BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Thromboembolism in paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF) has often been attributed to occult AF. We hypothesized that the surface ECG may not always reflect left atrial appendage (LAA) mechanical function. METHODS: Transesophageal echocardiographic images from 201 consecutive patients undergoing transesophageal echocardiography by a single operator were reviewed. LAA pulse wave Doppler phenotype, ECG rhythm, and mitral valve motion for rhythm of the body of the left atrium and the electronic medical record were reviewed by 3 blinded, independent observers. RESULTS: Of 201 patients (63.4+/-15 years; 61% men) undergoing transesophageal echocardiography, 15 (7.5%) demonstrated LA-LAA discordance including 7 (3.5%) with a sinus rhythm ECG/mitral valve motion and an AF LAA pulse wave Doppler phenotype. Of 24 patients with a clinical history of AF but sinus rhythm ECG, 25% demonstrated a discordant AF LAA pulse wave Doppler phenotype. Compared with concordant AF, the AF discordant group had greater CHA2DS2-VASc (CHADS2, vascular disease, age, sex category; P=0.008) and lower LAA ejection velocity (P=0.02). CONCLUSIONS: A quarter of patients with paroxysmal AF demonstrate a prothrombotic AF LAA pulse wave Doppler phenotype, despite concurrent sinus rhythm ECG. These findings provide a novel explanation for ongoing thromboembolism in the paroxysmal AF population, despite apparent ECG maintenance of sinus rhythm.
BACKGROUND: Psoriasis patients have a high prevalence of cardiovascular events and are thought to have a relative risk increase of 25% as compared to the general population. However, a causal relationship between psoriasis and cardiovascular disease has not been established. We sought to perform a systematic review of existing data regarding the presence of endothelial dysfunction and subclinical atherosclerosis in patients with plaque psoriasis. METHODS: A systematic literature search was performed, using Medline database and Ovid SP for relevant literature up to November 2012. Twelve studies met inclusion criteria from an initial search result of 529 articles. RESULTS: Among the twelve studies meeting inclusion criteria, two (17%) reported increased mean coronary artery calcification (CAC) in psoriatic patients. Six studies (50%) showed carotid intima-media thickness [CIMT] increase in psoriasis. Five studies (42%) examined flow mediated dilation [FMD], of which three showed decreased FMD in psoriasis patients. One study (8%) each demonstrated a decreased coronary flow reserve and increased arterial stiffness as assessed by pulse wave velocity. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with psoriasis have an increased burden of subclinical atherosclerosis and endothelial dysfunction. Patients with greater severity and/or disease duration should be targeted for primary screening for cardiovascular disease risk reduction.
Patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have a high burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD) but a causal relationship between OSA and atherosclerotic CVD remains unclear. We systematically reviewed the literature analyzing the relationship. A review of the Medline database for studies noninvasively evaluating subclinical CVD in OSA was conducted. A total of fifty-two studies were included in this review. Across the studies the prevalence of atherosclerosis, as assessed by coronary artery calcification, carotid intima-media thickness, brachial artery flow-mediated dilation and pulse wave velocity was higher in patients with OSA and correlated with increasing severity and duration of OSA. This study shows OSA is an independent predictor of subclinical CVD as CVD is more likely to occur in patients with long standing and severe OSA. Further research is however necessary to identify specific OSA populations that would benefit from aggressive screening.