PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to investigate the outcome of aortic valve replacement (AVR) and the effect on quality of life in patients aged over 85 who had symptomatic aortic stenosis. METHODS: We performed a retrospective analysis of 21 patients, aged 85-91 years (mean age 86.5), who underwent AVR, 10 of whom underwent concomitant coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) between 1989 and 1995. All patients were categorized as New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class III and IV. A questionnaire was used to evaluate heart symptoms and quality of life among the 13 patients who were alive at follow-up (9-83 months). RESULTS: Eighteen patients were categorized as NYHA functional class I and II for 1 year (9 months for one patient) after AVR. Three patients, all undergoing concomitant CABG, died early. The overall 1-, 2- and 3-year actuarial survival rate was 85%, 64% and 53% (among the patients undergoing only AVR the figures were 100%, 100% and 85%). Follow-up questionnaire results showed an improvement in the patients' symptoms of heart disease, dyspnea (P = 0.017) and angina (P = 0.03). An improvement in the patients' physical functioning (P = 0.025), satisfaction with physical ability (P = 0.005), sleep (P = 0.025), health status (P = 0.025) and perception of general health (P = 0.005) was also observed. CONCLUSIONS: Our results show that AVR can be performed on patients > or = 85 years of age or older, with an improvement in heart symptoms and quality of life.
Atrial fibrillation is a common and therapy-requiring cardiac arrhythmia. The chronic form becomes identified in population studies from the age of 50 and increases with age. The number of Norwegian individuals with this arrhythmia is estimated to be slightly in excess of 40,000 and it will increase approximately by another 5,000 until the year 2010. Mechanisms responsible for initiation and maintenance of the arrhythmia are increasingly better understood. The paroxysmal form often has a focal origin, allowing curative treatment, but can also be associated with signs of deficient interatrial conduction. The chronic form is perpetuated partly by a shortening of atrial myocardial refractoriness, attributed to a failure in the intracellular turnover of Ca-ions due to the high excitation rate. Ongoing studies are expected to illustrate the clinical benefit of Ca-blockers prior to cardioversion of chronic atrial fibrillation. The further relapse rate is low in patients who have maintained sinus rhythm more than 1-2 months following conversion. It is therefore possible that, following a successful conversion to sinus rhythm, aggressive antiarrhythmic treatment should be given during a limited period only--a strategy which has to be evaluated in prospective studies.
During recent years, the exploration of different aspects of atrial fibrillation (AF) has become increasingly interesting. Thus, knowledge about basic underlying mechanisms, consequences and different modes of treatment has rapidly expanded. At a meeting in Lund, Sweden, in 1993, scientists within different fields of AF research gathered for the exchange of information. This paper is a short summary of some topics discussed at the Lund meeting and some suggestions as to how further research in this field may help to improve our understanding of this arrhythmia and the treatment of patients suffering from it. Underlying pathoelectrophysiological mechanisms in AF have been explored in experimental models in animals and by direct recordings of different atrial myocardial electrophysiological variables both in the catheter laboratory and during open heart surgery in man. Some findings illustrate possible generalized atrial myocardial mechanisms, whilst other findings clearly indicate the possibility of localized pathoelectrophysiological mechanisms. The generally accepted hypothesis that AF is perpetuated by multiple re-entry mechanisms is, thus, both verified and modified by recent studies. In addition to subjective symptoms and well identified thromboembolic consequences, accumulating evidence tells us that AF may precipitate a myocardial dysfunction which may be misinterpreted as an underlying factor initiating the arrhythmia. Today's treatment of AF includes several newer antiarrhythmic drugs, different ablation techniques, the application of different electrical devices as well as different surgical methods. New, improved and simplified methods are expected. Atrial fibrillation is the single most important supraventricular arrhythmia needing substantial further exploration of mechanisms, consequences and treatment. The Lund symposium contributed to this process by defining the state of knowledge in 1993 and outlining the need for the years to come.
We assessed the prevalence of atrial fibrillation (AF) prior to first-ever ischemic stroke by examining a comprehensive electronic ECG archive.
The study sample comprised 336 consecutive stroke patients (median age 76 (IQ16) y, 200 men) enrolled in Lund Stroke Register from March 2001 to February 2002 and 336 age- and gender-matched controls without stroke history. AF prior to admission was studied using the regional electronic ECG database and record linkage with the National Swedish Hospital Discharge Register (SHDR). Medical records were reviewed for AF documentation and CHA2 DS2-VASc risk score.
Atrial fibrillation before or at stroke onset was detected in 109 (32.4%) stroke patients and 44 (13.1%) controls, P
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate prospectively the effects of pretreatment with verapamil on the maintenance of sinus rhythm after direct current (DC) cardioversion. DESIGN: Randomised, active control, open label, parallel group comparison of verapamil versus digoxin. SETTINGS: Multicentre study in three teaching and three non-teaching hospitals in Sweden. PATIENTS: 100 consecutive patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) of at least four weeks' duration and indications for cardioversion were assigned randomly to two groups, one treated with verapamil (verapamil group) and the other with digoxin (digoxin group) before cardioversion. Fifty patients were assigned randomly to each treatment arm. After dropout of four patients from the digoxin group and seven patients from the verapamil group, data obtained from 89 patients were analysed. INTERVENTIONS: After randomly assigned pretreatment with either verapamil or digoxin for four weeks, DC cardioversion was performed. If sinus rhythm was restored then verapamil treatment was discontinued. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The rate of AF recurrence was assessed one, four, eight, and 12 weeks after cardioversion. RESULTS: 6 patients in the verapamil treated group and none in the digoxin treated group reverted to sinus rhythm spontaneously (p