which is the best period to be referred to as mid diastole?

Maybe diastasis. In this period either little or no flow occurs. HR heavily influence the duration of diastasis. Cardiologists especially during auscultation created the concept of calling anything happening after mitral valve opening as mid diastole. ie after IVRT which equals* A2-MV opening interval (In the true sense,  it must be the early diastole that can begin with mitral valve opening for physiologists, but for cardiologists, it begins with aortic valve closure because we can hear only closing sounds)

What happens in mitral stenosis? 

Any significant obstruction of the mitral valve, the gradient builds up immediately after the mitral valve opens. The murmur gains momentum in the early rapid filling phase of diastole, gradient spills over to fill the diastasis, and finally accelerates in pre-systole to end up in loud S 1.

 Is there really an early diastolic murmur in mitral stenosis?

  (I can’t agree. We were never taught that way)

Yes for sure. In fact, it can be the dominant murmur in many, since the early rapid filling phase of diastole contributes 70% of filling. In mitral stenosis, the early diastolic gradient will always be present. So. mitral stenosis murmur indeed begins in early diastole and extends further depending upon the severity.

If there is really an EDM in mitral stenosis, why do we still keep calling it MDM?  

Just by tradition and for convenience. Auscultatory mid-diastole is different from hemodynamic mid diastole. This irony occurs because murmur descriptions are based not on time but on phases. So, by convention, a murmur that does not occupy the IVRT phase is labeled as MDM. This also helps us to differentiate MDM of mitral stenosis from aortic regurgitation which has the exclusive rights to be called an early diastolic murmur.(Since it occupies the IVRT phase) 

Final message

This is probably a too-long post to unmask a trivial nomenclature issue in the diastolic murmur of mitral stenosis. Still, it’s worthwhile to understand this. The word “mid in MDM” is arbitrarily used and doesn’t really reflect either the time or the true hemodynamics. In fact, the same reasoning is applicable for any flow murmur across the mitral valve that is inappropriately referred to as MDM. 

Caution  

*Let me not confuse the youngsters especially undergraduates. MDM of mitral stenosis will remain as MDM in exam halls. It will never become EDM as that of AR where the murmur starts in the IVRT phase. 

 

For advanced readers

What is the earliest murmur to appear in mitral stenosis?

The first noise comes in the early part of diastole or late presystolic when atria contracts. Never in true mid diastole and gets filled up the in mid part as the disease progresses. So, we can have mitral stenosis without murmur in mid diastole. The morphology of murmur can best be understood when we correlate with Doppler echo profiles.

Is MDM of mitral stenosis crescendo or decresedo or both ?

Normally in diastole crescendo murmurs are uncommon as pressures are falling.( Ventricular contraction only can generate crescendo pressures.) Still, In mitral stenosis, there is minimal crescendo at the onset even when the  E velocity decelerates. However, there is a definite presystolic accentuation with atrial contraction which can also be referred to as late diastolic crescendo. 

*Is IVRT the same as the A2-OS interval? 

It is almost the same but not the same. Find out the difference.

 

Further reading

ongley1955

 

 

Further reading 

Here is a book from Dr. Ralf Sundberg, a former general and transplant surgeon, a prolific researcher from the prestigious Karolinska Institue, is trying hard to spill some not-so-sweet truths. A must-read, especially for the heavily biased optimistic scientists.