Author Interviews, Diabetes, Heart Disease, JAMA, OBGYNE / 17.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Cuilin Zhang MD, PhD Senior Investigator Epidemiology Branch Division of Intramural Population Health Research NICHD/National Institutes of Health. Bethesda, MD 20817 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Gestational diabetes (GDM) is a common pregnancy complication. The American Heart Association identifies gestational diabetes as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in women, based on consistent evidence for the relationships between gestational diabetes and subsequent hypertension, dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes, vascular dysfunction and atherosclerosis. Also, previous studies identify GDM as a risk factor for intermediate markers of CVD risk; however, few are prospective, evaluate hard cardiovascular disease end points, or account for shared risk factors including body weight and lifestyle. (more…)
Annals Thoracic Surgery, Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Heart Disease, Surgical Research, Women's Heart Health / 06.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Habib Jabagi B.Sc., M.Sc., M.D. Department of Surgery University of Ottawa , Ottawa MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings Response: Women with coronary artery disease (CAD) are at a significant disadvantage compared to men, as they do not consistently receive the same intensive treatment. For example, when surgery is done in men, it is more common to use arteries, as opposed to saphenous veins from the leg to complete the bypass graft. Arteries, such as the left internal thoracic artery, appear to have much better long-term patency than veins, which translates into improved outcomes. The motivation for this study was to see if our centre, which has embraced the use of arteries quite aggressively, has suffered the same gender disparities with respect to the use of multiple arterial revascularization strategies in coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Gender Differences, Heart Disease / 02.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Min Zhao PhD student Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, Clinical Epidemiology University Medical Center Utrech MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Heart disease is still one of leading causes of deaths and disability worldwide. Management of modifiable risk factors, including both medical treatment target and healthy lifestyle, reduce the chance of new heart attack among those who survived a previous heart attack (so-called secondary prevention). Previous studies have demonstrated that the secondary prevention of heart disease is poorer among women than men. However, most studies were performed in Western populations. We aimed to assess whether sex differences exist on risk factor management and to investigate geographic variations of any such sex differences. Our study is a large-scale international clinical audit performed during routine clinic visit. We recruited over 10,000 patients who had survived a previous heart attack from 11 countries in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. (more…)
Author Interviews, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, Emergency Care, Heart Disease / 02.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alexis Cournoyer MD Université de Montréal Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur de Montréal Institut de Cardiologie de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada.  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Out-of-hospital advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) is frequently provided to patients suffering from cardiac arrest.  This was shown to improve rates of return of spontaneous circulation, but there was no good evidence that it improved any patient-oriented outcomes.  Given the progress of post-resuscitation care, it was important to reassess if ACLS improved survival in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.  Also, with the advent of extracorporeal resuscitation, a promising technique that needs to be performed relatively early in the course of the resuscitation and which seems to improve patients' outcome, we wanted to evaluate if prolonged prehospital resuscitation with ACLS was effective in extracorporeal resuscitation candidates. In this study, we observed, as was noted in previous study, that prehospital advanced cardiac life support  did not provide a benefit to patients regarding survival to discharge, but increased the rate of prehospital return of spontaneous circulation.  It also prolonged the delay before hospital arrival of around 15 minutes.  In the patients eligible for extracorporeal resuscitation, we observed the same findings. (more…)
Author Interviews, Columbia, Heart Disease, Orthopedics / 28.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Mathew Maurer, Medical Director The Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Transthryretin cardiac amyloidosis (TTR-CA) is an underdiagnosed type of cardiomyopathy in which TTR (transthyretin, also known as prealbumin), a protein that forms amyloid fibrils, deposits in the heart. The deposits cause thickening of the ventricular wall and diastolic as well as systolic dysfunction. It is usually discovered around age 75 and presents more commonly in men than in women. With advances in non-invasive diagnostic modalities and growing awareness, TTR-CA is being diagnosed increasingly more frequently. Additionally, there are several emerging treatments that are under active investigation. Most of these therapies prevent disease progression and don’t address the amyloid already deposited in the heart. Accordingly, it is imperative that we diagnose TTR-CA before patients develop significant amyloid heart disease. However, this presents a great challenge since there are few known clinical predictors that might alert even the most astute physician that a patient is at such risk. With identification of predictors that may appropriately raise the index of clinical suspicion, clinicians may begin to pick up more subtle (and perhaps not yet clinically significant) forms of TTR-CA and initiate treatment before significant damage occurs. The few known clinical predictors of TTR-CA include bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome and lumbar spinal stenosis, and numerous studies found TTR on biopsies and autopsies of other musculoskeletal sites, particularly in hip and knee joints. (Just last week, and also discussed here on MedicalResearch.com, biceps tendon rupture was also shown to occur more frequently in TTR-CA!) We suspected that patients who ultimately develop TTR-CA may first develop clinically significant hip and knee disease, enough to even warrant a hip (THA) or knee (TKA) replacement. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, JAMA, Orthopedics / 22.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Avinainder Singh, M.B.B.S. Research Fellow Cardiovascular Medicine Brigham & Women's Hospital Harvard Medical School Boston, MA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Amyloidosis due to aberrant folding of proteins. These misfolded proteins can deposit in various parts of the body and lead to organ dysfunction. The two most common types of amyloidosis affecting the heart include transthyretin and light chain amyloidosis. Transthyretin is a protein produced by the liver which supports the transport of thyroxine and retinol. Wild-type transthyretin amyloidosis (ATTRwt, previously known as senile amyloidosis) occurs due to deposition of misfolded fibrils derived from transthyretin and primarily affects elderly men. Once considered a rare disease, it is now reported to be responsible for nearly 13% of heart failure with preserved ejected fraction and increased wall thickness. Rupture of the biceps tendon is a rare occurrence in the general population (<1 per 1000). We noticed a ruptured biceps tendon in several patients with wild-type transthyretin amyloidosis and performed this study to further evaluate this finding in a group of patients with wild-type transthyretin amyloidosis and in a control group of age-matched patients with non-amyloid heart failure. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, Technology / 20.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Muthiah Vaduganathan, MD, MPH Brigham and Women’s Hospital Heart & Vascular Center and Harvard Medical School Boston, Massachusetts MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The CardioMEMS™ HF System (Abbott, Sylmar, CA) is a commercially-available, wireless hemodynamic monitor that can be permanently implanted in the pulmonary artery (PA) to permit real-time, remote monitoring of PA pressures to enhance clinical decision-making in patients with heart failure (HF). Based on a favorable safety profile and the results of the CHAMPION trial, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the device in May 2014. Since FDA approval, the device is being implanted in older patients with greater comorbidities compared with those enrolled in CHAMPION. Limited safety data are available after market introduction in this higher-risk pool. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Heart Disease / 19.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kevin M. Harris, MD Director, Fellowship Training; Director, Echocardiography Allina Health, Minnesota MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Triathlon is a popular endurance sport which combines swimming, bicycling and running. We investigated the death rate in the triathlon since its inception in the United States in 1985 through 2016. Specifically we were able to look at the rate of death in USAT races from 2006 to 2016. We identified 135 deaths/cardiac arrests over the time period. 85% of victims were male and victims averaged 47 years. Most deaths and cardiac arrests occurred in the swim. 15 of the deaths were traumatic occurring during the bike portion. The rate of death was 1.74 per 100,000 participants. The death rate was significantly higher for males than females and increased significantly for men > 40 years. On autopsy, nearly half of those victims were found to have significant cardiovascular disease. (more…)
Author Interviews, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, Heart Disease, JAMA / 15.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Hans Kirkegaard, MD, PhD, DMSci, DEAA, DLS Research Center for Emergency Medicine and Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine Aarhus University Hospital and Aarhus University Aarhus, Denmark  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In 2002, two landmark studies demonstrated that mild therapeutic hypothermia (now known as targeted temperature management, TTM) for 12 or 24 hours improves neurological outcome in adult comatose patients suffering from out of hospital cardiac arrest. Accordingly, international guidelines now recommend TTM for at least 24 hours in this patient group. However, there are no studies, only case reports that explore the effect of prolonged cooling. We therefore wanted to set up a trial that could fill out this knowledge gap, we hypothesized that doubling the hypothermia dose to 48 hour would improve neurological outcome without increasing the risk of adverse events considerably. (more…)
Author Interviews, Boehringer Ingelheim, Columbia, Heart Disease, J&J-Janssen, Merck, NEJM / 14.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Christopher P. Cannon MD Executive Director, Cardiometabolic Trials, Baim Institute Cardiologist Brigham and Women's Hospital Baim Institute for Clinical Research Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The trial explored whether a dual therapy approach of anticoagulation and P2Y12 antagonist - without aspirin - in non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF) patients following percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and stent placement would be as safe, and still efficacious, as the current standard treatment – triple therapy. For more detailed background on the study, readers may want to review the first paragraph of the article in the New England Journal of Medicine. Results showed significantly lower rates of major or clinically relevant non-major bleeding events for dual therapy with dabigatran, when compared to triple therapy with warfarin. In the study, the risk for the primary safety endpoint (time to major or clinically relevant non-major bleeding event) was 48 percent lower for dabigatran 110 mg dual therapy and 28 percent lower for dabigatran 150 mg dual therapy (relative difference), with similar rates of overall thromboembolic events. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, NEJM, Stroke, Surgical Research / 13.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Jean-Louis MAS Université Paris Descartes INSERM UMR S 894 Service de Neurologie et Unité Neurovasculaire Hôpital Sainte-Anne Paris  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Stroke is a major cause of death, disability and dementia affecting 17 million people each year worldwide. About 80% of strokes are ischemic strokes due to occlusion of a cerebral artery by a thrombus, itself the consequence of various arterial or heart diseases. In 30 to 40% of cases, no definite cause of ischemic stroke can be identified. Cryptogenic stroke is the term used to refer to these strokes of unknown etiology. The patent foramen ovale (PFO) is a defect between the upper two heart chambers (called atria) though which a thrombus of venous origin may reach the systemic circulation and cause a stroke. This mechanism is called paradoxical embolism. Several case-control studies have shown an association between PFO and cryptogenic ischemic stroke, particularly in patients less than 60 years old, in those who have an atrial septal aneurysm (defined as an abnormal protrusion of the interatrial septum in the right or the left atrium or both) in addition to a PFO, and in those who have a PFO with a large right-to-left shunt. These findings suggested that a PFO might be responsible for stroke and that PFO closure with a device may decrease the risk of stroke recurrence. However, the causative relationship between PFO and stroke and the best strategy to prevent stroke recurrence have long been a hot topic of debate. Three previous randomized clinical trials failed to demonstrate any superiority of PFO closure over antithrombotic therapy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Columbia, Heart Disease, Lipids / 13.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Jay Edelberg MD, PhD VP Head of Cardiovascular Development and Head Global Cardiovascular Medical Affairs Sanofi  MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from the data that Sanofi and Regeneron is presenting at ESC Congress 2017?    Response: This year at European Society of Cardiology (ESC,) we are pleased to present analyses that further demonstrate additional efficacy and tolerability of Praluent (alirocumab). While statins remain the first-line treatment, Praluent has shown a consistent benefit as an additional therapy to high-intensity statins in patients with clinical atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) and/or heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH), allowing many patients to achieve low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels previously considered unattainable in this patient population. Our data further emphasize the need for additional cholesterol-lowering options in these high cardiovascular (CV) risk patient populations, including individuals living with diabetes  (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Surgical Research / 07.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mario Goessl, MD, PhD, FACC, FAHA, FESC, FSCAI Director, Research and Education, Center for Valve and Structural Heart Disease Director, LAAC/Watchman™ Program Program Director, Fellowship in Advanced Adult Structural and Congenital Heart Disease Interventions and Interventional Cardiology Fellowship Minneapolis Heart Institute | Abbott Northwestern Hospital, part of Allina Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We wanted to investigate if asymptomatic patients with severe aortic stenosis benefit clinically from adherence to current national guidelines that suggest close follow up within 6-12 months. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 07.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nassir F. Marrouche, MD Professor, Internal Medicine Cardiology University of Utah  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Study the effectiveness of catheter ablation of Atrial Fibrillation in patients with heart failure in improving hard primary endpoints of mortality and heart failure progression when compared to conventional standard treatment (more…)
Author Interviews, Electronic Records, Heart Disease, JAMA / 06.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rohan Khera MD Division of Cardiology University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Texas  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: An increasing number of studies have used administrative claims (or billing) data to study in-hospital cardiac arrest with the goal of understanding differences in incidence and outcomes at hospitals that are not part of quality improvement initiatives like the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Resuscitation (AHA’s GWTG-Resuscitation). These studies have important implications for health policies and determining targets for interventions for improving the care of patients with this cardiac arrest, where only in 1 in 5 patient survive the hospitalization. Therefore, in our study, we evaluated the validity of such an approach. We used data from 56,678 patients in AHA’s GWTG-Resuscitation with a confirmed in-hospital cardiac arrest, which were linked to Medicare claims data. We found: (1)  While most prior studies have used a diagnosis or procedure code alone to identify cases of in-hospital cardiac arrest, we found that the majority of confirmed cases in a national registry (AHA’s GWTG-Resuscitation) would not be captured using either administrative data strategy. (2)  Survival rates using administrative data to identify cases from the same reference population varied markedly and were 52% higher (28.4% vs. 18.7%) when using diagnosis codes alone to identify in-hospital cardiac arrest. (3)  There was large hospital variation in documenting diagnosis or procedure codes for patients with in-hospital cardiac arrest, which would have consequences for using administrative data to examine hospital-level variation in cardiac arrest incidence or survival, or conducting single-center studies to validate this administrative approach. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Emergency Care, Heart Disease / 06.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sandra L. Jackson, PhD National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Chamblee GA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: People who have atrial fibrillation are at increased risk for having a heart attack or stroke. While we know that the percentage of the population with atrial fibrillation is increasing in the US, there is no national surveillance system to track the burden of emergency department visits, hospitalizations and deaths related to atrial fibrillation across all ages and health insurance provider types. This study combined data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project and the National Vital Statistics System to provide national estimates for atrial fibrillation-related healthcare service use and deaths from 2006-2014. (more…)
Author Interviews, Boehringer Ingelheim, Heart Disease, PAD / 03.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: John Eikelboom MBBS Associate Professor, Division of Hematology & Thromboembolism Department of Medicine Canada Research Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine Canadian Institutes for Health Research McMaster University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Cardiovascular disease affects 1 in 25 persons around the world and a total of more than 300 million individuals. Thrombus formation at the site of a ruptured atherosclerotic plaque is the commonest mechanism of myocardial infarction and ischemic stroke in patients with cardiovascular disease. Aspirin is effective for the prevention of these complications but reduces the risk by only 19% during long term therapy. Rivaroxaban has previously been tested in the ATLAS ACS-2 TIMI 51 trial at doses of 2.5 mg twice daily or 5 mg twice daily on top of background antiplatelet therapy and has been shown to reduce major adverse cardiovascular events as well as mortality. We tested these same doses of rivaroxaban for the prevention of cardiovascular death, stroke or myocardial infarction in patients with stable cardiovascular disease. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Lipids / 03.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Rahul Potluri Senior author and founder of the ACALM Study Unit Aston Medical School Aston University Birmingham, UK MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The links between hyperlipidaemia and cancer has been exciting scientists in recent years.  We have previously shown an association with breast cancer and hyperlipidaemia using a cross-sectional dataset in 2014. In 2016 we showed that in patients with the four main cancers in the UK (namely Breast, Lung, Colon and Prostate) that the presence of hyperlipidaemia improved the long term mortality and prognosis of these patients.  In this study utilising a big data, longitudinal study methodology, we looked at 16043 healthy women above the age of 40 with hyperlipidaemia and compared these to an age and gender matched control sample of 16043 healthy women without high cholesterol. We then followed up these patients and found that subsequent breast cancer rates in the women with hyperlipidaemia were 45% lower. Subsequent mortality in those patients who developed breast cancer was also 40% lower in the hyperlipidaemia group compared to the non-hyperlipidaemia controlled sample. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Nutrition / 02.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Mahshid Dehghan, PhD Investigator- Nutrition Epidemiology Program Population Health Research Institute Senior Research Associate – Department of Medicine McMaster University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: For decades, dietary guidelines have largely focused on reducing total fat and saturated fat intake based on the idea that reducing fat consumption should reduce the risk of CVD. But this did not take into account what nutrients replace saturated fats in the diet. Given that carbohydrates are relatively inexpensive, reducing fats (especially saturated fat) is often accompanied by increased carbohydrate consumption. This approach continues to influence health policy today. The guidelines were developed some 4 decades back mainly using data from some Western countries (such as Finland) where fat and saturated fat intakes were very high (eg total fat intake was >40% of caloric intake and saturated fats was >20% of caloric intake). It is not clear whether the harms seen at such high levels applies to current global intakes or countries outside North America and Europe where fat intakes are much lower. The PURE (Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology) study is a large international cohort study of more than 157,000 people aged 35 to 70 years from 18 low-income, middle-income, and high-income countries on 5 continents. In this study, 135,335 individuals with dietary information and without cardiovascular disease at baseline were included in the study. Standardized questionnaires were used to collect information about demographics, socio-economic factors, lifestyle behaviors, health history and medication use. Standardized case-report forms were used to record data on major cardiovascular events and mortality during follow-up, which were adjudicated centrally in each country by trained physicians using standard definitions. The participants were followed-up for 7.5 years, during which time 4784 major cardiovascular events and 5796 deaths were recorded. (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, Heart Disease / 31.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Julien Vaucher  Physician and clinical research fellow (joint first author) Department of Internal Medicine Lausanne University Hospital Lausanne, Switzerland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Since the sixties, traditional studies have found that people who stay longer in the educational system subsequently develop less coronary heart disease. However, whether this association is causal is not clear, partly because randomised controlled trials are practically infeasible in this area. In our study, we used a genetic approach, called Mendelian randomization, that represents the next best thing to do.Based on genetic variants randomized by nature, we were able to randomize individuals according to 162 genetic markers that associate with more or less education. In other words, we used genetic markers, free from condounding factors, as proxies of education to reproduce the conditions of a trial. Then, if the genetic markers also associate together with coronary heart disease, the association between education and coronary heart disease is likely to be causal. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Pharmacology / 31.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Todd Hobbs, MD Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Novo Nordisk North America  MedicalResearch.com: Would you tell us a little about liraglutide? How does it work to control diabetes/blood sugar?  Response: Victoza® (liraglutide) is a human glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analog that was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2010 to help lower blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes. Victoza® is the #1 prescribed (GLP-1) receptor agonist. Victoza® is a non-insulin, once-a-day medication that helps lower blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes by increasing glucose-dependent insulin release, inhibiting glucagon secretion, and slowing gastric emptying. On August 25, the FDA approved a new indication for Victoza®, making it the only type 2 diabetes treatment approved to reduce the risk of major adverse cardiovascular (CV) events, heart attack, stroke and CV death, in adults with type 2 diabetes and established CV disease. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Lancet, Nutrition / 30.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ms Victoria Miller Population Health Research Institute DBCVS Research Institut McMaster University, Hamilton, ON Canada MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: PURE study is prospective urban rural epidemiology study that included aged 35 to 70 years from 26 low-income, middle-income, and high-income countries on 5 continents. Data were collected at the community, household, and individual levels. Standardized questionnaires were used to collect information about demographic factors, socio-economic status (education, income, and employment), lifestyle (smoking, physical activity, and alcohol intake), health history and medication use. Standardized case-report forms were used to record data on major cardiovascular events and mortality during follow-up, which were adjudicated centrally in each country by trained physicians using standard definitions. Participants’ habitual food intake was recorded using country-specific (or region specific in India) validated food frequency questionnaires (FFQs) at baseline. The median follow up is 7.4 years and we are aiming for follow up people at least for 15 years. During 7.4 years of follow up more than 6000 CVD and 7000 mortality recorded. Higher fruit, vegetable and legume intake is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular, non-cardiovascular and total mortality. Our findings show the lowest risk of death in those who consume three to four servings (equivalent to 375-500 grams per day) of fruits, vegetables and legumes per day, with little additional benefit for intake beyond that range. When examined separately, fruit intake is associated with lower risk of cardiovascular, non-cardiovascular and total mortality, while legume intake is inversely associated with non-cardiovascular and total mortality. For vegetables, raw vegetable intake is more strongly associated with lower risk of total mortality compared to cooked vegetable intake. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Cleveland Clinic, Heart Disease, Social Issues / 30.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jarrod Dalton PhD Department of Quantitative Health Sciences Cleveland Clinic , Cleveland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Accurate risk assessment is critical for identifying patients who are at high risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes. We evaluated the performance of a widely-used risk assessment tool against the socioeconomic position of patients’ neighborhoods of residence. This tool, called the Pooled Cohort Equations Risk Model, or PCERM, was developed in 2013 jointly by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association (ACC/AHA). We found that the PCERM model accurately characterized risk among patients from affluent communities, but performed more poorly among patients from disadvantaged communities. In particular, for these patients, major cardiovascular events occurred at rates that were as much as 2-3 times than predicted from the PCERM model. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Lipids, UCLA / 28.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gregg C. Fonarow, MD, FACC, FAHA Eliot Corday Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Science Director, Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center Co-Chief of Clinical Cardiology, UCLA Division of Cardiology Co-Director, UCLA Preventative Cardiology Program David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Los Angeles, CA  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The study identifies the clinical and economic consequences of treating a population of patients with established atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD ) at high-risk of cardiovascular (CV) events and defines the cost-effectiveness of the PCSK-9 inhibitor evolocumab under various clinical scenarios. The analysis is based on the clinical outcomes from the Repatha Outcomes Study (FOURIER) in patients with established atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), such as those who have already had a heart attack or stroke who require additional therapy. This is the first cost-effectiveness assessment of evolocumab using a model based on a high-quality outcomes trial, combined with U.S. clinical practice data. The analysis identifies the types of high-risk patients for whom this therapy is both clinically beneficial and cost-effective. This study utilized cost-effectiveness and value thresholds employed by the World Health Organization and the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association. Evolocumab was found to exceed generally accepted cost-effectiveness thresholds at current list price. However, this medication could be a cost-effective treatment for patients with established ASCVD in the U.S. when the net price is at or below $9,669 per year. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Heart Disease, Lipids, UCLA / 28.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tamer Sallam, MD PhD Assistant Professor of Medicine Co-Director UCLA Center for Lipid Management Lauren B. Leichtman and Arthur E. Levine CDF Investigator Assistant Director, STAR Program Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Los Angeles, California 90095-1679 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study is extension of our previous work published in Nature showing that a gene we named LeXis (Liver expressed LXR induced sequence) plays an important role in controlling cholesterol levels. What is unique about  LeXis is that it belongs to a group of newly recognized mediators known as long noncoding RNAs. These fascinating factors were largely thought to be unimportant and in fact referred to as “junk DNA” prior the human genome project but multiple lines of evidence suggest that they can be critical players in health and in disease. In this study we tested whether we can use  LeXis “gene therapy”  to lower cholesterol and  heart disease risk. This type of approach is currently approved or in testing for about 80 human diseases. Our finding was that a single injection of LeXis compared with control significantly  reduced heart disease burden in mouse subjects. Although the effect size was moderate we specifically used a model that mimics a very challenging to treat human condition known as familial hypercholesterolemia..Familial hypercholesterolemia is one of the most common genetic disorders affecting up to 2 million Americans and characterized by 20 fold  fold increase risk of early heart attacks and often suboptimal response to currently available treatments. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 25.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: James A. Reiffel, M.D Professor Emeritus of Medicine Special Lecturer in Medicine Dept of Medicine Cardiology Columbia University Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Atrial fibrillation is a common arrhythmia (multi-millions of Americans) and carries with it a risk of stroke and of heart failure (among others) if not treated preventively. In many people, atrial fibrillation comes to attention because of symptoms, but not in all. The chances of developing Atrial fibrillation are substantially increased in certain populations of patients, such as the ones we enrolled in our study.  Continuous monitoring of such patients, as we did, and as others have also done recently, though in smaller numbers of patients, can detect otherwise unsuspected atrial fibrillation, which can lead to treatment before complications arise. We found that using such monitoring, when monitored for 18 months, almost 1 in 3 patients had atrial fibrillation detected, as did 40% by 30 months. Intermittent monitoring, including by cell phones, may detect some atrial fibrillation but it is not nearly as effective as the type of monitoring we did and so many patients will be missed by lesser monitoring methods. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Smoking / 22.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr.  Quinn R Pack MD Assistant Professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine Baystate Northern Region Cardiology Baystate Health Springfield, MA   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and is very common among patients with heart disease.  Several smoking cessation medications are available and recommended in clinical guidelines to help smokers quite. However, it was unknown how often these were used and what factors make the use of pharmacotherapy more common. The main finding is that, across of broad range of hospitals, smoking cessation medications are infrequently used and the hospital where the patient was treated was the most important factor in determining if the patient was treated. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Heart Disease / 21.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alexander Egeberg, MD PhD Gentofte Hospital Department of Dermatology and Allergy Kildegårdsvej 28 2900 Hellerup Denmark MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The majority cardiovascular events in psoriasis occur in patients at low risk by traditional cardiovascular risk calculators. It has been speculated that long-term exposure to systemic inflammation may increase the risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes. Therefore, clinically available historical features such as disease duration may identify those at higher risk for cardiovascular disease. Using a translational epidemiological approach, combining 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography computed tomography scanning with nationwide epidemiological data of more than four million individuals, we provide the first convincing evidence to suggest a detrimental effect of psoriasis duration on cardiovascular disease beyond traditional cardiovascular risk factors, even in patients deemed “low-risk” by conventional risk scores. We found a 1% increase in future major adverse cardiovascular event risk per additional year of disease duration. This finding has an effect size similar to smoking, a well-established cardiovascular risk factor. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, NEJM, Surgical Research / 16.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: A. Laurie Shroyer, Ph.D., M.S.H.A. WOC Health Science Officer Northport VAMC Research and Development Office (151) Northport, NY 11768 Professor and Vice Chair for Research, Department of Surgery Stony Brook University, School of Medicine Stony Brook, NY  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Since the 1990’s, two different approaches have been commonly used by cardiac surgeons to perform an adult coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) procedure, these approaches have been referred to as  “on-pump” (with cardiopulmonary bypass) or “off-pump” (without cardiopulmonary bypass) procedures. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Randomized On/Off Bypass Follow-up Study” (ROOBY-FS) compared the relative performance of off-pump versus on-pump approaches upon 5-year patients’ clinical outcomes including mortality and major adverse cardiovascular events. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Pediatrics, Social Issues / 10.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lead author, Dr Richard Liu, MCRI Ph.D. student and Senior author - Professor David Burgner PhD The Child Health CheckPoint Investigator Group Murdoch Children’s Research Institute The Royal Children’s Hospital Parkville, Victoria, Australia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The socioeconomic gradient in cardiovascular disease is well recognised in adults. The more disadvantaged someone is, the higher their risk of heart attack and stroke. The mechanisms by which this occurs are not well understood, but we know the pathological process underlying this, thickening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis, begins very early in life. Our current understanding of the early development of atherosclerosis has previously been limited mainly to autopsy studies. Non-invasive imaging is increasingly being used to examine the early development of atherosclerosis. We wanted to determine if there was an association between socioeconomic disadvantage and the thickness of the carotid artery wall in mid-childhood, which in adults is a proxy for atherosclerosis and indicates higher risk for heart attack and stroke in later life. We analysed both family and neighbourhood socioeconomic position data from 1477 Australian families, which included data on income, education and occupation of parents, as well as the relative socioeconomic status of the immediate neighbourhood. (more…)