Abstract: Objectives: Our work assessed the prevalence of co-infections in patients with SARS-CoV-2. Methods: All patients hospitalized in a Parisian hospital during the first wave of COVID-19 were tested by mPCR if they presented ILI symptoms. Results: A total of 806 patients (21%) were positive for SARS-CoV-2, 755 (20%) were positive for other respiratory viruses. Among the SARS-CoV-2 positive patients, 49 (6%) had viral co-infections. They presented similar age, symptoms, except for fever (p=0.013) and headaches (p=0.048), than single SARS-CoV-2 infections. Conclusions: SARS-CoV-2 infected patients presenting viral co-infections had similar clinical characteristics and prognosis than patients solely infected with SARS-CoV-2.
We congratulate Kar et al. on their elegant study evaluating ex-vivo temperature profiles and the resulting thermal injury formation on the epiesophageal surface during radiofrequency (RF) ablation. In addition to being the first study to detail temperature profiles inclusive of the epiesophageal surface during RF ablation, we believe that the results add further concern to the use of temperature sensing technology in the quest to reduce esophageal injury. Three recent clinical trials have evaluated the efficacy of luminal esophageal temperature (LET) monitoring and found either no benefits, or signals of harm. On the other hand, two pilot RCTs suggest benefits of active cooling, and a large RCT, the IMPACT study, further confirms this benefit by finding an 83% reduction in esophageal lesion formation using an active cooling device. With no degradation in ablation efficacy, as well as a reduction/elimination of the need for fluoroscopy and reports of shortened procedure time with active cooling technology, the data of Kar et al., combined with growing clinical data, suggest that continued use of LET monitoring may be unjustified.
Quantifying how multiple ecosystem services and functions are affected by different drivers of Global Change is challenging. Particularly in African savanna regions, highly integrated land-use activities created a landscape mosaic with flows of multiple resources between land use types. A framework is needed that quantifies the effects of climate change, management and policy interventions on ecosystem services that are most relevant for rural communities, such as provision of food, feed, carbon sequestration, nutrient cycling and natural pest control. In spite of progress made in ecosystem modelling, data availability and stakeholder interactions, these elements have neither been brought together in an integrated framework, nor evaluated in the context of real-world problems. Here, we propose and outline such framework as developed by a multi-disciplinary research network, the Southern African Limpopo Landscapes network (SALLnet). Components of the framework such as the crop model APSIM and the vegetation model aDGVM2 had already been parameterized and evaluated using data sets from savanna regions of eastern, western and southern Africa, and were fine-tuned using novel data sets from Limpopo. A prototype of an agent-based farm household model was developed using comprehensive farm survey information from the Limpopo Province of South Africa. A first test of the functionality of the integrated framework has been performed for alternative policy interventions on smallholder crop-livestock systems. We discuss the versatile applicability of the framework, with a focus on smallholder landscapes in the savanna regions of southern Africa that are considered hotspots of global change impacts.
1. Trait differences among plant species can favor species coexistence. The role that such differences play in the assembly of diverse plant communities maintained by frequent fires remains unresolved. This lack of resolution results in part from the possibility that species with similar traits may coexist because none has a significant fitness advantage and in part from the difficulty of experimental manipulation of highly diverse assemblages dominated by perennial species. 2. We examined a 65-year chronosequence of losses of herbaceous species following fire suppression (and subsequent encroachment by Pinus elliottii) in three wet longleaf pine savannas. We used cluster analysis, similarity profile permutation tests and k-R cluster analysis to identify statistically significant functional groups. We then used randomization tests to determine if the absence of functional groups near pines was greater (or less) than expected by chance. We also tested whether tolerant and sensitive species were less (or more) likely to co-occur by chance in areas in savannas away from pines in accordance with predictions of modern coexistence theory. 3. Functional group richness near pines was lower than expected from random species extirpations. Wetland perennials with thick rhizomes and high leaf water content, spring-flowering wetland forbs (including Drosera tracyi), orchids, Polygala spp., and club mosses were more likely to be absent near pines than expected by chance. C3 grasses and sedges with seed banks and tall, fall-flowering C4 grasses were less likely to be absent near pines than expected by chance. Species sensitive to pine encroachment were more likely to co-occur with other such species away from pines at two of the three sites. 4. Results suggest that herb species diversity in frequently-burned wet savannas is maintained in part by a weak fitness (e.g., competitive) hierarchy among herbs, and not as a result of trait differences among co-occurring species.
Arrhythmia Induced Cardiomyopathy: What are Predictors of Myocardial Recovery?Acile Nahlawi BS, Marwan M. Refaat MDDepartment of Internal Medicine, Division of Cardiology, American University of Beirut Medical Center, Beirut, LebanonRunning Title: AIC and Predictors of Myocardial RecoveryDisclosures: NoneFunding: NoneKeywords: Cardiac Arrhythmias, Cardiovascular Diseases, Heart Diseases, Congestive Heart Failure, CardiomyopathyWords: 958 (excluding references)Correspondence:Marwan M. Refaat, MD, FACC, FAHA, FHRS, FASE, FESC, FACP, FRCPAssociate Professor of MedicineDirector, Cardiovascular Fellowship ProgramDepartment of Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Medicine/Cardiac ElectrophysiologyDepartment of Biochemistry and Molecular GeneticsAmerican University of Beirut Faculty of Medicine and Medical CenterPO Box 11-0236, Riad El-Solh 1107 2020- Beirut, LebanonFax: +961-1-370814Clinic: +961-1-759616 or +961-1-355500 or +961-1-350000/+961-1-374374 Extension 5800Office: +961-1-350000/+961-1-374374 Extension 5353 or Extension 5366 (Direct)Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgCardiomyopathies cause a significant public health burden and improvement in sudden cardiac death risk stratification helped in decreasing mortality by improved pharmacotherapy as well as device implantations including implantable cardiac defibrillators and cardiac resynchronization therapy [1-4]. Arrhythmia induced cardiomyopathy (AIC) is a major cause of non-ischemic cardiomyopathy and heart failure (HF) worldwide . It is characterized by an impairment of left ventricular systolic function secondary to high heart rate (tachycardia-induced), asynchrony (frequent premature ventricular contractions-induced or right ventricular pacing-induced) or an irregular rhythm (such as atrial fibrillation-induced) that serves as the trigger of AIC and this is mediated by calcium mishandling. The distinctive feature of AIC is the substantial improvement in left ventricular systolic function following arrhythmia suppression or elimination . Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is concomitantly present with and potentially the cause of 10 to 50% of HF cases . AIC is an important, commonly encountered and potentially reversible entity that is often under-recognized. The exact incidence and prevalence of AIC remains poorly defined in the literature . In some studies, it was present in as high as 50% of patients with AF undergoing ablation, while it was reported to be present in 10% of patients with focal atrial tachycardia undergoing ablation . In addition, very little attention, if any, is given to AIC in major trials on AF and HF, despite its significant implications on morbidity and mortality and the promising benefits of treatment . Many aspects of AIC are yet to be understood. In fact, few studies limited by small sample size constitute our main source of knowledge on extent and predictors of ventricular recovery after treatment initiation in patients with AIC [9,10].In their multicenter retrospective study, Gopinathannair et al. aimed to assess the degree of recovery of the left ventricular systolic function after suppression/elimination of the underlying arrythmia and to evaluate factors influencing this response such as baseline patient and arrhythmia characteristics. The study sample comprised 243 patients from 3 different institutions whose charts were reviewed retrospectively (no recruitment timeframe was indicated). The patient characteristics studied included baseline left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), presence of structural heart disease (SHD) [ defined as significant coronary artery disease, prior myocardial infarction, hemodynamically significant valvular heart disease, or other structural cardiomyopathies] and medications used. As for the arrhythmia characteristics, they included arrhythmia duration and arrhythmia type. The authors used echocardiography as the imaging modality to determine extent of ventricular function recovery by comparing myocardial function before and after treatment of the culprit arrhythmia. The echocardiographic parameters that were assessed included LVEF, LV end-diastolic and end-systolic diameters, left atrial dimension, valvular abnormalities, right ventricular systolic pressures, and pulmonary arterial pressures.In contrast to reported literature on the topic, Gopinathannair et al. found that none of the studied patient and arrhythmia characteristics had a significant effect on the recovery of ventricular function. Their results showed that initiation of aggressive arrhythmia treatment is warranted in patients with suspected AIC, regardless of arrhythmia duration, arrhythmia type, severity of baseline LVEF, and underlying structural heart disease. This was concluded based on the consistent substantial improvement in LVEF after arrhythmia suppression/elimination, mainly through rhythm control, across all different subgroups. In fact, the extent of LVEF improvement was similar whether comparing the group with known arrhythmia duration [KN] to that with unknown arrhythmia duration [UKN] (21.2±9 % vs 19.4±11 %, p-value =0.16) or comparing the group with longest arrhythmia duration to the rest (21.5±7.5 % vs 21.0 ± 9.2%, p-value=0.77). On the other hand, greatest improvement was seen in the group with lowest initial LVEF (24±17 vs 19±7%; p-value <0.0001), making low index LVEF the only predictor of LVEF recovery after arrhythmia treatment in patients with AIC. However, the LVEF in these patients did not reach complete normalization; they had lower post-treatment LVEF compared to other groups (45±14 vs 54±8%; p<0.0001), a finding consistent with the available literature. Also similar to previous studies, the authors found that patients with PVCs experienced smaller extent of recovery compared to other arrhythmia types. The authors concluded by stressing the importance of suspecting AIC in patients having cardiomyopathy with a persistent arrhythmia and initiating aggressive arrhythmia treatment regardless of initial patient and arrhythmia characteristics.As for the limitations of the study by Gopinathannair et al., there are few to mention. First, the study had a retrospective design and therefore findings only serve to generate hypotheses that need further testing and validation. Second, there is a lack of a control group to exclude interference of confounding factors. Although the use of Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme inhibitors (ACEi)/ Angiotension receptor blockers (ARB) did not independently predict LVEF improvement in multivariate analysis, it could still be a confounder given the lower rates of ACEi/ARB use in the cohort. Third, the timeframe of the study and the period of follow-up were not clearly defined. Fourth, there is lack of blinding of echocardiographic analyses which can potentially lead to inter- and intra-observer variability. Finally, the sample population was not diverse as it consisted in its majority of Caucasians.The Gopinathannair et al. study demonstrated several points of strength. Among these are its multicenter nature and its relatively larger sample size compared to similar studies, giving its findings more weight. Moreover, the authors appropriately and clearly defined their inclusion and exclusion criteria. Furthermore, no funding was needed for the study which potentially frees it from direct or indirect influences on its design, execution and interpretation. Finally, the study has successfully improved our understanding of predictors of ventricular recovery in patients with AIC and showed that patients with AIC who had the longest duration of arrhythmia still had LV systolic function improvement with arrhythmia suppression/elimination. This study paves the way for prospective studies and randomized clinical trials to validate the generated hypotheses and corroborate the observational findings.
Surgical treatment of type A dissections is based on best evidence practice for the lack of controlled randomized studies providing definitive scientific evidence. Despite its widespread use, axillary cannulation still remains a debated topic as the preferred method of cannulation and perfusion strategy in the treatment of this complex condition.
A 78 years-old woman was found with worsening hypercalcemia, osteopenia and memory loss during the past 2 years. Multiple, repeated imaging studies failed to reveal the aetiology of the primary hyperparathyroidism. Bilateral neck exploration revealed a 4.5X2,3 cm right superior parathyroid adenoma in an ectopic position.
We report here the complete genome sequence of the Rhizobium rhizogenes (formerly Agrobacterium rhizogenes) strain LBA9402 (NCPPB1855rifR), a pathogenic strain causing hairy root disease. In order to assemble a complete genome we obtained short-reads from Illumina sequencing as well as long-reads from Oxford Nanopore Technology sequencing. The genome consists of a 3,958,212 bp chromosome, a 2,005,144 bp chromid (secondary chromosome) and a 252,168 bp Ri plasmid (pRi1855), respectively. The primary chromosome was very similar to that of the avirulent biocontrol strain K84, but the chromid showed a 724 kbp deletion accompanied by a large 1.8 Mbp inversion revealing the dynamic nature of these secondary chromosomes. The sequence of the agropine Ri plasmid was compared to other types of Ri and Ti plasmids. Thus we identified the genes responsible for agropine catabolism, but also a unique segment adjacent to the TL-region that has the signature of a new opine catabolic gene cluster including the three genes that together encode an opine dehydrogenase. Our sequence analysis also revealed a novel gene at the very right end of the TL-DNA, which is unique for the agropine Ri plasmid. The protein encoded by this gene was most related to the succinamopine synthases of chrysopine and agropine Ti plasmids and thus may be involved in synthesis of the unknown opine that can be degraded by the adjacent catabolic cluster. The available sequence will facilitate the use of R. rhizogenes and especially LBA9402 in both the laboratory and for biotechnological purposes.
Objectives - The aim of this study was to evaluate the differences in surgical capacity for head and neck cancer in the UK between the first wave (March-June 2020) and the current wave (Jan-Feb 2021) of the COVID-19 pandemic. Design – REDcap online based survey of hospital capacity. Setting - UK secondary and tertiary hospitals providing head and neck cancer surgery. Participants – One representative per hospital was asked to report the capacity for head and neck cancer surgery in that institution. Main outcome measures – The principal measures of interests were new patient referrals, capacity in outpatients, theatres and critical care; therapeutic compromises constituting delay to surgery, de-escalated surgery and therapeutic migration to non-surgical primary modality. Results – Data was returned from approximately 95% of UK hospitals with a head and neck cancer surgery specialist service. 50% of UK head and neck cancer patients requiring surgery have significantly compromised treatments during the second wave: 28% delayed, 10% have received radiotherapy based treatment instead of surgery and 12% have received de-escalated surgery. Surgical capacity has been more severely constrained in the second wave (58% of pre-pandemic level) compared with the first wave (62%) despite the time to prepare. Conclusions - Some hospitals are overwhelmed by COVID-19 and unable to offer essential cancer surgery, but all have neighbouring hospitals in their region retaining good (or even normal) capacity. It is noteworthy that very few patients have been appropriately re-directed away from the hospitals most constrained by their burden of COVID-19. The paucity of an effective central or regional strategic response to this evident mismatch between demand and surgical capacity is to the detriment of our head and neck cancer patients.
At a time where delivering the best quality of care is the raison d’être of the health service, outliers can pose a serious challenge to both clinicians and policy makers. Methods of outlier detection are highly variable. The collection and assimilation of outcome variables can also be very challenging. Despite this, the publication of surgeon specific data has brought the concept of outliers into the public eye and the consequent punitive action affected upon surgeons can be deleterious to clinician psychology and patient perception. Simultaneously, positive outliers are rarely mentioned and never rewarded. Moving forward, the use of more objective outcomes, including novel biomarkers and patient-centred data, as well as innovative statistical strategies and management cultures, can positively evolve the healthcare paradigm for the future.
Generations of cryoballoon transformed the atrial fibrillation ablation landscape. New advancements continue to make cryoballoon more successful and safer treatment. A new cryoballoon PolaRx from Boston Scientific has unique features compared to that of the Medtronic Arctic Front Advance system. Comparison of the two available cryoballoons will require ongoing larger trial and clinical experience.
Very late recurrences after ablation of AVNRT have been reported. Age related alterations of nodal tissues caused by fibrous and fatty tissue infiltration and changes of the sympathovagal influence on the AV node, in turn altering AV nodal conduction and refractoriness, could set the stage for a previously not present substrate for AVNRT. Consequently, the occurrence of AVNRT many years after an ablation procedure may perhaps not always implicate a recurrence but instead an arrhythmia caused by a new substrate.
Risk stratification of HPV positive women in routine cervical screeningHigh risk HPV primary screening is replacing organised cytology-based screening based on increased sensitivity to detect high grade intra-epithelial neoplasia and the very high negative predictive value which will allow extended screening intervals. The benefit of increased CIN detection and cancer prevention needs to balance against the disbenefits to screen positive women in over investigation not east the psychological impact. For colposcopy services, the English cervical screening programme reported a 80% increase in colposcopy referrals in the first round of screening, creating huge pressures on service capacity (Rebolj M et al BMJ 2019;364:l240). The lower positive predictive value also impacts on colposcopy performance with a different referral population wit proportionately less high grade CIN present. In this issue of BJOG, Gori M et al provide observational data from a large longitudinal study of routine primary HPV screening in an organised quality assured cervical screening programme in 3 regions of Italy. Whilst routinely collected data from real-world programmes will have limitations, they do provide an insight into disease detection and importantly impact on colposcopy provision. In a comparison of triage strategies, combined HPV genotyping for HPV16 and high-grade cytology offered an acceptable balance of risk of CIN3+ with number of colposcopies needed to detect one lesion. These results differ from the English pilot (Rebolj M et al 2019 BJC;121(6):455-463) where HPV16/18 genotyping detected only 1.2% more cases of CIN2+ with 5.9% additional colposcopies. Gori M et al did not combine HPV16/18 but they did report that HPV18 on genotyping was not as clinically useful at baseline or 12-month follow-up. Furthermore, 90% of women screened were aged over 35 years when HPV screening is more clinically effective whereas the English pilot started screening at age 25 years when HPV infection is more prevalent and less likely to be clinically significant. Longer follow-up, importantly at the next screening round, is not yet available when the relevance of non-HPV 16 types may be more apparent.The impact of the Covid 19 pandemic on health services and in particular screening, has sharpened the argument of risk stratification following primary screen positive testing both for service providers and those in the target population. Ciavattini A et al (2020 Int J Cancer 30(8):1097-1100) reported on suspension or postponement of cervical screening programmes across Europe relevant to both routine screening and onward referral to colposcopy. As services have needed to adapt to Covid infection rates and health service capacity, the ability to triage effectively and avoid unnecessary hospital visits is critical. Clinicians and women need information on their risk to inform clinical practice and provide reassurance. In the current second wave, the suspension of screening implemented in the first wave is no longer acceptable. Whilst data, such as these from Gori et al, continue to emerge from national and regional screening programmes, Covid has highlighted the need to be responsive and adaptive to allow cancer prevention to continue.
We are reporting a case of neurofibromatosis type 1 in a genotype-phenotype correlation and chromosomal microarray test revealed a submicroscopic deletion on the long arm of chromosome 17, which is associated with a more severe phenotype. The presence of a more severe phenotype warrants precise monitoring of complications.