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Journal and News Scan

Source: World Journal for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery
Author(s): F. Buendía-Fuentes, J. L. Melero-Ferrer, D. Plaza-López, J. Rueda-Soriano, A. Osa-Saez, J. Aguero, P. Calvillo-Batllés, C. Fonfria-Esparcia, A. Ballesta-Cuñat, L. Martí-Bonmatí, L. Martínez-Dolz

In a prospective cross-sectional analysis of 37 adult patients palliated with a Fontan procedure, Buendía-Fuentes and colleagues assessed liver disease by three techniques: hepatic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) imaging, and hepatic ultrasound. They authors compared the prevalence of disease and the diagnostic conclusion between different techniques. They also evaluated the association between the diagnosis from noninvasive imaging and clinical variables such as liver disease biomarkers. Signs of liver disease were observed in most patients by both hepatic MRI and ARFI elastography, but not by ultrasound imaging. Increased liver stiffness did not identify specific disease patterns from MRI, supporting the need for multimodality imaging to characterize liver disease in Fontan patients.

Source: Cape Cod Times
Author(s): Cynthia McCormick

A playful chocolate Labrador retriever puppy named Shamus is one lucky dog after having thoracic surgery to cure a fatal abnormality of blood vessels in his heart.

Not only did veterinarians at Hyannis Animal Hospital perform the surgery that saved the pup for free, veterinarian Kevin Smith studied up on the surgical procedure for two weeks and even enlisted the operating room assistance of a Cape Cod Hospital heart surgeon.

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

Patient Care

A CABG operation performed at the Uganda Heart Institute at Mulago National Referral Hospital was done by an all-Ugandan surgical team for the first time.

Software will help analyze emergency calls in Copenhagen, informing dispatchers when it detects nonverbal sounds that indicate cardiac arrest.


Drugs and Devices

Boston Scientific has entered into an acquisition option agreement with Millipede, Inc, a company that has developed a transcatheter mitral valve annuloplasty system.

The US Food and Drug Administration issued warning letters to 11 companies for illegal claims of their products’ abilities to treat opioid addiction and withdrawal. The letters were issued jointly with the Federal Trade Commission.


Research, Trials, and Funding

Data from the PARTNER II S3 trial showed no differences in survival or stroke between women and men undergoing TAVR, which the authors attribute partially to new-generation valves with more sizes and to better sizing techniques.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare says that the second stage of its Lung Cancer in Nonsmokers study shows that Taiwanese nonsmokers have twice the risk of lung cancer that heavy smokers in Europe and North American do.

Source: The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Author(s): Samuel R. Schnittman, Shinobu Itagaki, Nana Toyoda, David H. Adams, Natalia N. Egorova, Joanna Chikwe

A clear message (although no causation is proven) regarding an important patient-centered research question, going bravely against the tide.

Source: Annals of Cardiothoracic Surgery
Author(s): Ulrich Schneider, Tristan Ehrlich, Irem Karliova, Christian Giebels, Hans-Joachim Schäfers

Schneider and colleagues have narrated a video demonstrating their technique for valve-sparing root replacement in a patient with Marfan syndrome. In the accompanying article, the authors report the outcomes of 61 patients with Marfan syndrome who underwent either aortic valve reimplantation or root remodeling at their institution.

Source: The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Author(s): Faisal G. Bakaeen, A. Laurie Shroyer, Marco A. Zenati, Vinay Badhwar, Vinod H. Thourani, James S. Gammie, Rakesh M. Suri, Joseph F. Sabik III, A. Marc Gillinov, Danny Chu, Shuab Omer, Mary T. Hawn, G. Hossein Almassi, Lorraine D. Cornwell, Frederick L. Grover, Todd K. Rosengart, Laura Graham

A large follow-up study comparing repair and replacement results and trends. Of particular interest to the UK and European readership is the page 113 discussion on the center of mitral excellence principle.

Source: The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Author(s): Nadim Saydy, Amine Mazine, Louis-Mathieu Stevens, Hughes Jeamart, Philippe Demers, Pierre Pagé, Yoan Lamarche, Ismail El-Hamamsy

A well executed study on an important problem in cardiac surgery that merits careful reading, as no one-sentence conclusion can be adequately gleaned.

Source: The Annals of Thoracic Surgery
Author(s): Daniel L. Miller, Gerald A. Helms, William R. Mayfield

Miller and colleagues retrospectively compared anastomotic integrity with pleural amylase levels (PAL), measured daily from postoperative day 3-10 after an Ivor Lewis esophagectomy. Three of 45 patients had an anastomotic leak, each of which coincided with a large increase in their PAL. The authors conclude that measuring PALs is an accurate, safe, and inexpensive way to detect esophageal anastomotic leaks.

Source: The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Author(s): Kenneth A. Kesler

A model analysis of a phase I surgical device trial. The readable editorial discusses the adoption of surgical innovation on the occasion of a harmonic sealing device for pulmonary resections, highlighting the problem of ligating small branches of the pulmonary artery in confined spaces. 

Source: The Telegraph
Author(s): Laura Donnelly

An interesting article from a popular UK newspaper, reflecting perhaps the views of members of government and public in confining UK medical graduates to largely low-paid work for five years after graduation, on the socialist principle that the public has paid for their education (they pay quite a lot themselves as well, and end up in debt).

We experienced similar expansion of compulsory government low-paid work (extension of preregistration internship) in the Republic of South Africa after 1994. 

The figure of 230 000 pounds as an average cost is probably demagogic, as no calculation source is being offered. It would be interesting to attempt a robust calculation of the cost of thoracic (cardiothoracic) specialist training.

The concept may come to a surprise to our North American colleagues, as the European socialist health concepts may have not penetrated the New World outside the British Commonwealth.

The United Kingdom has been facing a multilevel exodus of doctors since the beginning of the century, when a progressive deterioration in job satisfaction in the NHS started. It remains baffling how, in the face of loss of a highly qualified workforce, various governments have not attempted any improvement in work terms and conditions of doctors. The NHS salaries have particularly dropped for clinical staff since.