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Myocardial strain measurements are increasingly used to detect complications following heart transplantation. However, the temporal association of these changes with allograft rejection is not well defined. The aim of this study was to describe the evolution of strain measurements prior to the diagnosis of rejection in paediatric heart transplant recipients.
All paediatric heart transplant recipients (2004–2015) with at least one episode of acute rejection were identified. Longitudinal and circumferential strain measurements were assessed at the time of rejection and retrospectively on all echocardiograms until the most recent negative biopsy. Smoothing technique (LOESS) was used to visualise the changes of each variable over time and estimate the time preceding rejection at which alterations are first detectable.
A total of 58 rejection episodes were included from 37 unique patients. In the presence of rejection, there were decrements from baseline in global longitudinal strain (−18.2 versus −14.1), global circumferential strain (−24.1 versus −19.6), longitudinal strain rate (−1 versus −0.8), circumferential strain rate (−1.3 versus −1.1), peak longitudinal early diastolic strain rate (1.3 versus 1), and peak circumferential early diastolic strain rate (1.5 versus 1.3) (p<0.01 for all). The earliest detectable changes occurred 45 days prior to rejection with simultaneous alterations in myocardial strain and ejection fraction.
Changes in graft function can be detected non-invasively prior to the diagnosis of rejection. However, changes in strain occur concurrently with a decline in ejection fraction. Strain measurements aid in the non-invasive detection of rejection, but may not facilitate earlier diagnosis compared to more traditional measures of ventricular function.
Outcome analyses in large administrative databases are ideal for rare diseases such as Becker and Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Unfortunately, Becker and Duchenne do not yet have specific International Classification of Disease-9/-10 codes. We hypothesised that an algorithm could accurately identify these patients within administrative data and improve assessment of cardiovascular morbidity.
Hospital discharges (n=13,189) for patients with muscular dystrophy classified by International Classification of Disease-9 code: 359.1 were identified from the Pediatric Health Information System database. An identification algorithm was created and then validated at three institutions. Multi-variable generalised linear mixed-effects models were used to estimate the associations of length of stay, hospitalisation cost, and 14-day readmission with age, encounter severity, and respiratory disease accounting for clustering within the hospital.
The identification algorithm improved identification of patients with Becker and Duchenne from 55% (code 359.1 alone) to 77%. On bi-variate analysis, left ventricular dysfunction and arrhythmia were associated with increased cost of hospitalisation, length of stay, and mortality (p<0.001). After adjustment, Becker and Duchenne patients with left ventricular dysfunction and arrhythmia had increased length of stay with rate ratio 1.4 and 1.2 (p<0.001 and p=0.004) and increased cost of hospitalization with rate ratio 1.4 and 1.4 (both p<0.001).
Our algorithm accurately identifies patients with Becker and Duchenne and can be used for future analysis of administrative data. Our analysis demonstrates the significant effects of cardiovascular disease on length of stay and hospitalisation cost in patients with Becker and Duchenne. Better recognition of the contribution of cardiovascular disease during hospitalisation with earlier more intensive evaluation and therapy may help improve outcomes in this patient population.
Aneurysmal dilation of the right ventricular outflow tract complicates assessment of right ventricular function in patients with repaired tetralogy of Fallot. Tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion is commonly used to estimate ejection fraction. We hypothesised that tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion measured by cardiac MRI approximates global and segmental right ventricular function, specifically right ventricular sinus ejection fraction, in children with repaired tetralogy of Fallot.
Tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion was measured retrospectively on cardiac MRIs in 54 patients with repaired tetralogy of Fallot. Values were compared with right ventricular global, sinus, and infundibular ejection fractions. Tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion was indexed to body surface area, converted into a fractional value, and converted into published paediatric Z-scores.
Tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion measurements had good agreement between observers. Right ventricular ejection fraction did not correlate with the absolute or indexed tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion and correlated weakly with fractional tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion (r=0.41 and p=0.002). Segmental right ventricular function did not appreciably improve correlation with any of the tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion measures. Paediatric Z-scores were unable to differentiate patients with normal and abnormal right ventricular function.
Tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion measured by cardiac MRI correlates poorly with global and segmental right ventricular ejection fraction in children with repaired tetralogy of Fallot. Tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion is an unreliable approximation of right ventricular function in this patient population.
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