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Archive for the ‘Cardiology -guidelines’ Category

Critical multivessel CAD is commonly confronted by cardiologists .These patients either receive multivessel stenting, CABG, with or without optimal medical management(OMT) !

CABG is always done with intention of  complete revasularisation  for all significant lesions. Comprehensive  multivessel PCI though feasible is not practiced widely.Considering the diffuse nature of CAD no treatment is complete except probably intensive medical management.

As of now , addressing only one (or two ) critical lesions in a triple vessel disease by PCI though appear attractive and logical is considered unscientific.Guidelines are not clear in answering the issue.

multivessel-pci-ptca-courage-trial-syntax-cabg-freedom-bari-acc-aha-guidelines

In a triple vessel disease with a critical LAD lesion,  

Shall we do PCI for LAD and medical management for lesions in RCA or LCX  ?

How about this coronary wisdom  “While medical therapy can take care of less tighter lesions , only critical lesions need catheter based Intervention”

In fact, in STEMI setting we do apply this logic of  targeting one lesion (IRA) at a time. Why not in chronic coronary setting ? There are significant  pros and cons for this approach.While, most 0f us will go with the logical herd,an unique  paper by Mineok  asks us to think again(American Heart Journal, 2016-09-01, 157-165)

How do you define the completeness of revascularization? Is it not emprical ?

We know medical management has well documented advantages in chronic CAD. while multivessel stenting has its own hazards.Hence limiting the time spent within the coronary artery and reducing total stent length should be one of our important goals.

A mini quiz  . . .

How often you have left a fairly significant lesion (attending only the critical lesions )  in your practice ?

What do you think will happen to those non critical lesions  in the long run  ?

Do you believe earnestly drugs can take care of these lesions ?

Forget the science . Whats your experience and  gut feeling ? 

Do you agree , even surgeons do not always do a complete revascularisation either intentionally or for technical reasons ?

Finally ,why we are still  hesitant to call intensive medical therapy as a  “Revascularisation  equivalent”  inspite of valid proof for improved functional class, symptom relief , regression of atherosclerois , collateral preservation and improved microcirculaion.

Final message 

I would say , the science of coronary revascularisation in chronic CAD is stranded at a confused cross road even after three decades of aggressively grown interventional cardiology .At any given point of time medical  management can give a tough fight to catheter  based intervention in most stable IHD.

Hybrid therapy doesn’t always mean combination of PCI and CABG. Judicious mix of PCI and medical therapy is also  a hybrid modality that can bring CAD burden effectively in a meaningful fashion with less metal load.   If you can convert a critical triple vessel disease to non critical DVD or SVD with a single stent it should be welcomed without prejudice. 

With a section of cardiac scientists are in hot pursuit for a completely  bi0reabsorbable stents , let us adopt this “Minimalistic PCI approach” in multivessel CAD, till the time  we reach the “dream the end point” of modern coronary care , ie to  get rid of stent altogether by biological cure for atherosclerosis.

Reference

1.Mineok chang, Jung MinAhn, Nayoung  complete versus incomplete revascularization in patients with multivessel coronary artery disease treated with drug-eluting stents Kim,American Heart Journal, 2016-09-01, 157-165,

 2.Tamburino C, Angiolillo DJ, Capranzano P, et al: Complete versus incomplete revascularization in patients with multivessel disease undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention with drug-eluting stents. Catheter Cardiovasc Interv 2008; 72: pp. 448-456

3.Wu C, Dyer AM, King SB, et al: Impact of incomplete revascularization on long-term mortality after coronary stenting. Circ Cardiovasc Interv 2011; 4: pp. 413-421

4.Gao Z, Xu B, Yang YJ, et al: Long-term outcomes of complete versus incomplete revascularization after drug-eluting stent implantation in patients with multivessel coronary disease. Catheter Cardiovasc Interv 2013; 82: pp. 343-349

5.Ong ATL,Serruys PW. Complete revascularization: coronary artery bypass graft surgery versus percutaneous coronary intervention. Circulation. 2006; 114: 249255

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We all know to err is human , but most of us probably won’t agree medical mistakes , (bulk of which happen in the name of practicing state of the art of science ! ) could be the dominant theme in modern medical care !

BMJ exposes this  well known secret with the help of most authentic data from an apex scientific body CDC , Atlanta .

Reference

http://www.bmj.com/content/353/bmj.i2139#

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In this era of synthesized evidence base,  one of my  intellectually aberrant  student asked  How can we indulge in  a popular coronary procedure   with  class 1 indication backed by level C evidence  ?   (As defined by  the seemingly invincible  guideline committee  of various  International cardiology organizations .)

medical ethics silence guidelines

I told him ,

  • Institutional protocols are to be followed
  • Guidelines are to be respected
  • Recommendations are to be considered
  • Please be reminded  all of the  above can be rejected  outright !

Finally , realise  Individual  decisions based on sound scientific understanding with zero non academic intrusions  will be revered forever !

*Caution : If you  think  you haven’t  yet reached that the level of  individuality , come what may ,  you are  expected follow these  advisories  which are primarily aimed at  providing quality care and  you will be pardoned of any adversaries as well  !

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As the medical care advances  human care  has taken the back seat. It is said super specialists  read more and more about less and less ! In the  process they  fail to see the  patients  as a single biological unit  instead as collection of organs .

While  organs in turn are looked as  pile of data.Hence the  treatment they provide lack the soul !

In the prevailing circumstances , how do we ensure  modern medicine  does not interfere with  these vulnerable souls,either to live in peace or leave in peace ?

Medical Ethics

Image : Source and Courtesy of http://illuminationstudios.com

It appears doctors are not at fault . The system is  biased towards raw science .Highly trained  doctors are tied down by  both  true and pseudo  scientific Intellect .Often  times they are compelled to do some procedure or interventions  just to  justify  the  premier status of the hospital  .While few do it  to show off  their expertise or  to impress  their peers   others are simply bound by rigid and obsessive  protocols and guidelines . Few others do it  for the burning  desire  of  scientific accomplishment .

One can offer hundred reasons for doing a procedure . . . but we always struggle to justify  with a valid reason for not doing a investigation or  procedure !

In fact , the  concept of appropriateness  criteria came out with good intention .But , it had failed miserably.

The irony is  . . . we need to indulge in something to avoid something.

Example 1 If homocystiene and  hsCRP vanish from the CAD screening industry   Adiponectin and Vitamin D3 comes in with a thunderous applause like a new Hollywood movie  !

Example 2: In cath lab  for leaving alone an insignificant  coronary stenosis , we have to do  another procedure  called FFR to satisfy  scientific ego ! (I know one senior doctor , who left a 80% LAD  lesion for medical management without FFR ( with all his clinical acumen )  was ridiculed for being unscientific !)

Here is a recent perspective article NEJM has discussed  this  important issue that plague us

Why should big  Tertiary  teaching hospital  are  flooded  with super specialists  which by default shun basic human care ?

Read this article*

Super specialist tertiary care hospital NEJM

*The article I have quoted  may  not  be completely relevant here  . . . It  answers  few of the queries raised!

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I share my thoughts after going through this  85 page  land mark document !

acc aha 2013 guidelines cholesterol ncep

In whatever way I look at it  ,It  keeps  both physicians and their patient population guessing  in a  confused sate regarding their cholesterol levels  the treatment modalities !

It seems to revolve around a single point agenda,  how to fit a single drug called statin in the scheme of things !

What  if  ,  a new  drug comes and statin is  proved  not an angel  in our fight against the evil  of  atheroscerosis !

 

acc aha lipid guidelines atp 3 ncep  nhlbi dyslipidemia

Summary as  I interpreted

“All healthy and unhealthy human beings should ask only one  question

whether they can some how  benefit from taking statins  ? “

If your answer is yes ,  administer the statin  not in  low dose but in moderately high dose ! (It  appears  there is little role for low intensity statins )

There  is generally no  need to to monitor the lipid levels as long as patient is comfortable.

Disclaimer :  *Sorry , the Intention is not to  hurt the hard work of a elite panel who toiled for years to bring this much awaited guidelines on lipids and atherosclerosis! but to express my view , biased though !)

A mini research

To confirm my assumption I did a curious word search in this 85  page document .

For words statin , diet and exercise

  1. Statin appeared  814 times
  2. Diet appeared 8 times
  3. and exercise just once in the entire document !

statin search acc document statin acc aha 2013 guidelines statin acc aha 2013 guidelines 2

The importance of  diet and  body activity  which  are  the  primary   determinant of serum lipid levels is mentioned  in a cursory fashion in this  global guideline meant to control the total  cholesterol load  and atherosclerosis of our population .

Meanwhile . a drug which  acts in a  physiological  cell servicing  metabolic path way in a complex fashion  is glorified 814  times !Do  you still  think this post is is biased ?

 

 

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CHB with CAD is a  common combination especially in the elderly.

Which will you Intervene first ?  Is the AV block related to CAD  ?

How to differentiate Ischemic from degenerative AV block ?

Differentiating is often difficult.Even coronary angiogram may not answer the query unless it is totally normal . For AV block to occur usually  LCX / RCA lesion is required.  LAD lesion in isolation are rare to cause CHB .

How often re-vascularisation  reverses  ischemic CHB ?

Logically  you expect more reversals.In real world it rarely happens.

Therapeutic options in combined CAD and CHB

  1. PCI and pace maker in the same sitting .
  2. PCI first followed by pace-maker at a later date.
  3. Pace maker first followed by PCI at a later date if required.
  4. CABG  and epicardial pacemaker ( best option In all critical TVD and CHB)
  5. Pace maker followed by CABG later
  6. Pacemaker followed by medical management (CHB with Insignificant CAD)

Can worsening of ischemia  occur after pacemaker  ?

Very much possible . Since the patient  has been benefited by low heart rate in terms of MVO2 consumption .(Inserting a pacemaker  is  like sudden withdrawal of beta blocker !)

Rate adoptive pacing can confer chronotropic competence which  may bring back the angina.So,what was a insignificant lesion  can become hemodynamicaly relevant  and  may require  angioplasty  later.

*The above clinical issue is applicable  for sinus node dysfunction and CAD as well.

Final message

There is no  fixed rule in the management strategy in combined  CHB and CAD .

Generally , electrical  therapy  should be given preference .Symptom guided approach  may be practical.

In this scientific era , one may argue to deal both issues  together by simultaneous  PCI and pacemaker ,  still  option 3 and 6  remain clear  favorites !

If angina  occurs  even in  baseline bradycardia  it is obvious the obstructive CAD  is  significant and needs immediate fixing .

Finally , though it looks an attractive  concept , It is very rare for CHB  to get reverted by PCI or CABG.

 

 

 

 

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Recently , I came across a   young women  who underwent the following three tests for one episode of syncope after witnessing her pet dog bleeding with  an Injury !

  1. Carotid doppler
  2. Holter monitoring and event monitors
  3. Brain MRI /MR angiogram

This was followed up  by Head up tilt(HUT)  in a premier hospital

After 1 week of investigation ,a diagnosis of  Neurocardiogenic syncope was made and she was reassured and no drugs were prescribed.

(The collective yield of the above three investigation in fixing  a specific diagnosis is  less than 10 % of all known causes of syncope )

Syncope  approach  evaluation

To diagnose  common syncope . . . we need common sense !

Syncope is a dramatic  symptom.It is one of the commonest symptom in ER as well . Life time incidence of syncope is at least one episode in 50% all human life ! The definition  of syncope until recently , was liberal .Any transient loss of consciousness with spontaneous recovery  was termed syncope.

This includes

  1. Hypoglycemia
  2. Anemia
  3. Siezure disorders
  4. Structural  neurogenic (Including ,  brain tumors , Dural hematomas etc )
  5. Panic attacks (psychogenic)

Cardiologists wanted to fix syncope as an exclusive disorder of  circulatory insufficiency.By bringing in a modification in the definition  , ie  syncope is  now defined as a transient loss of consciousness due to   reduction in cerebral perfusion  .

This definition helped cardiologists  to exclude the above entities . Still many would include all in single basket as patient should be seen as a whole and we can’t expect them to  land according to our convenience and classification.

Here is an incomplete* list about causes of  syncope (* 99% complete ?)

Vascular

  • Vaso- vagal syncope in young ( Neuro-cardiogenic , Common , Benign)
  • Autonomic dysfunction of elderly ( Including postural hypotension )

Cardiac

Arrhythmic ( Sinus node dysfunction /CHB/Idiopathic VT/Long QT syndromes)

Structural heart disease

  • Valvular  heart disease  (LVOT/RVOT obstructions)
  • Myocardial disease
  • Rarely ischemic heart disease

Miscellaneous

  • Severe pulmonary hypertension (Including PPH ,  pulmonary Embolism )
  • Paradoxical embolism.
  • Aortic arch disease -Takayasu related arteritis .

Investigation

We have a sophisticated array  of investigation for syncope .It can be a never ending exercise , ranging from  spinal cord evoked potentials to diagnose Shy-drager syndrome ,   . . .  to implanting long-term loop recorders to decode  heart beat behavior.

However , evaluation of syncope is the ultimate wake-up call  to all current generation cardiologists  . . . Why clinical cardiology  should  never  be allowed to die (and  it  will not ! )

Common sense begins with answering  few simple questions . Is it really syncope ?

If  you ask this question three times and with  specific leads to the patient  and the witness ,  truth will come out  . 90% of times it may not be syncope at all (Near syncope, accidental  fall, dizziness ,extreme blurred vision, drowsiness  etc)

If it is syncope , Is there a non cardiac cause ?

It may related to the Hypoglycemia / Anemia /Panic attacks.Get a neurologist opinion , it would be terrible mistake if you miss a space occupying lesion  within the brain. (Missing chronic silent sub dural hematomas is  frequent   in the evaluation of syncope of elderly !)

Ruling out  cardiac syncope is relatively easy

In the remaining  patients  basic investigation like routine blood tests,ECG, ECHO   will help us  rule out most serious cardiac disorders.Similarly  bulk of the electrical cardiac syncope can be diagnosed.(Holter , carotid study in selected few )

Need for neurologist -cardiologist interaction.

Syncope due to VBI,  transient Ischemia attack , Senile vascular dementia  is a grey zone . Many have complex neuronal -vascular mechanisms . What is Consciousness ?  and  What is LOC ?  :Is it the lack of blood or severely depressed nerve signal in the reticular activating system? Lots of interaction between cardiologist and neurologist is required to clear our ignorance.(I  have one such  elderly patient who is intermittently awake ! I call this chronic syncope !)  .

Undiagnosed syncope is not  a crime

Realise the most important lesson in Medicine . If you  have ruled out all serious  causes of syncope you should have the courage to be satisfied with that !

Scientific pursuits has a limit. Searching for the mechanism of a psychogenic  fainting attacks with intra cerebral electrodes is a clear case of  physician acquiring a psychotic  behavior !

Final message

Syncope is not only a dramatic symptom for the patient , it also unfolds a drama of costly  investigations  . .  . many  with  dubious value.

Talk to the patient personally for  10 minutes in a quiet room, try to apply that elusive  clinical sense  . . .   it would rarely let you down !

After thought

What is the true clinical value of * Head up tilt Test (HUT)?

Will be posted soon

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