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    Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and the risk of atrial fibrillation: A population-based follow-up study

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    Objective: To investigate the association of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and the risk of atrial fibrillation in a prospective community-based follow-up study of elderly individuals with uniform case assessment and data on potential confounders. Design: Data came from the population-based follow-up study, the Rotterdam Study. Participants: The study comprised 8423 participants without atrial fibrillation at baseline. Main outcome measures: Atrial fibrillation was ascertained from ECG assessments as well as medical records. Use of NSAIDs was obtained from automated prescription records by linkage with participating pharmacies. We used Cox proportional hazards models to study the association between NSAID drug use and atrial fibrillation. Use of NSAIDs was included in the model as a time-varying variable. Results: At baseline, the mean age of the study population was 68.5 years (SD: 8.7) and 58% were women. During a mean follow-up of 12.9 years, 857 participants developed atrial fibrillation. Current use of NSAIDs was associated with increased risk compared with never-use (HR 1.76, 95% CI 1.07 to 2.88). Also, recent use (within 30 days after discontinuation of NSAIDs) was associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation compared with never-use (HR 1.84, 95% CI 1.34 to 2.51) adjusted for age, sex and several potential confounders. Conclusions: In this study, use of NSAIDs was associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation. Further studies are needed to investigate the underlying mechanisms behind this association

    Use of incisional negative pressure wound therapy on closed median sternal incisions after cardiothoracic surgery: Clinical evidence and consensus recommendations

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    Negative pressure wound therapy is a concept introduced initially to assist in the treatment of chronic open wounds. Recently, there has been growing interest in using the technique on closed incisions after surgery to prevent potentially severe surgical site infections and other wound complications in high-risk patients. Negative pressure wound therapy uses a negative pressure unit and specific dressings that help to hold the incision edges together, redistribute lateral tension, reduce edema, stimulate perfusion, and protect the surgical site from external infectious sources. Randomized, controlled studies of negative pressure wound therapy for closed incisions in orthopedic settings (which also is a clean surgical procedure in absence of an open fracture) have shown the technology can reduce the risk of wound infection, wound dehiscence, and seroma, and there is accumulating evidence that it also improves wound outcomes after cardiothoracic surgery. Identifying at-risk individuals for whom prophylactic use of negative pressure wound therapy would be most cost-effective remains a challenge; however, several risk-stratification systems have been proposed and should be evaluated more fully. The recent availability of a single-use, closed incision management system offers surgeons a convenient and practical means of delivering negative pressure wound therapy to their high-risk patients, with excellent wound outcomes reported to date. Although larger, randomized, controlled studies will help to clarify the precise role and benefits of such a system in cardiothoracic surgery, limited initial evidence from clinical studies and from the authors’ own experiences appears promising. In light of the growing interest in this technology among cardiothoracic surgeons, a consensus meeting, which was attended by a group of international experts, was held to review existing evidence for negative pressure wound therapy in the prevention of wound complications after surgery and to provide recommendations on the optimal use of negative pressure wound therapy on closed median sternal incisions after cardiothoracic surgery

    Discriminating somatic and germline mutations in tumor DNA samples without matching normals

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    Tumor analyses commonly employ a correction with a matched normal (MN), a sample from healthy tissue of the same individual, in order to distinguish germline mutations from somatic mutations. Since the majority of variants found in an individual are thought to be common within the population, we constructed a set of 931 samples from healthy, unrelated individuals, originating from two different sequencing platforms, to serve as a virtual normal (VN) in the absence of such an associated normal sample. Our approach removed (1) >96% of the germline variants also removed by the MN sample and (2) a large number (2%-8%) of additional variants not corrected for by the associated normal. The combination of the VN with the MN improved the correction for polymorphisms significantly, with up to ∼30% compared with MN and ∼15% compared with VN only.We determined the number of unrelated genomes needed in order to correct at least as efficiently as the MN is about 200 for structural variations (SVs) and about 400 for single-nucleotide variants (SNVs) and indels. In addition, we propose that the removal of common variants with purely position-based methods is inaccurate and incurs additional false-positive somatic variants, and more sophisticated algorithms, which are capable of leveraging information about the area surrounding variants, are needed for optimal accuracy. Our VN correction method can be used to analyze any list of variants, regardless of sequencing platform of origin. This VN methodology is available for use on our public Galaxy server

    mRNA expression profiles in circulating tumor cells of metastatic colorectal cancer patients

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    The molecular characterization of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) is a promising tool for the repeated and non-invasive evaluation of predictive and prognostic factors. Challenges associated with CTC characterization using the only FDA approved method for CTC enumeration, the CellSearch technique, include the presence of an excess of leukocytes in CTC-enriched blood fractions. Here we aimed to identify colorectal tumor-specific gene expression levels in the blood of patients with and without detectable CTCs according to CellSearch criteria. Materials and methods: Blood of 30 healthy donors (HDs) and 142 metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) patients was subjected to CellSearch CTC enumeration and isolation. In all samples, 95 mRNAs were measured by reverse transcriptase quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR). HD blood samples and patient samples with three or more CTCs were compared to identify CTC-specific mRNAs. Patient samples without detectable CTCs were separately analyzed. Results: Thirty-four CTC-specific mRNAs were higher expressed in patients with ≥3 CTCs compared with HDs (Mann-Whitney U-test P<0.05). Among patients without detectable CTCs, a HD-unlike subgroup was identified which could be distinguished from HDs by the expression of epithelial genes such as KRT19, KRT20 and AGR2. Also, in an independent patient set, a similar HD-unlike group could be identified among the patients without detectable CTCs according to the CellSearch system. Conclusion: Extensive molecular characterization of colorectal CTCs is feasible and a subgroup of patients without detectable CTCs according to CellSearch criteria bears circulating tumor load, which may have clinical consequences. This CTC-specific gene panel for mCRC patients may enable the exploration of CTC characterization as a novel means to further individualize cancer treatment

    IT Infrastructure to Support the Secondary Use of Routinely Acquired Clinical Imaging Data for Research

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    We propose an infrastructure for the automated anonymization, extraction and processing of image data stored in clinical data repositories to make routinely acquired imaging data available for research purposes. The automated system, which was tested in the context of analyzing routinely acquired MR brain imaging data, consists of four modules: subject selection using PACS query, anonymization of privacy sensitive information and removal of facial features, quality assurance on DICOM header and image information, and quantitative imaging biomarker extraction. In total, 1,616 examinations were selected based on the following MRI scanning protocols: dementia protocol (246), multiple sclerosis protocol (446) and open question protocol (924). We evaluated the effectiveness of the infrastructure in accessing and successfully extracting biomarkers from routinely acquired clinical imaging data. To examine the validity, we compared brain volumes between patient groups with positive and negative diagnosis, according to the patient reports. Overall, success rates of image data retrieval and automatic processing were 82.5 %, 82.3 % and 66.2 % for the three protocol groups respectively, indicating that a large percentage of routinely acquired clinical imaging data can be used for brain volumetry research, despite image heterogeneity. In line with the literature, brain volumes were found to be significantly smaller (p-value <0.001) in patients with a positive diagnosis of dementia (915 ml) compared to patients with a negative diagnosis (939 ml). This study demonstrates that quantitative image biomarkers such as intracranial and brain volume can be extracted from routinely acquired clinical imaging data. This enables secondary use of clinical images for research into quantitative biomarkers at a hitherto unprecedented scale

    A single immunization with modified vaccinia virus Ankara-based influenza virus H7 vaccine affords protection in the influenza A(H7N9) pneumonia ferret model

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    Since the first reports in early 2013, >440 human cases of infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) have been reported including 122 fatalities. After the isolation of the first A(H7N9) viruses, the nucleotide sequences became publically available. Based on the coding sequence of the influenza virus A/Shanghai/2/2013 hemag-glutinin gene, a codon-optimized gene was synthesized and cloned into a recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA). This MVA-H7-Sh2 viral vector was used to immunize ferrets and proved to be immuno-genic, even after a single immunization. Subsequently, ferrets were challenged with influenza virus A/Anhui/1/2013 via the intratracheal route. Unprotected animals that were mock vaccinated or received empty vector developed interstitial pneumonia characterized by a marked alveolitis, accompanied by loss of appetite, weight loss, and heavy breathing. In contrast, animals vaccinated with MVA-H7-Sh2 were protected from severe disease

    Percutaneous transluminal angioplasty and drug-eluting stents for infrapopliteal lesions in critical limb ischemia (PADI) trial

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    Background - Endovascular infrapopliteal treatment of patients with critical limb ischemia using percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA) and bail-out bare metal stenting (BMS) is hampered by restenosis. In interventional cardiology, drug-eluting stents (DES) have shown better patency rates and are standard practice nowadays. An investigator-initiated, multicenter, randomized trial was conducted to assess whether DES also improve patency and clinical outcome of infrapopliteal lesions. Methods and Results - Adults with critical limb ischemia (Rutherford category ≥4) and infrapopliteal lesions were randomized to receive PTA±BMS or DES with paclitaxel. Primary end point was 6-month primary binary patency of treated lesions, defined as ≤50% stenosis on computed tomographic angiography. Stenosis >50%, retreatment, major amputation, and critical limb ischemia-related death were regarded as treatment failure. Severity of failure was assessed with an ordinal score, ranging from vessel stenosis through occlusion to the clinical failures. Seventy-four limbs (73 patients) were treated with DES and 66 limbs (64 patients) received PTA±BMS. Six-month patency rates were 48.0% for DES and 35.1% for PTA±BMS (P=0.096) in the modified-intention-to-treat and 51.9% and 35.1% (P=0.037) in the per-protocol analysis. The ordinal score showed significantly worse treatment failure for PTA±BMS versus DES (P=0.041). The observed major amputation rate remained lower in the DES group until 2 years post-treatment, with a trend toward significance (P=0.066). Less minor amputations occurred after DES until 6 months post-treatment (P=0.03). Conclusions - In patients with critical limb ischemia caused by infrapopliteal lesions, DES provide better 6-month patency rates and less amputations after 6 and 12 months compared with PTA±BMS

    A madurella mycetomatis grain model in galleria mellonella larvae

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    Eumycetoma is a chronic granulomatous subcutaneous infectious disease, endemic in tropical and subtropical regions and most commonly caused by the fungus Madurella mycetomatis. Interestingly, although grain formation is key in mycetoma, it
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