The 2011 Canadian Cardiovascular Society Heart Failure (HF) Guidelines Focused Update reviews the recently published clinical trials that will potentially impact on management. Also reviewed is the less studied but clinically important area of sleep apnea. Finally, patients with advanced HF represent a group of patients who pose major difficulties to clinicians. Advanced HF therefore is examined from the perspectives of HF complicated by renal failure, the role of palliative care, and the role of mechanical circulatory support (MCS). All of these topics are reviewed from a perspective of practical applications. Important new studies have demonstrated in less symptomatic HF patients that cardiac resynchronization therapy will be of benefit. As well, aldosterone receptor antagonists can be used with benefit in less symptomatic HF patients. The important role of palliative care and the need to address end-of-life issues in advanced HF are emphasized. Physicians need to be aware of the possibility of sleep apnea complicating the course of HF and the role of a sleep study for the proper assessment and management of the conditon. Patients with either acute severe or chronic advanced HF with otherwise good life expectancy should be referred to a cardiac centre capable of providing MCS. Furthermore, patients awaiting heart transplantation who deteriorate or are otherwise not likely to survive until a donor organ is found should be referred for MCS.
Comment In: Can J Cardiol. 2011 Nov-Dec;27(6):871.e721885242
Mobile phone-based remote patient monitoring systems have been proposed for heart failure management because they are relatively inexpensive and enable patients to be monitored anywhere. However, little is known about whether patients and their health care providers are willing and able to use this technology.
The objective of our study was to assess the attitudes of heart failure patients and their health care providers from a heart function clinic in a large urban teaching hospital toward the use of mobile phone-based remote monitoring.
A questionnaire regarding attitudes toward home monitoring and technology was administered to 100 heart failure patients (94/100 returned a completed questionnaire). Semi-structured interviews were also conducted with 20 heart failure patients and 16 clinicians to determine the perceived benefits and barriers to using mobile phone-based remote monitoring, as well as their willingness and ability to use the technology.
The survey results indicated that the patients were very comfortable using mobile phones (mean rating 4.5, SD 0.6, on a five-point Likert scale), even more so than with using computers (mean 4.1, SD 1.1). The difference in comfort level between mobile phones and computers was statistically significant (P
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Canadian Cardiovascular Society Consensus Conference guidelines on heart failure, update 2009: diagnosis and management of right-sided heart failure, myocarditis, device therapy and recent important clinical trials.
The Canadian Cardiovascular Society published a comprehensive set of recommendations on the diagnosis and management of heart failure in January 2006. Based on feedback obtained through a national program of heart failure workshops and through active solicitation of stakeholders, several topics were identified because of their importance to the practicing clinician. Topics chosen for the present update include best practices for the diagnosis and management of right-sided heart failure, myocarditis and device therapy, and a review of recent important or landmark clinical trials. These recommendations were developed using the structured approach for the review and assessment of evidence adopted and previously described by the Society. The present update has been written from a clinical perspective to provide a user-friendly and practical approach. Specific clinical questions that are addressed include: What is right-sided heart failure and how should one approach the diagnostic work-up? What other clinical entities may masquerade as this nebulous condition and how can we tell them apart? When should we be concerned about the presence of myocarditis and how quickly should patients with this condition be referred to an experienced centre? Among the myriad of recently published landmark clinical trials, which ones will impact our standards of clinical care? The goals are to aid physicians and other health care providers to optimally treat heart failure patients, resulting in a measurable impact on patient health and clinical outcomes in Canada.
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Heart failure is common, yet it is difficult to treat. It presents in many different guises and circumstances in which therapy needs to be individualized. The Canadian Cardiovascular Society published a comprehensive set of recommendations in January 2006 on the diagnosis and management of heart failure, and the present update builds on those core recommendations. Based on feedback obtained through a national program of heart failure workshops during 2006, several topics were identified as priorities because of the challenges they pose to health care professionals. New evidence-based recommendations were developed using the structured approach for the review and assessment of evidence adopted and previously described by the Society. Specific recommendations and practical tips were written for the prevention of heart failure, the management of heart failure during intercurrent illness, the treatment of acute heart failure, and the current and future roles of biomarkers in heart failure care. Specific clinical questions that are addressed include: which patients should be identified as being at high risk of developing heart failure and which interventions should be used? What complications can occur in heart failure patients during an intercurrent illness, how should these patients be monitored and which medications may require a dose adjustment or discontinuation? What are the best therapeutic, both drug and nondrug, strategies for patients with acute heart failure? How can new biomarkers help in the treatment of heart failure, and when and how should BNP be measured in heart failure patients? The goals of the present update are to translate best evidence into practice, to apply clinical wisdom where evidence for specific strategies is weaker, and to aid physicians and other health care providers to optimally treat heart failure patients to result in a measurable impact on patient health and clinical outcomes in Canada.
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Circulating progenitor cells (CPCs) are involved in the process of endothelial repair and are a prognostic factor in cardiovascular diseases. We evaluated the association between serial measurements of CPCs and functional capacity and outcomes in heart failure (HF).
We included 156 consecutive consenting ambulatory HF patients (left ventricular ejection fraction
The purpose of this study is to describe the treatment preferences of patients with heart failure among three distinct treatment options--optimal medical management, oral inotropes or left ventricular device (LVAD) support--to determine if there were differences in preferences between patients with mild heart failure (New York Heart Association [NYHA] Class II) and severe heart failure (NYHA Class IV), and also to determine whether quality of life, perceived severity of symptoms and overall health influenced treatment preferences.
We enrolled 91 patients who completed the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire (MLHFQ); visual analog scales for depicting their perceived severity of overall health, dyspnea and fatigue; and a treatment trade-off tool.
The most preferred treatment options were oral inotropes, LVAD and standard medical management. There were no differences in treatment preferences between NYHA II and NYHA IV patients. Patient preferences correlated poorly with MLHFQ, symptom and overall health scores. Although not statistically significant, there was a trend toward patients with worse quality of life and symptom scores preferring more aggressive treatment.
The results of our study identified two distinct groups of patients: one group preferring treatments that prolonged survival time and another group that favored strategies that improved quality of life but reduced survival time. Treatment preferences were independent of functional or symptom status, suggesting that preferences may be decided early in the course of illness.
Pandemic H1N1 influenza has been associated with a worldwide outbreak of febrile respiratory illness. Although impaired cell mediated immunity, such as that caused by transplant immunosuppression, has been identified as a risk factor for severe infection with this virus, the course of this infection has not been adequately characterized in solid organ transplant (SOT) recipients in comparison with nontransplanted controls. We report our experience with severe pH1N1 infection in transplant recipients and compare this group with nonimmunosuppressed patients.
Data were retrospectively collected on all patients admitted to our institution with proven pH1N1 infection. Clinical characteristics, treatments, and outcomes were compared between SOT recipients and nonimmunocompromised controls.
Seventeen SOT recipients and 49 controls were identified. The control group had higher baseline rates of asthma (P = 0.02) and smoking (P = 0.05) at baseline. No difference in clinical features of H1N1 infection was detected except for a greater prevalence of wheeze in the non-SOT group (P = 0.02). No statistical differences in outcomes could be detected between the groups. Several markers of severity, including use of high frequency oscillatory ventilation, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, and death were slightly more frequent in the control group.
SOT recipients admitted to hospital with pH1N1 infection did not have significantly more severe outcomes of their infection compared with their nonimmunocompromised counterparts, despite their immune suppressed status.
Geographic factors may influence cardiovascular disease outcomes in Canada. Circulatory diseases are a major reason for higher population mortality rates in Northern Ontario, but it is unknown if hospitalized patients with cardiovascular disease experience differential outcomes compared with those in the South.
We examined 30-day and 1-year mortality and readmissions for patients hospitalized with acute myocardial infarction (AMI), heart failure (HF), atrial fibrillation (AF), or stroke in Northern compared with Southern Ontario, using the Canadian Institute for Health Information Discharge Abstract Database (2005-2016). Northern patients were defined as those residing and hospitalized in the Northwest or Northeast Local Health Integration Network regions. We used multiple Cox proportional hazards regression analysis for time-to-first event and Prentice-Williams-Peterson method to evaluate repeat and multiply admitted patients.
A total of 47,745 Northern and 465,353 Southern patients hospitalized with AMI (n = 182,158), HF (n = 130,770), AF (n = 72,326), or stroke (n = 127,844) were studied. Rates of first readmission were higher among Northern patients for AMI (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 1.32), HF (HR, 1.16), AF (HR, 1.21), and stroke (HR, 1.27) compared with Southern patients (all P
The most important limitation in organ transplantation is donor availability. Canada is facing a serious situation with respect to organ donation rates and transplantation. The number of patients listed for heart transplant continues to increase while the number of available donors has plateaued. Several steps can be taken to address this growing mismatch. The proper identification and assessment of potential donors together with improvements in medical management may increase the donor pool. Additionally, the use of marginal donors and the development of new organ preservation techniques may lead to an increase in the number of potential heart transplants in Canada. This paper summarizes the identification, evaluation and management of heart transplant donors, and defines strategies to improve procurement activity in heart transplantation.
Hyperhomocysteinemia is a frequent finding after cardiac transplantation, but increased folate intake induces a decrease in total homocysteine concentrations. In 1998, food in Canada was fortified nationwide with folic acid. We assessed the impact of routine folate fortification on homocysteine concentrations in our cardiac transplant population.
In 18 subjects, we measured total homocysteine (tHcy), serum folate, and cobalamin concentrations in 1997 (before folate fortification) and in 1998 (after fortification). We repeated the analysis after specific multivitamin supplementation for 10 weeks.
We found a significant decrease in baseline tHcy concentrations and in folate concentrations between 1997 and 1998. However, we also found a decrease in serum cobalamin concentrations. We found a correlation between decreased cobalamin concentrations and the methionine synthase A2756G genotype, but not with other common polymorphisms associated with homocysteine metabolism. After multivitamin supplementation, we observed a trend toward further decrease in tHcy concentrations and a significant increase in serum folate and cobalamin concentrations. Finally, we measured serum methylmalonic acid concentrations, an index of tissue cobalamin status. We did not find a correlation between increased methylmalonic acid concentrations and decreased serum cobalamin, perhaps related to the confounding effect of altered renal status on methylmalonic acid excretion.
National folate fortification was associated with decreased tHcy and increased folate concentrations in our cardiac transplant population. Additional administration of vitamin supplements induced a further decrease in tHcy and an increase in folate. Finally, folate fortification unveiled cobalamin deficiency in some patients, associated with the methionine synthase A2756G mutation.