To the Editor:We enjoyed reading the case, authored by Janus and Hoit, of a 67-year-old woman with a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) who presented with three different variants of takotsubo (TT).[i] We congratulate the authors on their interesting contribution to the literature. We would like to share some comments and questions on the chronology and management of the events between the first two episodes, which occurred a few days apart. Although fascinating, this is not the first case of TT with a rapidly evolving pattern. We previously described a case of mid-ventricular takotsubo which replaced apical ballooning in 6 hours.[ii] A recent meta-analysis showed that almost 80% of TT recurrences exhibit a ballooning pattern different from the first presentation.[iii] In this regard, regional cardiac sympathetic innervation remodeling or denervation could hypothetically justify why the same territory is usually spared from further relapses. Even though images were not provided, the authors stated that “echocardiographic wall motion abnormalities quickly resolved after each acute stressor”. One could therefore argue that this was not a case of multiple TT variants during the same episode, as noted by Madias,iii but rather an example of early recurrences. Additionally, if cardiac innervation remodeling were responsible for the different locations of the ballooning, we believe that the change in pattern would have taken longer to manifest. This would not support the observation of two distinct ballooning patterns emerging within days, let alone hours.i, ii In this case, a short-term change from the mid-ventricular to apical pattern could be reasonably explained by different β adrenergic-receptor (β-AR) subtype downregulation. We know that norepinephrine can downregulate β1-AR after a few hours. Beta1-ARs are markedly lower on biopsied patients with acute TT compared to healthy controls,[iv] whilst in the same study β2-ARs expression—which is predominant in the apical and mid-ventricular segments and thought to be involved in typical takotsubo pathogenesis[v]—was equivalent to normal. Thus, the sequence of events could be interpreted as a relative local β2 prevalence due to dynamic β1 downregulation (β1:β2 mismatch), following a base:mid-ventricle, and ultimately a mid-ventricle:apex progression. What do the authors think about this theory? Is it possible that multi-faceted presentations might simply be under-recognized? Should this be the case, how do they think we could better understand this phenomenon in a noninvasive fashion? Could dobutamine stress echocardiography have utility to identify areas of β-AR downregulation and sympathetic denervation? It would also be interesting to know more about the patient’s medical therapy. Did she receive nonselective β-blockers, such as labetalol or carvedilol, usually prescribed after SAH? If so, this might indicate that β-blockers do not prevent recurrences,[vi] but rather create a maladaptive imbalance in regional β1:β2 distribution favoring early relapse(s), as this case suggests.References[i] Janus SE, Hoit BD. The three faces of takotsubo cardiomyopathy in a single patient. Echocardiography. 2020 Jan;37(1):135-138. doi: 10.1111/echo.14560. Epub 2019 Dec 16.[ii] Casavecchia G, Zicchino S, Gravina M, et al. Fast 'wandering' Takotsubo syndrome: atypical mixed evolution from apical to mid-ventricular ballooning. Future Cardiol. 2017 Nov;13(6):529-532. doi: 10.2217/fca-2017-0018. Epub 2017 Oct 12.[iii] Madias JE. Comparison of the first episode with the first recurrent episode of takotsubo syndrome in 128 patients from the world literature: Pathophysiologic connotations. Int J Cardiol. 2020 Mar 3. pii: S0167-5273(20)30215-1. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2020.03.003.[iv] Nakano T, Onoue K, Nakada Y, et al. Alteration of β-Adrenoceptor Signaling in Left Ventricle of Acute Phase Takotsubo Syndrome: a Human Study. Sci Rep 8, 12731 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-31034-z.[v] Paur H, Wright PT, Sikkel MB, et al. High levels of circulating epinephrine trigger apical cardiodepression in a β2-adrenergic receptor/Gi-dependent manner: a new model of Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. Circulation. 2012 Aug 7;126(6):697-706. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.112.111591. Epub 2012 Jun 25.[vi] Santoro F, Ieva R, Musaico F, et al. Lack of efficacy of drug therapy in preventing takotsubo cardiomyopathy recurrence: a meta-analysis. Clin Cardiol. 2014 Jul;37(7):434-9. doi: 10.1002/clc.22280. Epub 2014 Apr 3.
COVID-19: The heart of the issue Beth Woodward BMedSc (Hons)1, Muhammed Kermali2College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UKSt. George’s, University of London, London, UKCorresponding author:Beth WoodwardBMedSc (Hons)College of Medical and Dental SciencesUniversity of BirminghamBirmingham, UKe-mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgTel: 07947766140Funding: none obtainedConflict of Interest: none to be declaredKey words: COVID-19, angiotensin, ACEiBW and MK contributed equally.
Comment on: The COVID-19 Pandemic: A rapid global response for children with cancer from SIOP, COG, SIOP-E, SIOP-PODC, IPSO, PROS, CCI and St. Jude Global.Chetan Dhamne MSc MD1, Tushar Vora MD1, Maya Prasad MD1, Nirmalya Roy Moulik MD PhD1, Badira C Parambil MD DM1, Akanksha Chichra MD1, Girish Chinnaswamy MD1, Shripad Banavali MD1, Gaurav Narula MD11 Department of Medical Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, India2. Homi Bhabha National Institute, Anushaktinagar, Mumbai, IndiaCorrespondence to:Gaurav Narula Pediatric Hematolymphoid Disease Management Group, Department of Medical Oncology, Tata Memorial Center, Parel Mumbai, 400012 Email: email@example.comText word count: 576Brief running title: Letter to Editor (COVID-19) Global responseKeywords: COVID-19, SARS-CoV2, Pediatric Oncology, Children with cancerTables: 1Abbreviations
Covid has blatantly uncovered the disconnect between the healthcare professionals who have the responsibility for the health of the nation but little of the authority, and politicians and business people who have the authority and political power over healthcare, but none of the responsibility for the health of the nation. The time has come to review this dichotomy and to reinvent medical education in order to empower and train healthcare professionals, particularly mid-career ones, to become adept in the business of medicine; including budgeting, management, leadership, hiring and firing, brand building and other important aspects of running complex healthcare entities. It is no longer acceptable for physicians to accept backseat for non-physician managers and concede their rules and regulations without question. The time is now for health professionals to train themselves and take charge of the profession.
In the midst of a global public health crisis, medical providers find themselves on the frontline of unprecedented circumstances caring for patients as they fight the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Pediatricians are faced with the reality that COVID-19 positions marginalized groups of children and youths at an increased vulnerability to health care inequities. These at-risk groups include children and youth who are ethnic and racial minorities, immigrants, LGBTQ, homeless, in foster care, as well as those who have medically complex health conditions and/or mental health and substance use disorders (1, 2, 3). Now more than ever, health disparities have the potential to result in fatal health outcomes and healthcare professionals have the power to advocate for and protect their young patients. Given the urgent and pressing impacts of the current pandemic, Tsai and Kesselheim offer a timely and critical dialogue in this issue of Pediatric Blood & Cancer, focused on the effects of provider implicit bias that contribute to health disparities.Tsai and Kesselheim underscore the well documented literature on implicit bias in pediatric medical oncology and note the limited research in pediatric hematology-oncology, despite the complexities that exists in prognosis and treatment plans for this clinical population. Additionally, the case examples are thoughtful, transparent self-reflections from the authors personal clinical experiences with implicit bias in the field of pediatric hematology-oncology. The authors then outline a plan of action towards mitigating implicit bias in healthcare. They first emphasize the importance of acknowledging implicit bias, which is ubiquitous in human nature and exists under many circumstances. Subsequently, upon acknowledgment of existing implicit bias, providers should cultivate self-awareness via medical education in order to have the autonomy and ability to identify and detect implicit bias that negatively affect patient care. Moreover, the authors deduce that diversifying the medical team, both demographically and interprofessionally, can optimize detection of implicit bias. The authors go on to conclude that more research is needed in the specialty field of hematology-oncology to identify how implicit bias specifically affects provider’s ability to communicate complex diagnoses, prognoses, and treatment options.Derived from social psychology research, implicit bias refers to unconscious, unintentional, and automatic positively or negatively skewed classifications people make based on their own experiences and demographic background which then influences behavior and perceptions. The Institute of Medicine published a pivotal report illuminating how implicit bias can negatively influence patient care and may lead to health disparities (4). Examples of implicit bias affecting health outcomes include biases toward race, weight, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, marital status and history of drug use (5, 6). There are two paths that may explain how implicit bias amongst medical providers may contribute to health disparities (5, See Figure 1). Path A suggests provider judgements and decisions regarding patient care can result in health disparities. Path B proposes that implicit bias amongst providers can lead to ineffective communication which affects the providers ability to cultivate a trusting relationship and environment. Patient’s distrust with their providers affects their willingness and ability to adhere to treatment recommendations which subsequently leads to health disparities. Moreover, this model also explains the conduit for interaction effects between path A and B. That is, compromised judgment leading to poor medical decisions may strengthen the probability of poor communication and distrust in the provider-patient relationship or the inverse. Also imperative to the discourse of health disparities and bias, not discussed by Tsai and Kesselheim, is the notion of “privilege” that, unlike minorities, many non-minorities may experience in their rise to becoming a medical professional as well as their medical decision making (7). Such privilege can inadvertently bias providers to behave in ways that illuminate implicit bias. Therefore, the ability to acknowledge privilege is essential to increasing one’s proclivity to recognize their implicit biases. The authors provide vignettes that pointedly describe the importance of self-awareness. Practicing self-awareness promotes the ability to detect implicit biases that may affect patient care and result in unintentional health disparities. Moreover, central to the author’s argument, it is fundamentally important to identify and implement practical steps to address provider implicit bias.The use of research to inform best clinical practice by implementing skills training is key in addressing health disparities related to provider implicit bias. A potential barrier to successful training and education on provider implicit bias is limited support from institutional leadership (8). Committed leadership on curricula related to implicit bias at an institutional level is likely to reflect long-term systemic change (9, 10). Furthermore, providing a nonjudgmental and safe environment for providers to address difficult content is also key in fostering self-awareness that is more likely to result in long-term change (10). Considering the role of power dynamics in practice and training is also fundamental for cultivating a safe environment for self-disclosure and self-awareness and bringing about systemic long-standing modifications. Tsai and Kesselheim highlight the importance of building demographically diverse and interdisciplinary medical teams. Purposeful team development can also reveal and mitigate any systemic workforce and recruitment biases (11). Having various perspectives while discussing a treatment plan can combat implicit bias. For example, if a complex case is presented at morning rounds with a team that is homogeneous in background and trainings there is potential for groupthink that is anchored in one or two individuals’ implicit biases. Specific to complex cases in pediatric hematology-oncology this can be critical especially during a pandemic that is particularly impacting vulnerable populations, who are often less likely to be represented among medical decision makers. A diverse team can provide insight for culturally competent care as well as provide important perspectives that could optimize diagnostic and treatment outcomes.As a clinician, it is not an easy task to be open to becoming vulnerable to exploring self-awareness as it relates to implicit bias. It is also our ethical duty to do no harm. Acknowledging implicit bias as a catalyst to health disparities while implementing effective skills training to address implicit bias is crucial to protecting our most vulnerable pediatric patients.ReferencesSilliman Cohen RI, Adlin Bosk E. Vulnerable youth and the COVID-19 pandemic. Pediatrics . 2020; doi: 10.1542/peds.2020-1306Cholera R, Falusi OO, Linton JM. Sheltering in place in a xenophobic climate: 12 COVID-19 and children in immigrant families. Pediatrics. 2020; doi: 10.1542/peds.2020-1094Wong CA, Ming D, Maslow G, Gifford EJ. Mitigating the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic response on at-risk children. Pediatrics . 2020; doi: 10.1542/peds.2020-0973Smedley BD, Stith SY, Nelson AR, Smedley BD, Stith SY, Nelson AR, editors. Unequal treatment: confronting racial and ethnic disparities in health care. Institute of Medicine. National Academies Press; Washington, D.C: 2002. doi.org/10.17226/12875Zestcott C, Blair I, Stone J. Examining the presence, consequences, and reduction of implicit bias in health care: A narrative review. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations . 2016;19(4):528-542. doi:10.1177/1368430216642029DelFattore J. Death by Stereotype? Cancer Treatment in Unmarried Patients. New England Journal of Medicine . 2019;381(10):982-985. doi:10.1056/nejmms1902657Hall J, Carlson K. Marginalization. Advances in Nursing Science . 2016;39(3):200-215. doi:10.1097/ans.0000000000000123Dehon E, Weiss N, Jones J, Faulconer W, Hinton E, Sterling S. A Systematic Review of the Impact of Physician Implicit Racial Bias on Clinical Decision Making. Academic Emergency Medicine. 2017;24(8):895-904. doi:10.1111/acem.13214Pereda B, Montoya M. Addressing Implicit Bias to Improve Cross-cultural Care. Clin Obstet Gynecol . 2018;61(1):2-9. doi:10.1097/grf.0000000000000341Sherman M, Ricco J, Nelson S, Nezhad S, Prasad S. Implicit Bias Training in Residency Program: Aiming for Enduring Effects. Fam Med. 2019;51(8):677-681. doi:10.22454/fammed.2019.947255Hall W, Chapman M, Lee K et al. Implicit Racial/Ethnic Bias Among Health Care Professionals and Its Influence on Health Care Outcomes: A Systematic Review. Am J Public Health. 2015;105(12):2588-2588. doi:10.2105/ajph.2015.302903a
Just weeks following the fifth anniversary of the landmark Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board Supreme Court judgment, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has delivered the fourth edition of its Green-top guideline on forceps and vacuum assisted births1. The irony of this is not lost on those who expected real change following last year’s peer review consultation (19 physicians and 6 maternity care organisations responded, including the first two signatories of this letter). The guideline opens with a fundamental question: Can assisted vaginal birth be avoided? The answers RCOG provides are solely in the context of labour (evidence on continuous support, epidural analgesia, positions adopted, delayed pushing), but a legal interpretation of Montgomery advises birth is “a situation that allows for significant advance planning and accordingly plans must be made.”2 The guideline concurs: women “should be informed about assisted vaginal birth in the antenatal period, especially during their first pregnancy [and] in advance of labour”. Nevertheless, while “lower rates in midwifery-led care settings” is included, ‘lower rates with planned caesarean’ is not, and there is no direct equivalent Green-top for this birth mode. The Montgomery judgment on consent specifically states that doctors are “under a duty to take reasonable care to ensure that the patient is aware of any material risks involved in any recommended treatment, and of any reasonable alternative or variant treatments.” It also emphasises that in any pregnancy, the “principal choice is between vaginal delivery and caesarean section.” RCOG may argue that referencing the “alternative choice of a caesarean section late in the second stage of labour” sufficiently addresses these points. However, a Queen’s Counsel who was involved in the Montgomery case reminds doctors that the mother “was not advised that an alternative to vaginal birth (i.e. caesarean section) was an option available to her… and there was an increased risk… should vaginal birth be attempted.”2 He warns, “Where the patient asks a question, it must be answered honestly and fully”, which suggests that planned caesarean birth omission from this Green-top could have serious legal consequences, and there is every chance the Montgomery case could reoccur.Despite aiming “to provide evidence-based recommendations”, RCOG does not include pelvic organ prolapse as an adverse outcome. Instead, it says women who “achieve an assisted vaginal birth rather than have a caesarean birth… are far more likely to have an uncomplicated vaginal birth in subsequent pregnancies”, and that “much of the pelvic floor morbidity reported… may not be causally related to the procedure.” Furthermore, the stated aim of RCOG’s clinical Green-tops is to identify “good practice and desired outcomes”, which will be “used globally.”4 This is relevant because many countries define this as low caesarean birth rates. In the UK, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) does not advocate targets, and recommends support for prophylactic caesarean birth requests.3 Yet decades of promoting vaginal birth rather than informed choice has obstructed autonomy and contributed substantially to rising litigation costs.5The truth is, the NHS simply cannot afford to keep repeating the same communication and consent mistakes, and in our view, this NICE accredited Green-top guideline clearly demonstrates that lessons from Montgomery have still not been learned.Pauline M Hull, Founder, Caesarean BirthKim Thomas, CEO, Birth Trauma OrganisationDr. Elizabeth Skinner, Faculty of Medicine, University of SydneyAmy Dawes, Co-founder and CEO, Australasian Birth Trauma AssociationPenny Christensen, Executive Director, Birth Trauma Canada
Alternatives to traditional aortic valve replacement now form part of the valve surgeon's armamentarium. Sutureless valves offer decreased bypass and crossclamp times, excellent maneuverability, and promising outcomes. We present a case of a sutureless aortic valve replacement for a late failed David procedure, complicated by post-operative development of severe paravalvular regurgitation. We attempted off-label balloon post-dilation to improve expansion of the valve, however paravalvular regurgitation persisted. The patient underwent subsequent aortic valve replacement using a mechanical valve and experienced no further paravalvular leak.
Irregular narrow QRS complex tachycardia with intermittent atrioventricular dissociation: What is the mechanism?Atsushi Doi, MD, PhD; Naoko Miyazaki, MD; Tomohiko Goda, MD; Haruya Yamane, MD; Kei Tanaka, MD; Ryo Araki, MD,PhD; Fumi Sato, MD, PhD; Takayuki Yamada, MD.Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Otemae Hospital, 1-5-34 Otemae, Chuo-ku, Osaka, 540-0008, Japan.Correspondence to Atsushi Doi, MD, PhD. Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Otemae Hospital, 1-5-34 Otemae, Chuo-ku, Osaka, 540-0008, Japan.Tel: 81-6-6941-0484, Fax: 81-6-6942-2848E-mail; firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Editor,With great interest, I read the article by Yim and associates1 and congratulate them for the quality of the review carried out on the internal mammary artery harvesting techniques. However, I would like to help clarify some aspects specifically related to the history of this procedure.The skeletonized IMA harvesting technique is usually considered to be newer than pedicle dissection. Actually, when Arthur Vineberg first implanted an IMA in a human heart in 1950, he only separated the arterial vessel from the chest wall. For more than a decade, only arteries were implanted according to Vineberg’s proposed method, and it wasn’t until the early 1960s that William Sewel proposed implanting a pedicle into the myocardium, that also contained the internal mammary vein and other tissues (”pedicle operation”) with the intention of draining excess blood and avoiding the formation of myocardial hematomas.2It is also incorrect to claim that skeletonized IMA harvesting was introduced due to concerns offered by reduced sternal blood flow and potential mediastinitis. In January 1972, David Galbut and his group introduced systematic skeletonized harvesting into their series of patients revascularized with bilateral internal mamary arteries, some time before that procedure began to be linked with deep sternal wound infections. Galbut probably only took advantage of obtaining longer arteries and easier construction of sequential anastomoses.2Furthermore, when Cunningham first described the IMA’s skeletonized harvesting technique in 1992 he specified that to avoid thermal injury to the artery, it was extremely important to keep the cautery setting on low throughout the dissection.3 After this advice, smoke never seems to have been a concern for surgeons, so it was hardly the reason for the introduction of harmonic technology in IMA dissection, which was also initially used in the “open harvesting” technique.4Finally, I consider it curious that this review does not include the semiskeletonization technique, introduced in 19975 and currently used by various groups.References1. Yim D, Wong WYE, Fan KS, Harky A. Internal mammary harvesting: Techniques and evidence from the literature. J Card Surg. 2020;35(4):860-7.2. López de la Cruz Y, Nafeh Abi-Rezk M, Betancourt Cervantes J. Internal mammary artery harvesting in cardiac surgery: an often mistold story. CorSalud. 2020;12(1):64-76.3. Cunningham JM, Gharavi MA, Fardin R, Meek RA. Considerations in the skeletonization technique of internal thoracic artery dissection. Ann Thorac Surg. 1992;54(5):947-50.4. Higami T, Kozawa S, Asada T, Shida T, Ogawa K. Skeletonization and harvest of the internal thoracic artery with an ultrasonic scalpel. Ann Thorac Surg. 2000;70:307-8.5. Horii T, Suma H. Semiskeletonization of Internal Thoracic Artery: Alternative Harvest Technique. Ann Thorac Surg. 1997;63:867-8.Note: The author of this manuscript is not an employee of any agency of the Cuban government; he is only a cardiovascular surgeon in a public hospital. The author of this manuscript also does not represent the Cuban government in relation to this “letter to the editor”.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was first described in December 2019 in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province. 1,2. On March 11, 2020, WHO declared COVID-19 as a pandemic3. The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Egypt was reported on February 14, 2020. As of May 10, 2020, there have been 8,964 confirmed cases, 2,002 recovered and 514 deaths4.
Keeping up with the surgical training might be difficult during the time of COVID-19 pandemic: with most of the health care resources dedicated to face this reality, trainees can improve themselves deep diving in scientific literature, study, Telemedicine and Social Media professional platforms. Moreover, they might be directly involved in COVID patient care, facing a still a still elusive disease with a high lethality rate. Often the frustration of having no valid treatment and a poor incisiveness on the natural course of the COVID19 could lead to a blue mood or a burnout. Eventually, the natural adaptability and the survival instinct prevail and teach us the real meaning of resilience. Every trainee has to be prepared for the second phase, when the new normality will force everyone to cohabit with the virus. Even the obvious teething troubles, this could be the right moment for all the Residents to “grow-up” and develop their own future Character.
Cardiac wounds have been described for centuries and still remain often fatal. For a long period of time suture of a myocardial laceration was thought to be absolutely impossible if not sacrilege. It is only at the end of the 19th century that pioneers decided to defy such dogma in desperate cases. Nowadays it seems obvious that a cardiac stab wound require emergent surgery whenever possible. The story of cardiac wounds highlights nicely the change of mind that is required to accept progress and new procedures in medicine.
COVID-19 in a child with severe aplastic anemiaYunus Murat Akçabelen1, Ayça Koca Yozgat1, Aslı Nur Parlakay2, Nese Yarali11 Department of Pediatric Hematology, Ankara City Hospital Children’s Hospital, Turkiye2 Department of Pediatric Infectious Disease, Ankara City Hospital Children’s Hospital, TurkiyeArticle type: Letter to the editörRunning Title: COVID-19 in pediatric aplastic anemiaKey words: COVID-19, children, aplastic anemiaDisclosures: noneWord counts: 625