AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Heart Disease, UT Southwestern / 31.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Wanpen Vongpatanasin, M.D. Professor of Medicine Norman & Audrey Kaplan Chair in Hypertension Fredric L. Coe Professorship in Nephrolithiasis and Mineral Metabolism Research Director, Hypertension Section, Cardiology Division, UT Southwestern Medical Center Dallas, TX 75390-8586 Dr. Wanpen Vongpatanasin, M.D. Professor of Medicine Program Director, Hypertension Fellowship Program UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The new US hypertension guideline places a greater emphasis on out-of-office blood pressure measurement, and maintains that a clinic BP of 130/80 mm Hg is equivalent to the same reading for home BP monitoring or daytime ambulatory BP monitoring. That is based, however, on data from non-US cohorts, primarily from Japanese cohorts and some European populations. None has been studied in the US population until now. To find out, we analyzed large multi-ethnic studies of primarily young and middle-aged adults in Dallas, Texas, and Durham, N.C., that compared home blood pressure to clinic measurements, using the regression correlation (i.e. regression approach). To confirm the findings, we use another approach called “outcome approach” by determining risks of stroke, MI, and death associated with a clinic systolic blood pressure reading of 130 mmHg from the 3,132 participants in the Dallas study during an 11-year follow up. Then, we determined the home blood pressure levels that carried the same heart disease risk and stroke risk as the clinic systolic 130 mm Hg reading. We found that the level of home blood pressure of 130/80 mm Hg actually best correlates with blood pressure taken at the doctor’s office of 130/80 mmHg. This is true for whites, blacks and Hispanic patients in both treated and untreated population.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Surgical Research / 31.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Akram Elgendy MD Division of Cardiovascular Medicine University of Florida   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Recent clinical trials have demonstrated that percutaneous patent foramen ovale closure is associated with lower risk of stroke recurrence in cryptogenic stroke patients. However, new-onset atrial fibrillation (AF) has been reported as a safety concern. To better understand the risk of new-onset AF, we performed a meta-analysis of PFO closure trials in patients with cryptogenic stroke and migraine. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Heart Disease, JAMA, Neurology / 31.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marion Moseby-Knappe, MD Neurologist and Researcher Center for Cardiac Arrest at Lund University and Skane University Hospital Lund, Sweden MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our research focuses on improving methods for examining unconscious patients treated on intensive care units after cardiac arrest. If a patient does not wake up within the first days after cardiac arrest, physicians need to evaluate how likely it is that the patient will awaken at all and to which extent there is brain injury. According to European and American guidelines, decisions on further medical treatment of cardiac arrest patients should always be based on a combination of examinations and not only one single method. Various methods are combined when assessing the patient such as examining different neurologic reflexes, head scans (computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging), other specialist examinations (electroencephalogram or somatosensory evoked potentials) or blood markers. Our research focuses on patients included in the largest cardiac arrest trial to date, the Targeted Temperature Management after Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest (TTM) Trial. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Genetic Research, Heart Disease / 23.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "Pregnancy 1" by operalynn is licensed under CC BY 2.0Heather Boyd, Ph.D. Senior researcher Department of Epidemiology Research Copenhagen Denmark MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We have known for a while that women who have had preeclampsia report different types of cognitive impairment (difficulties with short-term memory, attention deficits) in the years and decades after their pregnancies, and there are a few imaging studies suggesting that these women may have more white matter lesions in the brain and more signs of brain atrophy than women with uncomplicated pregnancies. We also know that women who have had preeclampsia are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease in the years and decades after delivery. Taken together, it was not a great leap to hypothesize that women with a history of preeclampsia might also be at increased risk of dementia later in life. However, the existing epidemiological data were unconvincing, possibly because it takes a great deal of power (a very large study population) to study links between two conditions that often occur decades apart. (more…)
Abbott, Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Heart Disease, JAMA / 20.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr John W Pickering, BSc(Hons), PhD, BA(Hons) Associate Professor , Senior Research Fellow in Acute Care Emergency Care Foundation, Canterbury Medical Research Foundation, Canterbury District Health Board |  Christchurch Hospital Research Associate Professor | Department of Medicine University of Otago Christchurch MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The assessment of patients with suspected myocardial infarction is one of the most common tasks in the emergency department. Most patients assessed (80 to 98% depending on the health system) are ultimate not diagnosed with an MI.   High-sensitivity troponin assays have been shown to have sufficient precision at low concentrations to allow very early rule-out of myocardial infarction. However, these are lab-based assays which typically result in a delay from blood sampling before the result is available and the physician is able to return to a patient to make a decision to release the patient or undertake further investigation. Point-of-care assays provide results much quicker, but have to-date not had the analytical characteristics that allow precise measurements at low concentrations. In this pilot study we demonstrated that a single measurement with a new point-of-care assay (TnI-Nx; Abbott Point of Care) which can measure low troponin concentrations, could safely be used to rule-out myocardial infarction a large proportion of patients (57%). The performance was at least comparable to the high-sensitivity troponin I assay, if not a little better (44%). (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Technology / 04.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Waqaas Al-Siddiq Founder and CEO of Biotricity Inc MedicalResearch.com: In light of Apple's announcement that it will incorporate an EKG monitoring device into Apple watches in the near future, would you discuss your vision of the growing medical wearables market?  Response: First of all, the public is still largely confused as to what constitutes a medical wearable device. Apple’s new watch, with its EKG monitoring service, is not a medical wearable because it will not produce clinical-grade data needed for diagnosis or treatment. This is not to say that Apple’s watch isn’t helpful. Many people are not even aware that they have a heart problem, but if their Apple watch consistently tells them that they have an irregular heart rhythm, or arrhythmia, they could take that as a sign to go to a physician and get a professional diagnosis. A physician will then prescribe a medical wearable device, such as our Bioflux, to monitor the patient’s heart rhythm. Medical-grade wearable devices produce clinical-grade data that is accurate to within 90-95 percent or higher and are prescribed by physicians to make diagnoses and treatment plans. That being said, I envision that the medical wearables market will expand considerably with the advent of consumer-based wearables that facilitate health tracking. One of the biggest problems we have today is a lack of awareness. Anywhere between 2.7 and 6.1 million people in the U.S. suffer from atrial fibrillation - a condition that makes the heart beat irregularly - and many aren’t aware that they have the condition. Consumer-based health trackers like the Fitbit and the Apple Watch can help raise awareness and alert consumers to possible health issues, which will encourage them to see a physician for a thorough and professional examination and diagnosis. This, in turn, gives the medical wearable market a boost as more people will be diagnosed with the aid of a medical wearable. Another factor that is playing into this adoption trend is that next-generation medical wearables are increasingly becoming smaller and easier to use for both patients and physicians. So, I think that the future of medical wearables will see them firmly entrenched in mainstream practice and eventually become tools within the home for individuals with chronic issues.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Heart Disease, JAMA, NIH, Nutrition, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Salt-Sodium / 03.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. George Howard DPH, for the research team Professor and Chair of Biostatistics University of Alabama at Birmingham MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Perhaps the most important distinction to draw for the readers is that this is not a paper about risk factors for hypertension, but rather a paper that looks for contributors to the black-white difference in the presence of hypertension.  This racial difference in hypertension is the single biggest contributor to the immense disparities in cardiovascular diseases (stroke, MI, etc.) that underpin the approximate 4-year difference in black-white life expectancy.  As such, this work is “going back upstream” to understand the causes that lead to blacks having a higher prevalence of hypertension than whites with hopes that changing this difference will lead to reductions in the black-white disparities in cardiovascular diseases and life expectancy.   This difference in the prevalence of hypertension is immense … in our national study of people over age 45, about 50% of whites have hypertension compared to about 70% of blacks … that is HUGE.   We think that changing this difference is (at least one of) the “holy grail” of disparities research. This study demonstrates that there are several “targets” where changes could be made to reduce the black-white difference in hypertension, and thereby the black-white difference in cardiovascular diseases and life expectancy; however, the most “potent” of these appears to be diet changes.   Even though we know what foods promote a heart healthy lifestyle, we still have major differences in terms of how that message is being adopted by various groups of Americans.  We can’t know from our data what about the Southern diet is driving these racial differences in hypertension but we can begin to design community based interventions that could possibly help to reduce these racial disparities through diet.  It is interested that diet more than being overweight was the biggest contributor to the racial disparities in hypertension.  This would suggest we might want to consider interventions to increase health foods in the diet while minimizing fried foods and processed meats. While this is not a clinical trial that “proves” that changes in diet will reduce the disparity in blood pressure, we consider the “message” of the paper to be good news, as the things that we found that contribute to this black-white difference are things that can be changed.   While it is always hard for individual people to change their diet, it can be done.   More importantly, over time we as a society have been changing what we eat … but we need to “double down” and try to change this faster.   Also, policy changes of play a role to gently make changes in these diet, where for example Great Britain has been making policy changes to slowly remove salt from the diet.   These changes are possible … and as such, we may see a day when the black-white differences in hypertension (and thereby CVD and death) may be reduced.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Diabetes, Heart Disease, JACC / 02.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Scott David Solomon, MD Director, Noninvasive Cardiology Professor, Harvard Medical School Brigham and Women's Hospital  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: The sodium glucose transport proteins are known to be important in regulating uptake of glucose. SGLT-1 is predominantly located in the gut and is responsible for uptake of glucose and galactose in the small intestine. Individuals born with severe mutations of this gene have severe malabsorption syndrome. We looked at genetic variants that lead to reduced function of the protein, but not complete loss of function, in a large cohort of individuals in the NIH funded Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. We found that those with mutations in the gene had reduced glucose uptake, as measured by an oral glucose tolerance test, as well as less obesity, diabetes, heart failure and death. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, University of Pittsburgh / 27.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Masashi OkuboMD. Clinical Instructor of Emergency Medicine Research Fellow Department of Emergency Medicine University of Pittsburgh MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) is a major public health problem, annually affecting over 350,000 individuals in the US with low survival rate, 11.4% among those who were treated by emergency medical services (EMS). Prior studies showed a 5-fold difference (3.0% to 16.3%)  in survival to hospital discharge between 10 study sites in North America (US and Canada) and 6.5-fold difference (3.4% to 22.0%) between 132 US counties after OHCA. However, it was unclear how much patient outcome after OHCA differ between EMS agencies which play a critical role in OHCA care. Among 43,656 adults treated for Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest by 112 EMS agencies in North America, we found that survival to hospital discharge differed from 0% to 28.9% between EMS agencies. There was a median difference of 56% in the odds of survival to hospital discharge for patients with similar characteristics between any 2 randomly selected EMS agencies, after adjusting for known measured sources of variability. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Heart Disease / 27.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Prash Sanders Director, Centre for Heart Rhythm Disorders NHMRC Practitioner Fellow, Knapman-NHF Chair of Cardiology Research, University of Adelaide | SAHMRI Director, Cardiac Electrophysiology & Pacing, Royal Adelaide Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: CLINICALLY WE HAVE HAD SOME PATIENTS WHO HAVE SURVIVED SUDDEN DEATH EPISODES AND HAVE NOTED THAT THEY HAD MITRAL VALVE PROLAPSE. THIS STIMULATED US TO UNDERTAKE A REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 22.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eyal Cohen, MD, MSc, FRCP(C) Associate Scientist and Program Head (interim), Child Health Evaluative Sciences Research Institute, The Hospital for Sick Children Staff Physician, Division of Paediatric Medicine, The Hospital for Sick Children Professor, Paediatrics and Health Policy Management & Evaluation The University of Toronto MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Having a child with a major birth defect can be a life-changing and stressful event for the child's mother.  This stress may be associated with higher risk of premature cardiovascular disease. We found that mothers of infants born with a major birth defect had a 15% higher risk of premature cardiovascular disease that a comparison group of mothers.  The risk was more pronounced, rising to 37% among mothers who gave birth to a more severely affected infant (and infant born with major birth defects affecting more than one organ system). The risk was apparent even within the first 10 years after the birth of the child. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Heart Disease, JAMA, Lipids / 20.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Luca A. Lotta, MD, PhD Senior Clinical Investigator MRC Epidemiology Unit University of Cambridge MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
  • Drugs that enhance the breakdown of circulating triglycerides by activating lipoprotein lipase (LPL) are in pre-clinical or early-clinical development.
  • It is not known if these drugs will reduce heart attacks or diabetes risk when added to the current first line therapies (statins and other cholesterol-lowering agents).
  • Studying this would require large randomised controlled trials, which are expensive (millions of GBPs) and time-consuming (years).
  • Human genetic data can be used to provide supportive evidence of whether this therapy is likely to be effective by “simulating” a randomised controlled trial.
  • Our study used naturally occurring genetic variants in the general population (study of ~400,000 people) to address this.
  • Individuals with naturally-lower cholesterol due to their genetic makeup were used as model for cholesterol-lowering therapies (eg. Statins).
  • Individuals with naturally-lower triglycerides due to genetic variants in the LPL gene were used as model for these new triglyceride-lowering therapies.
  • We studied the risk of heart attacks and type 2 diabetes in people in different groups.
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Dermatology, Heart Disease, JAMA, Vaccine Studies / 10.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Jeffrey Rapaport MD, PA Emeritus head of Dermatology Teaneck's Holy Name Hospital. Dr. Rapaport discusess a case recently reported in JAMA: In 2016: A 97-year-old female patient was suffering from multiple squamous cell carcinomas varying from small to incredibly large in size on both of her legs. She was injected with the HPV vaccine commonly known as Gardasil, which is also used to treat warts and oral papilloma. She was first injected in her arm, and then after a period of six weeks, the vaccine was directly injected into her tumors. It was observed that this treatment eventually killed off almost all the tumors on her legs. According to recent press coverage, she is now looking forward to celebrating her 100th birthday in fall 2018. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?Is HPV thought be a trigger for some cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas? Response: The link between skin cancers and HPV vaccinations has normally been investigated in patients who have received organ transplants. Due to the immune-suppressant drugs these patients must take, it is incredibly common to find cases of skin cancer in patients who have undergone transplants. The relaxed immune system, which would normally eliminate cancers caused by the HPV virus, would open the floodgates for multiple skin tumors to emerge. In this case of the 97 year old, I would assume her immune system was healthy. There is, however, growing evidence that receiving multiple vaccines for the HPV virus is necessary even in patients with healthy immune systems. So, regardless of immune health, I believe we need to expand the frequency of the HPV vaccine, even beyond the current three-tiered system for women below 26 and men below 21. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, Supplements / 09.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Pieter Cohen, M.D. Associate Professor of Medicine Cambridge Health Alliance Assistant Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Dietary supplements lead to an estimated 23,000 emergency department visits each year in the United States (US), and weight loss and sports supplements contribute to a disproportionately large number of these emergency department visits. It is not known which ingredients in weight loss and sports supplements pose the greatest risk to consumers, but there are stimulants found in botanical remedies that might pose risks. In the current study, we investigated the presence and quantity of higenamine a stimulant found in botanicals and available in sports and weight loss supplements sold in the US. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Heart Disease / 07.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Cardiovascular Disease” by Sharon Sinclair is licensed under CC BY 2.0Hilary K. Wall, MPH Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention CDC  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Despite decades-long reductions in cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality, CVD mortality rates have recently plateaued and even increased in some subgroups, and the prevalence of CVD risk factors remains high. Million Hearts 2022, a 5-year initiative with a goal of preventing one million heart attacks, strokes and other acute cardiovascular events by 2022, was launched in 2017 to address this burden. This report establishes a baseline for the CVD risk factors targeted for reduction by the initiative during 2017–2021 and highlights recent changes over time. These risk factors include: the “ABCS” of cardiovascular disease prevention: Aspirin when appropriate, Blood pressure control, Cholesterol management, and Smoking cessation; combustible tobacco product use; physical inactivity; and mean daily sodium intake. (more…)
Anesthesiology, Author Interviews, ENT, Heart Disease, JAMA / 03.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Henry E. Wang, MD, MS Professor and Vice Chair for Research University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Department of Emergency Medicine Houston, Texas MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: For over three decades, paramedics have performed endotracheal intubation (ETI) as the standard advanced airway management strategy in cardiac arrest. However, intubation is a difficult and error-prone intervention. Newer supraglottic airways such as the laryngeal tube (LT) offer easier insertion technique with comparable ventilation. However, intubation and laryngeal tubes have not been tested head-to-head in a randomized trial. Our study - the Pragmatic Airway Resuscitation Trial (PART) - tested intubation vs laryngeal tube for airway management in adult out-of-hospital cardiac arrests. The trial included 27 EMS agencies from the Birmingham, Dallas-Fort Worth, Milwaukee, Portland and Pittsburgh communities. The trial randomized a total of 3,004 adult cardiac arrests to airway management with ETI or LT. We found that compared with traditional ETI, LT was associated with almost 3% better survival. Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival in the US is less than 10%, so the observed difference is important.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Surgical Research / 27.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Amine Mazine, MD, MSc Associate Editor, BMC Surgery PGY-4 Cardiac Surgery PhD Candidate, Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering McEwen Center for Regenerative Medicine Surgeon-Scientist Training Program University of Toronto MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: We performed this study to compare two methods of replacing a diseased aortic valve in young and middle-aged adults: using an artificial mechanical valve (mechanical aortic valve replacement) versus using the patient’s own pulmonary valve (Ross procedure). The study was a meta-analysis of existing literature that included more than 3,500 adult patients. It found that those who underwent the Ross procedure were 46 per cent less likely to experience death from any cause than patients who underwent mechanical aortic valve replacement. Patients in the Ross group were also less likely to suffer from a stroke or major bleeding, and had better quality of life. Patients who underwent the Ross procedure were more likely to need late reoperation, but this did not negatively impact their survival. (more…)
Author Interviews, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, Heart Disease, Karolinski Institute / 27.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Robin Hofmann, MD PhD Senior consultant cardiologist and researcher Department of clinical science and education Södersjukhuset, at Karolinska Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Oxygen has been used to treat patients suffering a heart attack for more than a century, despite the fact that such treatment has not had any scientifically proven effect on patients who have normal oxygen levels in their blood. Since the turn of the millennium, researchers worldwide have started to question whether oxygen therapy for heart attacks is ineffective – or may even be harmful. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, NEJM, Surgical Research / 27.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jean François Obadia Adult Cardiovascular Surgery and Transplantation Louis Pradel HospitalJean François Obadia MD PhD Adult Cardiovascular Surgery and Transplantation Louis Pradel Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? -By definition a secondary MR concerns a normal valve or sub normal valve inside a dilated heart with poor LV function in a population of Heart failure patients. It is perfectly established today that secondary MR is a predictor of poor clinical outcomes of thissevere population. -Therefore,it has been proposed to treat those regurgitation either by surgery (mainly the downsizing anuloplasty) or by percutaneous technique like the mitraclipwhich has been used more and more frequently recently. -However, a beneficial effect on hardclinical outcomes has never been provedandwe still don’t know if those regurgitations need to be corrected or not, We still don’t Know if the regurgitation is the cause, the consequence or just a marker of poor prognosis. -In this context according to the guidelines, there is a low level of evidence to support those treatments, and Europe and US Guidelines call for prospective randomized studies in this severe population.​ And this excatly what we have done with MITRA-FR (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Infections, JAMA / 27.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Pr. Didier Raoult Directeur de l'IHU Méditerranée-Infection Marseille  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This work represents the sum of data accumulated over several decades of studies on Q fever. Our reference center contacts each of the physicians in charge and ensures patient follow-up, which allows obtaining data, that is not comparable to those used automatically in databanks. Four people exclusively dedicated their time to manage these specific data on Q fever. The main data confirm the need to perform a cardiac ultrasound for all patients with Q fever and acute endocarditis (to detect valvulopathy) and to give a prophylactic treatment to avoid fixation on the heart in patients with valvulopathy. This work helps clarify the evolution of Q fever by eliminating the term of chronic Q fever, which is based on non-clinical elements, and defining persistent Q fever for which there is an identifiable focus of infection. Furthermore, this work makes it possible to recommend systematic detection of antiphospholipid antibodies in order to limit the risk of thrombosis and the risk of cardiac fixation. (more…)
Author Interviews, CT Scanning, Heart Disease, NEJM / 25.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof David Newby FRSE FMedSci Personal Chair - BHF John Wheatley Chair of Cardiology University of Edinburgh MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There are many tests that can try and determine whether a patient has heart disease. All are imperfect and do not directly see if the heart arteries are diseased. This study used a CT heart scan to see if there was any heart disease in patients who presented to the outpatient clinic with chest pains that could be due to coronary heart disease. The doctor use the scan result to decide whether they had heart disease and how to manage the patient. The study has found that if you use a CT heart scan then you are less likely to have a heart attack in the future. In the first year, you may require treatment with an angiogram and heart surgery (stent or heart bypass) but after the first year, you are less likely to need these treatments because the disease has already been treated promptly. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Heart Disease, Women's Heart Health / 23.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brad N. Greenwood PhD Associate Professor Information & Decision Sciences Carlson School of Management University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, Minneapolis MN MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There has been growing work in medicine which suggests both that a) women are more skilled physicians across a variety of ailments and b) women are particularly challenging heart attack patients (for a variety of reasons ranging from delays in seeking treatment to atypical presentation). When you coupled this with the deep literatures in economics, sociology, and political science which suggests that advocatees experience better outcomes when they share traits with their advocates, it seemed plausible that there might be differences in outcomes. The key finding is that gender concordance matters most for female patients:  female patients are about 0.7-1.2% more likely to die if treated by a male doctor, relative to a female doctor.  This number seems small.  But, if the survival rate among the female heart attack patients treated by male doctor was the same as the survival rate among female heart attack patients treated by female doctors, about 1,500-3,000 fewer of the female heart attack patients in our sample would have passed away. Our sample covers the state of Florida from 1991-2010.  Florida is about 10% of the US population. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, CMAJ, Heart Disease / 20.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Peter Kavsak, PhD, FCACB, FAACC, FCCS Professor, Pathology and Molecular Medicine McMaster University  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: For patients who present to the hospital with symptoms suggestive of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) the preferred blood test to help physicians in making a diagnosis is cardiac troponin. Recent studies have demonstrated that a very low or undetectable cardiac troponin level when measured with the newest generation of blood tests (i.e., the high-sensitivity cardiac troponin tests) in this population may rule-out myocardial infarction (MI or a heart attack) on the initial blood sample collected in the emergency department, thus enabling a faster decision and foregoing the need for subsequent serial measurements of cardiac troponin over several hours as recommended by the guidelines. The problem with this approach, however, is that using high-sensitivity cardiac troponin alone to do this has not reliably been demonstrated to achieve a sensitivity >99% for detecting MI, which is the estimate that most physicians in this setting consider as safe for discharge. Our study goal was to compare the diagnostic performance of a simple laboratory algorithm using common blood tests (i.e., a clinical chemistry score (CCS) consisting of glucose, estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), and either high-sensitivity cardiac troponin I or T) to high-sensitivity cardiac troponin alone for predicting MI or death within the first month following the initial blood work. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Lancet / 12.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Araz Rawshani, PhD Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine Institute of Medicine University of Gothenburg Gothenburg, Sweden MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  Response: Patients with type 2 diabetes have 2 to 4 times greater risk for death and cardiovascular events compared to the general population. There are several randomized trails that encourage a range of interventions that target traditional and modifiable risk factors, such as elevated levels for glycated hemoglobin, blood pressure and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol to reduce the risk for complications of type 2 diabetes. However, there are few randomized trails that have investigated the effects of multifactorial risk factor intervention in reducing the risk for death and cardiovascular events, as compared to patients that are treated with usual care. We set out to investigate the extent to which the excess risk associated with type 2 diabetes may be mitigated or potentially eliminated by means of evidence-based treatment and multifactorial risk factor modification. In addition, we estimated the relative importance between various risk factors and the incremental risk of death and cardiovascular events associated with diabetes. Furthermore, we investigated the association between glycated hemoglobin, systolic blood pressure and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) within evidence based target ranges and the abovementioned outcomes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA / 10.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Seth Landefeld, M.D.  Dr. Landefeld is chairman of the department of medicine and the Spencer chair in medical science leadership at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Medicine. Dr. Landefeld also serves on the board of directors of the American Board of Internal Medicine, the UAB Health System, and the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by atrial fibrillation and whom it primarily affects? Response: Atrial fibrillation—or AF—is an irregular heartbeat. AF affects nearly 3 million Americans and is a leading cause of stroke. Older age and obesity increase the risk of AF, and the condition also occurs more in men than in women. With an aging society and the growing prevalence of obesity in the U.S., this was an important topic for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force to review. The Task Force looked at the latest research to see if screening for atrial fibrillation using electrocardiography—or ECG, which is a test that records the activity of someone’s heart—to supplement traditional care is an effective way to diagnose AF and prevent stroke. We found that more research is needed to determine if screening with ECG can help to identify AF and prevent stroke in adults who are 65 and older and do not have signs or symptoms of the disease.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Heart Disease, JACC / 09.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: John D Horowitz, MBBS, PhD. Director of Cardiology/Clinical Pharmacology Queen Elizabeth Hospital University of Adelaide Australia  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response:  Atrial fibrillation (AF) describes intermittent or permanent episodes of irregular pulse, due to rapid electrical activity within the atria (filling chambers) of the heart. During AF, the atria quiver, rather than contract, and the response of the ventricles is often rapid, resulting in palpitations and an increased risk of development of heart failure. AF may occur at any age, but is most common in ageing patients (typically over 75 years). The primary importance of AF is that it markedly increases the risk of thrombus formation in the atrium, with the resultant problem that these thrombi may dislodge (embolise), and commonly block arteries in the brain, causing strokes. Hence patients with AF are usually treated with anticoagulants. Although AF often occurs in patients with prior damage to their hearts and atrial distension, there has been evidence for about the past 8 years that AF also is caused, at least in part, by inflammatory changes: two components have been identified as possible causes for this inflammation: lack of nitric oxide (NO) effect[ NO is  an anti-inflammatory chemical formed by all tissues in the body],  and excess activity of the pro-inflammatory enzyme myeloperoxidase (MPO).  High concentrations of ADMA, which inhibits NO formation, may result from effects of MPO on tissues. SDMA, which is closely related to ADMA, also exerts pro-inflammatory effects and tends to suppress NO formation. The currently reported study began with the design of the ARISTOTLE trial, an investigation of the (then) novel anticoagulant apixaban as an alternative to warfarin therapy, as a means of preventing strokes in patients with AF. It was elected to perform a substudy to investigate the potential role of ADMA and SDMA as modulators of risk in patients with atrial fibrillation. This substudy, performed in just over 5000 patients from the ARISTOTLE trial, essentially asked two questions: (1) There are several indices of stroke risk in patients with atrial fibrillation, such as the CHADS2 score. These all rely on patient characteristics (eg age, presence of diabetes) rather than chemical changes. We postulated that there would be a direct relationship between clinically based risk scores and ADMA/SDMA concentrations. (2) More ambitiously, we postulated that ADMA and SDMA concentrations would represent INDEPENDENT risk markers for major adverse effects in atrial fibrillation patients on anticoagulant treatment, namely stroke, major bleeding and risk of mortality.  ADMA/SDMA concentrations were determined in Adelaide, Australia, while statistical analyses were performed in Uppsala, Sweden. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, JAMA, Lipids / 03.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marc S. Sabatine, MD, MPH Chairman | TIMI Study Group Lewis Dexter, MD, Distinguished Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital Professor of Medicine | Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) is a well-established risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The initial statin trials studied patients with high levels of LDL-C, and showed a benefit by lowering LDL-C. We and others did studies in patients with so-called “average” levels of LDL-C (120-130 mg/dL), and also showed clinical benefit with lowering. (more…)