Lege Artis Medicinae

[The significance of statin pleiotropy]


NOVEMBER 20, 2009

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2009;19(11)

[Application of statins in the primary and secondary prevention of atherosclerosis is of great importance. Attenuation of cardiovascular risk by statin therapy is primarily related to a decrease in serum cholesterol levels. Scientific data published in the past few years highlight the importance of the beneficial effects of statins that are not related to cholesterol-lowering. These effects are known as pleiotropic effects. This review aims to present the current view of statins’ pleiotropic effects.]



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[Diabetes mellitus and cancer risk]

BECHER Péter, PATAI Árpád, MÁJER Katalin

[In the past decades, the prevention of micro- and macrovascular complications has been the main target of diabetes treatment. On the basis of the latest publications that have created a storm we have to highlight the associations between diabetes mellitus, its treatment protocols and tumours. Analysing the often controversial human results, in the absence of relevant prospective studies, we have to consider preclinical observations to choose a safe treatment method.]

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[Cirrhosis and its complications: diagnostic and treatment options]

PÁR Alajos

[During the past two decades, the management of complications of cirrhosis has dramatically changed, which substantially improved the patients’ survival. The present paper provides an overview of the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cirrhosis and its complications including portal hypertension, variceal bleeding, ascites, hepatorenal and hepatopulmonary syndromes, encephalopathy and bacterial infection. Besides noninvasive diagnostic methods, pharmacological and endoscopic treatment modalities are discussed, with emphasis of the importance of nonselective beta-blockers, vasoactive therapy, antibiotic and albumin medication. Prevention and early diagnosis of cirrhosis as well as new pharmacological agents under development presumbaly result in further development in the management of patients with advanced, chronic liver disease.]

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[Treatment of severe infections: principles of therapy and problems of resistance]


[The basic principles of the treatment of severe infections have recently been delineated : after having samples for microbiological tests, empiric therapy based on local resistance patterns should be introduced immediately, possibly within 1 hour in severe sepsis or in septic shock, the empiric therapy should be simplified according to the results of microbiological tests and/or improvement of the condition of patient , the antibiotics should be applied according to their pharmacodynamic properties, the duration of therapy should be shortened to the minimum time, in case of well responding non-complicated infection to 5-7 days., The most frequent problem pathogens in Hungary are the MRSA and ESBL-producing Gram-negatives. In severe infections with MRSA bacteremia, the therapy sholud be based on the vancomycin MIC of the pathogen. If MIC is below 1,5 mg/l, vancomycin is probably effective with a serum minimum concentration of 15 mg/l, while in case of less sensitive pathogens the administration of an alternative agent, such as linezolid, tigecyclin or daptomycin should be considered. In severe infections due to ESBL-producing pathogens, the carbapenems are the firts line antibiotics, while tigecyclin seems to be a promising alternative agent. The treatment of severe infections requires thorough care of the patient and skillnes in antimicrobial therapy in the period of multiresistant pathogens]

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[Association between cyclothymic affective temperament and hypertension]


[Affective temperaments (cyclothymic, hypertymic, depressive, anxious, irritable) are stable parts of personality and after adolescent only their minor changes are detectable. Their connections with psychopathology is well-described; depressive temperament plays role in major depression, cyclothymic temperament in bipolar II disorder, while hyperthymic temperament in bipolar I disorder. Moreover, scientific data of the last decade suggest, that affective temperaments are also associated with somatic diseases. Cyclothymic temperament is supposed to have the closest connection with hypertension. The prevalence of hypertension is higher parallel with the presence of dominant cyclothymic affective temperament and in this condition the frequency of cardiovascular complications in hypertensive patients was also described to be higher. In chronic hypertensive patients cyclothymic temperament score is positively associated with systolic blood pressure and in women with the earlier development of hypertension. The background of these associations is probably based on the more prevalent presence of common risk factors (smoking, obesity, alcoholism) with more pronounced cyclothymic temperament. The scientific importance of the research of the associations of personality traits including affective temperaments with somatic disorders can help in the identification of higher risk patient subgroups.]

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[The importance of assessing subclinical organ damage in risk prediction of hypertensive patients]

GODINA Gabriella, JÁRAI Zoltán

[As the cardiovascular risk influences the quality and intensity of blood pressure lowering therapy, the goal blood pressure values and the frequency of medical control of hypertensive patients, as well as global risk assessment has an important role in the management of hypertension. In the last couple of years many data have been accumulated showing the poor prognostic value of traditional cardiovascular risk factors. This is the reason why recent Hungarian and international guidelines on the management of hypertension advise the screening for subclinical organ damage. Our goal was to summarize the importance of subclinical organ damage by discussing recently published literature on this topic. An overview has been made on the markers of vascular subclinical damage, like carotid atherosclerosis proved with carotid ultrasonography, peripheral arterial disease assessed with ankle-brachial pressure index measurements and vascular rigidity defined with pulse wave velocity measurements. The prognostic values of myocardial hypertrophy assessed with ECG and/or echocardiography and renal damage proved with decreased estimated glomerular filtration rate and proteinuria are also discussed. Summing up what has been said so far, the assessment of subclinical organ damage has a role in cardiovascular risk prediction, however more randomized and prospective studies have to be performed to define the most suitable (i.e. the most reliable and the most cost-effective) markers for this purpose.]

Hypertension and nephrology

[Update on diagnostics and therapy of the renal artery stenosis in 2010]


[Results of epidemiological studies indicate the atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis is a common condition, thus development of its diagnostics and therapy has significant importance. Renal artery narrowing can cause hypertension, renal function decline, cardiac failure and the increased cardiovascular risk seriously affects survival perspective of the patients. The evolution of MR technology has a prominent role in renovascular diagnostics. Beyond the detection of arterial stenosis this technique is capable of the functional characterization of the stenosis and the detailed description of the regional kidney tissue damage. Based on the results of clinical studies the relevance of revascularization of the renal artery stenosis remains uncertain. The trials focusing on this issue show methodological imperfections. It remains to be elucidated whether these methodological problems will be tackled in the future based on the present information. This review focuses on the actual findings corresponding to these problems.]

LAM Extra for General Practicioners

[Similarities and differences in the renal effects of statins]


[By efficiently reducing serum cholesterol level, statins significantly decrease both cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Decreasing LDL-cholesterol level by 1% reduces coronary mortality risk by 1%, whereas increasing HDL-cholesterol level by 1% reduces the risk by 3%. At the same time, renal failure significantly increases cardiovascular events and/or mortality compared with the population mean. It is an exciting question whether statins are able to prevent and decelerate the deterioration of kidney function deterioration, preserve GFR and decrease albuminuria. Depending on the strength of their effect, statins have different cholesterol-lowering capacity (rosuvastatin and atorvastatin are especially effective). An important question is whether these differences can be detected in the renal function as well. The results of experimental data and major clinical trials (e.g. AURORA, PLANET I-II, SHARP) are often controversial. Nevertheless, statin therapy has advantages for patients with kidney diseases, although to a lesser extent than it has in the normal population.]

Hypertension and nephrology

[Cholesterol-lowering is not the Holy Grail, but neither is the work of the devil]


[Cholesterol-lowering statins are the most tested medications in respect of the effects and side-effects. Based on these, we can safely claim that most of the negative opinions about cholesterol-lowering are not realistic. It is not a panacea, but it is proven that around a 30% of cardio- and cerebrovascular risk reducation can be achieved by their regular taking, while the incidence of side effects and risks are at least one order of magnitude lower in each patient groups. For cholesterol, there is no “normal” lab threshold or low level, only “target values”, since the mean value in the general population is high in regard of atherosclerosis (the values measured at birth and among natural people can be considered normal). Let us appreciate the cholesterol- lowering medications because we do not have a large armamentarium!]