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Journal and News Scan

Source: New England Journal of Medicine
Author(s): Lisa Rosenbaum, Amy Edmondson, Thoralf Sundt, Neel Shah

Though medical care has become ever more dependent on teamwork, the profession has devoted relatively little attention to what makes for a good team. In this roundtable discussion moderated by Lisa Rosenbaum, panelists Amy Edmondson, Neel Shah, and Thoralf Sundt discuss empirical and cultural approaches to the pursuit of better collaboration.

This audio roundtable is the companion to a three-part series on teamwork, written by Lisa Rosenbaum and published in the New England Journal of Medicine. In this series, Dr Rosenbaum made important reflections on and explorations into the professional, psychological, cultural, and social approaches to fostering high-quality communication and collaboration in the medical community. These articles and links are as follows:

Teamwork — Part 1: Divided We Fall

Teamwork — Part 2: Cursed by Knowledge — Building a Culture of Psychological Safety

Teamwork — Part 3: The Not-My-Problem Problem

Source: European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery
Author(s): Markus Kofler, Sebastian J Reinstadler, Agnes Mayr, Lukas Stastny, Martin Reindl, Julia Dumfarth, Theresa M Dachs, Kristina Wachter, Christian J Rustenbach, Guy Friedrich, Gudrun Feuchtner, Gert Klug, Peter Bramlage, Bernhard Metzler, Michael Grimm, Hardy Baumbach, Nikolaos Bonaros

Kofler and colleagues evaluated prospectively-measured psoas muscle area in more than 1,000 patients who underwent transcatheter aortic valve replacement at two centers. Indexed psoas area was independently associated with 30-day and follow-up mortality. The authors suggest adding indexed psoas area to The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) score to improve the STS score prognostic value.

Source: The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Author(s): Kareem Bedeir, Tsuyoshi Kaneko, Sary Aranki

A very useful synopsis of treatment strategies for a vexing lethal condition.

Source: The Annals of Thoracic Surgery
Author(s): David L.S. Morales, Joseph W. Rossano, Christina Vander Pluym, Angela Lorts, Ryan Cantor, James St. Louis, Devin Koeh, David L. Sutcliffe, Iki Adachi, James K. Kirklin, David N. Rosenthal, Elizabeth D. Blume, for the Pedimacs investigators

Today, The Society of Thoracic Surgeons published the third annual Pediatric Interagency Registry for Mechanical Circulatory Support (PEDIMACS) report. Between Sep 19, 2012 and Dec 31, 2017, 423 patients (less than 19 years of age) in 30 hospitals were supported with 508 devices. The etiology was cardiomyopathy in 261 patients (62%), myocarditis in 48 (11%), congenital heart disease (CHD) in 86 (20%, with 52 of these having single ventricle physiology), and other in 28 (7%). The two most common support strategies included left ventricular assist device in 342 patients (81%) and biventricular assist device (BiVAD) in 64 (15%).

At 6 months, 80% of patients were alive on a device or bridged to transplantation/recovery. Patient characteristics and survival were different among three groups of patients supported with three types of pumps:

  1. 197 implantable continuous flow pumps: implant age 13.4 ± 3.8 years, 19% INTERMACS profile 1, 21% intubated at implant, 12% with CHD; 92% alive at 6 months
  2. 79 paracorporeal continuous flow (PC) pumps: implant age 3.9 ± 5.2 years, 49% INTERMACS profile 1, 86% intubated at implant, 38% with CHD; 66% alive at 6 months
  3. 121 paracorporeal pulsatile pumps: implant age 3.3 ± 3.9 years, 41% INTERMACS profile 1, 77% intubated at implant, 21% with CHD; 77% alive at 6 months

Risk factors for early death were INTERMACS profile 1 (hazard ratio, HR 12.6), BiVAD (HR 3.6), percutaneous devices (HR 13.5), PC pumps (HR 4.1), small volume center (HR 3.3), low age (HR 1.01 for age squared), and low weight (HR 0.9). Intubation (functional capacity, HR 4.3) and liver dysfunction (bilirubin in mg/dL, HR 1.1) at the time of implant were constant hazards.

The investigators conclude that implantable continuous flow pumps are the most common type in children, with greater than 90% survival at 6 months, which may represent the maturation in both patient selection and timing of implantation. Currently paracorporeal continuous flow or pulsatile pumps are limited to supporting most challenging patients, those weighing less than 20 kg, and those with congenital heart defects.

Source: Interactive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery
Author(s): Kathrin Schubert, Tim Schaller, Elisabeth Stojenthin, Christian Stephan, Hans-Hinrich Sievers, Michael Scharfschwerdt

Schubert and colleagues developed a novel trileaflet mechanical heart valve prosthesis. They compared this device with a conventional mechanical bileaflet heart valve in vitro, evaluating hemodynamic parameters and thrombogenicity. The trileaflet valve had a larger effective orifice area and smaller pressure gradient than the bileaflet one. There were fewer clotting deposits on the trileaflet valve, and the authors pointed to the off-wall systolic position of the hinges in the new valve as a major advantage.

Source: European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery
Author(s): Stuart W. Grant, Graeme L. Hickey, Stuart J. Head

In this statistical primer, Grant and colleagues focus on the use of multivariable regression analyses. The authors review the three most common types of multivariable regression models encountered in the cardiothoracic surgical literature, and they highlight less common models, underscoring the importance of using the correct model for a particular study. They also discuss appropriate approaches for selecting variables and the need to report the model completely so others can reproduce it.

Source: News from around the web.
Author(s): Claire Vernon

Patient Care and General Interest

The Cardiac Surgery Advanced Life Support (CALS) protocol is expanding to India from the UK, as a cardiac surgical team at Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research in Chennai will become certified CALS trainers.


Drugs and Devices

Edwards Lifesciences has received CE Mark approval for its Pascal transcatheter mitral repair system.

Moves are afoot in the world of robotic bronchoscopy, as Intuitive Surgical receives US Food and Drug Administration approval for its Ion system and Johnson & Johnson acquires Auris Health and its Monarch platform.

Admedus reports interim data from the feasibility study of its single-piece 3D stentless aortic valve in sheep.

CareDx, Inc, announced that the company’s donor derived cell-free DNA test for lung transplant rejection, AlloSure Lung, will be available under a compassionate use program.


Research, Trials, and Funding

Adding acetaminophen to administration of a sedative reduced the incidence and duration of delirium after cardiac surgery, say researchers from Boston, Massachusetts, in JAMA.

Embyronic heart-derived immune cells keep valves slim and in shape, say developmental biologists from the University of California Los Angeles.

Researchers from around the US are advancing computational modeling to predict the postoperative outcome of mitral repairs with presurgical imaging data.

Source: The Annals of Thoracic Surgery
Author(s): Brigid C. Flynn, Jianghua He, Matthew Richey, Katy Wirtz, Emmanuel Daon

Flynn and colleagues evaluated their center’s implementation of a protocol for extubation within six hours after cardiac surgery, focusing on the rate of adverse events before and after protocol implementation particularly for those patients at highest surgical risk. The authors analyzed prospectively-collected data for patients undergoing cardiac operations within six months of the initiation of the early extubation protocol, 181 patients before and 152 after. They found no differences in the total number of adverse events (renal failure, reintubation, 30-day mortality, or postoperative stroke) before and after the protocol was initiated (16% versus 19%, p = 0.557). In a subset analysis focusing specifically on patients with STS predicted morbidity or mortality score over 40% (8 patients before, 6 patients after the protocol began), the number of adverse events were not different and the median ventilation time was reduced to less than six hours.

The authors conclude that these results are encouraging but merit further investigation, considering the small sample size.

Source: Annals of Cardiothoracic Surgery
Author(s): Hikaru Ishii, Mao Ting, Nai-Hsin Chi

Ishii and colleagues present a narrated video on robotic mitral valve repairs. The lecture includes a detailed description on how to perform safe, reliable, and durable repairs for a range of mitral valve pathologies. The authors discuss an illustrative procedure, performed for a 63-year-old man with severe mitral regurgitation secondary to previous medically-managed infective endocarditis.

Source: Circulation Research
Author(s): Amélie Pinard, Gregory T. Jones, Dianna M. Milewicz

This review summarizes the current understanding of the inherited basis for aortic aneurysmal disease and clearly highlights the need to differentiate between thoracic and abdominal aortic manifestations. Approximately 20% of thoracic aortic aneurysms are associated with an autosomal pattern of inheritance from a mutation in a single gene, whereas abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) do not typically demonstrate such inheritance but rather seem to present as a polygenic disorder involving variants of weaker effect. This notwithstanding, there are some distinct biological pathway similarities between thoracic aortic disease (TAD) and AAA; these include the TGF-β and low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein (LRP1) pathways, as well as other aspects of vascular smooth muscle cell function.

Currently, over a dozen causative genes have been validated for heritable TAD. Each confers a high risk for disease, and genetic testing for these genes is now offered clinically. The situation is far less advanced for AAA, and although polygenic AAA risk scores are being developed, using genetic variants to predict AAAs has not progressed to the extent that it can be used to identify at-risk individuals.