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.
Heart failure still represents a real challenge both in everyday practice and research, due to the complex issues related to its pathogenesis and management. Humoral biomarkers have emerged in the last decades as useful tools in the diagnosis, risk stratification and guiding the treatment of heart failure. These molecules are related to different pathological and adaptive processes, like myocardial injury, neurohormonal activation and cardiac remodeling, their most widespread representatives being the natriuretic peptides (e.g. NT-proBNP). The role of altered gene expression and transcription as the basis of myocardial structural and functional changes in heart failure is largely recognized. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are non-coding RNAs which have a major role in post-transcriptional gene expression by interfering with messenger RNA molecules. Our short review summarizes the molecular biology of miRNAs and their possible role as biomarkers in the diagnosis and prognosis of heart failure. Furthermore, the therapeutical perspectives conferred by these molecules are also presented.
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.
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.
Early repolarization pattern (ERP), a form of J-wave syndromes, was considered long time a benign ECG phenomenon. However, recent data confirmed that certain phenotypes of ERP are related to an increased risk of sudden cardiac death (idiopathic ventricular fibrillation). Our paper gives a short and practical update regarding the main issues related to ERP: epidemiological data, molecular and electrophysiological background, clinical significance and risk stratification. At the end, the future directions of research and clinical management related to ERP are presented.