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Diagnosis and Management of Noncardiac Complications in Adults With Congenital Heart Disease: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association [AHA Scientific Statements]


Life expectancy and quality of life for those born with congenital heart disease (CHD) have greatly improved over the past 3 decades. While representing a great advance for these patients, who have been able to move from childhood to successful adult lives in increasing numbers, this development has resulted in an epidemiological shift and a generation of patients who are at risk of developing chronic multisystem disease in adulthood. Noncardiac complications significantly contribute to the morbidity and mortality of adults with CHD. Reduced survival has been documented in patients with CHD with renal dysfunction, restrictive lung disease, anemia, and cirrhosis. Furthermore, as this population ages, atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and its risk factors are becoming increasingly prevalent. Disorders of psychosocial and cognitive development are key factors affecting the quality of life of these individuals. It is incumbent on physicians who care for patients with CHD to be mindful of the effects that disease of organs other than the heart may have on the well-being of adults with CHD. Further research is needed to understand how these noncardiac complications may affect the long-term outcome in these patients and what modifiable factors can be targeted for preventive intervention.

Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol Lowering for the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Among Men With Primary Elevations of Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol Levels of 190 mg/dL or Above [Original Research Article]


Background:Patients with primary elevations of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) ≥190 mg/dL are at a higher risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease as a result of long-term exposure to markedly elevated LDL-C levels. Therefore, initiation of statin therapy is recommended for these individuals. However, there is a lack of randomized trial evidence supporting these recommendations in primary prevention. In the present analysis, we provide hitherto unpublished data on the cardiovascular effects of LDL-C lowering among a primary prevention population with LDL-C ≥190 mg/dL.Methods:We aimed to assess the benefits of LDL-C lowering on cardiovascular outcomes among individuals with primary elevations of LDL-C ≥190 mg/dL without preexisting vascular disease at baseline. We performed post hoc analyses from the WOSCOPS (West of Scotland Coronary Prevention Study) randomized, placebo-controlled trial, and observational posttrial long-term follow-up, after excluding individuals with evidence of vascular disease at baseline. WOSCOPS enrolled 6595 men aged 45 to 64 years, who were randomly assigned to pravastatin 40 mg/d or placebo. In the present analyses, 5529 participants without evidence of vascular disease were included, stratified by LDL-C levels into those with LDL-C <190 mg/dL (n=2969; mean LDL-C 178±6 mg/dL) and those with LDL-C ≥190 mg/dL (n=2560; mean LDL-C 206±12 mg/dL). The effect of pravastatin versus placebo on coronary heart disease and major adverse cardiovascular events were assessed over the 4.9-year randomized controlled trial phase and on mortality outcomes over a total of 20 years of follow-up.Results:Among 5529 individuals without vascular disease, pravastatin reduced the risk of coronary heart disease by 27% (P=0.002) and major adverse cardiovascular events by 25% (P=0.004) consistently among those with and without LDL-C ≥190 mg/dL (P-interaction >0.9). Among individuals with LDL-C ≥190 mg/dL, pravastatin reduced the risk of coronary heart disease by 27% (P=0.033) and major adverse cardiovascular events by 25% (P=0.037) during the initial trial phase and the risk of coronary heart disease death, cardiovascular death, and all-cause mortality by 28% (P=0.020), 25% (P=0.009), and 18% (P=0.004), respectively, over a total of 20 years of follow-up.Conclusions:The present analyses provide robust novel evidence for the short- and long-term benefits of lowering LDL-C for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease among individuals with primary elevations of LDL-C ≥190 mg/dL.

Timing of Angiography and Outcomes in High-Risk Patients With Non-ST-Segment-Elevation Myocardial Infarction Managed Invasively [Original Research Article]


Background:In patients with non–ST-segment–elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI) and GRACE (Global Registry of Acute Coronary Events) score >140, coronary angiography (CAG) is recommended by European and American guidelines within 24 hours. We sought to study the association of very early (ie, ≤12 hours), early (12–24 hours), and delayed (>24 hours) CAG in patients with NSTEMI with GRACE score >140 with ischemic outcomes.Methods:The TAO trial (Treatment of Acute Coronary Syndrome With Otamixaban) randomized patients with NSTEMI and CAG scheduled within 72 hours to heparin plus eptifibatide versus otamixaban. In this post hoc analysis, patients with a GRACE score >140 were categorized into 3 groups according to timing of CAG from admission (<12, ≥12–<24, and ≥24 hours). The primary ischemic outcome was the composite of all-cause death and myocardial infarction within 180 days of randomization.Results:CAG was performed in 4071 patients (<12 hours, n=1648 [40.5%]; 12–24 hours, n=1420 [34.9%]; ≥24 hours, n=1003 [24.6%]). With CAG ≥24 hours as a reference, CAG from 12 to 24 hours was not associated with a lower risk of primary ischemic outcome at 180 days (odds ratio, 0.96; 95% confidence interval, 0.75–1.23), whereas CAG <12 hours was associated with a lower risk of death and myocardial infarction (odds ratio, 0.71; 95% confidence interval, 0.55–0.91). Performing CAG <12 hours was also associated with a lower risk of death and myocardial infarction (odds ratio, 0.76; 95% confidence interval, 0.61–0.94; P=0.01) compared with CAG performed at 12 to 24 hours. No difference was observed in bleeding complications.Conclusions:In patients with high-risk NSTEMI, undergoing CAG within the initial 12 hours after admission (as opposed to later, either 12–24 or ≥24 hours) was associated with lower risk of ischemic outcomes at 180 days.

Acute Myocardial Infarction [Original Research Article]


Background:ST-segment–elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) and non–ST-segment–elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI) management has evolved considerably over the past 2 decades. Little information on mortality trends in the most recent years is available. We assessed trends in characteristics, treatments, and outcomes for acute myocardial infarction in France between 1995 and 2015.Methods:We used data from 5 one-month registries, conducted 5 years apart, from 1995 to 2015, including 14 423 patients with acute myocardial infarction (59% STEMI) admitted to cardiac intensive care units in metropolitan France.Results:From 1995 to 2015, mean age decreased from 66±14 to 63±14 years in patients with STEMI; it remained stable (68±14 years) in patients with NSTEMI, whereas diabetes mellitus, obesity, and hypertension increased. At the acute stage, intended primary percutaneous coronary intervention increased from 12% (1995) to 76% (2015) in patients with STEMI. In patients with NSTEMI, percutaneous coronary intervention ≤72 hours from admission increased from 9% (1995) to 60% (2015). Six-month mortality consistently decreased in patients with STEMI from 17.2% in 1995 to 6.9% in 2010 and 5.3% in 2015; it decreased from 17.2% to 6.9% in 2010 and 6.3% in 2015 in patients with NSTEMI. Mortality still decreased after 2010 in patients with STEMI without reperfusion therapy, whereas no further mortality gain was found in patients with STEMI with reperfusion therapy or in patients with NSTEMI, whether or not they were treated with percutaneous coronary intervention.Conclusions:Over the past 20 years, 6-month mortality after acute myocardial infarction has decreased considerably for patients with STEMI and NSTEMI. Mortality figures continued to decline in patients with STEMI until 2015, whereas mortality in patients with NSTEMI appears stable since 2010.

Upregulation of Human Endogenous Retrovirus-K Is Linked to Immunity and Inflammation in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension [Original Research Article]


Background:Immune dysregulation has been linked to occlusive vascular remodeling in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) that is hereditary, idiopathic, or associated with other conditions. Circulating autoantibodies, lung perivascular lymphoid tissue, and elevated cytokines have been related to PAH pathogenesis but without a clear understanding of how these abnormalities are initiated, perpetuated, and connected in the progression of disease. We therefore set out to identify specific target antigens in PAH lung immune complexes as a starting point toward resolving these issues to better inform future application of immunomodulatory therapies.Methods:Lung immune complexes were isolated and PAH target antigens were identified by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry, confirmed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and localized by confocal microscopy. One PAH antigen linked to immunity and inflammation was pursued and a link to PAH pathophysiology was investigated by next-generation sequencing, functional studies in cultured monocytes and endothelial cells, and hemodynamic and lung studies in a rat.Results:SAM domain and HD domain-containing protein 1 (SAMHD1), an innate immune factor that suppresses HIV replication, was identified and confirmed as highly expressed in immune complexes from 16 hereditary and idiopathic PAH versus 12 control lungs. Elevated SAMHD1 was localized to endothelial cells, perivascular dendritic cells, and macrophages, and SAMHD1 antibodies were prevalent in tertiary lymphoid tissue. An unbiased screen using metagenomic sequencing related SAMHD1 to increased expression of human endogenous retrovirus K (HERV-K) in PAH versus control lungs (n=4). HERV-K envelope and deoxyuridine triphosphate nucleotidohydrolase mRNAs were elevated in PAH versus control lungs (n=10), and proteins were localized to macrophages. HERV-K deoxyuridine triphosphate nucleotidohydrolase induced SAMHD1 and proinflammatory cytokines (eg, interleukin 6, interleukin 1β, and tumor necrosis factor α) in circulating monocytes, pulmonary arterial endothelial cells, and also activated B cells. Vulnerability of pulmonary arterial endothelial cells (PAEC) to apoptosis was increased by HERV-K deoxyuridine triphosphate nucleotidohydrolase in an interleukin 6-independent manner. Furthermore, 3 weekly injections of HERV-K deoxyuridine triphosphate nucleotidohydrolase induced hemodynamic and vascular changes of pulmonary hypertension in rats (n=8) and elevated interleukin 6.Conclusions:Our study reveals that upregulation of the endogenous retrovirus HERV-K could both initiate and sustain activation of the immune system and cause vascular changes associated with PAH.

Enhanced Therapeutic and Long-Term Dynamic Vascularization Effects of Human Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Endothelial Cells Encapsulated in a Nanomatrix Gel [Original Research Article]


Background:Human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC)–derived endothelial cells (ECs) have limited clinical utility because of undefined components in the differentiation system and poor cell survival in vivo. Here, we aimed to develop a fully defined and clinically compatible system to differentiate hPSCs into ECs. Furthermore, we aimed to enhance cell survival, vessel formation, and therapeutic potential by encapsulating hPSC-ECs with a peptide amphiphile (PA) nanomatrix gel.Methods:We induced differentiation of hPSCs into the mesodermal lineage by culturing on collagen-coated plates with a glycogen synthase kinase 3β inhibitor. Next, vascular endothelial growth factor, endothelial growth factor, and basic fibroblast growth factor were added for endothelial lineage differentiation, followed by sorting for CDH5 (VE-cadherin). We constructed an extracellular matrix–mimicking PA nanomatrix gel (PA-RGDS) by incorporating the cell adhesive ligand Arg-Gly-Asp-Ser (RGDS) and a matrix metalloproteinase-2–degradable sequence. We then evaluated whether the encapsulation of hPSC-CDH5+ cells in PA-RGDS could enhance long-term cell survival and vascular regenerative effects in a hind-limb ischemia model with laser Doppler perfusion imaging, bioluminescence imaging, real-time reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction, and histological analysis.Results:The resultant hPSC-derived CDH5+ cells (hPSC-ECs) showed highly enriched and genuine EC characteristics and proangiogenic activities. When injected into ischemic hind limbs, hPSC-ECs showed better perfusion recovery and higher vessel-forming capacity compared with media-, PA-RGDS–, or human umbilical vein EC–injected groups. However, the group receiving the PA-RGDS–encapsulated hPSC-ECs showed better perfusion recovery, more robust and longer cell survival (> 10 months), and higher and prolonged angiogenic and vascular incorporation capabilities than the bare hPSC-EC–injected group. Surprisingly, the engrafted hPSC-ECs demonstrated previously unknown sustained and dynamic vessel-forming behavior: initial perivascular concentration, a guiding role for new vessel formation, and progressive incorporation into the vessels over 10 months.Conclusions:We generated highly enriched hPSC-ECs via a clinically compatible system. Furthermore, this study demonstrated that a biocompatible PA-RGDS nanomatrix gel substantially improved long-term survival of hPSC-ECs in an ischemic environment and improved neovascularization effects of hPSC-ECs via prolonged and unique angiogenic and vessel-forming properties. This PA-RGDS–mediated transplantation of hPSC-ECs can serve as a novel platform for cell-based therapy and investigation of long-term behavior of hPSC-ECs.

International Expert Consensus on Switching Platelet P2Y12 Receptor-Inhibiting Therapies [White Paper]


Dual antiplatelet therapy with aspirin and a P2Y12 inhibitor is the treatment of choice for the prevention of atherothrombotic events in patients with acute coronary syndromes and for those undergoing percutaneous coronary interventions. The availability of different oral P2Y12 inhibitors (clopidogrel, prasugrel, ticagrelor) has enabled physicians to contemplate switching among therapies because of specific clinical scenarios. The recent introduction of an intravenous P2Y12 inhibitor (cangrelor) further adds to the multitude of modalities and settings in which switching therapies may occur. In clinical practice, it is not uncommon to switch P2Y12 inhibitor, and switching may be attributed to a variety of factors. However, concerns about the safety of switching between these agents have emerged. Practice guidelines have not fully elaborated on how to switch therapies, leaving clinicians with limited guidance on when and how to switch therapies when needed. This prompted the development of this expert consensus document by key leaders from North America and Europe with expertise in basic, translational, and clinical sciences in the field of antiplatelet therapy. This expert consensus provides an overview of the pharmacology of P2Y12 inhibitors, different modalities and definitions of switching, and available literature and recommendations for switching between P2Y12 inhibitors.