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Lege Artis Medicinae

AUGUST 20, 2016

[Cardiovascular aging]

VÁLYI Péter

[The world population in both industrialized and developing countries is aging. The clinical and economic implications of this demographic shift are staggering because age is the most powerful risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. The incidence and prevalence of hypertension, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, and stroke increase steeply with advancing age. Although epidemiologic studies have discovered that some aspects of lifestyle and genetics are risk factors for these diseases, age, per se, confers the major risk. There is a continuum of age-related alterations of cardiovascular structure and function in healthy humans, however these alterations are not synonymous with diseases processes. Old age is not a disease. Although cardiovascular aging changes are considered “normative”, they lower the threshold for development of cardiovascular disease, and appear to influence the steep increases in hypertension, atherosclerosis, stroke, left ventricular hypertrophy, chronic heart failure, and atrial fibrillation with increasing age. Specific pathophysiologic mechanisms that underlie these diseases become superimposed on cardiac and vascular substrates that have been modified by an “aging process”, and the latter modulates disease occurrence and severity. Age-associated changes in cardiovascular structure and function become “partners” with pathophysiologic disease mechanisms, lifestyle, genetics, and other presently unknown factors in determining the threshold, severity, prognosis, and therapeutic response of cardiovascular disease in older persons. However, the role of specific age-associated changes in cardiovascular structure and function in such age-disease interactions has not been considered in most epidemiologic and clinical studies of cardiovascular disease. Quantitative information on age-associated alterations in cardiovascular structure and function in health is essential to unravel age-disease interactions and to target the specific characteristics of cardiovascular aging that render it such a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Such information is also of practical value to differentiate between the limitations of an older person that relate to disease and those that might be expected, within limits, to accompany advancing age or a sedentary lifestyle.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

DECEMBER 15, 2015

[Actual questions of the longterm anticoagulant therapy]

SAS Géza

[In the last few years we have witnessed some changes in the area of the chronic oral anticoagulant therapy. The nomenclature of the anticoagulant drugs has been modified and concern has arisen about the possible vascular calcification in patients on long-term warfarin therapy. Because of the novelty of the “new” anticoagulants (dabigatran etc.) has been lost, instead of their previous acronym (NOAC) the DOAC (direct oral anticoagulants) term has been accepted for their marking. Experimental and clinical data suggested that vitamin K-antagonists (VKA) in addition to the coagulation factors disturb the production of other proteins, too. By inhibiting the matrix Gla protein (MGP), the chronic warfarin therapy promotes the calcification in media of the arteries as it was shown in women participating in routine mammography. However, the clinical importance of this observation is dubious, because the incidence of acute coronary events is not increased in cases of warfarin therapy in patients with atrial fibrillation. Notwith­standing, in addition to the bleeding complications we have to take into account of the possible harmful vascular calcification, too, at the indication of chronic coumarin therapy. Therefore, this therapy should be applied only in proper cases, such as non-valvular atrial fibrillation with a high risk of ischaemic stroke or unprovoked venous thromboembolic disease with a high risk of recurrence. The results of the Swedish anticoagulant register show that the efficacy and safety of the well-managed coumarin therapy may be superior to the treatments with DOACs. However, DOACs are indispensable in certain cases in which a previous “probe” coumarin treatment is unfounded.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

SEPTEMBER 20, 2015

[Perioperative management of patients taking new oral anticoagulants - dabigatran in focus]

MÁRK László

[Appearance of new oral anticoagulants (NOAC) on the market requires a basically new approach from the doctors compared to vitamin K antagonists (VKA), the only oral anticoagulants used for several decades. These new drugs are at least as effective in the prevention of thrombotic events as the old ones and have the advantage that no regular laboratory monitoring is needed. Compared to the VKA a different management is required also in the perioperative care of patients taking NOAC. There is no need for bridge therapy, i.e. low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH). The smaller surgical procedures can be performed 24 hours after the last dose of NOAC if it is administered once a day or 12 hours in case of agents administered twice a day. When a large surgical procedure is planned the drug should be stopped 24-96 hours before. The therapy should be resumed 6-8 hours after the procedure in low, 48-72 hours later in high bleeding risk cases. In a Canadian prospective study a protocol was used in which the stopping and resumption of dabigatran was recommended based on the bleeding risk and its half-life depending on the renal function. In 541 surgeries (60% with standard, 40% with increased bleeding risk) the occurrence of serious bleeding events was 1.8%, that of minor bleedings 5.2%. During the study one thrombotic event (TIA) occurred (0.2%). At the end of the article the author also makes a recommendation for stopping and resuming dabigatran therapy in case of tooth extraction, endoscopic biopsy and cholecystectomy.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

FEBRUARY 15, 2015

[Alzheimer’s disease and arrhythmia: cause, effect, complication]

PETŐ Balázs, KOVÁCS Tibor

[Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a new endemic of the 21st century which becomes the biggest health and social problem of the ageing societies in the next few decades. Vascular factors, such as cardiac arrhythmias, especially atrial fibrillation, play an important role in the pathogenesis of AD. Arrhythmias might develop as a consequence of AD, too, and they might be caused by the cholinergic medications used in the treatment of AD. In addition, AD has a major influence on the treatment of arrhythmias, especially atrial fibrillation. Because of these, AD and arrhythmias might accompany each other in the practice of several medical specialties; these interactions are reviewed in this paper. ]

LAM Extra for General Practicioners

FEBRUARY 20, 2015

[Alzheimer’s disease and arrhythmia: cause, effect, complication]

PETŐ Balázs, KOVÁCS Tibor

[Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a new endemic of the 21st century which becomes the biggest health and social problem of the ageing societies in the next few decades. Vascular factors, such as cardiac arrhythmias, especially atrial fibrillation, play an important role in the pathogenesis of AD. Arrhythmias might develop as a consequence of AD, too, and they might be caused by the cholinergic medications used in the treatment of AD. In addition, AD has a major influence on the treatment of arrhythmias, especially atrial fibrillation. Because of these, AD and arrhythmias might accompany each other in the practice of several medical specialties; these interactions are reviewed in this paper. ]

Clinical Neuroscience

JANUARY 30, 2015

[Efficacy of anticoagulation with vitamin K antagonists in acut stroke patients with atrial fibrillation - Hungarian results]

SAS Attila, CSONTOS Krisztina, LOVÁSZ Rita, VALIKOVICS Attila

[Background and objective - An estimated 20% of ischemic strokes are of cardiogenic origin, half of which is associated with atrial fibrillation (AF). Anticoagulation treatment of patients with this arrhythmia reduces their risk of stroke. Effectiveness and safety of oral anticoagulant therapy with vitamin K antagonists (VKA) is limited, however, by their well-known narrow therapeutic window and the substantial inter- and intraindividual variability of INR values depending on genetic and dietary factors as well as drug interactions. Our objective was to evaluate the prevalence of adequate anticoagulation and the level of anticoagulant effect actually achieved among patients with AF hospitalized for acute stroke. Methods - Patients with AF admitted to our hospital ward in 2012 for acute stroke (n=226) were included in the analysis. Using descriptive statistics, relevant clinical and therapeutic characteristics of the patients were assessed, with special reference to the INR values on admission (among patients with known AF), and the clinical outcomes. Results - Of the study cohort, 170 patients had a diagnosis of AF before the admission for stroke, but 47% of them did not take anticoagulants. Patients who suffered stroke while on anticoagulants (83 on VKA, 7 on low-molecular-weight heparins), were in most cases (75%) out of the therapeutic INR range, typically undertreated (INR<2). Overall, inadequate or completely absent anticoagulation was documented in 81% of the stroke cases occurring in patients with known AF. Of the entire study cohort, 41% was discharged home, 34% required continued institutional care, and 25% died. Conclusions - The inadequacy or lack of anticoagulation was observed in the vast majority of acute strokes in patients with known AF. These cases are often related to the well-documented limitations of VKA therapy in terms of its safety, tolerability and/or practical aspects. To prevent them, important changes are warranted in the anticoagulation practice, including the closer control of VKA therapy and the broader use of new oral anticoagulants.]

Clinical Neuroscience

SEPTEMBER 30, 2014

[P-wave dispersion doesn’t increase in patients with epilepsy]

SENOL Güney Mehmet, ÖZMEN Namik, YASAR Halit, TEKELI Hakan, ÖZDAG Fatih, SARACOGLU Mehmet

[Aim - Epileptic seizures have occasionally been associated with cardiac conditions as atrioventricular blocks, long QT syndrome etc. P-wave dispersion (PWD), which is the difference between the longest (P max) and shortest P-wave duration (P min), is considered as a forerunner of atrial fibrillation. In this study, we investigated P-wave dispersion (PWD) in epileptic patients; based on the hypothesis that microthromboembolism may occur in atrial fibrillation. Methods - Seventy five patients with mixed types of epilepsy and 50 age and sex matched healthy individuals were included into the study. P max, P min and PWD values were calculated for each subject from an ECG. Results - The mean age of subjects in the epilepsy group and control group were similar (p>0.05). P max in patients with epilepsy was 125.1±0.7 ms, P min was 67.3±10.3 ms, and PWD was 57.6±8.3 ms while these values in the control group were 116.8±11.0 ms, 66.5±5.5 ms and 46.8±7.1 ms, respectively. There were no statistically significant difference between two groups (p>0.05). Conclusions - PWD does not increase in patients with mixed types of epilepsy. Therefore we believe that microthromboembolism duo to atrial fibrillation can’t cause epileptic seizures in patients with no structural heart disease.]

Clinical Neuroscience

MAY 30, 2013

[Effective, safe stroke prevention with novel oral anticoagulants in patients with atrial fibrillation. Focus on dabigatran]

SZAPÁRY László, FEHÉR Gergely, BOSNYÁK Edit, DELI Gabriella, CSÉCSEI Péter

[Non-valvular AF is the most common cardiac arrhytmia. Its incidence increases with age. AF is an independent risk factor for ischaemic stroke, representing a five times higher risk for it, associated with a high mortality rate. Beside AF, there are several other risk factors which influence the risk of stroke. Stroke risk calculator can be used to assess the risk of patient having a stroke. The most endangered group of patients with AF are those who have already suffered from cerebrovascular event. The only effective medication for prevention of stroke due to AF had been the application of vitamin K antagonists (VKA) which considerably decrease the rate of ischaemic event in a patient with AF providing that the INR is in the therapeutic range. VKA have several limitations of use in clinical practice and the fear of bleeding complications results an underusing of these drugs. Only 50% of all patients treated with VKA reaches the therapeutic range of INR. The breakthrough of prevention of stroke in recent years is undisputedly the coming out of novel oral anticoagulants (NOACs, thrombin and Xa-factor inhibitors). Recent studies suggest that these novel drugs prove the same efficacy as VKA drugs, furthermore dabigatran in a dose of 2×150 mg or apixaban in 2×5mg was statistically superior to warfarin in the prevention of stroke. NOACs have shown a large reduction in intracranial hemorrhage compared with warfarin. They are given as a fixed dose and do not require persistent monitoring making them much more convenient. NOACs at guidelines of European Society of Cardiology act as a preferable drugs in case of ischaemic stroke with AF. Probably the extended use of NOACs in clinical practice will be the mainstream of stroke prevention in the future.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

APRIL 20, 2013

[Apixaban: the newest oral anticoagulant in Hungary for the treatment of patients with atrial fibrillation]

BORBÉLY Attila, ÉDES István

[In the past few years a number of articles have been published on the new oral anticoagulants (Xa-factor inhibitors, thrombin inhibitors). These new agents are increasingly used in the daily clinical practice in Hungary. The new oral anticoagulants have been shown to be at least as effective in the prevention of stroke and systemic embolization related to non-valvular atrial fibrillation as K vitamin antagonists. Moreover, their use is safe, can be administered in a daily fixed dose and, even in case of long-term use, they do not require regular laboratory testing. This review aims to summarise the most important theoretical and practical information on the newest direct Xa-factor inhibitor agent apixaban from the perspective of a cardiologist.]