Tag Archives: News & Updates

Find cardiology news and updates

Revised Jones Criteria for Acute Rheumatic Fever – 2015 guideline

Acute rheumatic fever remains a serious healthcare concern for the majority of the world’s population despite its decline in incidence in Europe and North America. This statement reviews the historic Jones criteria used to diagnose acute rheumatic fever in the context of the current epidemiology of the disease and updates those criteria to also taking into account the use of Doppler echocardiography in the diagnosis of carditis as a major manifestation of acute rheumatic fever.

1. Epidemiology:

1. It is reasonable to consider individuals to be at low risk for ARF if they come from a setting or population known to experience low rates of ARF or RHD (Class IIa; Level of Evidence C).
2. It is reasonable that where reliable epidemiological data are available, low risk should be defined as having an ARF incidence <2 per 100 000 school-aged children (usually 5–14 years old) per year or an allage prevalence of RHD of ≤1 per 1000 population per year (Class IIa; Level of Evidence C).
3. Children not clearly from a low-risk population are at moderate to high risk depending on their reference population (Class I; Level of Evidence C).

2. Clinical Manifestations of ARF:

Generally, the clinical profile of ARF in low- and middle-income countries closely resembles that of high-income countries. Universally, the most common major manifestations during the first episode of ARF (the “major criteria” for diagnosis) remain
carditis (50%–70%) and arthritis (35%–66%). These are followed in frequency by chorea (10%–30%), which has been demonstrated to have a female predominance, and then
subcutaneous nodules (0%–10%) and erythema marginatum (<6%), which remain much less common but highly specific manifestations of ARF.

3.Carditis: Diagnosis in the Era of Widely Available Echocardiography:

Classically, as discussed in the 1992 AHA revised Jones criteria statement, carditis as a major manifestation of ARF has been a clinical diagnosis based on the auscultation of typical murmurs that indicate mitral or aortic valve regurgitation, at either valve or both valves. Numerous studies over the past 20 years have addressed the role of echocardiography (compared with purely clinical assessment) in the diagnosis of ARF. More than 25 studies have reported echocardiography/Doppler evidence of mitral or aortic valve regurgitation in patients with ARF despite the absence of classic auscultatory findings. This writing group concludes the following:

1. Echocardiography with Doppler should be performed in all cases of confirmed and suspected ARF (Class I; Level of Evidence B).
2. It is reasonable to consider performing serial echocardiography/ Doppler studies in any patient with diagnosed or suspected ARF even if documented carditis is not present on diagnosis (Class IIa; Level of Evidence C).
3. Echocardiography/Doppler testing should be performed to assess whether carditis is present in the absence of auscultatory findings, particularly in moderate- to high-risk populations and when ARF is considered likely (Class I; Level of Evidence B).
4. Echocardiography/Doppler findings not consistent with carditis should exclude that diagnosis in patients with a heart murmur otherwise thought to indicate rheumatic carditis (Class I; Level of Evidence B).

Evolving role of echogardiography in acute rheumatic fever

Evolving role of echogardiography in acute rheumatic fever

4.Specific doppler criteria for diagnosis of rheumatic valvulitis

Pathological mitral regurgitation (all 4 criteria met)
1.Seen in at least 2 views
2.Jet length ≥2 cm in at least 1 view
3.Peak velocity >3 m/s
4.Pansystolic jet in at least 1 envelope

Pathological aortic regurgitation (all 4 criteria met)
1.Seen in at least 2 views
2.Jet length ≥1 cm in at least 1 view
3.Peak velocity >3 m/s
4.Pan diastolic jet in at least 1 envelope

Morphological Findings on Echocardiogram in Rheumatic Valvulitis

Acute mitral valve changes
Annular dilation
Chordal elongation
Chordal rupture resulting in flail leaflet with severe mitral regurgitation
Anterior (or less commonly posterior) leaflet tip prolapse
Beading/nodularity of leaflet tips

Chronic mitral valve changes: not seen in acute carditis
Leaflet thickening
Chordal thickening and fusion
Restricted leaflet motion

Aortic valve changes in either acute or chronic carditis
Irregular or focal leaflet thickening
Coaptation defect
Restricted leaflet motion
Leaflet prolapse

5.Evidence of preceding Streptococcal infection:

Because other illnesses may closely resemble ARF, laboratory evidence of antecedent group A streptococcal infection is needed whenever possible, and the diagnosis is in doubt when such evidence is not available.

Any one of the following can serve as evidence of preceding infection:
Increased or rising anti-streptolysin O titer or other streptococcal antibodies (anti-DNASE B) (Class I, Level of Evidence B). A rise in titer is better evidence than a single titer result.
A positive throat culture for group A β-hemolytic streptococci (Class I, Level of Evidence B).
A positive rapid group A streptococcal carbohydrate antigen test in a child whose clinical presentation suggests a high pretest probability of streptococcal pharyngitis (Class I, Level of Evidence B).

6. Diagnosis of Acute rheumatic fever:

For all patient populations with evidence of preceding GAS infection

Diagnosis: initial ARF: 2 Major manifestations or 1 major plus 2 minor manifestations
Diagnosis: recurrent ARF: 2 Major or 1 major and 2 minor or 3 minor

Major and minor criteria for diagnosis of Acute rheumatic fever

Major and minor criteria for diagnosis of Acute rheumatic fever

Flow charts for diagnosis of rheumatic fever

Flow charts for diagnosis of rheumatic fever


7.Rheumatic Fever Recurrences

As stated in the 1992 guidelines, patients who have a history of ARF or RHD are at high risk for “recurrent” attacks if reinfected with group A streptococci. Such an attack is considered
a new episode of ARF, but one in which the complete set of Jones criteria, even as revised, may not be completely fulfilled.

The guideline recommendations for diagnosing rheumatic fever recurrences are:
1. With a reliable past history of ARF or established RHD, and in the face of documented group A streptococcal infection, 2 major or 1 major and 2 minor or 3 minor manifestations may be sufficient for a presumptive diagnosis (Class IIb; Level of Evidence C).
2. When minor manifestations alone are present, the exclusion of other more likely causes of the clinical presentation is recommended before a diagnosis of an ARF recurrence is made (Class I; Level of Evidence C).

8.“Possible” Rheumatic Fever

In some circumstances, a given clinical presentation may not fulfill these updated Jones criteria, but the clinician may still have good reason to suspect that ARF is the diagnosis.
This may occur in high-incidence settings. In such situations the clinicians should use their discretion and clinical acumen to make the diagnosis that they consider most likely and manage the patient accordingly.

1. Where there is genuine uncertainty, it is reasonable to consider offering 12 months of secondary prophylaxis followed by reevaluation to include a careful history and physical examination in addition to a repeat echocardiogram (Class IIa; Level of Evidence C).
2. In a patient with recurrent symptoms (particularly involving the joints) who has been adherent to prophylaxis recommendations but lacks serological evidence of group A streptococcal infection and lacks echocardiographic evidence of valvulitis, it is reasonable
to conclude that the recurrent symptoms are not likely related to ARF, and discontinuation of antibiotic prophylaxis may be appropriate (Class IIa; Level of Evidence C).


Jones criteria needed revision to meet current technological advances and clinical needs. Strict application of echocardiography/Doppler findings may be used to fulfill the major criterion of carditis, even in the absence of classic auscultatory findings, providing that ambient loading conditions are taken into consideration. In addition, monoarthritis or polyarthralgia could be accepted as fulfilling the major criterion of arthritis, but only in moderate- to high-risk populations. For low-risk populations, monoarthritis is not included, and polyarthralgia remains a minor criterion. Similarly, the requirement for the presence of fever can be fulfilled with oral, tympanic, or rectal temperature documented at 38°C in moderate- to high-risk populations, but only at ≥38.5°C in others.


1. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2015/04/23/CIR.0000000000000205.abstract

Top 10 Cardiology Articles of the week

Top 10 Cardiology Articles of the week (02.03.2015-08.03.2015)

1. Low-Level Transcutaneous Electrical Vagus Nerve Stimulation (LLTS) Suppresses Atrial Fibrillation

Conclusion: LLTS suppresses AF and decreases inflammatory cytokines in patients with paroxysmal AF. The results support the emerging paradigm of neuromodulation to treat AF.

2. Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator Therapy in Brugada Syndrome:A 20-Year Single-Center Experience

Background: Patients with Brugada syndrome and aborted sudden cardiac death or syncope have higher risks for ventricular arrhythmias (VAs) and should undergo implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) placement. Device-based management of asymptomatic patients is controversial. ICD therapy is associated with high rates of inappropriate shocks and device-related complications.

Objectives: The objective of this study was to investigate clinical features, management, and long-term follow-up of ICD therapy in patients with Brugada syndrome.

Methods: Patients presenting with spontaneous or drug-induced Brugada type 1 electrocardiographic findings, who underwent ICD implantation and continuous follow-up at a single institution, were eligible for this study.

Results A total of 176 consecutive patients were included. During a mean follow-up period of 83.8 ± 57.3 months, spontaneous sustained VAs occurred in 30 patients (17%). Eight patients (4.5%) died. Appropriate ICD shocks occurred in 28 patients (15.9%), and 33 patients (18.7%) had inappropriate shocks. Electrical storm occurred in 4 subjects (2.3%). Twenty-eight patients (15.9%) experienced device-related complications. In multivariate Cox regression analysis, aborted sudden cardiac death and VA inducibility on electrophysiologic studies were independent predictors of appropriate shock occurrence.

Conclusions: ICD therapy was an effective strategy in Brugada syndrome, treating potentially lethal arrhythmias in 17% of patients during long-term follow-up. Appropriate shocks were significantly associated with the presence of aborted sudden cardiac death but also occurred in 13% of asymptomatic patients. Risk stratification by electrophysiologic study may identify asymptomatic patients at risk for arrhythmic events and could be helpful in investigating syncope not related to VAs. ICD placement is frequently associated with device-related complications, and rates of inappropriate shocks remain high regardless of careful device programming.

3.Evaluation and Treatment of Patients With Lower Extremity Peripheral Artery Disease

The lack of consistent definitions and nomenclature across clinical trials of novel devices, drugs, or biologics poses a significant barrier to accrual of knowledge in and across peripheral artery disease therapies and technologies. Recognizing this problem, the Peripheral Academic Research Consortium, together with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Japanese Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency, has developed a series of pragmatic consensus definitions for patients being treated for peripheral artery disease affecting the lower extremities. These consensus definitions include the clinical presentation, anatomic depiction, interventional outcomes, surrogate imaging and physiological follow-up, and clinical outcomes of patients with lower-extremity peripheral artery disease. Consistent application of these definitions in clinical trials evaluating novel revascularization technologies should result in more efficient regulatory evaluation and best practice guidelines to inform clinical decisions in patients with lower extremity peripheral artery disease.

4. Long-Term Survival Benefit of Revascularization Compared With Medical Therapy in Patients With Coronary Chronic Total Occlusion and Well-Developed Collateral Circulation

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to compare the long-term clinical outcomes of patients with chronic total occlusion (CTO) and well-developed collateral circulation treated with revascularization versus medical therapy.

Background: Little is known about the clinical outcomes and optimal treatment strategies of CTO with well-developed collateral circulation.

Methods: 2,024 consecutive patients with at least 1 CTO detected on coronary angiogram were screened. Of these, data was analyzed from 738 patients with Rentrop 3 grade collateral circulation who were treated with medical therapy alone (n = 236), coronary artery bypass grafting (n = 170) or percutaneous coronary intervention (n = 332; 80.1% successful). Patients who underwent revascularization and medical therapy (revascularization group, n = 502) were compared with those who underwent medical therapy alone (medication group, n = 236) in terms of cardiac death and major adverse cardiac events (MACE), defined as the composite of cardiac death, myocardial infarction, and repeat revascularization.

Results: During a median follow-up duration of 42 months, multivariate analysis revealed a significantly lower incidence of cardiac death (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.29; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.15 to 0.58; p < 0.01) and MACE (HR: 0.32; 95% CI: 0.21 to 0.49; p < 0.01) in the revascularization group compared with the medication group. After propensity score matching, the incidence of cardiac death (HR: 0.27; 95% CI: 0.09 to 0.80; p = 0.02) and MACE (HR: 0.44; 95% CI: 0.23 to 0.82; p = 0.01) were still significantly lower in the revascularization group than in the medication group.

Conclusions In patients with coronary CTO and well-developed collateral circulation, aggressive revascularization may reduce the risk of cardiac mortality and MACE.

5.Percutaneous Circulatory Assist Devices for High-Risk Coronary Intervention

A unifying definition of what constitutes high-risk percutaneous coronary intervention remains elusive. This reflects the existence of several recognized patient, anatomic, and procedural characteristics that, when combined, can contribute to elevating risk. The relative inability to withstand the adverse hemodynamic sequelae of dysrhythmia, transient episodes of ischemia-reperfusion injury, or distal embolization of atherogenic material associated with coronary intervention serve as a common thread to tie this patient cohort together. This enhanced susceptibility to catastrophic hemodynamic collapse has triggered the development of percutaneous cardiac assist devices such as the intra-aortic balloon pump, Impella (Abiomed Inc., Danvers, Massachusetts), TandemHeart (CardiacAssist, Inc., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), and extracorporeal membranous oxygenation to provide adjunctive mechanical circulatory support. In this state-of-the-art review, we discuss the physiology underpinning their application. Thereafter, we examine the results of several randomized multicenter trials investigating their use in high-risk coronary intervention to determine which patients would benefit most from their implantation and whether there is a signal to delineate whether they should be used in an elective pre-procedure, standby, rescue, or routine post-procedure fashion.

6.Porcelain Aorta: A Comprehensive Review

Calcification of the thoracic aorta is often associated with valvular and coronary calcification, reflecting an underlying atherosclerotic process. It has been found to be associated with an increased rate of mortality and cardiovascular disease. Porcelain aorta (PA) is extensive calcification of the ascending aorta or aortic arch that can be completely or near completely circumferential. This entity is rare in the general population, but it has an increasing incidence in older patients and in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) or aortic stenosis (AS). The clinical relevance is based on the fact that it can complicate surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR) for the treatment of severe AS by preventing safe access via the ascending aorta. PA is associated with increased morbidity and mortality, especially as a result of increased perioperative stroke risk. Recently, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) has emerged as a less invasive and feasible treatment option in patients at high risk for conventional SAVR. In some series, ≈20% (5%–33%) of patients undergoing TAVR were diagnosed with PA. Inconsistencies in the definition and the use of different diagnostic modalities contribute to this wide range of PA prevalence. This article reviewed the available published data to seek a consistent, clinically relevant definition based on contemporary imaging, a firm understanding of the pathogenesis and associations, and the clinical implications of this disease entity.

7.Digoxin use in patients with atrial fibrillation and adverse cardiovascular outcomes: a retrospective analysis of the Rivaroxaban Once Daily Oral Direct Factor Xa Inhibition Compared with Vitamin K Antagonism for Prevention of Stroke and Embolism Trial in Atrial Fibrillation (ROCKET AF)

Conclusion: Digoxin treatment was associated with a significant increase in all-cause mortality, vascular death, and sudden death in patients with AF. This association was independent of other measured prognostic factors, and although residual confounding could account for these results, these data show the possibility of digoxin having these effects. A randomised trial of digoxin in treatment of AF patients with and without heart failure is needed.

8.Diagnosis of atrial fibrillation after stroke and transient ischaemic attack: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Background:Among patients with atrial fibrillation, the risk of stroke is highest for those with a history of stroke; however, oral anticoagulants can lower the risk of recurrent stroke by two-thirds. No consensus has been reached about how atrial fibrillation should be investigated in patients with stroke, and its prevalence after a stroke remains uncertain. The authors did a systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate the proportion of patients newly diagnosed with atrial fibrillation after four sequential phases of cardiac monitoring after a stroke or transient ischaemic attack.

Methods: The authors searched PubMed, Embase, and Scopus from 1980 to June 30, 2014 and included studies that provided the number of patients with ischaemic stroke or transient ischaemic attack who were newly diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. They stratified cardiac monitoring methods into four sequential phases of screening: phase 1 (emergency room) consisted of admission electrocardiogram (ECG); phase 2 (in hospital) comprised serial ECG, continuous inpatient ECG monitoring, continuous inpatient cardiac telemetry, and in-hospital Holter monitoring; phase 3 (first ambulatory period) consisted of ambulatory Holter; and phase 4 (second ambulatory period) consisted of mobile cardiac outpatient telemetry, external loop recording, and implantable loop recording. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients newly diagnosed with atrial fibrillation for each method and each phase, and for the sequential combination of phases. For each method and each phase, they estimated the summary proportion of patients diagnosed with post-stroke atrial fibrillation using random-effects meta-analyses.

Findings:  The systematic review returned 28 290 studies, of which 50 studies (comprising 11 658 patients) met the criteria for inclusion in the meta-analyses. The summary proportion of patients diagnosed with post-stroke atrial fibrillation was 7·7% (95% CI 5·0–10·8) in phase 1, 5·1% (3·8–6·5) in phase 2, 10·7% (5·6–17·2) in phase 3, and 16·9% (13·0–21·2) in phase 4. The overall atrial fibrillation detection yield after all phases of sequential cardiac monitoring was 23·7% (95% CI 17·2–31·0).

Interpretation: By sequentially combining cardiac monitoring methods, atrial fibrillation might be newly detected in nearly a quarter of patients with stroke or transient ischaemic attack. The overall proportion of patients with stroke who are known to have atrial fibrillation seems to be higher than previously estimated. Accordingly, more patients could be treated with oral anticoagulants and more stroke recurrences prevented.

9.Comparative Outcomes of Catheter-Directed Thrombolysis Plus Anticoagulation Versus Anticoagulation Alone in the Treatment of Inferior Vena Caval Thrombosis

Conclusions—There has been a steady increase in the use of CDT in the treatment of patients with inferior vena cava thrombosis in the United States. This observational study showed no significant difference in mortality between CDT versus anticoagulation alone; however, the bleeding events and resource utilization were higher in the CDT group. Adequately powered randomized controlled trials are needed in this area.

10.Drug-eluting stents versus bare metal stents prior to noncardiac surgery

DES implantation was not associated with higher adverse events after NCS. Moreover, the incidence of adverse events following NCS was lower when NCS was performed >90 days post-DES implantation suggesting that it may not be necessary to wait until 12 months post PCI with DES before NCS.

Top 10 Cardiology articles of the week (07.07.14-13.07.14)

1.Comprehensive Analysis of Mortality Among Patients Undergoing TAVR: Results of the PARTNER Trial
J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014;64(2):158-168

2. Glycosylated hemoglobin A1c as a marker predicting the severity of coronary artery disease and early outcome in patients with stable angina
Lipids Health Dis. 2014; 13: 89

3.Association Between Intensification of Metformin Treatment With Insulin vs Sulfonylureas and Cardiovascular Events and All-Cause Mortality Among Patients With Diabetes
JAMA. 2014;311(22):2288-2296

4.Association of Bariatric Surgery With Long-term Remission of Type 2 Diabetes and With Microvascular and Macrovascular Complications
JAMA. 2014;311(22):2297-2304

5.Prophylaxis against Venous Thromboembolism in Ambulatory Patients with Cancer

N Engl J Med 2014; 370:2515-2519

6.CardioDex: First human experience of thermal arterial closure

7. Minimizing femoral artery access complications during percutaneous coronary intervention: A comprehensive review

8.Complications related to transhepatic venous access in the catheterization laboratory—A single center 12-year experience of 124 procedures

9.Early outcomes of alcohol septal ablation for hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy

10.Percutaneous Mitral Valve Repair for Mitral Regurgitation in High-Risk Patients Results of the EVEREST II Study
J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014;64(2):172-181


According to a study published online ahead of print in the Journal of American college of cardiology ,patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS) undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) face increased risk of early stent thrombosis in the presence of high thrombus burden with certain pathological traits or suboptimal stenting.

Researchers evaluated 67 stented coronary lesions from 59 patients who presented with ACS and died within 30 days of implantation (between 2004 and 2012).

Early stent thrombosis was identified in 37 lesions from 34 patients (58%), all of whom died of stent-related causes. Of 25 patients without stent thrombosis, cause of death was stent-related in 3 (distal dissection, coronary perforation, and side branch occlusion secondary to stenting). ECG readings at the time of diagnosis revealed STEMI in 16 patients and NSTEMI in 13 patients.

All 33 patients for whom pathological information on the myocardium was available had MI on histologic examination. 

Lesion Characteristics Implicated 

No differences emerged between lesions with (n = 37) or without (n = 30) stent thrombosis in terms of stent location in the coronary tree, duration of the implant, stent type (BMS vs DES or among DES types), number of stents or total stented length, or the underlying pathological findings (eg, plaque rupture, erosion, or calcified nodule).

However, in the stented segment, the maximum index thrombus thickness at the site of greatest thrombus burden was larger and necrotic core prolapse and occlusive thrombus in the side branch were more common in thrombotic lesions compared with patent lesions. Stenting in a false lumen secondary to medial dissection was numerically higher in thrombotic lesions (table 1).

Table 1. Lesion Characteristics: Thrombosis vs Patent

(n = 37 lesions)
(n = 30 lesions)
P Value
Maximum Index Thrombus Thickness, mm 0.22 0.07 0.001
Necrotic Core Prolapse 70% 43% 0.045
Side Branch Occlusion 22% 3% 0.035
False Lumen Stenting 8% 0 0.25

In nonstented segments proximal and distal to the stented segments, severe stenosis (> 75% cross-sectional narrowing), necrotic core prolapse, and medial dissection were more common in thrombotic than patent lesions, but the differences did not reach statistical significance.


Comparison of culprit and nonculprit sections within lesions showed that the extent of necrotic core prolapse, medial tear, and incomplete apposition was higher in sections with thrombus.


In particular, independent predictors of stent thrombosis on multivariate analysis were:

  • Maximum depth of strut penetration (OR 2.3; 95% CI 1.3-4.3; P = 0.006)
  • Percentage of struts with medial tear (OR 1.8; 95% CI 1.3-2.4; P = 0.001)
  • Percentage of struts with incomplete apposition (OR 1.8; 95% CI 1.4-2.4; P < 0.001)

In addition, plaque rupture was more common in arterial sections with vs without stent thrombosis (OR 2.2; 95% CI 1.5-3.2; P < 0.001).



Careful Technique, Improved Stent Designs May Help


The findings emphasize the potential role of intracoronary imaging in describing the underlying plaque, quantifying the lesion extent, and assessing procedural results in terms of stent apposition.


Improvements in stent design may help reduce stent thrombosis risk.


Finally, the contribution of thrombus burden to the development of stent thrombosis reinforces the importance of potent antiplatelet and anticoagulant strategies



Study Details


Age, sex, indication for PCI, and past medical history were similar between subjects with and without stent thrombosis.




1. Nakano M, Yahagi K, Otsuka F, et al. Causes of early stent thrombosis in patients with acute coronary syndrome: an ex vivohuman autopsy study. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014;Epub ahead of print.

2. Windecker S, O’Sullivan CJ. Mitigating the risk of early stent thrombosis [editial]. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014;Epub ahead of prin

Application of New Cholesterol Guidelines to a Population-Based Sample — NEJM

The new ACC–AHA guidelines for the management of cholesterol would increase the number of adults who would be eligible for statin therapy by a large number, with the increase seen mostly among older adults without cardiovascular disease

Application of New Cholesterol Guidelines to a Population-Based Sample — NEJM.