Lifestyle-Based Tool Estimates Premature Cardiovascular Events in Young Adults

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Holly Gooding, MD, MSc Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital Division of General Internal Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA

Dr. Gooding

Holly Gooding, MD, MSc
Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics
Harvard Medical School
Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine
Boston Children’s Hospital
Division of General Internal Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Boston, MA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Dr Stephanie Chiuve and colleagues at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health developed the Healthy Heart Score to predict the risk of heart disease in older adults based on lifestyle factors measured in middle age. We have known for some time that the precursor to heart disease – known as atherosclerosis – actually starts in childhood and adolescence. We calculated the Healthy Heart Score for young adults ages 18-30 years old and found it works in this age group as well.

Continue reading

Does Spironolactone Work In Acute Heart Failure?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Javed Butler, MD, PhD Chief of the Cardiology Division Dr. Vincent Yang, Simons Chair in Internal Medicine Stony Brook University

Dr. Butler

Javed Butler, MD, PhD
Chief of the Cardiology Division
Dr. Vincent Yang, Simons Chair in Internal Medicine
Stony Brook University

 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Persistent congestion is associated with worse outcomes in acute heart failure (AHF). Mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists at high doses may relieve congestion, overcome diuretic resistance, and mitigate the effects of adverse neurohormonal activation in AHF. We therefore studies high dose spironolactone in patients with AHF. Unfortunately all of our primary and secondary endpoints were not different between spironolactone and placebo arms.

Continue reading

Artificial Sweeteners May Be Bad For Your Waistline and Your Heart

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Azad

Dr. Azad

Meghan Azad PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics & Child Health and Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba; Associate Investigator, Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study
Research Scientist, Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba; co-Lead, Population Health Pillar, Developmental Origins of Chronic Diseases in Children Network

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Consumption of artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, sucralose and stevia, is widespread and increasing.  Emerging data indicate that artificial, or non-nutritive, sweeteners may have negative effects on metabolism, gut bacteria and appetite, although the evidence is conflicting.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: We conducted a systematic review of 37 studies that collectively followed over 400,000 people for an average of 10 years.

Only 7 of these studies were randomized clinical trials (the gold standard in clinical research), involving 1003 people followed for 6 months on average. The trials did not show a consistent effect of artificial sweeteners on weight loss, and the longer observational studies showed a link between consumption of artificial sweeteners and relatively higher risks of weight gain and obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and other health issues.

Continue reading

EKGs of Low Risk Patients Remain Common and Associated With More Cardiac Testing

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sacha Bhatia, MD, MBA, FRCPC
Scientist, Women’s College Research Institute
Director, Women’s College Hospital Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care
Cardiologist, Women’s College Hospital and University Health Network
Canada

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The USPSTF recommends against screening with resting electrocardiography (ECG) for the prediction of coronary heart disease (CHD) events in asymptomatic adults at low risk for CHD events. We conducted a retrospective cohort study of the frequency of resting ECGs in low risk patients within 30 days of an annual health exam. We found that 21.5% of low risk patients in Ontario, Canada had a ECG, with significant variation among primary care physicians (1.8% to 76.1%). Moreover, low risk patients who had a ECG were five times more likely to receive another cardiac test or cardiology consultation than those that did not receive an ECG. At one year the rate of mortality, cardiac hospitalizations and revascularization was <0.5% in each group.

Continue reading

TAVR Linked To Improved Quality of Life Even After Two Years

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Suzanne J. Baron, MD, MSc Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute School of Medicine University of Missouri, Kansas City

Dr. Baron

Suzanne J. Baron, MD, MSc
Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute
School of Medicine
University of Missouri, Kansas City

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) has emerged as a viable treatment option for patients with severe aortic stenosis in patients at high and intermediate surgical risk.  Prior studies have demonstrated that both TAVR and surgical AVR (SAVR) results in substantial quality of life benefit in patients at high surgical risk.

Whether these results applied to an intermediate risk population was unknown and so we performed a prospective study alongside the PARTNER 2A trial to compare both short- and long-term health status outcomes in intermediate-risk patients with AS treated with either TAVR or SAVR.   The analysis included 1833 patients (950 TAVR, 833 SAVR), who were evaluated at 1 month, 1 year and 2 years post procedure.  By 1 month, quality of life had improved in both the TAVR and SAVR groups, although the gain was significantly greater in patients treated with TAVR via the transfemoral approach as opposed to patients treated with SAVR or with TAVR via the transthoracic approach (i.e. direct aortic access or transapical access).   At 1 and 2 years, both TAVR (via either approach) and SAVR were associated with similarly large, clinically meaningful improvements from baseline in both disease-specific and generic health status scales at 2 years.

Continue reading

Cardiovascular Disease Not a Top Concern For Women or Their Physicians

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

C. Noel Bairey Merz, MD, FACC  Director, Barbra Streisand Women's Heart Center Director, Linda Joy Pollin Women's Heart Health Program Director, Erika Glazer Family Foundation Women's Heart Disease Initiative Director, Preventive Cardiac Center  Professor of Medicine  Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Dr. Merz

C. Noel Bairey Merz, MD, FACC 
Director, Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center
Director, Linda Joy Pollin Women’s Heart Health Program
Director, Erika Glazer Family Foundation Women’s Heart Disease Initiative
Director, Preventive Cardiac Center
Professor of Medicine
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number 1 killer of women in the U.S.A., yet few younger women personalize awareness. CVD campaigns focus little attention on physicians and their role assessing risk.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: Overall, 45% of women were unaware that CVD is the #1 killer of women, only 11% knew a woman who has died from it.  Overall, 45% of women reported it is common to cancel or postpone a physician appointment until losing weight. Cardiovascular disease was a top concern for only 39% of PCPs, after weight and breast health. A minority of physicians (22% of PCPs and 42% of cardiologists) felt well prepared to assess women’s CVD risk, and infrequently use guidelines.

Continue reading

Limited Benefit To Expedited Stress Testing of Chest Pain In ER Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Alexander Sandhu, MD MS

Cardiology Fellow
Stanford University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Millions of patients present to the emergency department with chest pain but most do not have lab or EKG findings that indicate the patient is having a heart attack. In patients without signs of a heart attack, stress testing is frequently used to determine the need for further workup and treatment. However, there is limited evidence regarding the benefit of stress testing in these patients.

We evaluated how cardiac testing – stress testing and coronary angiography – in these low-risk patients was associated with clinical outcomes. We used a statistical approach that took advantage of the fact that testing is more available on weekdays than weekends. We found that testing was associated with more angiography and revascularization (coronary stenting or coronary artery bypass surgery) but was not associated with a reduction in future heart attacks.

Continue reading

Comparison of NOACs with Warfarin In Atrial Fibrillation Patients With Single Stroke Risk Factor

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Gregory Y. H. Lip, MD Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine University of Birmingham, UK; Adjunct Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences, Thrombosis Research Unit, Aalborg University, Denmark National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Senior Investigator. Visiting Professor of Haemostasis Thrombosis & Vascular Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham, UK Visiting Professor of Cardiology, University of Belgrade, Serbia; Visiting Professor, University of Leeds, UK Honorary Professor, Chinese PLA Medical School, Beijing, China; Honorary Professor, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China; Visiting Professor, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences City Hospital Birmingham England UK

Dr. Lip

Gregory Y. H. Lip, MD
Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine
University of Birmingham
Adjunct Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences, Thrombosis Research Unit, Aalborg University, Denmark
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Senior Investigator.
Visiting Professor of Haemostasis Thrombosis & Vascular Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham, UK
Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences
City Hospital
Birmingham England UK

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The randomized clinical trials comparing non-Vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs) vs warfarin largely focused on recruitment of high risk atrial fibrillation(AF) patients with >2 stroke risk factors, with only the trials testing dabigatran or apixaban including a minority of patients with 1 stroke risk factor.

Despite this, regulatory approvals of all NOACs have been for stroke prevention in AF patients with ≥1 stroke risk factors. No difference between NOACs compared to warfarin in risk of ischemic stroke/systemic embolism, was seen but for ‘any bleeding’, this was lower for apixaban and dabigatran compared to warfarin.

Continue reading

Survival Benefit from Primary Prevention Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Daniel J. Friedman, MD Duke University Hospital Duke Clinical Research Institute Durham, NC

Dr. Friedman

Daniel J. Friedman, MD
Duke University Hospital
Duke Clinical Research Institute
Durham, NC

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Although primary prevention ICDs have saved countless lives among patients with heart failure and a reduced ejection fraction, the use of primary prevention ICDs in patients with more advanced heart failure [defined by New York Heart Association Class (NYHA)] is controversial.

Specifically, there are conflicting data from the pivotal primary prevention ICD trials regarding whether primary prevention ICDs reduce all-cause mortality among patients with a severely reduced ejection fraction (≤35%) and NYHA III heart failure.

We performed a patient level meta-analysis using data from 4 pivotal primary prevention ICD trials (MADIT-I, MADIT-II, SCD-HeFT, and DEFINITE) to assess whether primary prevention ICD efficacy varied by NYHA class (II vs. III). Overall, the ICD reduced all-cause mortality among the overall population of patients (NYHA II and III). We subsequently assessed ICD efficacy after stratification by NYHA class.

Among NYHA II patients, the ICD significantly reduced all-cause mortality by reducing sudden cardiac death. Although NYHA III patients randomized to an ICD experienced a significantly lower rate of sudden cardiac death, this did not translate into a reduction in all-cause mortality, due to competing causes of non-sudden death (which an ICD cannot treat). Based on relatively wide confidence intervals associated with the estimate for ICD effect in NYHA III patients, there appears to be substantial heterogeneity in outcomes among these patients. This suggests that many NYHA III patients can benefit from a primary prevention ICD, but further study is necessary to determine which NYHA III patients are poised to benefit.

Continue reading

Patients With Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation Less Likely To Receive Anticoagulants

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Nicola Adderley BA, MSci (Cantab), MA, MPhil, PhD Institute of Applied Health Research Research Fellow University of Birmingham

Dr. Adderley

Dr Nicola Adderley BA, MSci (Cantab), MA, MPhil, PhD
Institute of Applied Health Research
Research Fellow
University of Birmingham

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained cardiac arrhythmia and a major global public health problem. It is associated with a five-fold increase in risk of stroke.

There are three types of AF – paroxysmal, persistent or permanent. In paroxysmal AF, episodes come and go, and usually stop without any treatment. With persistent AF episodes can last for periods of more than seven days and are treated with medication or a medical procedure called cardioversion. In permanent AF, the irregular heartbeat is present all the time and cardioversion has failed to restore a normal heart rhythm.

All patients with AF, including paroxysmal AF, are at an increased risk of stroke. UK guidelines recommend anticoagulant treatment, such as the blood-thinning drug warfarin, for patients with all types of AF in order to reduce the risk of stroke.

Our study aimed to determine whether patients with paroxysmal AF are less likely to be treated with anticoagulants than patients with persistent or permanent AF and to investigate trends in treatment between 2000 and 2015.

Continue reading