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Open access

Adriana J van Ballegooijen, Marjolein Visser, Marieke B Snijder, Jacqueline M Dekker, Giel Nijpels, Coen D A Stehouwer, Michaela Diamant, and Ingeborg A Brouwer

Objective

A disturbed vitamin D–parathyroid hormone (PTH)–calcium axis may play a role in the pathogenesis of heart failure. Therefore, we investigated whether lower 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) and higher PTH are cross sectionally and after 8 years of follow-up associated with higher B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) levels in older men and women.

Design and methods

We measured baseline 25(OH)D, PTH, and BNP in 502 subjects in 2000–2001 in the Hoorn Study, a population-based cohort. Follow-up BNP was available in 2007–2009 in 278 subjects. Subjects were categorized according to season- and sex-specific quartiles of 25(OH)D and PTH at baseline. We studied the association of 25(OH)D and PTH quartiles with BNP using linear regression analyses adjusting for confounders. Analyses were stratified by kidney function estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR; ≤60 ml/min per 1.73 m2) because of significant interaction.

Results

At baseline, subjects had a mean age of 69.9±6.6 years, mean 25(OH)D level was 52.2±19.5 nmol/l and mean PTH 6.1±2.4 pmol/l. Cross sectionally, 25(OH)D was associated with BNP in subjects with impaired kidney function (eGFR ≤60 ml/min) only. The association attenuated after adjustment for PTH. PTH was cross sectionally associated with BNP, also in subjects with impaired kidney function only: regression coefficient of highest quartile 9.9 pmol/l (95% confidence interval 2.5, 17.4) with a significant trend across quartiles. Neither 25(OH)D nor PTH was associated with BNP in longitudinal analyses.

Conclusion

This study showed overall no strong association between 25(OH)D and BNP. However, PTH was associated with BNP in subjects with impaired kidney function and may point to a potential role in myocardial function.

Open access

Wang-shu Liu, Ling-yan Hua, Su-xiang Zhu, Feng Xu, Xue-qin Wang, Chun-feng Lu, Jian-bin Su, and Feng Qi

Background

The aim of the study was to explore whether plasma stromal cell-derived factor 1 (SDF-1) levels are associated with the EZSCAN score and its derived indicators in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Methods

From July 2020 to December 2020, a total of 253 patients with T2D were consecutively recruited. Serum SDF-1 levels were measured by sandwich ELISA. EZSCAN test was applied to evaluate the sudomotor function of each patient, and based on the results, EZSCAN score, cardiac autonomic neuropathy risk score (CANRS) and cardiovascular risk score (CVDRS) were calculated by particular algorithms. In addition, other relevant clinical data were also collected.

Results

With increasing tertiles of serum SDF-1 levels, the CANRS and CVDRS significantly increased (both Pfor trend <0.001), while the EZSCAN score significantly decreased (Pfor trend <0.001). Moreover, serum SDF-1 levels were significantly and positively correlated with the CANRS and CVDRS (r = 0.496 and 0.510, respectively, both P  < 0.001), and negatively correlated with the EZSCAN score (r = −0.391, P  < 0.001). Furthermore, multivariate linear regression analyses were constructed, and after adjusting for other clinical covariates, serum SDF-1 levels were independently responsible for EZSCAN score (β = −0.273, t = −3.679, P  < 0.001), CANRS (β = 0.334, t = 5.110, P  < 0.001) and CVDRS (β = 0.191, t = 4.983, P  = 0.003).

Conclusions

SDF-1 levels in serum were independently associated with the EZSCAN score and its derived indicators, such as CANRS and CVDRS in patients with T2D.

Open access

Frans H H Leenen, Mordecai P Blaustein, and John M Hamlyn

In the brain, angiotensinergic pathways play a major role in chronic regulation of cardiovascular and electrolyte homeostasis. Increases in plasma angiotensin II (Ang II), aldosterone, [Na+] and cytokines can directly activate these pathways. Chronically, these stimuli also activate a slow neuromodulatory pathway involving local aldosterone, mineralocorticoid receptors (MRs), epithelial sodium channels and endogenous ouabain (EO). This pathway increases AT1R and NADPH oxidase subunits and maintains/further increases the activity of angiotensinergic pathways. These brain pathways not only increase the setpoint of sympathetic activity per se, but also enhance its effectiveness by increasing plasma EO and EO-dependent reprogramming of arterial and cardiac function. Blockade of any step in this slow pathway or of AT1R prevents Ang II-, aldosterone- or salt and renal injury-induced forms of hypertension. MR/AT1R activation in the CNS also contributes to the activation of sympathetic activity, the circulatory and cardiac RAAS and increase in circulating cytokines in HF post MI. Chronic central infusion of an aldosterone synthase inhibitor, MR blocker or AT1R blocker prevents a major part of the structural remodeling of the heart and the decrease in LV function post MI, indicating that MR activation in the CNS post MI depends on aldosterone, locally produced in the CNS. Thus, Ang II, aldosterone and EO are not simply circulating hormones that act on the CNS but rather they are also paracrine neurohormones, locally produced in the CNS, that exert powerful effects in key CNS pathways involved in the long-term control of sympathetic and neuro-endocrine function and cardiovascular homeostasis.

Open access

Hugo R Ramos, Andreas L Birkenfeld, and Adolfo J de Bold

Since their discovery in 1981, the cardiac natriuretic peptides (cNP) atrial natriuretic peptide (also referred to as atrial natriuretic factor) and brain natriuretic peptide have been well characterised in terms of their renal and cardiovascular actions. In addition, it has been shown that cNP plasma levels are strong predictors of cardiovascular events and mortality in populations with no apparent heart disease as well as in patients with established cardiac pathology. cNP secretion from the heart is increased by humoral and mechanical stimuli. The clinical significance of cNP plasma levels has been shown to differ in obese and non-obese subjects. Recent lines of evidence suggest important metabolic effects of the cNP system, which has been shown to activate lipolysis, enhance lipid oxidation and mitochondrial respiration. Clinically, these properties lead to browning of white adipose tissue and to increased muscular oxidative capacity. In human association studies in patients without heart disease higher cNP concentrations were observed in lean, insulin-sensitive subjects. Highly elevated cNP levels are generally observed in patients with systolic heart failure or high blood pressure, while obese and type-2 diabetics display reduced cNP levels. Together, these observations suggest that the cNP system plays a role in the pathophysiology of metabolic vascular disease. Understanding this role should help define novel principles in the treatment of cardiometabolic disease.

Open access

Elin Kahlert, Martina Blaschke, Knut Brockmann, Clemens Freiberg, Onno E Janssen, Nikolaus Stahnke, Domenika Strik, Martin Merkel, Alexander Mann, Klaus-Peter Liesenkötter, and Heide Siggelkow

Objective

Turner syndrome (TS) is characterized by the complete or partial loss of the second sex chromosome and associated with a wide range of clinical manifestations. We aimed to assess the medical care of adult patients with TS in Germany.

Design

Retrospective multicenter observational study.

Methods

Data were collected from medical records of 258 women with TS treated between 2001 and 2017 in five non-university endocrinologic centers in Germany.

Results

Mean age was 29.8 ± 11.6 years, mean height 152 ± 7.7 cm, and mean BMI 26.6 ± 6.3 kg/m2. The karyotype was known in 50% of patients. Information on cholesterol state, liver enzymes, and thyroid status was available in 81–98% of women with TS; autoimmune thyroiditis was diagnosed in 37%. Echocardiography was performed in 42% and cardiac MRI in 8.5%, resulting in a diagnosis of cardiovascular disorder in 28%. Data on growth hormone therapy were available for 40 patients (15%) and data concerning menarche in 157 patients (61%).

Conclusion

In 258 women with TS, retrospective analysis of healthcare data indicated that medical management was focused on endocrine manifestations. Further significant clinical features including cardiovascular disease, renal malformation, liver involvement, autoimmune diseases, hearing loss, and osteoporosis were only marginally if at all considered. Based on this evaluation and in accordance with recent guidelines, we compiled a documentation form facilitating the transition from pediatric to adult care and further medical management of TS patients. The foundation of Turner Centers in March 2019 will improve the treatment of TS women in Germany.

Open access

Diana-Alexandra Ertl, Andreas Gleiss, Katharina Schubert, Caroline Culen, Peer Hauck, Johannes Ott, Alois Gessl, and Gabriele Haeusler

Background

Previous studies have shown that only a minority of patients with Turner syndrome (TS) have adequate medical care after transfer to adult care.

Aim of this study

To assess the status of medical follow-up and quality of life (QoL) in adult women diagnosed with TS and followed up until transfer. To compare the subjective and objective view of the medical care quality and initiate improvements based on patients’ experiences and current recommendations.

Methods

39 adult women with TS out of 64 patients contacted were seen for a clinical and laboratory check, cardiac ultrasound, standardized and structured questionnaires (SF-36v2 and Beck depression inventory).

Results

7/39 of the patients were not being followed medically at all. Only 2/39 consulted all the specialists recommended. Comorbidities were newly diagnosed in 27/39 patients; of these, 11 related to the cardiovascular system. Patients in our cohort scored as high as the mean reference population for SF-36v2 in both mental and physical compartments. Obese participants had lower scores in the physical function section, whereas higher education was related to higher physical QoL scores. Adult height slightly correlated positively with physical health.

Conclusion

Medical follow-up was inadequate in our study cohort of adults with TS. Even though their medical follow-up was insufficient, these women felt adequately treated, leaving them vulnerable for premature illness. Initiatives in health autonomy and a structured transfer process as well as closer collaborations within specialities are urgently needed.

Open access

Thera P Links, Trynke van der Boom, Wouter T Zandee, and Joop D Lefrandt

Thyroid hormone stimulates cardiac inotropy and chronotropy via direct genomic and non-genomic mechanisms. Hyperthyroidism magnifies these effects, resulting in an increase in heart rate, ejection fraction and blood volume. Hyperthyroidism also affects thrombogenesis and this may be linked to a probable tendency toward thrombosis in patients with hyperthyroidism. Patients with hyperthyroidism are therefore at higher risk for atrial fibrillation, heart failure and cardiovascular mortality. Similarly, TSH suppressive therapy for differentiated thyroid cancer is associated with increased cardiovascular risk. In this review, we present the latest insights on the cardiac effects of thyroid suppression therapy for the treatment of thyroid cancer. Finally, we will show new clinical data on how to implement this knowledge into the clinical practice of preventive medicine.

Open access

Lasse Oinonen, Antti Tikkakoski, Jenni Koskela, Arttu Eräranta, Mika Kähönen, Onni Niemelä, Jukka Mustonen, and Ilkka Pörsti

Parathyroid hormone has been related with the risk of hypertension, but the matter remains controversial. We examined the association of parathyroid hormone with central blood pressure and its determinants in 622 normotensive or never-treated hypertensive subjects aged 19–72 years without diabetes, cardiovascular or renal disease, or cardiovascular medications. The methods were whole-body impedance cardiography and analyses of pulse wave and heart rate variability. Cardiovascular function was examined in sex-specific tertiles of plasma parathyroid hormone (mean concentrations 3.0, 4.3 and 6.5 pmol/L, respectively) during head-up tilt. Explanatory factors for haemodynamics were further investigated using linear regression analyses. Mean age was 45.0 (s.d. 11.7) years, BMI 26.8 (4.4) kg/m2, seated office blood pressure 141/90 (21/12) mmHg, and 309 subjects (49.7%) were male. Only five participants had elevated plasma parathyroid hormone and calcium concentrations. Highest tertile of parathyroid hormone presented with higher supine and upright aortic diastolic blood pressure (P < 0.01) and augmentation index (P < 0.01), and higher upright systemic vascular resistance (P < 0.05) than the lowest tertile. The tertiles did not present with differences in pulse wave velocity, cardiac output, or measures of heart rate variability. In linear regression analyses, parathyroid hormone was an independent explanatory factor for aortic systolic (P = 0.005) and diastolic (P = 0.002) blood pressure, augmentation index (P = 0.002), and systemic vascular resistance (P = 0.031). To conclude, parathyroid hormone was directly related to central blood pressure, wave reflection, and systemic vascular resistance in subjects without cardiovascular comorbidities and medications. Thus, parathyroid hormone may play a role in the pathophysiology of primary hypertension.

Open access

Ann-Cathrin Koschker, Bodo Warrings, Caroline Morbach, Florian Seyfried, Nicole Rickert, Pius Jung, Andreas Geier, Ulrich Dischinger, Maike Krauthausen, Martin J Herrmann, Christine Stier, Stefan Frantz, Uwe Malzahn, Stefan Störk, Martin Fassnacht, and the WAS Study Group

Obesity is a rapidly emerging health problem and an established risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Bariatric surgery profoundly reduces body weight and mitigates sequelae of obesity. The open, randomized controlled Würzburg Adipositas Studie (WAS) trial compares the effects of Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) vs psychotherapy-supported lifestyle modification in morbidly obese patients. The co-primary endpoint addresses 1-year changes in cardiovascular function (peak VO2 during cardiopulmonary exercise testing) and the quality of life (QoL) (Short-Form-36 physical functioning scale). Prior to randomization, all included patients underwent a multimodal anti-obesity treatment for 6–12 months. Thereafter, the patients were randomized and followed through month 12 to collect the primary endpoints. Afterwards, patients in the lifestyle group could opt for surgery, and final visit was scheduled for all patients 24 months after randomization. Sample size calculation suggested to enroll 90 patients in order to arrive at minimally 22 patients per group evaluable for the primary endpoint. Secondary objectives were to quantify changes in body weight, left ventricular hypertrophy, systolic and diastolic function (by echocardiography and cardiac MRI), functional brain MRI, psychometric scales, and endothelial and metabolic function. WAS enrolled 93 patients (72 women, median age 38 years, BMI 47.5 kg/m2) exhibiting a relevantly compromised exercise capacity (median peakVO2 18.3 mL/min/kg) and the QoL (median physical functioning scale 50). WAS is the first randomized controlled trial focusing on the effects of RYGB on cardiovascular function beyond hypertension. In addition, it will provide a wealth of high-quality data on the cerebral, psychiatric, hepatic, and metabolic function in obese patients after RYGB.

Open access

Tsuneo Ogawa and Adolfo J de Bold

The concept of the heart as an endocrine organ arises from the observation that the atrial cardiomyocytes in the mammalian heart display a phenotype that is partly that of endocrine cells. Investigations carried out between 1971 and 1983 characterised, by virtue of its natriuretic properties, a polypeptide referred to atrial natriuretic factor (ANF). Another polypeptide isolated from brain in 1988, brain natriuretic peptide (BNP), was subsequently characterised as a second hormone produced by the mammalian heart atria. These peptides were associated with the maintenance of extracellular fluid volume and blood pressure. Later work demonstrated a plethora of other properties for ANF and BNP, now designated cardiac natriuretic peptides (cNPs). In addition to the cNPs, other polypeptide hormones are expressed in the heart that likely act upon the myocardium in a paracrine or autocrine fashion. These include the C-type natriuretic peptide, adrenomedullin, proadrenomedullin N-terminal peptide and endothelin-1. Expression and secretion of ANF and BNP are increased in various cardiovascular pathologies and their levels in blood are used in the diagnosis and prognosis of cardiovascular disease. In addition, therapeutic uses for these peptides or related substances have been found. In all, the discovery of the endocrine heart provided a shift from the classical functional paradigm of the heart that regarded this organ solely as a blood pump to one that regards this organ as self-regulating its workload humorally and that also influences the function of several other organs that control cardiovascular function.