Does Alcohol Really Protect Against Heart Disease? Evidence Not Clear Cut

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Jinhui Zhao PhD Scientist, Centre for Addictions Research of BC University of Victoria

Dr. Jinhui Zhao

Dr. Jinhui Zhao PhD
Scientist, Centre for Addictions Research of BC
University of Victoria

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

Response:  There are now many studies questioning the validity of the theory that moderate alcohol consumption protects against heart disease. We provided an up to date and comprehensive review of the evidence from ‘cohort’ studies i.e. those that assess health risk behaviours of people then follow them up for a number of years to see what characteristics predict death from a particular condition. We wished to test the theory that the appearance of health benefits in relation to heart disease is due to biases that accumulate and become more severe when cohorts are recruited at older ages (e.g. over 55 years). We found evidence to support this hypothesis. Moderate drinkers recruited before 55 years of age did not show any evidence of reduced risk of heart disease even when followed up into old age. Moderate drinkers from the older cohorts, however, did appear to have significant benefits – a finding we attribute to selection biases that accumulate across the life-course.

Several published meta-analyses showed inconsistent findings about how alcohol consumption affects the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). Most systematic reviews find associations between low-volume alcohol consumption and reduced CHD risk, while some also find increased CHD risk for higher levels of consumption (Maclure 1993, Corrao, Rubbiati et al. 2000, Corrao, Bagnardi et al. 2004, Ronksley, Brien et al. 2011, Roerecke and Rehm 2012). More recent evidence has accumulated to suggest that the case for cardio-protection may be less straightforward. The association of alcohol consumption with CHD may be confounded or modified by other factors such as age and sex and / or biased by those factors which have not been investigated or controlled for in these previously published studies.

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Normalizing Testosterone With Replacement Therapy Reduced Atrial Fibrillation Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Rajat S. Barua, MD; PhD; FACC; FSCAI Associate Professor of Medicine (Cardiology), University of Kansas School of Medicine Director, Cardiovascular Research, Dept. of Cardiology, Kansas City VA Medical Center Director, Interventional Cardiology & Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory Kansas City VA Medical Center

Dr. Barua

Rajat S. Barua, MD; PhD; FACC; FSCAI
Associate Professor of Medicine (Cardiology), University of Kansas School of Medicine
Director, Cardiovascular Research, Dept. of Cardiology, Kansas City VA Medical Center
Director, Interventional Cardiology & Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory
Kansas City VA Medical Center

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

Response: Atrial fibrillation is the most common cardiac arrhythmia worldwide, with significant morbidity, mortality and financial burden. Atrial fibrillation is known to increase with age and is higher in men than in women. Although the underlying mechanisms of this sex difference are still unclear, one preclinical and several small clinical studies have suggested that testosterone deficiency may play a role in the development of atrial fibrillation. To date, no studies have investigated the effect of testosterone-level normalization on incidence of new atrial fibrillation in men after testosterone replacement therapy.

In this study, we investigated the incidence of atrial fibrillation in hypogonadal men with documented low testosterone levels. We compared the incidence of atrial fibrillation among patients who did not receive any testosterone replacement therapy, those who received testosterone replacement therapy that resulted in normalization of total testosterone, and those who received testosterone replacement therapy but that did not result in normal total testosterone levels.

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In Accordance With Guidelines, Fewer Low Risk Patients Receiving Antibiotics Before Dental Procedures

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Daniel C. DeSimone, M.D.</strong> Infectious Diseases Fellowship, Year 2 Mayo Clinic

Dr. DeSimone

Daniel C. DeSimone, M.D.
Infectious Diseases Fellowship, Year 2
Mayo Clinic

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

Response: For over 50 years, the American Heart Association (AHA) has recommended antibiotics to be given to patients with certain cardiac conditions prior to invasive dental procedures (dental cleanings, extractions, root canals) with the hope to prevent infective endocarditis–a potentially deadly infection of the heart valves. Prevention of this infection was preferred to treatment of an established infection due to its high morbidity and mortality rates. However, in 2007, experts found that there was very little, if any, evidence that showed antibiotics prophylaxis prevented infective endocarditis prior to invasive dental procedures. Given this, the AHA revised its guidelines, significant reducing the number of patients where antibiotic prophylaxis would be given–as routine daily activities such as chewing food, tooth brushing, and flossing were much more likely to cause infective endocarditis than a single dental procedure.

For over 50 years, patients with cardiac conditions that placed them at “moderate risk” and/or “high risk” were to receive antibiotics prior to dental procedures. In 2007, the “moderate risk” group were to no longer receive antibiotic prophylaxis. This is a significantly large proportion of patients–approximately 90% of all patients who would have received antibiotic prophylaxis. Given the drastic changes made in 2007, there was concern among the medical and dental communities about whether we were leaving patients “unprotected” and at risk for infective endocarditis. Thankfully, several population based studies from our group and others across the United States have not shown an increase in the rate of infective endocarditis. However, the question remained, “Are providers following the 2007 AHA guidelines?” and “Are patients still receiving antibiotics prior to dental procedures when its no longer indicated by the guidelines?”.

This was the main focus of our paper. We were able to go into the local dental offices and at the same time, have full access to their medical records. Every dental visit between 2005 and 2015 at their dental office was reviewed; the type of dental visit, whether they received antibiotic prophylaxis or not. In addition, we could confirm their cardiac conditions that would place them at “moderate risk” or “high risk” compared to the general population.

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Anticoagulation With Bivalirudin vs Heparin for STEMI treated with PCI: Pros and Cons of Each

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Ion S. Jovin, MD, ScD Associate Professor of Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University Pauley Heart Center Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories and Site Director of the VCU Interventional Cardiology Fellowship Program at  McGuire V.A. Medical Center Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery/Cardiothoracic Surgery Yale University, New Haven, CT

Dr. Jovin


Dr. Ion S. Jovin, MD, ScD

Associate Professor of Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University Pauley Heart Center
Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories and
Site Director of the VCU Interventional Cardiology Fellowship Program at
McGuire V.A. Medical Center
Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery/Cardiothoracic Surgery
Yale University, New Haven, CT

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

Response: There is still uncertainty regarding the best anticoagulant for patients with acute ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) who undergo primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and especially PCI done via radial (as opposed to femoral) access. Our study compared outcomes of patients with STEMI treated with PCI done via radial access in the NCDR database who received one of the two main anticoagulants: bivalirudin and heparin. There is a large degree of variation in the use of the two anticoagulants in PCI and in primary PCI both within the United States but also in the world.

We did not find a statistically significant difference between the outcomes of the two groups of patients, but we also found that a significant number of patients in both the heparin and in the bivalirudin group were also treated with additional medicines that inhibit platelet activation (glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors).

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Elevated Cardiovascular Mortality Concentrated in US Geographic Clusters

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Gregory Roth MD MPH Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation University of Washington, Seattle

Dr. Roth

Dr. Gregory Roth MD MPH
Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation
University of Washington, Seattle

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

Response: My colleagues and I at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, evaluated and analyzed mortality rates from cardiovascular diseases (CVD) on the county level from throughout the United States. We obtained the data from: The National Center for Health Statistics and population counts from the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Center for Health Statistics, and the Human Mortality Database. This data ranged from 1980 through 2014.

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60 Foot Walk Test Correlates With Heart Failure Symptoms

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kristie Harris, M.S. Doctoral Candidate, Department of Psychology Psychology Trainee, OSUWMC Department of Psychiatry Columbus, OH 43210

Ms. Harris

Kristie Harris, M.S.
Doctoral Candidate, Department of Psychology
Psychology Trainee, OSUWMC Department of Psychiatry
Columbus, OH 43210

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

Response: In patients with chronic diseases such as heart failure, treatment strategies and medical management often rely on clinician’s assessment of symptoms and impairments in functional status. The six-minute walk test (6MWT) is a validated and commonly-used measure for assessing functional status in this patient population and has the advantage of being self-paced and easily administered.

However, its clinical utility may be limited because it is time consuming, not suitable for patients with comorbidities that interfere with walking, and requires a long continuous hallway course. In this this study we report the development of an alternative measure of objective functional status, the sixty-foot walk test (60ftWT). For this task, patients are simply asked to walk four laps of 15 feet and the total time taken to walk the 60ft is recorded in seconds.

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SPRINT Trial: Intensive Blood Pressure Control Reduces Risk of LVH

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Elsayed Z. Soliman MD, MSc, MS, FAHA, FACC Director, Epidemiological Cardiology Research Center (EPICARE) Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Prevention Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Cardiology Section Wake Forest School of Medicine Medical Center Blvd, Winston Salem, NC 27157

Dr. Soliman

Elsayed Z. Soliman MD, MSc, MS, FAHA, FACC
Director, Epidemiological Cardiology Research Center (EPICARE)
Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Prevention
Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Cardiology Section
Wake Forest School of Medicine
Medical Center Blvd, Winston Salem, NC 27157

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

Response: We already know that left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH, which is the most common complication of high blood pressure, is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). We also know that successful management of high blood pressure (BP) leads to regression of LVH and improved CVD outcomes in patients with hypertension. However, it is unknown whether intensive BP lowering beyond that recommended would reduce the risk of LVH in patients with hypertension, and whether reducing the risk of LVH explains the reported CVD benefits of intensive BP lowering in this population. Therefore, we examined the differential impact of intensive BP lowering (target systolic BP (SBP).

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Improving Statin Adherence Would Reduce Need For Expensive PCSK9 Inhibitors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Julia M. Akeroyd, MPH

Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness, and Safety (IQuESt)
Michael E. DeBakey Veteran Affairs Medical Center
Salim S Virani, MBBS, Ph.D.
Baylor College of Medicine

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

Response: In the recently published Further Cardiovascular Outcomes Research with PCSK9 Inhibition in Subjects with Elevated Risk (FOURIER) trial, treatment with evolocumab resulted in a 15% relative (1.5% absolute) risk reduction of major cardiovascular events in patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) at a median follow-up of 2.2 years. Given the high cost of evolocumab, there is a need to identify what proportion of ASCVD patients would qualify for evolocumab based on FOURIER entry criteria and how eligibility would change if maximal doses of evidence-based lipid lowering therapies were required.

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All NSAIDS Raise Risk of Heart Attack, Even When Taken For Short Period of Time

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Michèle Bally, BPharm, MSc, PhD

Epidemiologist, Department of Pharmacy, CHUM
Researcher, Health Innovation and Evaluation Hub, CRCHUM

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

Response: The objective of this study was to better understand the risk of heart attack associated with using oral prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (ibuprofen, diclofenac, celecoxib, and naproxen) the way people usually do to treat pain and inflammation in real life circumstances.

In clinical trials, NSAIDs were typically taken on a continuous basis in high standardized doses, as assigned by the trial protocol. However, the dosages and the treatment durations studied in trials may not represent the reality of many patients who use NSAIDs in low or varying doses, use these drugs on and off, or switch between NSAID medications.

We were particularly interested in determining the onset of the risk, that is how soon does the risk of heart attack start increasing? Also, we wanted to investigate the effect of dose and duration of treatment. To do this, we studied the use of a low or high dose level of NSAIDs over certain set periods of time, including taking these medications only for 1 to 7 days.

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After PCI, Two Anticoagulants May Be As Effective As Three

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Nayan Agarwal MD Intervention Cardiology Fellow, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

Dr. Agarwal

Nayan Agarwal MD
Intervention Cardiology Fellow,
University of Florida,
Gainesville, FL

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

Response: Long term anticoagulation is indicated in patients with mechanical heart valves, prior thromboembolic events, atrial fibrillation etc, to prevent recurrent thrombo-embolic episodes. About 20-30% of these patients also have concomitant ischemic heart disease requiring percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).

Post PCI, patients require treatment with dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT) with aspirin and a P2Y12 inhibitor (clopidogrel, prasugrel, ticagrelor) to prevent stent thrombosis. Thus, these patients may end up needing triple antithrombotic therapy with oral anticoagulant (OAC) and DAPT, which increases the bleeding risk.

Both American College of Cardiology(ACC) and European Society of Cardiology (ESC), currently recommend triple therapy in these patients. Recently new evidence has emerged that such patients can be managed with dual therapy of a single antiplatelet (SAPT) and OAC. Hence, we decided to do a systematic review of these studies to evaluate safety and efficacy of dual therapy of SAPT and OAC against triple therapy of DAPT and OAC.

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Bystander CPR Not Only Improves Survival But Reduces Brain Damage

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kristian Kragholm, MD, PhD Departments of Cardiology and Epidemiology/Biostatistics, Aalborg University Hospital, Aalborg, DK

Dr. Kragholm

Kristian Kragholm, MD, PhD
Departments of Cardiology and Epidemiology/Biostatistics,
Aalborg University Hospital,
Aalborg, DK

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

Response: It is well known that early help from bystanders including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) before arrival of the emergency medical services can increase chances of 30-day survival by three to four times compared to situations where no bystander resuscitation was initiated.

The main and novel finding of our study is that bystander interventions, in addition to increasing survival, also lowers the risk of damage to the brain and nursing home admission in 30-day survivors during the first year following out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

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How Do Patients With Compromised Kidney Function Do After TAVR?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Nirat Beohar, MD Vice-Chief of Cardiology Director Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory Director Structural Heart Disease Program Director Interventional Cardiology Fellowship program Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory Columbia University Division of Cardiology, Mount Sinai Medical Center Miami Beach, Miami, FL 33140

Dr. Beohar

Nirat Beohar, MD
Vice-Chief of Cardiology
Director Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory
Director Structural Heart Disease Program
Director Interventional Cardiology Fellowship program
Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory
Columbia University Division of Cardiology,
Mount Sinai Medical Center
Miami Beach, Miami, FL 33140

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

Response: Nirat Beohar MD, Director of the Cardiovascular Catheterization Laboratory and Vice-Chief of Cardiology at the Columbia University Division of Cardiology at the Mount Sinai Medical Center and co-authors report the effect of trans-catheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) on subsequent renal function and outcomes in high-risk and inoperable patients presenting with baseline renal dysfunction (eGFR < 60 ml/min/1.73 m2). This was a sub-study of patients undergoing TAVR in the PARTNER 1 trial and continued access registry that was conducted in 25 centers in the United States and Canada.

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