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Utrecht, Netherlands

Pieper P.G.,University of Groningen | Balci A.,University of Groningen | Balci A.,Netherlands Heart Institute ICIN | Aarnoudse J.G.,University of Groningen | And 12 more authors.

BACKGROUND-: Pregnant women with congenital heart disease (CHD) are susceptible to cardiovascular, obstetric, and offspring complications. In women with CHD, cardiac dysfunction may compromise uteroplacental flow and contribute to the increased incidence of obstetric and offspring events. METHODS AND RESULTS-: We performed a prospective multicenter cohort study of pregnant women with CHD and healthy pregnant women. We compared clinical, laboratory, echocardiographic, and uteroplacental Doppler flow (UDF) parameters at 20 and 32 weeks gestation, and pregnancy outcome. We related cardiovascular parameters to UDF parameters and pregnancy outcome in women with CHD. We included 209 women with CHD and 70 healthy women. Cardiovascular parameters (N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide, left and right ventricular function) differed between both groups. UDF parameters were impaired in CHD women (umbilical artery pulsatility and resistance index at 32 weeks in CHD versus healthy women, P=0.0085 and P=0.017). The following cardiovascular parameters prepregnancy and at 20 weeks gestation were associated with UDF (umbilical artery resistance index) at 32 weeks at multivariable analysis: (1) right ventricular function (tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion) (P=0.002), (2) high N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (P=0.085), (3) systemic (P=0.001), and (4) pulmonary (P=0.045) atrioventricular valve regurgitation. Women with CHD had more obstetric (58.9% versus 32.9%, P<0.0001) and offspring events (35.4% versus 18.6%, P=0.008) than healthy women. Impaired UDF was associated with adverse obstetric and offspring outcome. CONCLUSIONS-: UDF parameters are abnormal in pregnant women with CHD. Cardiovascular function is associated with an abnormal pattern of UDF. Compromised UDF may be a key factor in the high incidence of offspring and obstetric complications in this population. © 2013 American Heart Association, Inc. Source

Piers S.R.D.,Leiden University | Everaerts K.,Maastricht University | Van Der Geest R.J.,Leiden University | Hazebroek M.R.,Maastricht University | And 7 more authors.
Heart Rhythm

Background The relation between myocardial scar and different types of ventricular arrhythmias in patients with nonischemic dilated cardiomyopathy (NIDCM) is unknown. Objectives The purpose of this study was to analyze the effect of myocardial scar, assessed by late gadolinium enhancement cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (LGE-CMR), on the occurrence and type of ventricular arrhythmia in patients with NIDCM. Methods Consecutive patients with NIDCM who underwent LGE-CMR and implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) implantation at either of 2 centers were included. LGE was defined by signal intensity ≥35% of maximal signal intensity, subdivided into core and border zones (≥50% and 35%-50% of maximal signal intensity, respectively), and categorized according to location (basal or nonbasal) and transmurality. ICD recordings and electrocardiograms were reviewed to determine the occurrence and type of ventricular arrhythmia during follow-up. Results Of 87 patients (age 56 ± 13 y, 62% male, left ventricular ejection fraction 29% ± 12%), 55 (63%) had LGE (median 6.3 g, interquartile range 0.0-13.8 g). During a median follow-up of 45 months, monomorphic ventricular tachycardia (VT) occurred in 18 patients (21%) and polymorphic VT/ventricular fibrillation (VF) in 10 (11%). LGE predicted monomorphic VT (log-rank, P <.001), but not polymorphic VT/VF (log-rank, P =.40). The optimal cutoff value for the extent of LGE to predict monomorphic VT was 7.2 g (area under curve 0.84). Features associated with monomorphic VT were core extent, basal location, and area with 51%-75% LGE transmurality. Conclusions Myocardial scar assessed by LGE-CMR predicts monomorphic VT, but not polymorphic VT/VF, in NIDCM. The risk for monomorphic VT is particularly high when LGE shows a basal transmural distribution and a mass ≥7.2 g. Importantly, patients without LGE on CMR remain at risk for potentially fatal polymorphic VT/VF. © 2015 Heart Rhythm Society. Source

Den Hartog A.G.,University Utrecht | Bovens S.M.,University Utrecht | Bovens S.M.,Netherlands Heart Institute ICIN | Koning W.,University Utrecht | And 5 more authors.
European Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery

Objective: The article aims to provide an overview of the literature that assessed the agreement between magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and histology for specific carotid plaque characteristics associated with vulnerability in terms of sensitivity and specificity. Methods: A systematic search strategy was conducted in MEDLINE and EMBASE databases resulting in 1084 articles. Finally, we included 17 papers. Due to variation in presentation, especially in MRI and histology methods, a pooled analysis could not be performed. Results: Two studies were performed on a 3.0-T MRI scanner; all other studies were performed on a 1.5-T scanner. Most performed sequences were two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) T1-weighted and all histology protocols varied slightly. Our results indicate that calcification, fibrous cap, intraplaque haemorrhage and lipid-rich necrotic cores can be identified with moderate-to-good sensitivity and specificity. Conclusions: Based on current literature, it appears premature for routine application of MRI as an imaging modality to assess carotid plaque characteristics associated with plaque vulnerability. Although MRI still holds promise, clinical application for plaque characterisation would require consensus regarding MRI settings and confirmation by histology. Predefined protocols for histology and MR imaging need to be established.© 2012 European Society for Vascular Surgery. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

den Adel B.,Leiden University | Bovens S.M.,University Utrecht | Bovens S.M.,Netherlands Heart Institute ICIN | Boekhorst B.T.,Maastricht University | And 4 more authors.

MRI using targeted contrast agents (CA) has emerged as a promising technique to study atherothrombotic disease in vivo. Particularly, the use of targeted Gd and lipid-based nanoparticles has enabled detailed in vivo imaging of various molecular markers of atherosclerotic plaque pathophysiology. For validation purposes, it is crucial that nanoparticle accumulation in the plaque, cellular association and localization can be assessed by ex vivo immuno-histology or fluorescence microscopy of tissue sections. In this review we discuss the various methods that are available for histological evaluation of targeted MRI contrast agents such as lipid-based nanoparticles and iron oxide particles. We discuss the detection of these contrast agents in paraffin-embedded and in cryopreserved tissue sections of atherosclerotic plaques. During the embedding procedure in paraffin, most components of targeted lipid-based nanoparticles are generally washed out, though the actual targeting moieties may be retained in the embedded sections. Therefore staining of the antibody-antigen complex provides a suitable way to visualize the presence of the nanoparticle in the plaque. In cryosections, the localization of nanoparticles can be assessed directly by measuring the fluorescence of an incorporated fluorophore or by secondary stainings of the Gd-containing DTPA lipids or the iron oxide particles. With certain secondary stainings, be it for the contrast agent or for co-localization with the target, the contrast agent itself may interfere with standard histological protocols, yielding false positive results. The here presented techniques enable proper visualization of MR contrast agent accumulation and localization in atherosclerotic plaque, which will provide the validation necessary to advance these lipid-based nanoparticles to the clinic. © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. Source

Arslan F.,University Utrecht | De Kleijn D.P.,Netherlands Heart Institute ICIN | Pasterkamp G.,University Utrecht
Nature Reviews Cardiology

Despite advances in treatment of patients who suffer from ischemic heart disease, morbidity related to myocardial infarction is increasing in Western societies. Acute and chronic immune responses elicited by myocardial ischemia have an important role in the functional deterioration of the heart. Research on modulation of the inflammatory responses was focused on effector mediators such as leukocytes. However, increasing evidence indicates that various endogenous ligands that act as 'danger signals', also called danger-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs), are released upon injury and modulate inflammation. Originally described as part of the first-line defense against invading microorganisms, several Toll-like receptors (TLRs) on leukocytes and parenchymal cells have now been shown to respond to such signals and to have a pivotal role in noninfectious pathological cardiovascular conditions, such as ischemia-reperfusion injury and heart failure. From a therapeutic perspective, DAMPs are attractive targets owing to their specific induction after injury. In this Review, we will discuss innate immune activation through TLRs in cardiac ischemia mediated by DAMPs. © 2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved. Source

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