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Evaluating the Impact and Cost-Effectiveness of Statin Use Guidelines for Primary Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke [Original Research Article]


Background:Statins are effective in the primary prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. The 2013 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) guideline expands recommended statin use, but its cost-effectiveness has not been compared with other guidelines.Methods:We used the Cardiovascular Disease Policy Model to estimate the cost-effectiveness of the ACC/AHA guideline relative to current use, Adult Treatment Panel III guidelines, and universal statin use in all men 45 to 74 years of age and women 55 to 74 years of age over a 10-year horizon from 2016 to 2025. Sensitivity analyses varied costs, risks, and benefits. Main outcomes were incremental cost-effectiveness ratios and numbers needed to treat for 10 years per quality-adjusted life-year gained.Results:Each approach produces substantial benefits and net cost savings relative to the status quo. Full adherence to the Adult Treatment Panel III guideline would result in 8.8 million more statin users than the status quo, at a number needed to treat for 10 years per quality-adjusted life-year gained of 35. The ACC/AHA guideline would potentially result in up to 12.3 million more statin users than the Adult Treatment Panel III guideline, with a marginal number needed to treat for 10 years per quality-adjusted life-year gained of 68. Moderate-intensity statin use in all men 45 to 74 years of age and women 55 to 74 years of age would result in 28.9 million more statin users than the ACC/AHA guideline, with a marginal number needed to treat for 10 years per quality-adjusted life-year gained of 108. In all cases, benefits would be greater in men than women. Results vary moderately with different risk thresholds for instituting statins and statin toxicity estimates but depend greatly on the disutility caused by daily medication use (pill burden).Conclusions:At a population level, the ACC/AHA guideline for expanded statin use for primary prevention is projected to treat more people, to save more lives, and to cost less compared with Adult Treatment Panel III in both men and women. Whether individuals benefit from long-term statin use for primary prevention depends more on the disutility associated with pill burden than their degree of cardiovascular risk.

Stellarex Drug-Coated Balloon for Treatment of Femoropopliteal Disease [Original Research Article]


Background:Drug-coated balloons (DCBs) are a predominant revascularization therapy for symptomatic femoropopliteal artery disease. Because of the differences in excipients, paclitaxel dose, and coating morphologies, varying clinical outcomes have been observed with different DCBs. We report the results of 2 studies investigating the pharmacokinetic and clinical outcomes of a new DCB to treat femoropopliteal disease.Methods:In the ILLUMENATE Pivotal Study (Prospective, Randomized, Single-Blind, U.S. Multi-Center Study to Evaluate Treatment of Obstructive Superficial Femoral Artery or Popliteal Lesions With A Novel Paclitaxel-Coated Percutaneous Angioplasty Balloon), 300 symptomatic patients (Rutherford class 2–4) were randomly assigned to DCB (n=200) or standard angioplasty (percutaneous transluminal angioplasty [PTA]) (n=100). The primary safety end point was freedom from device- and procedure-related death through 30 days, and freedom from target limb major amputation and clinically driven target lesion revascularization through 12 months. The primary effectiveness end point was primary patency through 12 months. In the ILLUMENATE PK study (Pharmacokinetic Study of the Stellarex Drug-Coated Angioplasty Balloon), paclitaxel plasma concentrations were measured after last DCB deployment and at prespecified times (at 1, 4, 24 hours and at 7 and 14 days postprocedure) until no longer detectable.Results:In the ILLUMENATE Pivotal Study, baseline characteristics were similar between groups: 50% had diabetes mellitus, 41% were women, mean lesion length was 8.3 cm, and 44% were severely calcified. The primary safety end point was met (92.1% for DCB versus 83.2% for PTA, P=0.025 for superiority) and the primary patency rate was significantly higher with DCB (76.3% for DCB versus 57.6% for PTA, P=0.003). Primary patency per Kaplan-Meier estimates at day 365 was 82.3% for DCB versus 70.9% for PTA (P=0.002). The rate of clinically driven target lesion revascularization was significantly lower in the DCB cohort (7.9% versus 16.8%, P=0.023). Improvements in ankle-brachial index, Rutherford class, and quality of life were comparable, but the PTA cohort required twice as many revascularizations. Pharmacokinetic outcomes showed that all patients had detectable paclitaxel levels after DCB deployment that declined within the first hour (54.4±116.9 ng/mL to 1.4±1.0 ng/mL).Conclusions:The data demonstrate superior safety and effectiveness of the Stellarex DCB in comparison with PTA, and plasma levels of paclitaxel fall to low levels within 1 hour.Clinical Trial Registration:URL: Unique identifiers: NCT01858428 and NCT01912937.

Long-Term Outcomes and Prognostic Factors of Complications in Takayasu Arteritis [Original Research Article]


Background:Because of the wide variation in the course of Takayasu arteritis (TA), predicting outcome is challenging. We assess long-term outcome and prognosis factors for vascular complications in patients with TA.Methods:A retrospective multicenter study of characteristics and outcomes of 318 patients with TA fulfilling American College of Rheumatology and Ishikawa criteria was analyzed. Factors associated with event-free survival, relapse-free survival, and incidences of vascular complications were assessed. Risk factors for vascular complications were identified in a multivariable model.Results:The median age at TA diagnosis was 36 [25–47] years, and 276 patients (86.8%) were women. After a median follow-up of 6.1 years, relapses were observed in 43%, vascular complications in 38%, and death in 5%. Progressive clinical course was observed in 45%, carotidodynia in 10%, and retinopathy in 4%. The 5- and 10-year event-free survival, relapse-free survival, and complication-free survival were 48.2% (42.2; 54.9) and 36.4% (30.3; 43.9), 58.6% (52.7; 65.1) and 47.7% (41.2; 55.1), and 69.9% (64.3; 76.0) and 53.7% (46.8; 61.7), respectively. Progressive disease course (P=0.018) and carotidynia (P=0.036) were independently associated with event-free survival. Male sex (P=0.048), elevated C-reactive protein (P=0.013), and carotidynia (P=0.003) were associated with relapse-free survival. Progressive disease course (P=0.017), thoracic aorta involvement (P=0.009), and retinopathy (P=0.002) were associated with complication-free survival.Conclusions:This nationwide study shows that 50% of patients with TA will relapse and experience a vascular complication ≤10 years from diagnosis. We identified specific characteristics that identified those at highest risk for subsequent vascular complications.

Multicellular Transcriptional Analysis of Mammalian Heart Regeneration [Original Research Article]


Background:The inability of the adult mammalian heart to regenerate following injury represents a major barrier in cardiovascular medicine. In contrast, the neonatal mammalian heart retains a transient capacity for regeneration, which is lost shortly after birth. Defining the molecular mechanisms that govern regenerative capacity in the neonatal period remains a central goal in cardiac biology. Here, we assemble a transcriptomic framework of multiple cardiac cell populations during postnatal development and following injury, which enables comparative analyses of the regenerative (neonatal) versus nonregenerative (adult) state for the first time.Methods:Cardiomyocytes, fibroblasts, leukocytes, and endothelial cells from infarcted and noninfarcted neonatal (P1) and adult (P56) mouse hearts were isolated by enzymatic dissociation and fluorescence-activated cell sorting at day 3 following surgery. RNA sequencing was performed on these cell populations to generate the transcriptome of the major cardiac cell populations during cardiac development, repair, and regeneration. To complement our transcriptomic data, we also surveyed the epigenetic landscape of cardiomyocytes during postnatal maturation by performing deep sequencing of accessible chromatin regions by using the Assay for Transposase-Accessible Chromatin from purified mouse cardiomyocyte nuclei (P1, P14, and P56).Results:Profiling of cardiomyocyte and nonmyocyte transcriptional programs uncovered several injury-responsive genes across regenerative and nonregenerative time points. However, the majority of transcriptional changes in all cardiac cell types resulted from developmental maturation from neonatal stages to adulthood rather than activation of a distinct regeneration-specific gene program. Furthermore, adult leukocytes and fibroblasts were characterized by the expression of a proliferative gene expression network following infarction, which mirrored the neonatal state. In contrast, cardiomyocytes failed to reactivate the neonatal proliferative network following infarction, which was associated with loss of chromatin accessibility around cell cycle genes during postnatal maturation.Conclusions:This work provides a comprehensive framework and transcriptional resource of multiple cardiac cell populations during cardiac development, repair, and regeneration. Our findings define a regulatory program underpinning the neonatal regenerative state and identify alterations in the chromatin landscape that could limit reinduction of the regenerative program in adult cardiomyocytes.

Interferon Regulatory Factor 5 Controls Necrotic Core Formation in Atherosclerotic Lesions by Impairing Efferocytosis [Original Research Article]


Background:Myeloid cells are central to atherosclerotic lesion development and vulnerable plaque formation. Impaired ability of arterial phagocytes to uptake apoptotic cells (efferocytosis) promotes lesion growth and establishment of a necrotic core. The transcription factor interferon regulatory factor (IRF)-5 is an important modulator of myeloid function and programming. We sought to investigate whether IRF5 affects the formation and phenotype of atherosclerotic lesions.Methods:We investigated the role of IRF5 in atherosclerosis in 2 complementary models. First, atherosclerotic lesion development in hyperlipidemic apolipoprotein E-deficient (ApoE-/-) mice and ApoE-/- mice with a genetic deletion of IRF5 (ApoE-/-Irf5-/-) was compared and then lesion development was assessed in a model of shear stress-modulated vulnerable plaque formation.Results:Both lesion and necrotic core size were significantly reduced in ApoE-/-Irf5-/- mice compared with IRF5-competent ApoE-/- mice. Necrotic core size was also reduced in the model of shear stress-modulated vulnerable plaque formation. A significant loss of CD11c+ macrophages was evident in ApoE-/-Irf5-/- mice in the aorta, draining lymph nodes, and bone marrow cell cultures, indicating that IRF5 maintains CD11c+ macrophages in atherosclerosis. Moreover, we revealed that the CD11c gene is a direct target of IRF5 in macrophages. In the absence of IRF5, CD11c- macrophages displayed a significant increase in expression of the efferocytosis-regulating integrin-β3 and its ligand milk fat globule-epidermal growth factor 8 protein and enhanced efferocytosis in vitro and in situ.Conclusions:IRF5 is detrimental in atherosclerosis by promoting the maintenance of proinflammatory CD11c+ macrophages within lesions and controlling the expansion of the necrotic core by impairing efferocytosis.

Acute Coronary Syndromes [In Depth]


Well into the 21st century, we still triage acute myocardial infarction on the basis of the presence or absence of ST-segment elevation, a century-old technology. Meanwhile, we have learned a great deal about the pathophysiology and mechanisms of acute coronary syndromes (ACS) at the clinical, pathological, cellular, and molecular levels. Contemporary imaging studies have shed new light on the mechanisms of ACS. This review discusses these advances and their implications for clinical management of the ACS for the future. Plaque rupture has dominated our thinking about ACS pathophysiology for decades. However, current evidence suggests that a sole focus on plaque rupture vastly oversimplifies this complex collection of diseases and obscures other mechanisms that may mandate different management strategies. We propose segmenting coronary artery thrombosis caused by plaque rupture into cases with or without signs of concomitant inflammation. This distinction may have substantial therapeutic implications as direct anti-inflammatory interventions for atherosclerosis emerge. Coronary artery thrombosis caused by plaque erosion may be on the rise in an era of intense lipid lowering. Identification of patients with of ACS resulting from erosion may permit a less invasive approach to management than the current standard of care. We also now recognize ACS that occur without apparent epicardial coronary artery thrombus or stenosis. Such events may arise from spasm, microvascular disease, or other pathways. Emerging management strategies may likewise apply selectively to this category of ACS. We advocate this more mechanistic approach to the categorization of ACS to provide a framework for future tailoring, triage, and therapy for patients in a more personalized and precise manner.