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Challenges and Opportunities in Cardiovascular Surgery

Challenges and Opportunities in Cardiovascular Surgery

Groeben, H., Schulze, L., Brunkhorst, V., Alesina, P. F., & Walz, M. K. (2021)


Background: During resections of phaeochromocytoma release of catecholamines can lead to excessive hypertension and arrhythmia. Therefore, these procedures can be stressful to surgeons and anaesthetists. It is completely unknown, how the excessive catecholamine concentrations in phaeochromocytoma patients relate to catecholamine concentrations of physiological stress of physicians and control patients undergoing adrenalectomy because of hormone inactive tumours. We measured catecholamine concentrations, heart rate and blood pressure in patients with phaeochromocytoma, incidentaloma, a surgeon and an anaesthetist.

Methods: After approval of the local ethics committee, we measured metanephrine and normetanephrine plasma concentrations in 8 patients with phaeochromocytoma, 6 control patients with incidentaloma, one surgeon and one anaesthetist at rest, after incision, after 20 and 40 minutes of surgery, and in recovery. Moreover, blood pressure and heart rate were obtained.

Results: Intraoperatively significant increases of blood pressure, metanephrine and normetanephrine were found in patients and surgeon. Significant increase of normetanephrine was also found in control patients. But catecholamine concentrations in patients with phaeochromocytoma were 18 to 42 times higher than in control patients and physicians.  Heart rate analysis showed no significant results.

Conclusion: During phaeochromocytoma resections significant increases in catecholamine concentration and blood pressure can be found in patients and physicians. The excessive increase of catecholamine concentrations in phaeochromocytoma patients, was not always reflected by a corresponding blood pressure increase. Interestingly, although catecholamine concentrations in phaeochromocytoma patients almost normalize directly after surgery, their blood pressure remains stable without the need for pharmacological support.

Razi, A. a. M. (2023)


Robotic surgery is a platform for minimally invasive thoracic surgery with similar general advantages as in VATS (Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery) including small incisions, faster recovery, minimal blood loss and shorter hospital stay. The extra advantages of using a robotic platform in thoracic surgery include a three-dimensional surgical view, elimination of physiological tremors, and enabling surgical manipulation in a natural orientation because of the presence of forceps that move in the same manner as human wrist joints. These advantages allow more complex procedures to be performed safely and easier technically, thus leading to better outcomes and improvement in the overall result. As a new advance in thoracic surgery, it has challenges that may become the reason why this technique has difficulty being adopted by a number of surgeons including cost, advancement in VATS technique and instrumentation. Despite the challenges, robotic thoracic surgery offers the platform for the expansion and improvement of thoracic surgery. Development in instrument technologies and designs, in addition to progress and interest in other futuristic technology, are notable opportunities for thoracic robotic surgery.

Berivan Bedir Sert, M.D., Mahmut Yargı, M.D., Mehmet Ferit Özdemir, M.D., Meral Erdal Erbatur, M.D., Tuba İlhan Karaaslan, M.D., and Osman Uzundere, M.D. (2024)


Background: Intraoperative hypertension continues to be a significant cause of morbidity and mortality for patients undergoing surgery. In this case presentation, an instance of sudden, unexpected, and resistant hypertension during surgery will be discussed in a patient who underwent mitral valve replacement.

Case report:  A 75-year-old patient with known coronary artery disease and advanced mitral stenosis underwent mitral valve replacement surgery. During the intraoperative process, after the completion of cannulation procedures and transitioning to partial bypass, a sudden increase in blood pressure was observed in the patient. Blood pressure was only brought under control through the intravenous administration of a triple antihypertensive agent. Upon postoperative evaluation following a smooth completion of the surgery and discharge, findings suggested that the cause of the hypertension in the patient might be renovascular hypertension.

Conclusions: Intraoperative hypertension, when unexpected and sudden, can lead to an increase in mortality and morbidity. During the intraoperative process, efforts should be made to identify the underlying causes promptly, and appropriate interventions should be carried out. In the postoperative period, patients should be thoroughly evaluated for underlying reasons.

Evaluation of Common Clinical and Hemodynamic Parameters to Pulmonary Capillary Wedge Pressures in Patients Undergoing Right Heart Catheterization

Hocking, K. M., Huston, J., Schmeckpeper, J., Polcz, M., Case, M., Breed, M., Vaughn, L., Wervey, D., Brophy, C. M., Lindenfeld, J., & Alvis, B. D. (2022)


Introduction: A cornerstone of heart failure assessment is the right heart catheterization and the pulmonary capillary wedge pressure measurement it can provide.  Clinical and hemodynamic parameters such as weight and jugular venous distention are less invasive measures often used to diagnose, manage, and treat these patients. To date, there is little data looking at the association of these key parameters to measured pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (PCWP). This is a large, retrospective, secondary analysis of a right heart catheterization database comparing clinical and hemodynamic parameters against measured PCWP in heart failure patients.

Methods: A total of 538 subjects were included in this secondary analysis. Spearman’s Rho analysis of each clinical and hemodynamic variable was used to compare their association to the documented PCWP. Variables analyzed included weight, body mass index (BMI), jugular venous distention (JVD), creatinine, edema grade, right atrial pressure (RAP), pulmonary artery systolic pressure (PASP), systemic vascular resistance, pulmonary vascular resistance, cardiac output (thermal and Fick), systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation (SpO2), and pulmonary artery diastolic pressure (PADP).

Results: Ten out of 17 selected parameters had a statistically significant association with measured PCWP values. PADP had the strongest association (0.73, p<0.0001), followed by RAP and PASP (0.69, p<0.0001 and 0.67, p<0.0001, respectively). Other significant parameters included weight (0.2, p<0.001), BMI (0.2, p<0.001), SpO2 (-0.17, p<0.0091), JVD (0.24, p<0.005) and edema grade (0.2, p<0.0001).

Conclusion: This retrospective analysis clarifies the associations of commonly used clinical and hemodynamic parameters to the clinically used gold standard for volume assessment in heart failure patients, PCWP.

Çelik, S., Çallı, İ., Deniz, S., Bartin, M., Çıkman, Ö., Duran, M., & Binici, S. (2022)


World Health Organization defines obesity as “excessive fat accumulation at a level that may impair health”. Obesity is also officially defined as a “disease” by many surgical and endocrine societies (1,2), and also accepted as a risk factor for some cancers, cardiovascular diseases, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, as well as many chronic diseases (2). Although the degree of accuracy is debated, obesity is still defined as a body mass index (BMI) above 30 (1).

Obesity, which was alarming in western countries in the past, is currently a public health problem that concerns the whole world, except for a few southern African and Asian countries (1). Preventive measures are important in tackling the public health problem. In this context, an active life and low-calorie nutrition are accepted as basic preventive practices.

Bhamidipati, C. M., Morasch, A., Mitchell, B., Atkinson, T. M., Cannan, C. R., Gross, B. D., Ravichandran, P., Rahimtoola, A., Gluckman, T. J., & Chadderdon, S. (2020)


The Sars-Cov-2 (COVID-19) pandemic has created unprecedented challenges, and revamped the way we live and work. Overall, this pandemic and its isolating consequences has forced societies to become more creative and develop new ways to engage. Professionally, employees are more secluded with attempts to work from home, while in the medical community, physicians have needed to either be on the frontlines treating patients or have adapted to interacting with patients virtually. Even with today’s technological advances to virtually connect with patients, physicians have had to relearn and re-engage.

Singh, F. (2020)


Prostatectomy is associated with short- and long-term morbidity, which includes attenuation of cardiovascular and muscle function, as well as the deterioration of lean body mass. Physical function is a known predictor of morbidity and mortality, with initial evidence indicating that pre-surgical exercise is associated with fewer post-surgical complications and shorter hospitalisation. Prehabilitation has been previously shown to be more effective in enhancing postoperative functional capacity than rehabilitation alone. Evidence grows indicating benefits to clinical, physical and quality of life outcomes. Exercising within this critical period between cancer diagnosis and surgery allows the usage of surgical wait time to promote and facilitate health behaviour changes that can lead to altering prostate cancer patient management. By combining exercise with a nutritional and psychological intervention a prostate cancer patient can be set up to significantly improve preoperative physical and mental fitness in preparation for surgery and beyond.

Belerenian, G., Gabay, A., Hall, P. P. I., Pucheta, C., Bouquet, O., Linares, M., Rodríguez, D., & Abuin, G. (2023)


The application of the Alfieri technique in humans is a well-known and pioneering thechnique that was replaced by modern atrioventricular valve repair strategies.1,2 This technique in canines and also in humans is yet a valid alternative, particullary to canine tricuspid dysplasia.1 The “strategy” consists to transform the “monorificial” dysplastic tricuspid valve insufficiency into a “biorificial” one by means of a suturing at the level of the valve apposition face in the site of greatest regurgitant flow. The surgical field is cleared from blood by means of occlusion of both venae cavae. With this strategy the reduction of the insufficiency jet was achieved in 7 canine carriers of said congenital pathology. The technique demonstrated its anatomical reliability, repeatability, low mortality, and low cost. Of the total number of cases operated on, one patient died the day after surgery, another patient a year later due to non-cardiac causes, and the rest continue under clinical follow-up at the time of presenting this series.

Dashek, R. J., Higashi, Y., Das, N. A., Russell, J. A., Martinez‐Lemus, L. A., Rector, R., & Chandrasekar, B. (2022)


Aims: Chronic intermittent hypoxia (IH), a characteristic feature of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), contributes to cardiovascular diseases, including atherosclerosis, potentially through persistent oxidative stress and inflammation. TRAF3IP2 (TRAF3 Interacting Protein 2) is an oxidative stress-responsive proinflammatory adapter molecule and plays a causal role in a preclinical model of atherosclerosis. Since SGLT2 (Sodium/Glucose Cotransporter 2) inhibitors have shown protective effects in CVD by inhibiting oxidative stress and inflammation, we hypothesized that IH promotes the crosstalk between oxidative stress and TRAF3IP2, resulting in IL-6-dependent human aortic smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation, and that these effects are inhibited by the SGLT2 inhibitor empagliflozin.

Materials and methods: Primary human aortic SMC were exposed to various cycles of IH. Normoxia served as a control. To understand the molecular mechanisms underlying IH-induced nitroxidative stress, TRAF3IP2 and IL-6 induction, and SMC proliferation and those targeted by empagliflozin were determined by treating SMC with various pharmacological inhibitors and viral vectors.

Results: IH upregulated TRAF3IP2 expression, TRAF3IP2-dependent superoxide, hydrogen peroxide and nitric oxide generation, NF-kB and HIF-1a activation, IL-6 induction, and SMC proliferation. Exposure to IL-6 by itself induced SMC proliferation in part via TRAF3IP2, IL-6R, gp130, JAK, and STAT3. Further, SMC express SGLT2 at basal conditions, and is upregulated by both IH and IL-6. Importantly, empagliflozin inhibited IH-induced TRAF3IP2 upregulation, reactive oxygen and nitrogen species generation, TRAF3IP2-dependent HIF-1a and NF-kB activation, IL-6 induction, and IL-6-dependent JAK-STAT3-mediated SMC proliferation. Moreover, empagliflozin inhibited IL-6-induced STAT3-dependent SMC proliferation.

Conclusions: These results suggest the therapeutic potential of empagliflozin in IH and inflammatory vascular proliferative diseases associated with OSA.

Van Ginkel, N., Meijer, D., Boormans, J. L., Mertens, L. S., Van Beek, S., & Vis, A. N. (2023)


Introduction Radical cystectomy improves survival of patients with muscle invasive and high-risk non-muscle invasive bladder cancer, but is a challenging surgical procedure as patients may experience major complications after surgery.

Objectives To assess the incidence of Clavien-Dindo ≥3 complications in patients who underwent radical cystectomy and to assess the association of these complications with pre-operative and peroperative parameters. The secondary aim was to study the association of complications with long-term oncological outcome.

Methods A nationwide registry was set up in 19 Dutch hospitals that studied patients with muscle invasive bladder cancer and high-risk non-muscle invasive bladder cancer treated by radical cystectomy. Major complications were classified as complications that were related to uretero-ileal anastomosis, intra-abdominal (e.g. urinoma, bowel leakage) infectious and cardiovascular complications. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to assess the correlation between these groups and perioperative, clinical and pathological factors. Kaplan-Meier survival curves were constructed to analyze the correlation between complications and overall survival.

Results The study population consisted of 1,464 patients, of whom 420 (29%) developed severe complications. The most common complications were intra-abdominal (n=328, 60%) and uretero-ileal anastomosis related (n=92, 17%). Male gender (odds ratio 1.6, p=0.007), American Society of Anaesthesiologists score ≥3 (odds ratio 1.6, p=0.003), Charlson Comorbidity Index score ≥5 (odds ratio 2.1, p=0.002) and blood loss >700ml (odds ratio 1.4, p=0.044) were associated with severe complications. In addition, open radical cystectomy was associated with multiple complications (odds ratio 2.6, p=0.001). Furthermore, the overall survival of patients with major complications was worse than those who had no major complications. The median overall survival was 3.8 years versus 6.2 years for patients with and without severe complications (p<0.001).

Conclusions In a real-world setting, 29% of patients undergoing radical cystectomy developed severe complications. The risk of severe complications was higher in men, patients with impaired pre-operative condition, and in those who underwent open surgery. Severe complications had a negative impact on overall survival.

Bono, L., Puente, L. J., Szarfer, J., Llobera, M. N., Doppler, E. M., Estrella, M. L., Kim, A., Mori, A. L., Arce, P., & Gagliardi, J. (2020)



Single and multi-center studies have described substantial changes in the landscape of health care in cardiac intensive care units (CICU). Few reports have quantitatively characterized current diagnoses in a contemporary CICU in Latin America.

This study aims to describe demographics, diagnoses, care patterns, and outcomes in patients admitted to a CICU in a high-volume center in South America.


A total of 1629 consecutive patients admitted to CICU from December 2017 to April 2020 were included in a prospective registry. The variables analyzed included demographic data, admission and final diagnoses, management, and outcomes.


Among 1629 participants, 32.4% were women, and the median age was 62 years (53-71). Admissions were due to primary cardiac causes in 1335 (81.9%), postsurgical care in 13.3%, and a combination of general and cardiac diagnoses in 4.8% of patients. The most frequent diagnosis on admission was acute coronary syndrome (ACS) (35.7%). Primary reasons for CICU admission were postprocedural observation (PPO) (31.8%), diagnosed or suspected ACS (31.7%), heart failure (10.1%), postsurgical management after cardiovascular surgery (8.9%), arrhythmia (5.8%), shock (4.5%) and cardiac arrest (CA) (1.2%). Advanced CICU therapy requirements were ventilatory assistance (19.3%) and vasoactive or inotropic drug use (19.6%). The overall mortality rate was 6.4%. Admission diagnoses associated with the highest mortality rates were CA (52.6%), noncardiogenic shock (39.5%), and cardiogenic shock (32.3%). Notably, patients admitted solely for PPO had a mortality rate of 0.8%.


In a contemporary CICU from a high-volume reference center in South America, the most frequent diagnosis was an ACS, although it represented only one-third of the admissions.

One-fifth of admissions required advanced CICU therapies. CA and shock on admission carried a poor prognosis. We identified PPO as a substantially low-risk population.

Kalaycı, T. Ö., Sönmezgöz, F., & Kestellı, M. (2023)


AimsThe purpose of this study was comparing flow volume rates, velocities and diameters of lower extremity arteries and veins of smokers and non-smokers with peripheral arterial disease.

Patients and methods: The study consisted of 58 patients, 26 smokers and 32 non-smokers, who had no smoked for at least 5 years prior to the investigation. Colour Duplex Ultrasonography measurements of the common femoral artery, common femoral vein, popliteal artery, popliteal vein, anterior tibial artery, anterior tibial vein, posterior tibial artery and posterior tibial vein were obtained in the supine position. Differences in the diameters, blood flow velocities, and flow volume rates of the vessels were compared according to the sex, age and Colour Duplex Ultrasonography measurements of the patients.

Results: The diameters of the common femoral artery, popliteal vein and posterior tibial artery were statistically significantly reduced in smokers. The flow volume rate of the popliteal artery showed a significant correlation with that of crural vessels in non-smokers but not in smokers.

Conclusions: The absence of a statistically significant correlation between the measurements of the popliteal artery and crural vessels in smokers shows that cigarette smoking reduces the diameters and flow volumes of crural vessels, potentially giving rise to impaired tissue perfusion.

Compagnucci, P., & Capucci, A. (2019)


For the past 10 years, the introduction of rivaroxaban in clinical practice has produced dramatic changes in lives of patients affected by thrombotic disorders. In this review, we discuss rivaroxaban’s pharmacokinetic properties, focusing on the issues of interactions with other drugs and on the appropriate clinical use of coagulation tests in patients treated with this drug. We also examine the many clinical scenarios in which rivaroxaban was tested. In particular, results of studies on venous thromboembolism (VTE) prevention in orthopaedic surgery, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) acute and long-term treatment with a focus on cancer patients, stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation (AF) with a special mention for cardioversion and trans-catheter ablation and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease are presented. Our objective is to provide a summary of the evidence in order for the physician to be able to critically apply this information to patients’ management in everyday clinical practice.

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