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We report a case of hypoplastic left heart syndrome and with subsequent aortopathy and then found to have hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia/juvenile polyposis syndrome due to a germline SMAD4 pathologic variant. The patient’s staged palliation was complicated by the development of neoaortic aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations, and gastrointestinal bleeding thought to be secondary to Fontan circulation, but workup revealed a SMAD4 variant consistent with hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia/juvenile polyposis syndrome. This case underscores the importance of genetic modifiers in CHD, especially those with Fontan physiology.
Children with congenital heart disease (CHD) can face neurodevelopmental, psychological, and behavioural difficulties beginning in infancy and continuing through adulthood. Despite overall improvements in medical care and a growing focus on neurodevelopmental screening and evaluation in recent years, neurodevelopmental disabilities, delays, and deficits remain a concern. The Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative was founded in 2016 with the goal of improving neurodevelopmental outcomes for individuals with CHD and pediatric heart disease. This paper describes the establishment of a centralised clinical data registry to standardize data collection across member institutions of the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative. The goal of this registry is to foster collaboration for large, multi-centre research and quality improvement initiatives that will benefit individuals and families with CHD and improve their quality of life. We describe the components of the registry, initial research projects proposed using data from the registry, and lessons learned in the development of the registry.
CHD is an important phenotypic feature of chromosome 22q11.2 copy number variants. Biventricular repair is usually possible, however there are rare reports of patients with chromosome 22q copy number variants and functional single ventricle cardiac disease.
This is a single centre retrospective review of patients with chromosome 22q copy number variants who underwent staged single ventricle reconstructive surgery between 1 July, 1984 and 31 December, 2020.
Seventeen patients met inclusion criteria. The most common diagnosis was hypoplastic left heart syndrome (n = 8) and vascular anomalies were present in 13 patients. A microdeletion of the chromosome 22 A-D low-copy repeat was present in 13 patients, and the remaining had a duplication. About half of the patients had documented craniofacial abnormalities and/or hypocalcaemia, and developmental delay was very common. Fifteen patients had a Norwood operation, 10 patients had a superior cavopulmonary anastomosis, and 7 patients had a Fontan. Two patients had cardiac transplantation after Fontan. Overall survival is 64% at 1 year, and 58% at 5 and 10 years. Most deaths occurred following Norwood operation (n = 5).
CHD necessitating single ventricle reconstruction associated with chromosome 22q copy number variants is not common, but typically occurs as a variant of hypoplastic left heart syndrome with the usual cytogenetic microdeletion. The most common neonatal surgical intervention performed is the Norwood, where most of the mortality burden occurs. Associated anomalies and medical issues may cause additional morbidity after cardiac surgery, but survival is similar to infants with other types of single ventricle disease.
Over the last two decades, heart centres have developed strategies to meet the neurodevelopmental needs of children with congenital heart disease. Since the publication of guidelines in 2012, cardiac neurodevelopmental follow-up programmes have become more widespread. Local neurodevelopmental programmes, however, have been developed independently in widely varying environments. We sought to characterise variation in structure and personnel in cardiac neurodevelopmental programmes. A 31-item survey was sent to all member institutions of the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative. Multidisciplinary teams at each centre completed the survey. Responses were compiled in a descriptive fashion. Of the 29 invited centres, 23 responded to the survey (79%). Centres reported more anticipated neurodevelopment visits between birth and 5 years of age (median 5, range 2–8) than 5–18 years (median 2, range 0–10) with 53% of centres lacking any standard for routine neurodevelopment evaluations after 5 years of age. Estimated annual neurodevelopment clinic volume ranged from 85 to 428 visits with a median of 16% of visits involving children >5 years of age. Among responding centres, the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development and Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence were the most routinely used tests. Neonatal clinical assessment was more common (64%) than routine neonatal brain imaging (23%) during hospitalisation. In response to clinical need and published guidelines, centres have established formal cardiac neurodevelopment follow-up programmes. Centres vary considerably in their approaches to routine screening and objective testing, with many centres currently focussing their resources on evaluating younger patients.
Basal units – visibly distinct englacial structures near the ice-bed interface – warrant investigation for a number of reasons. Many are of unknown composition and origin, characteristics that could provide substantial insight into subglacial processes and ice-sheet history. Their significance, moreover, is not limited to near-bed depths; these units appear to dramatically influence the flow of surrounding ice. In order to enable improved characterization of these features, we develop and apply an algorithm that allows for the automatic detection of basal units. We use a tunable layer-optimized SAR processor to distinguish these structures from the bed, isochronous englacial layers and the ice-sheet surface, presenting a conceptual framework for the use of radio-echo character in the identification of ice-sheet features. We also outline a method by which our processor could be used to place observational constraints on basal units’ configuration, composition and provenance.
Several grass and broadleaf weed species around the world have evolved multiple-herbicide resistance at alarmingly increasing rates. Research on the biochemical and molecular resistance mechanisms of multiple-resistant weed populations indicate a prevalence of herbicide metabolism catalyzed by enzyme systems such as cytochrome P450 monooxygenases and glutathione S-transferases and, to a lesser extent, by glucosyl transferases. A symposium was conducted to gain an understanding of the current state of research on metabolic resistance mechanisms in weed species that pose major management problems around the world. These topics, as well as future directions of investigations that were identified in the symposium, are summarized herein. In addition, the latest information on selected topics such as the role of safeners in inducing crop tolerance to herbicides, selectivity to clomazone, glyphosate metabolism in crops and weeds, and bioactivation of natural molecules is reviewed.
A study conducted as part of the development of the Eleventh International Classification of Mental Disorders for Primary Health Care (ICD-11 PHC) provided an opportunity to test the relationships among depressive, anxious and somatic symptoms in PHC.
Primary care physicians participating in the ICD-11 PHC field studies in five countries selected patients who presented with somatic symptoms not explained by known physical pathology by applying a 29-item screening on somatic complaints that were under study for bodily stress disorder. Patients were interviewed using the Clinical Interview Schedule-Revised and assessed using two five-item scales that measure depressive and anxious symptoms. Structural models of anxious-depressive symptoms and somatic complaints were tested using a bi-factor approach.
A total of 797 patients completed the study procedures. Two bi-factor models fit the data well: Model 1 had all symptoms loaded on a general factor, along with one of three specific depression, anxiety and somatic factors [x2 (627) = 741.016, p < 0.0011, RMSEA = 0.015, CFI = 0.911, TLI = 0.9]. Model 2 had a general factor and two specific anxious depression and somatic factors [x2 (627) = 663.065, p = 0.1543, RMSEA = 0.008, CFI = 0.954, TLI = 0.948].
These data along with those of previous studies suggest that depressive, anxious and somatic symptoms are largely different presentations of a common latent phenomenon. This study provides support for the ICD-11 PHC conceptualization of mood disturbance, especially anxious depression, as central among patients who present multiple somatic symptoms.
Whether monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins differ from each other in a variety of phenotypes is important for genetic twin modeling and for inferences made from twin studies in general. We analyzed whether there were differences in individual, maternal and paternal education between MZ and DZ twins in a large pooled dataset. Information was gathered on individual education for 218,362 adult twins from 27 twin cohorts (53% females; 39% MZ twins), and on maternal and paternal education for 147,315 and 143,056 twins respectively, from 28 twin cohorts (52% females; 38% MZ twins). Together, we had information on individual or parental education from 42 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. The original education classifications were transformed to education years and analyzed using linear regression models. Overall, MZ males had 0.26 (95% CI [0.21, 0.31]) years and MZ females 0.17 (95% CI [0.12, 0.21]) years longer education than DZ twins. The zygosity difference became smaller in more recent birth cohorts for both males and females. Parental education was somewhat longer for fathers of DZ twins in cohorts born in 1990–1999 (0.16 years, 95% CI [0.08, 0.25]) and 2000 or later (0.11 years, 95% CI [0.00, 0.22]), compared with fathers of MZ twins. The results show that the years of both individual and parental education are largely similar in MZ and DZ twins. We suggest that the socio-economic differences between MZ and DZ twins are so small that inferences based upon genetic modeling of twin data are not affected.
Children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome are at a risk for neurodevelopmental delays. Current guidelines recommend systematic evaluation and management of neurodevelopmental outcomes with referral for early intervention services. The Single Ventricle Reconstruction Trial represents the largest cohort of children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome ever assembled. Data on life events and resource utilisation have been collected annually. We sought to determine the type and prevalence of early intervention services used from age 1 to 4 years and factors associated with utilisation of services.
Data from 14-month neurodevelopmental assessment and annual medical history forms were used. We assessed the impact of social risk and geographic differences. Fisher exact tests and logistic regression were used to evaluate associations.
Annual medical history forms were available for 302 of 314 children. Greater than half of the children (52–69%) were not receiving services at any age assessed, whereas 20–32% were receiving two or more therapies each year. Utilisation was significantly lower in year 4 (31%) compared with years 1–3 (with a range from 40 to 48%) (p<0.001). Social risk factors were not associated with the use of services at any age but there were significant geographic differences. Significant delay was reported by parents in 18–43% of children at ages 3 and 4.
Despite significant neurodevelopmental delays, early intervention service utilisation was low in this cohort. As survival has improved for children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, attention must shift to strategies to optimise developmental outcomes, including enrolment in early intervention when merited.
Large volumes of data and multiple computing platforms are now universal components of paediatric cardiovascular medicine, but are in a constant state of evolution. Often, multiple sets of related data reside in disconnected “silos”, resulting in clinical, administrative, and research activities that may be duplicative, inefficient, and at times inaccurate. Comprehensive and integrated data solutions are needed to facilitate these activities across congenital heart centres. We describe methodology, key considerations, successful use cases, and lessons learnt in developing an integrated data platform across our congenital heart centre.
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.
We analyzed birth order differences in means and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) in monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins from infancy to old age. The data were derived from the international CODATwins database. The total number of height and BMI measures from 0.5 to 79.5 years of age was 397,466. As expected, first-born twins had greater birth weight than second-born twins. With respect to height, first-born twins were slightly taller than second-born twins in childhood. After adjusting the results for birth weight, the birth order differences decreased and were no longer statistically significant. First-born twins had greater BMI than the second-born twins over childhood and adolescence. After adjusting the results for birth weight, birth order was still associated with BMI until 12 years of age. No interaction effect between birth order and zygosity was found. Only limited evidence was found that birth order influenced variances of height or BMI. The results were similar among boys and girls and also in MZ and DZ twins. Overall, the differences in height and BMI between first- and second-born twins were modest even in early childhood, while adjustment for birth weight reduced the birth order differences but did not remove them for BMI.
The Fontan operation is the final step of palliation for patients with a functionally single ventricle. Since its introduction in the 1970s, the Fontan surgery has become part of a successful surgical strategy that has improved single ventricle mortality. In recent years, we have become more aware of the limitations and long-term consequences of the Fontan physiology. Pulmonary vascular resistance plays an important role in total cavopulmonary circulation, and has been identified as a potential therapeutic target to mitigate Fontan sequelae. In this review, we will discuss the results of different pulmonary vasodilator trials and the use of pulmonary vasodilators as a treatment strategy for Fontan patients.
Patients with predominantly unilateral parkinsonian signs may provide a unique opportunity to evaluate the cerebral representation of cognitive functions characteristically affected in idiopathic Parkinson’s disease. Twenty hemiparkinsonian patients (ten left and ten right) and 10 healthy controls, matched for age and education, were studied with neuropsychological tests and positron emission tomography. Both right and left hemiparkinsonians evidenced impairments in visuospatial and verbal episodic memory function, but had no deficits in executive abilities, compared to controls. None of the neuropsychological test scores distinguished right from left hemiparkinsonians. Glucose metabolic profiles were identical for the three groups in all cortical areas assessed; in the subcortex however, lenticular hypermetabolism contralateral to the predominant side of motor involvement was evident in the left hemiparkinsonian group. Correlational analysis revealed that higher glucose metabolic rates in the basal ganglia of these hemiparkinsonians were associated with lower visuospatial test scores. In frontal and parietal cortex, decreasing glucose metabolism was positively associated with neurobehavioral function; in temporal cortex, measures of attention and memory decreased with increasing glucose metabolic rates.
A trend toward greater body size in dizygotic (DZ) than in monozygotic (MZ) twins has been suggested by some but not all studies, and this difference may also vary by age. We analyzed zygosity differences in mean values and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) among male and female twins from infancy to old age. Data were derived from an international database of 54 twin cohorts participating in the COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins), and included 842,951 height and BMI measurements from twins aged 1 to 102 years. The results showed that DZ twins were consistently taller than MZ twins, with differences of up to 2.0 cm in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.9 cm in adulthood. Similarly, a greater mean BMI of up to 0.3 kg/m2 in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.2 kg/m2 in adulthood was observed in DZ twins, although the pattern was less consistent. DZ twins presented up to 1.7% greater height and 1.9% greater BMI than MZ twins; these percentage differences were largest in middle and late childhood and decreased with age in both sexes. The variance of height was similar in MZ and DZ twins at most ages. In contrast, the variance of BMI was significantly higher in DZ than in MZ twins, particularly in childhood. In conclusion, DZ twins were generally taller and had greater BMI than MZ twins, but the differences decreased with age in both sexes.
For over 100 years, the genetics of human anthropometric traits has attracted scientific interest. In particular, height and body mass index (BMI, calculated as kg/m2) have been under intensive genetic research. However, it is still largely unknown whether and how heritability estimates vary between human populations. Opportunities to address this question have increased recently because of the establishment of many new twin cohorts and the increasing accumulation of data in established twin cohorts. We started a new research project to analyze systematically (1) the variation of heritability estimates of height, BMI and their trajectories over the life course between birth cohorts, ethnicities and countries, and (2) to study the effects of birth-related factors, education and smoking on these anthropometric traits and whether these effects vary between twin cohorts. We identified 67 twin projects, including both monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins, using various sources. We asked for individual level data on height and weight including repeated measurements, birth related traits, background variables, education and smoking. By the end of 2014, 48 projects participated. Together, we have 893,458 height and weight measures (52% females) from 434,723 twin individuals, including 201,192 complete twin pairs (40% monozygotic, 40% same-sex dizygotic and 20% opposite-sex dizygotic) representing 22 countries. This project demonstrates that large-scale international twin studies are feasible and can promote the use of existing data for novel research purposes.
The Fontan operation can create a stable circulation from childhood through early adulthood. However, the absence of a sub-pulmonary pumping chamber leads to a physiology in which exercise capacity is limited and decreases with age starting in adolescence. The limitation in exercise capacity is more pronounced at peak levels of exercise, but is still present during more modest levels of activity. The underlying causes of exercise impairment relate to both central cardiovascular factors (oxygen delivery) and peripheral factors (oxygen extraction). Interventions to improve cardiac preload and to improve lean muscle mass may help to improve exercise capacity and, perhaps, will alter the “natural history” of the progressive decline.
Predictions of marine ice-sheet behaviour require models able to simulate grounding-line migration. We present results of an intercomparison experiment for plan-view marine ice-sheet models. Verification is effected by comparison with approximate analytical solutions for flux across the grounding line using simplified geometrical configurations (no lateral variations, no buttressing effects from lateral drag). Perturbation experiments specifying spatial variation in basal sliding parameters permitted the evolution of curved grounding lines, generating buttressing effects. The experiments showed regions of compression and extensional flow across the grounding line, thereby invalidating the boundary layer theory. Steady-state grounding-line positions were found to be dependent on the level of physical model approximation. Resolving grounding lines requires inclusion of membrane stresses, a sufficiently small grid size (<500 m), or subgrid interpolation of the grounding line. The latter still requires nominal grid sizes of <5 km. For larger grid spacings, appropriate parameterizations for ice flux may be imposed at the grounding line, but the short-time transient behaviour is then incorrect and different from models that do not incorporate grounding-line parameterizations. The numerical error associated with predicting grounding-line motion can be reduced significantly below the errors associated with parameter ignorance and uncertainties in future scenarios.