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Attila Frigy, Katalin Mezei, Ildikó Kocsis and Lehel Máthé


Background: Recent scientific data demonstrated a potential beneficial effect of beta-blocker (BB) therapy in cardiac patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Our aim was to characterize the use of beta-blockers in these patients, in “real-life” conditions.

Material and methods: We collected retrospectively the data of 60 consecutive cardiac patients (51 men, 9 women, mean age 67 years) with the concomitant diagnosis of COPD: main cardiac conditions, presence and reason of BB therapy, type of drug and dosage, main ECG and echocardiographic parameters, medication and data regarding COPD. Besides descriptive statistics, we compared the data of patients with and without BB therapy (chi-square test, level of significance alpha <0.05) in order to identify factors associated with BB usage.

Results: In our study population, 41.6% of the patients had received BB treatment, the most frequently used drug being bisoprolol 2.5 mg and 5 mg q.d. (28%-28%), followed by carvedilol (32%). The prevalence of BB therapy was 51.2% in heart failure patients (48% in NYHA class III and IV, and 66.6% in dilated cardiomyopathy), 38.4% in hypertension, 81.8% in ischemic artery disease, and 64.7% in subjects with atrial fibrillation. The usage of BB therapy was significantly associated with the presence of heart failure (p = 0.047), dilated cardiomyopathy (p = 0.034), ischemic heart disease (p = 0.005), previous myocardial infarction (p = 0.003) and, inversely, with the acute exacerbation of COPD (p = 0.006).

Conclusions: Despite the fact that every cardiac patient with COPD had a potential indication for BB treatment, this was used insufficiently, especially in case of heart failure patients. In daily practice, there is a need for continuous review and improvement of BB usage in these patients.

Open access

Ildikó Kocsis, Lajos Fehérvári, Zoltán Fogarasi, István Adorján Szabó and Attila Frigy


Objectives. Evaluation of the characteristics of sleep apnea (SA) in patients hospitalized with acute heart failure, considering that undiagnosed SA could contribute to early rehospitalization. Methods. 56 consecutive patients (13 women, 43 men, mean age 63.12 years) with acute heart failure, in stable condition, underwent nocturnal polygraphy before hospital discharge. The type and severity of SA was determined. Besides descriptive statistics, correlations between the severity of SA and clinical and paraclinical characteristics were also analyzed (t-test, chi-square test, significancy at alpha < 0.05). Results. 12 (21.4%) subjects were free of SA (AHI - apnea-hipopnea index <5/h), 15 (26.7%) had mild SA (AHI=5-14/h), 17 (30.3%) had moderate SA (AHI 15-30/h), and 12 (21.4 %) had severe SA (AHI>30/h). The apnea was predominantly obstructive (32 cases vs. 12 with central SA). Comparing the patients with mild or no SA with those with severe SA, we did not find statistically significant correlations (p>0.05) between the severity of SA and the majority of main clinical and paraclinical characteristics - age, sex, BMI, cardiac substrates of heart failure, comorbidities. Paradoxically, arterial hypertension (p=0.028) and atrial fibrillation (p=0.041) were significantly more prevalent in the group with mild or no SA. Conclusions. Before discharge, in the majority of patients hospitalized with acute heart failure moderate and severe SA is present, and is not related to the majority of patient related factors. Finding of significant SA in this setting is important, because its therapy could play an important role in preventing readmissions and improving prognosis.

Open access

Frigy Attila, Kocsis Ildikó, Fehérvári Lajos and Szabó István Adorján


Optimal timing of hospital discharge in patient with acute heart failure (AHF) is an important factor of preventing rehospitalizations.

Aim. To evaluate the value of a simplified lung ultrasound (LUS) protocol in assessing pre-discharge status of patients with AHF, correlating the US findings with the values of NT-proBNP levels.

Methods. 24 patients (18 men, 6 women, mean age 68,2 years) hospitalized with acute heart failure underwent LUS examination in the afternoon of the day before hospital discharge, applying a simplified LUS protocol, using three basal examination areas on the right side (anterior, lateral and posterior) and two basal examination areas on the left side (lateral and posterior). The LUS score was represented by the sum of B lines. In the next morning the value of NT-proBNP was also determined. The correlation between LUS findings and NT-proBNP values was analyzed using Fisher's exact test (significant if alpha<0,05).

Results. 6 patients had <15 B lines, 16 patients had >15 B lines and 2 patients had pleural effusion on LUS, while 16 patients had the value of NT-proBNP >1000pg/ml at discharge. The results of LUS examination correlated significantly (p=0.0013) with the NT-proBNP values – only one patient not having increased NT-proBNP in the group with >15 B lines.

Conclusions. Despite a relatively good clinical status, the majority of patients had high NT-proBNP values at the time of hospital discharge. LUS proved to be a useful tool in identifying patients with subclinical congestion reflected also by the high NT-proBNP levels. These patients may need a prolongation of hospitalization and/or a more careful follow-up to prevent early readmission.

Open access

István Adorján Szabó, Ildikó Kocsis, Zoltán Fogarasi, Boglárka Belényi and Attila Frigy


In type A aortic dissection (AoD) an early and accurate diagnosis is essential to improve survival, by applying urgent surgical repair. 3D transthoracic echocardiography (3D-TTE), an advanced noninvasive imaging technique, could offer a comprehensive evaluation of the ascending aorta and aortic arch in this regard. Both modalities of real-time 3D imaging – live 3D and full-volume aquisition – proved to be useful in evaluating the localization and extent of AoD. Our case illustrates the utility of 3D-TTE in the complex assessment AoD. By providing the proper anatomical dataset, 3D-TTE could facilitate considerably the diagnosis of type A AoD.

Open access

Attila Frigy, István Szabó-Györke, Krisztina Csomor, András Czédula, Sándor-György Zuh and István Gergely


Aim: To evaluate the value of a more closed perioperative ECG follow-up in the investigation and forecasting of cardiovascular events during and after hospital admission.

Methods: We included in the study 30 asymptomatic patients from cardiac point of view (14 women, 16 men, mean age 63 years), who underwent total hip arthroplasty. ECGs were performed on the day before surgery, on the day of surgery, after the intervention, and on the 3rd day. We looked for the correlations between ECG changes and clinical events.

Results: The commonest postoperative new ECG changes were QTc prolongation (14 patients -46,6%) and sinus tachycardia (8 patients - 26,6%). There were no major cardiac events during hospitalization, and we found possible correlations in two cases between perioperative ST-T changes and postdischarge clinical events: one exitus and one case of ischemic heart disease.

Conclusions: Our data do not support the efficacy of a more closed, routine ECG follow-up in the studied, low risk patient population, but new perioperative ST-T changes always have to be taken into account.

Open access

Paula Ionilă, Ruxandra Jurcuţ, Nicoleta Ferariu, Monica Roşca, Monica Chivulescu, Adriana Mursă, Sebastian Militaru, Alin A. Ionescu, Cristina Căldăraru, Ana G. Fruntelată, Silvia F. Goanţă, Simina Crişan, Adina Ionac, Ana-Maria Avram, Attila Frigy, Radu Sascău, Cătălina Arsenescu-Georgescu, Ioan M. Coman, Bogdan A. Popescu, Carmen Ginghină and Eduard Apetrei


Introduction. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a disease with increased left ventricular (LV) wall thickness not solely explained by abnormal loading conditions, with great heterogeneity regarding clinical expression and prognosis. The aim of the present study was to collect data on HCM patients from different centres across the country, in order to assess the general characteristics and therapeutic choices in this population.

Methods. Between December 2014 and April 2017, 210 patients from 11 Romanian Cardiology centres were enrolled in the National Registry of HCM. All patients had to fulfil the diagnosis criteria for HCM according to the European Society of Cardiology guidelines. Clinical, electrocardiographic, imaging and therapeutic characteristics were included in a predesigned online file.

Results. Median age at enrolment was 55 ± 15 years with male predominance (60%). 43.6% of the patients had obstructive HCM, 50% non-obstructive HCM, while 6.4% had an apical pattern. Maximal wall thickness was 20.3 ± 4.8 mm (limits 15-37 mm) while LV ejection fraction was 60 ± 8%. Heart failure symptoms dominated the clinical picture, mainly NYHA functional class II (51.4%). Most frequent arrhythmias were atrial fibrillation (28.1%) and non-sustained ventricular tachycardia (19.9%). Mean sudden cardiac death risk score (SCD-RS) was 3.0 ± 2.3%, with 10.4% of the patients with high risk of SCD. However, only 5.7% received an ICD. Patients were mainly treated with beta-blockers (72.9%), diuretics (28.1%) and oral anticoagulants (28.6%). Invasive treatment of LVOT obstruction was performed in a small number of patients: 22 received myomectomy and 13 septal ablation. Cardiac magnetic resonance was reported in only 14 patients (6.6%).

Conclusions. The Romanian registry of HCM illustrates patient characteristics at a national level as well as the gaps in management which need improvement – accessibility to high-end diagnostic tests and invasive methods of treatment.