Wendy Johnson

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

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Publications (10)90.8 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Endothelin-1 (ET-1) is a potent vasoconstrictor that increases vascular tone in the resistance vessels of subjects with hypertension. It is unclear whether endogenous ET-1 affects resistance-vessel function equally in patients with other cardiovascular risk factors. Vasoconstriction to ET-1 is mediated principally via the endothelin-A (ETA) receptor on vascular smooth muscle cells. Accordingly, we used an ETA-specific antagonist, BQ-123, to test the hypothesis that endogenous ET-1 increases vascular resistance selectively in subjects with hypertension compared with other risk factors. BQ-123 was infused at 100 nmol/min for 80 minutes into the brachial artery of 10 subjects with hypertension (mean+/-SEM arterial pressure, 106+/-5 mm Hg), 12 subjects with hypercholesterolemia (mean+/-SEM total cholesterol, 7.1+/-0.2 mmol/L), 10 active smokers (mean+/-SEM, 42+/-11 pack-years), and 11 healthy, age-matched individuals. Forearm blood flow (FBF) was measured by venous occlusion plethysmography. BQ-123 dilated resistance arterioles in hypertensive subjects, with FBF's increasing by 46+/-7% from baseline (P<0.001). BQ-123 increased FBF to a lesser extent in hypercholesterolemic (24+/-5%, P<0.001) and healthy (20+/-8%, P=0.007) individuals but did not affect FBF significantly in smokers (10+/-8%, P=0.185). The vasodilator response in hypertensive subjects, but not in hypercholesterolemic patients or smokers, was significantly greater than that in healthy individuals (P=0.012). Endogenous ET-1, acting via the ETA receptor, increases resistance-vessel tone in subjects with hypertension more than in subjects with hypercholesterolemia or in smokers. These results indicate that ET-1 contributes more to the pathophysiology of hypertension than of other risk factors in subjects without overt atherosclerosis.
    Hypertension 08/2003; 42(1):43-8. DOI:10.1161/01.HYP.0000074426.71392.D8 · 7.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We sought to test the hypothesis that patients with decompensated heart failure (HF) lose a compensatory process whereby nitric oxide (NO) maintains pulmonary vascular tone. Exhaled nitric oxide (eNO) partially reflects vascular endothelial NO release. Levels of eNO are elevated in patients with compensated HF and correlate inversely with pulmonary artery pressures (PAP), reflecting pulmonary vasodilatory activity. We measured the mean mixed expired NO content of a vital-capacity breath using chemiluminescence in patients with compensated HF (n = 30), decompensated HF (n = 7) and in normal control subjects (n = 90). Pulmonary artery pressures were also measured in patients with HF. The eNO and PAP were determined sequentially during therapy with intravenous vasodilators in patients with decompensated HF (n = 7) and in an additional group of patients with HF (n = 13) before and during administration of milrinone. The eNO was higher in patients with HF than in control subjects (9.9 +/- 1.1 ppb vs. 6.2 +/- 0.4 ppb, p = 0.002) and inversely correlated with PAP (r = -0.81, p < 0.00001). In marked contrast, patients with decompensated HF exhibited even higher levels of eNO (20.4 +/- 6.2 ppb) and PAP, but there was a loss of the inverse relationship between these two variables. During therapy (7.3 +/- 6 days) with sodium nitroprusside and diuresis, hemodynamics improved, eNO concentrations fell (11.2 +/- 1.2 ppb vs. before treatment, p < 0.05), and the relationship between eNO and PAP was restored. After milrinone, eNO rose proportionally with decreased PAP (p < 0.05). Elevated eNO may reflect a compensatory circulatory mechanism in HF that is lost in patients with clinically decompensated HF. The eNO may be an easily obtainable and quantifiable measure of the response to therapy in advanced HF.
    Journal of the American College of Cardiology 10/2002; 40(6):1114-9. DOI:10.1016/S0735-1097(02)02117-4 · 15.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The contribution of endothelin to resting pulmonary vascular tone and hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction in humans is unknown. We studied the hemodynamic effects of BQ-123, an endothelin type A receptor antagonist, on healthy volunteers exposed to normoxia and hypoxia. Hemodynamics were measured at room air and after 15 min of exposure to hypoxia (arterial PO(2) 99.8 +/- 1.8 and 49.4 +/- 0.4 mmHg, respectively). Measurements were then repeated in the presence of BQ-123. BQ-123 decreased pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) 26% and systemic vascular resistance (SVR) 21%, whereas it increased cardiac output (CO) 22% (all P < 0.05). Hypoxia raised CO 28% and PVR 95%, whereas it reduced SVR 23% (all P < 0.01). During BQ-123 infusion, hypoxia increased CO 29% and PVR 97% and decreased SVR 22% (all P < 0.01). The pulmonary vasoconstrictive response to hypoxia was similar in the absence and presence of BQ-123 [P = not significant (NS)]. In vehicle-treated control subjects, hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction did not change with repeated exposure to hypoxia (P = NS). Endothelin contributes to basal pulmonary and systemic vascular tone during normoxia, but does not mediate the additional pulmonary vasoconstriction induced by acute hypoxia.
    AJP Heart and Circulatory Physiology 09/2002; 283(2):H568-75. DOI:10.1152/ajpheart.00099.2001 · 4.01 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study was designed to determine whether therapy with vasodilators and diuretics, designed to normalize loading conditions in decompensated heart failure (HF), reduces neurohormonal activation in the short term. BACKGROUND; Elevated vasoactive neurohormone levels in chronic HF have adverse prognostic impact and may be targeted by specific therapies. Endothelin-1, catecholamines, renin, aldosterone, angiotensin and atrial natriuretic peptides (ANP, N-ANP and BNP) were measured in 34 patients with advanced HF before and after hemodynamically guided therapy with vasodilators and diuretics. The therapy was designed to reduce filling pressures and systemic vascular resistance (SVR) without inotropic therapy. Blood was drawn before therapy (A), after initial diuretic and nitroprusside therapy to optimize hemodynamics (B, mean 1.4 days) and after transition to an oral regimen designed to maintain improved hemodynamics (C, mean 3.4 days). Mean pulmonary wedge pressure fell from 31 to 18 mm Hg, right atrial pressure from 15 to 8 mm Hg, and SVR from 1,780 to 1,109 dynes/s/cm(-5). Cardiac index increased from 1.7 to 2.6 l/min/m(2) without intravenous inotropic agents (all p < or = 0.05). Average endothelin levels declined by 30%, from 7.7 to 5.5 pg/ml, and remained low at time point C, 5.2 pg/ml (p < 0.01). Norepinephrine was 858 at time A, 817 at time B, and fell by time C to 608 pg/ml (p < or = 0.05). The mean plasma BNP level fell by 26% after only 1.4 days and by 53% at time C (p < 0.001). Neurohormonal activation rapidly decreases after short-term therapy tailored to decrease severely elevated filling pressures and SVR without inotropic agents. Therapy designed to address neurohormonal activation should include therapy to improve severe resting hemodynamic compromise.
    Journal of the American College of Cardiology 05/2002; 39(10):1623-9. DOI:10.1016/S0735-1097(02)01814-4 · 15.34 Impact Factor
  • Journal of the American College of Cardiology 03/2002; 39:222-222. DOI:10.1016/S0735-1097(02)80987-1 · 15.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: As many patients with heart failure develop symptoms limiting daily life, newer therapies may be found to improve functional status without concomitant survival benefit. As some of these therapies may actually increase mortality, it is increasingly relevant to assess patients' preferences for survival vs improvement in symptoms. We enrolled 99 patients with advanced heart failure (ejection fraction 24 +/- 10, duration 6 +/- 5 years). Each patient completed time trade-off and standard gamble instruments, Minnesota Living with Heart Failure questionnaires and visual analog scales for dyspnea and overall health. Jugular venous pressure was assessed in all patients and peak oxygen consumption was measured during bicycle exercise in 60 patients. Strong polarity of preference toward either survival or quality of life was expressed by 60% of patients. There was good correlation between time trade-off and standard gamble utility scores (r = 0.64), and between preference and functional class (r = 0.60). Higher jugular venous pressure and lower peak oxygen consumption were associated with poorer utility scores (p <.05). Higher dyspnea scores and worse Living with Heart Failure scores were also associated with preference to trade time or take risks for better health. These findings suggest that heart failure patients express meaningful preferences about quality vs length of life. High jugular venous pressure, low peak oxygen consumption and poor Living with Heart Failure scores were related to low utility scores. These cannot be assumed, however, to predict the intensity of individual preference to trade nothing or virtually everything for better health.
    The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation 09/2001; 20(9):1016-24. DOI:10.1016/S1053-2498(01)00298-4 · 5.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study determined whether evidence of congestion after 4 to 6 weeks of heart failure management predicted outcome for patients hospitalized with chronic New York Heart Association class IV symptoms. Class IV symptoms predict high mortality rates, but outcome is not known for patients who improve to establish freedom from congestion. Revised estimates at 1 month could facilitate decisions regarding transplantation and other high-risk interventions. At 4 to 6 weeks after hospital discharge, 146 patients were evaluated for congestion by 5 criteria (orthopnea, jugular venous distention, edema, weight gain, and new increase in baseline diuretics). Heart failure management included inpatient therapy tailored to relieve congestion, followed by adjustments to maintain fluid balance during the next 4 weeks. Freedom from congestion was demonstrated at 4 to 6 weeks in 80 (54%) patients, who had 87% subsequent 2-year survival compared with 67% in 40 patients with 1 or 2 criteria of congestion and 41% in 26 patients with 3 to 5 criteria. The Cox proportional hazards model identified left ventricular dimension, pulmonary wedge pressure on therapy, and freedom from congestion as independent predictors of survival. Persistence of orthopnea itself predicted 38% 2-year survival (without urgent transplantation) versus 77% in 113 without orthopnea. Serum sodium was lower and blood urea nitrogen and heart rate higher when orthopnea persisted. The ability to maintain freedom from congestion identifies a population with good survival despite previous class IV symptoms. At 4 to 6 weeks, patients with persistent congestion may be considered for high-risk intervention.
    American Heart Journal 01/2001; 140(6):840-7. DOI:10.1067/mhj.2000.110933 · 4.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study sought to determine to what extent the 6-min walk (6MW) distance in advanced heart failure predicts aerobic capacity and provides comparable information regarding survival. Peak oxygen uptake ( VO(2)) and the 6MW both describe function and predict outcome over a wide range of heart failure, but their determinants and implications may differ within a narrower clinical spectrum. This study compared 6MW with aerobic capacity both at peak exercise and during low-level cycling. Both the 6MW and symptom-limited cycle ergometry were performed by 307 patients of whom 264 patients additionally performed 6 min of 20-W cycling to estimate aerobic capacity during sustained low-level activity. In the first 198 patients, multivariate analysis of survival was performed with the 6MW and peak VO (2). Patients achieved the 6MW of 393 +/- 104 m and peak VO (2) of 14 +/- 5 mL/kg per minute. Although low peak VO (2) was more likely with the shorter 6MW, the relation was weak within peak VO (2) range of 10 to 20 mL/kg per minute (n = 213, 69% of patients, r = 0.28). During 20-W exercise, VO (2) was 9.2 +/- 2.0 mL/kg per minute, with respiratory exchange ratio poorly correlated with the 6MW. In contrast to peak VO (2), the 6MW in meters did not predict survival. Division into short, medium, and long walks, however, supplemented simple clinical description. Although helpful in broader populations for identification of patients with obvious clinical compromise, the 6MW distance is not a surrogate for peak VO (2) in assessing aerobic capacity or prognosis for individuals with advanced heart failure.
    American Heart Journal 11/1999; 138(4 Pt 1):618-24. DOI:10.1016/S0002-8703(99)70174-2 · 4.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of the study was to evaluate the lower extremity vascular responsiveness to metabolic stimuli in patients with heart failure and to determine whether these responses improve acutely after intensive medical therapy. Metabolic regulation of vascular tone is an important determinant of blood flow, and may be abnormal in heart failure. The leg blood flow responses were measured in 11 patients with nonedematous class III-IV heart failure before and after inpatient medical therapy and in 10 normal subjects. Venous occlusion plethysmography was used to measure peak blood flow and total hyperemia in the calf after arterial occlusion and also after isotonic ankle exercise. Measurements were repeated following short-term inpatient treatment with vasodilators and diuretics administered to decrease right atrial pressure (18+/-2 to 7+/-1 mm Hg), pulmonary wedge pressure (32+/-3 to 15+/-2 mm Hg), and systemic vascular resistance (1581+/-200 to 938+/-63 dynes.s.cm(-5), all p < 0.02). Leg blood flow at rest, after exercise, and during reactive hyperemia was less in heart failure patients than in control subjects. Resting leg blood flow did not increase significantly after medical therapy, but peak flow after the high level of exercise increased by 59% (p = 0.009). Total hyperemic volume in the recovery period increased by 73% (p = 0.03). Similarly, the peak leg blood flow response to ischemia increased by 88% (p = 0.04), whereas hyperemic volume rose by 98% (p = 0.1). The calf blood flow responses to metabolic stimuli are blunted in patients with severe heart failure, and improve rapidly with intensive medical therapy.
    Journal of the American College of Cardiology 03/1999; 33(3):743-9. DOI:10.1016/S0735-1097(98)00631-7 · 15.34 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Cardiac Failure 09/1998; 4(3):42-42. DOI:10.1016/S1071-9164(98)90159-2 · 3.07 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

627 Citations
90.80 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2002–2003
    • Harvard University
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2001–2002
    • Brigham and Women's Hospital
      • Department of Medicine
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1999–2002
    • Harvard Medical School
      • Department of Medicine
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
    • Transnationale Universiteit Limburg
      Los Ángeles, California, United States