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Fontan survivors have depressed cardiac index that worsens over time. Serum biomarker measurement is minimally invasive, rapid, widely available, and may be useful for serial monitoring. The purpose of this study was to identify biomarkers that correlate with lower cardiac index in Fontan patients.
Methods and results
This study was a multi-centre case series assessing the correlations between biomarkers and cardiac magnetic resonance-derived cardiac index in Fontan patients ⩾6 years of age with biochemical and haematopoietic biomarkers obtained ±12 months from cardiac magnetic resonance. Medical history and biomarker values were obtained by chart review. Spearman’s Rank correlation assessed associations between biomarker z-scores and cardiac index. Biomarkers with significant correlations had receiver operating characteristic curves and area under the curve estimated. In total, 97 cardiac magnetic resonances in 87 patients met inclusion criteria: median age at cardiac magnetic resonance was 15 (6–33) years. Significant correlations were found between cardiac index and total alkaline phosphatase (−0.26, p=0.04), estimated creatinine clearance (0.26, p=0.02), and mean corpuscular volume (−0.32, p<0.01). Area under the curve for the three individual biomarkers was 0.63–0.69. Area under the curve for the three-biomarker panel was 0.75. Comparison of cardiac index above and below the receiver operating characteristic curve-identified cut-off points revealed significant differences for each biomarker (p<0.01) and for the composite panel [median cardiac index for higher-risk group=2.17 L/minute/m2 versus lower-risk group=2.96 L/minute/m2, (p<0.01)].
Higher total alkaline phosphatase and mean corpuscular volume as well as lower estimated creatinine clearance identify Fontan patients with lower cardiac index. Using biomarkers to monitor haemodynamics and organ-specific effects warrants prospective investigation.
Anabolic androgenic steroids are synthetic derivatives of testosterone that promote the growth of skeletal muscles and have many recognised cardiovascular effects. We report the clinical presentation and pathological findings of an adolescent male whose sudden cardiac arrest following ventricular fibrillation was attributed to anabolic androgenic steroid use. The age of our patient reflects the usage of anabolic androgenic steroids among younger athletes and highlights the need for increased awareness among practitioners.
A detailed hierarchal nomenclature of arrhythmias is offered with definition of its applications to diagnosis and complications. The conceptual and organizational approach to discussion of arrhythmias employs the following sequence: location – mechanism – aetiology – duration. The classification of arrhythmias is heuristically divided into an anatomical hierarchy: atrial, junctional, ventricular, or atrioventricular. Mechanisms are most simplistically classified as either reentrant, such as macro-reentrant atrial tachycardia, previously described as atrial flutter, or focal, such as automatic or micro-reentrant tachycardia, for example, junctional ectopic tachycardia. The aetiology of arrhythmias can be either iatrogenic, such as postsurgical, or non-iatrogenic, such as genetic or congenital, and in many cases is multi-factorial. Assigning an aetiology to an arrhythmia is distinct from understanding the mechanism of the arrhythmia, yet assignment of a possible aetiology of an arrhythmia may have important therapeutic implications in certain clinical settings. For example, postoperative atrial arrhythmias in patients after cardiac transplantation may be harbingers of rejection or consequent to remediable imbalances of electrolytes. The duration, frequency of, and time to occurrence of arrhythmia are temporal measures that further refine arrhythmia definition, and may offer insight into ascription of aetiology. Finally, arrhythmias do not occur in a void, but interact with other organ systems. Arrhythmias not only can result from perturbations of other organ systems, such as renal failure, but can produce dysfunction in other organ systems due to haemodynamic compromise or embolic phenomena.
Many patients with a functional univentricular heart were treated in the 1970s and 1980s, using an atriopulmonary connection to create the Fontan circulation.1–3 Although this procedure, in many patients, was initially successful, and provided arterial saturations of oxygen close to normal, as these patients were followed over the years, in some cases they developed significant complications. One complication of the atriopulmonary connection is progressive right atrial dilation, which leads to atrial arrhythmias, such as atrial flutter or fibrillation.4,5 The combination of these two problems leads to low cardiac output, diminished quality of life, and poor categorization within the classification of the New York Heart Association. This, and other issues, has led most centres to abandon the atriopulmonary connection as a means of creating the Fontan circulation in favour of the lateral tunnel with cavopulmonary connections,6 or the extracardiac conduit.7
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