Author Interviews, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Rheumatology / 16.11.2016 Interview with: Prof.dr. M.T. Nurmohamed, MD, PhD and Rabia Agca MD Dept. of Rheumatology | VU University Medical Center Amsterdam Rheumatology & immunology Center EULAR center of excellence in rheumatology What is the background for this study? Response: About 20 years ago the increased mortality in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) was well known, but not the causes. In daily clinical practice it seemed that RA patients more frequently suffered from myocardial infarctions than general population persons. Therefore, we started this study more than 15 years ago as at that time there were only sparse data with respect to cardiovascular morbidity in rheumatoid arthritis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Heart Disease, JAMA, Pharmacology / 16.11.2016 Interview with: Paul J. Hauptman, MD Professor Internal Medicine, Division of Cardiology Health Management & Policy, School of Public Health What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We decided to evaluate the cost of generic heart failure medications after an uninsured patient of ours reported that he could not fill a prescription for digoxin because of the cost for a one month's supply: $100. We called the pharmacy in question and confirmed the pricing. At that point we decided to explore this issue more closely. We called 200 retail pharmacies in the bi-state, St. Louis metropolitan area, 175 of which provided us with drug prices for three generic heart failure medications: digoxin, carvedilol and lisinopril. We found significant variability in the cash price for these medications. Combined prices for the three drugs ranged from $12-$400 for 30 day supply and $30-$1,100 for 90 day supply. The variability was completely random, not a function of pharmacy type, zip code, median annual income, region or state. In fact, pricing even varied among different retail stores of the same pharmacy chain. (more…)
Author Interviews, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, Education, Heart Disease, Outcomes & Safety / 15.11.2016 Interview with: Dr. Sean van Diepen, MD, FRCPC Assistant Professor of Critical Care Medicine and Cardiology Coronary Intensive Care Unit Co-Director University of Alberta Hospital What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Studies have documented a wide variation in CCU admission rates for patients hospitalized with acute coronary syndromes (ACS) or heart failure (HF). The reasons underpinning these differences are incompletely understood and little is known about the associations between hospital type, resource utilization, and clinical outcomes among patients admitted to the CCU with an ACS or HF. In a national cohort of 220,759 patients, we observed that CCU admission rates varied by hospital type: 41% in teaching hospitals, 29.9% in large teaching hospitals, 42.6% in medium community hospitals and13.7% in small community hospitals. The percentage of patients that did not receive critical care therapies within the first 2 days of admission were: 35.5%, 58.0%, 83.3% and 95.6%, respectively. Compared large community hospitals, community hospitals all had higher adjusted in hospital mortality rates. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Surgical Research / 15.11.2016 Interview with: Opeyemi O. Fadahunsi, MBBS, MPH Department of Medicine Reading Health System West Reading, Pennsylvania What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a minimally invasive approach to managing symptomatic severe aortic stenosis in patients who have a high surgical risk or are deemed to be inoperable. One of the most frequent complications is development of conduction abnormalities requiring permanent pacemaker placement. We compared clinical outcomes in patients requiring permanent pacemaker placement post-TAVR to those not requiring a pacemaker using a large US database called the STS/ACC TVT RegistryTM . We used real-world data of patients undergoing TAVR in the US at 229 sites between November 2011 and September 2014. The frequency of pacemaker placement within 30 days post-TAVR was 6.7% (651 of 9,785 patients). Those who needed a pacemaker within 30 days post-TAVR had longer hospital and intensive care unit stays compared to those who did not. Furthermore, those who needed a pacemaker had a higher risk of death from any cause at one year compared to those who did not get a pacemaker. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Gender Differences, Heart Disease / 14.11.2016 Interview with: Amitoj Singh MD Chief Cardiology Fellow St. Luke’s University Health Bethlehem, Pennsylvania What is the background for this study? Response: Marijuana use in steadily increasing and it is the most commonly used illicit drug in the US and worldwide. There has been a recent increase in reports of heart and vascular complications associated with its use. These include Myocardial infarctions, stroke and takotsubo. We had two questions that we wanted to answer with our study: a) Is there an association between marijuana use and development of Transient Regional Ventricular Ballooning [TVRB] (aka Stress Cardiomyopathy /Broken Heart Syndrome/ Takotsubo)? b) If the above is true, what are the differences between Marijuana users (MU) and Non Marijuana Users (NMU) who developed Stress Cardiomyopathy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Lipids, NEJM, Pharmacology / 14.11.2016 Interview with: Kevin Fitzgerald, Ph.D. Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Cambridge, MA 02142 What is the background for this study? Response: Inclisiran (ALN-PCSsc) is a subcutaneously administered RNAi therapeutic targeting PCSK9 in development for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia. The Phase 1 trial of inclisiran was conducted in the U.K. as a randomized, single-blind, placebo controlled, single ascending-and multi-dose, subcutaneous dose-escalation study in 69 volunteer subjects with elevated baseline LDL-C (≥ 100 mg/dL). The primary objective of the study was to evaluate the safety, side effect profile, and pharmacodynamics effects of inclisiran. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania / 14.11.2016 Interview with: Maryam Y. Naim, MD Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Physician The Cardiac Center The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Perelman School of Medicine The University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia What is the background for this study?  Response: In adults bystander compression only CPR has similar outcomes to bystander conventional COR therefore the The American Heart Association recommends untrained lay rescuers perform compression only CPR in adults that have an out of hospital cardiac arrest. In children respiratory arrests are more common therefore conventional CPR with chest compressions and rescue breaths are recommended for out of hospital cardiac arrest. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Heart Disease, JACC, Race/Ethnic Diversity, UT Southwestern / 13.11.2016 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 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Aortic stiffness is known to be associated with cardiovascular disease, including heart attack, stroke, and heart failure, possibly related to increase afterload to the left ventricle. Previous studies have not directly assessed proximal aortic function among ethnic minorities in the United States. We evaluated the multiethnic, population-based Dallas Heart Study participants (N=2544, 54.2% women, 49.7% Black) who underwent cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) at 1.5 Tesla. Aortic stiffness and characteristic impedance (Zc) were determined from aortic arch PWV and lumen area measurements. Linear regression was used to evaluate ethnic differences in proximal aortic wall stiffness using aortic arch PWV and Zc as dependent variables with and without adjustment for traditional cardiovascular risk factors. (more…)
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Heart Disease, Lifestyle & Health / 31.10.2016 Interview with: Ulrik Wisløff, PhD Professor, Head of K.G. Jebsen Center for Exercise in Medicine Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging Norwegian University of Science and Technology Norway What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Prolonged time spent sedentary on a daily basis is detrimental for general health and is associated with increased risk of developing and dying from lifestyle related diseases such as cardiovascular disease – even in those following todays advice for physical activity given by health authorities worldwide. Number of hours spent inactive tend to increase with increased age. A person’s fitness level is regarded the best predictor of future health. We tested, in older adults (aged 70-77 years old) whether meeting physical activity recommendations and/or having high age-specific fitness level attenuated the adverse effect of prolonged sedentary time on cardiovascular risk factor clustering. Main finding was that high age-specific fitness level fully attenuated the adverse effect of prolonged sedentary time on clustering of cardiovascular risk factors, independent of meeting the physical activity recommendation in older adults. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Surgical Research / 30.10.2016 Interview with: Prof. Lars Wallentin MD Department of Medical Sciences, Cardiology Uppsala Clinical Research Center Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden What is the background for this study? Response: The FRISC2 study was performed 1996 – 1998 and reported 1999 for the first time a significant reduction in death and myocardial infarction by early invasive compared to non-invasive treatment strategy in patients with non-ST-elevation acute coronary syndrome (NSTE-ACS). These pivotal results have been the basis for the current international treatment guidelines recommending an early invasive treatment strategy in patients with NSTE-ACS and elevated troponin and/or other indicators of a raised risk. Still there are remaining controversies concerning the long-term effects, the appropriate selection of patients for this approach and the opportunities for a more personalised approach to early invasive procedures. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Medical Imaging / 29.10.2016 Interview with: Kristina H. Haugaa, MD, PhD, FESC Ida Skrinde Leren MD, PhD Department of Cardiology and Center for Cardiological Innovation, Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet Oslo, Norway What is the background for this study? Response: Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is an inheritable cardiomyopathy, predisposing to life-threatening arrhythmias. Ventricular arrhythmias are frequent in ARVC patients and importantly, arrhythmias may occur also before evident structural changes are seen, making risk stratification challenging. Additional tools are needed to detect early disease and to optimize medication and timing of implantation of a cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). We aimed to explore early markers of ARVC disease and their association with previous ventricular arrhythmias. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Surgical Research / 28.10.2016 Interview with: Anna Franzone, MD and Prof.Thomas Pilgrim, MD Department of Cardiology Bern University Hospital INSELSPITAL Bern, Switzerland What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Surgical aortic valve replacement is the therapeutic standard for patients with pure native aortic regurgitation (AR). However, transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) is emerging as a novel treatment option for patients deemed inoperable or at high-risk for surgery because of advanced age and multiple comorbidities. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis including 237 patients with pure native AR undergoing TAVI across 13 studies. The primary study endpoint, all-cause mortality at 30-day, ranged from 0% up to 30% with a summary estimate rate of 7% . The occurrence of complications such as the need for a second valve implantation was relatively low as well as the rates of other endpoints (cerebrovascular events, major bleeding and vascular complications). (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Psychological Science / 28.10.2016 Interview with: Xiaoyan Fang and Sophia Hoschar Institute of Epidemiology II Mental Health Research Unit Helmholtz Zentrum München German Research Center for Environmental Health Neuherberg What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Time to treatment is a crucial determinant of survival in patients who have suffered an acute myocardial infarction. During an acute myocardial infarction, patients often use denial as a coping mechanism which may provide positive mood regulating effects but may also prolong prehospital delay time (PHD). Indeed, some small exploratory studies, mainly performed over 10 years ago, provided a preliminary evidence that denial contributes to decreased adherence to effective cardiac treatment by disavowing of the diagnosis and by minimizing the perceived symptom burden and symptom severity. Thus, the object of Munich Examination of Delay in Patients Experiencing Acute Myocardial Infarction (MEDEA) study is to find the effect of denial on patients’ prehospital delay. Our study contributes important new findings to the role of denial in the face of an AMI in an extended data set of STEMI patients.
  • First, the psychological coping mechanism of denial in the face of an AMI turned out to have more beneficial than adverse effects: denial contributed to less suffering from heart-related symptoms and negative potentially traumatizing affectivity without leading the patients to maladaptive behavior (e.g. waiting for the symptoms to resolve).
  • In addition, from an overall perspective, denial only minimally increased the delay time, whereas in the time window of 3-24hrs, denial led to a clinical significant longer delay. Apparently denial did not function in the most favorable time window presumably because of an extreme painful symptom pattern which overcame the effect of denial on prehospital delay. In this case, denial might be an intervention point for those who are without severe symptoms.
Author Interviews, Chocolate, Heart Disease, Nutrition / 27.10.2016 Interview with: Xiaochen Lin, PhD Student and Simin Liu MD ScD MPH Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine Department of Epidemiology and Center for Global Cardiometabolic Health Brown University Providence, RI What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There have been quite a few studies implicating cocoa as a beneficial nutritional strategy to improve cardiometabolic health, and we and others have done work indicating that cocoa flavanol may be the active compound responsible for the beneficial effects. Therefore, we conducted this systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials that we could identify in studying cocoa flavanol and a variety of circulating cardio-metabolic biomarkers. The meta-analysis of 19 RCTs, involving 1,139 participants, shows that flavanol intake from cocoa products may reduce dyslipidemia, insulin resistance and systemic inflammation, and therefore improve cardiometabolic health. Through this research, we also identify the additional gaps in the current knowledge and potential target for future investigations. (more…)
Author Interviews, Clots - Coagulation, Heart Disease, JACC, Thromboembolism / 27.10.2016 Interview with: Truven Health AnalyticsJay Margolis, PharmD Sr. Research Scientist Truven Health What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Vitamin K antagonists (VKAs), most commonly warfarin, had been the only orally available anticoagulants available for the last 60 or so years. While highly effective, use of these agents was often problematic due to their narrow therapeutic index, need for routine coagulation monitoring, and interactions with food and other drugs. Recently introduced new oral anticoagulants (NOACs), particularly rivaroxaban, had been shown in clinical trials to provide comparable efficacy to the VKAs without the need for routine coagulation monitoring. There have been few studies outside of clinical trials showing benefits that translate to real-world populations. In our study using real-world data from a large sample of geographically and demographically diverse US hospitals, patients hospitalized for incident venous thromboembolisms (VTE) initiating oral anticoagulant treatment with rivaroxaban had significantly shorter hospital stays and lower hospitalization costs compared with warfarin-treated patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, CT Scanning, Heart Disease / 27.10.2016 Interview with: Professor Marc Dewey Heisenberg professor of radiology Vice Chairman of the Department of Radiology at Charité (Campus Mitte) Berlin Germany What is the background for this study? Response: Over 3.5 million cardiac catheterisations are performed in Europe each year. This study, jointly conducted by radiologists and cardiologists at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and published in today’s issue of The BMJ, compares computed tomography (CT) with cardiac catheterisation in patients with atypical chest pain and suspected coronary artery disease (CAD). What are the main findings? Response: CT reduced the need for cardiac catheterisation from 100% to 14% in the group of patients who received CT first instead of catheterisation. If catheterisation was needed in the CT group, the proportion of catheterisations showing obstructive CAD was 5 times higher than in the catheterisation group. Over a period of 3.3 years, the patients in the CT group neither had more cardiac catheterisations nor an increase in cardiovascular events. Moreover, CT shortened the length of stay by 23 hours and 79% of patients said they would prefer CT for future examinations of the heart. Overall, the results of the BMJ study show that CT is a gentle test for reliably ruling out CAD in patients with atypical chest pain who are currently being referred for cardiac catheterisation in routine clinical practice. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 20.10.2016 Interview with: Joseph A. Ladapo, MD, PhD Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research David Geffen School of Medicine UCLA Los Angeles, CA 90024 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Four million adults in the U.S. undergo stress testing or coronary computed tomographic angiography (CTA) each year because of suspected coronary disease. These patients are high risk for adverse cardiovascular events, but they are often not treated with the right medications after testing. Little is known about how CTA or stress testing affect physician and patient decisions about cardiovascular medications and preventive lifestyle choices like exercise and weight loss. Using data from patients in the PROMISE trial (PROspective Multicenter Imaging Study for Evaluation of chest pain), we found that patients who underwent CTA for suspected coronary artery disease were more likely to start a statin and aspirin and more likely to eat better and lose weight. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Gender Differences, Heart Disease, Social Issues / 19.10.2016 Interview with: Adam L. Beckman Yale College, New Haven, CT (at the time this work was completed) Erica S Spatz MD MHS Assistant Professor, Section of Cardiovascular Medicine Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation Yale-New Haven Hospital Yale University School of Medicine What is the background for this study? Beckman: Despite the expansion of insurance coverage, young adults face major challenges to obtaining affordable healthcare. We suspected women may experience greater challenges than men — they often have lower income and less complete medical coverage than men, and care for multiple generations of family, and that this may in part explain why young women have worse outcomes following a heart attack as compared with similarly-aged men. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Heart Disease / 18.10.2016 Interview with: Susan Stienen, MD Department of Cardiology Academic Medical Center University of Amsterdam Amsterdam, the Netherland What is the background for this study? Response: Prognosis of patients admitted for and discharged after acute decompensated heart failure (ADHF) is poor, with a readmission and mortality rate of up to 50% of patients at 6 months. Previous studies demonstrated that a ≤30% NT-proBNP reduction from admission to discharge for ADHF is a strong predictor of HF readmissions and mortality, while those patients with a > 30% reduction in NT-proBNP had a far better prognosis. We conducted a randomized clinical trial in ADHF patients to study the effect of NT-proBNP-guided treatment with a target of NT-proBNP reduction of >30% from admission to discharge, versus conventional treatment. The guided arm used a therapy algorithm that included HF medication, review of rhythm problems and possible ischemia, and had a reminder of a possible indication for CRT-D. A total of 405 patients were randomized after an initial period of clinical stabilization, to receive NT-proBNP-guided or conventional therapy. Intention-to-treat analyses were performed in 404 patients. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Beth Israel Deaconess, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Clots - Coagulation, Heart Disease / 18.10.2016 Interview with: Eric A. Secemsky, MD MSc Interventional Cardiology Fellow Massachusetts General Hospital Harvard Medical School Fellow, Smith Center for Outcomes Research in Cardiology Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center What is the background for this study? Response: Use of oral anticoagulant (OAC) therapy prior to coronary stenting is a significant predictor of post-procedural bleeding events. Previous studies have estimated that the frequency of chronic OAC use among patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is between 3% to 7%. Yet many of these analyses examined select patient populations, such as those admitted with acute myocardial infarction or atrial fibrillation, and preceded the market approval of non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs). As such, the contemporary prevalence of OAC use among all-comers undergoing PCI, as well as associated risks of adverse events, are currently unknown. Therefore, we used PCI data from a large, integrated healthcare system to determine current use of  oral anticoagulant use among all-comers undergoing coronary stenting and the related short- and long-term risks of therapy. (more…)
Author Interviews, FASEB, Heart Disease, Imperial College, Pain Research, Pharmacology / 17.10.2016 Interview with: Dr Nicholas Kirkby BHF Intermediate Fellow | Vascular Biology National Heart & Lung Institute | Imperial College London London What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We know drugs like ibuprofen, called ‘non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs’ cause an increase in the risk of heart attacks. These side effects cause very real concerns for the many millions of people who rely on them. They are also the reason why there are no new drugs in this class and why they have been withdrawn (2011) for use as a preventative treatment for colon cancer. Previous research from our group suggests that L-arginine supplements may prevent the cardiovascular side effects caused by these drugs. Our findings here suggest that a particular formulations of ibuprofen, called ibuprofen arginate, which is already available in many parts of the world, can act like an L-arginine supplement and that this could potentially protect the cardiovascular system. (more…)
Author Interviews, Coffee, Heart Disease, JAMA / 17.10.2016 Interview with: Luis E. Rohde, MD, ScD Postgraduate Program in Health Science: Cardiology and Cardiovascular Sciences, Medical School, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Cardiovascular Division, Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre What is the background for this study? Response: Caffeine-rich beverages have been implicated as a common cause of several cardiac-related symptoms, such as palpitations, tachycardia, or irregular heartbeats. Because of this “intuitive” assumption, counseling to reduce or avoid caffeine consumption is still widely recommended in clinical practice by most physicians for patients with any heart disease. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Heart Disease, Technology / 15.10.2016 Interview with: Dr. Ngai-yin Chan Princess Margaret Hospital Lai Chi Kok, Hong Kong What is the background for this study? Response: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained heart rhythm disorder which can cause stroke, heart failure and an increased risk of death. The risk of stroke can be reduced substantially with drug treatment. However, a quarter of patients with AF causing stroke have silent and asymptomatic AF before stroke. The current guidelines recommend opportunistic screening for AF. Whether systematic community screening for AF with a convenient smartphone ECG can reduce the burden of AF remains unknown. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 14.10.2016 Interview with: Prof. Chung-Yi Li Department of Public Health College of Medicine National Cheng Kung University Tainan Taiwan What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Congenital heart disease is the leading congenital malformation that causes perinatal and infant deaths. However, little information is available about the risk factors, especially modifiable environmental and behavioral factors that may have posed adverse effects on fetal cardiac development. We conducted a nationwide population-based study in Taiwan to further evaluate the potential role of maternal chronic diseases in the risk of developing congenital heart disease in offspring. We found that children of women with several kinds of chronic disease were at elevated risk for congenital heart disease; these diseases included type 1 and type 2 diabetes, hypertension, congenital heart defects, anemia, connective tissue disorders, epilepsy, and mood disorders. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Surgical Research / 12.10.2016 Interview with: Miguel Haime, MD VA Boston Healthcare System and Boston Medical Center Boston, MA Dr. Haime discusses an abstract about Somahlution DuraGraft during a rapid response session at the 2016 annual meeting of the European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery (EACTS; 1–5 October, Barcelona, Spain) What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery is the standard of care for multi-vessel coronary heart disease. During CABG, we use saphenous vein grafts as bypass conduits for surgical revascularization. Pathophysiological changes that occur in vein grafts during the surgical procedure can compromise the durability and patency of the graft and increase the risk of vein graft failure. At the European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery (EACTS) annual meeting, we presented results from a retrospective, non-randomized study conducted at VA Boston Healthcare System to evaluate the Real World Evidence of DuraGraft®, a vascular graft treatment designed to prevent vein graft failure after CABG. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Heart Disease, JAMA / 12.10.2016 Interview with: Husam Abdel-Qadir, MD, FRCPC, DABIM (Cardiology and Internal Medicine) Graduate student, Clinical Epidemiology and Health Care Research Elliot Philipson Clinician Scientist Training Program University of Toronto What is the background for this study? Response: Breast cancer is the most common malignancy among North American women. The successes of screening and treatment have led to a marked increase in the number of breast cancer survivors, whose cardiovascular health is becoming of prime concern. Many recent publications have raised alarm about the incidence of cardiovascular abnormalities after breast cancer treatment. However, there is a paucity of data about the frequency of death from cardiovascular disease rather than breast cancer. Contemporary estimates of the incidence of competing risks like cardiovascular disease are important to guide discussions about prognosis, subsequent follow-up, and survivorship plans. It is important that such incidence estimates are generated using methodology that appropriately accounts for competing risks to avoid providing results that are biased upwards. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Occupational Health / 12.10.2016 Interview with: Rasmus Rørth MD From Department of Cardiology Rigshospitalet University of Copenhagen, Denmark What is the background for this study? Response: Heart failure is considered to be one of the most common, costly, disabling and deadly medical conditions and is thus a major health care problem. The ability to maintain a full-time job addresses a vital indirect consequence and cost of heart failure, beyond the usual clinical parameters such as mortality and hospitalization. Ability to work is more than just another measure of performance status. As well as its financial importance, employment is crucial for self-esteem and quality of life in patients with chronic illness. Obtaining information on labour force inclusion should, therefore, shed light on an unstudied consequence of heart failure and provide a novel perspective on the impact of heart failure on the lives of those who, perhaps, have most to lose from this condition. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Pharmacology / 06.10.2016 Interview with: Xiaoxi Yao, PhD, MPH, MS Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery Mayo Clinic Rochester, MN What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia requiring treatment, affecting 3-6 million Americans. AF is associated with a 5 fold risk of stroke, which can be substantially reduced by oral anticoagulants. For over a half century, warfarin was the only option for long-term oral anticoagulation in the U.S., but the use of warfarin can be cumbersome. Warfarin has numerous interactions with food and other drugs, and requires regular lab testing and dose adjustment. Since 2010, four non–vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs) have been approved by the FDA. In comparison to warfarin, the fixed-dosage NOACs provide more convenient therapeutic options and demonstrated at least equivalent efficacy and safety in large phase III clinical trials. However, the outcomes achieved in idealized clinical trial settings may not necessarily translate to routine clinical practice. In this large cohort of patients with nonvalvular AF, we assessed the real-world effectiveness and safety of three NOACs (dabigatran, rivaroxaban, and apixaban), comparing each agent with warfarin. We found apixaban was associated with lower risks of both stroke and major bleeding, dabigatran was associated with similar risk of stroke but lower risk of major bleeding, and rivaroxaban was associated with similar risks of both stroke and major bleeding in comparison to warfarin. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, JACC, Salt-Sodium / 06.10.2016 Interview with: Nancy Cook ScD Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Professor in the Department of Epidemiology Harvard T.H. Chan School Public Health Brigham & Women’s Hospital Division of Preventive Medicine Boston, MA 02215 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The association of sodium intake with later mortality has been controversial. While there is a well-accepted effect on blood pressure, the effects of sodium on later cardiovascular disease, and particularly mortality, have been subject to dispute. While the adverse effects of high sodium are now widely accepted, effects at lower levels of sodium intake are less clear. Some recent studies have found a J-shaped relationship, with increased disease rates among those consuming lower levels of sodium, contrary to the effects on blood pressure. In contrast, we found a direct linear relationship of usual intake of sodium with later mortality over 20 years of follow-up. Those with the lowest sodium intake experienced the lowest mortality. Our measure of intake was based on the average over 1-3 years of several measures of 24hr urine sodium excretion, the gold standard of sodium measurement. This is much more precise than measurements based on a single 24hr sodium excretion or especially on a spot urine sample, which is used in many publications that found the J-shaped curve. Our data were assessed in a healthy cohort of men and women without hypertension or cardiovascular disease, so had less potential bias due to these factors. We thus believe that our results showing the lowest mortality among those consuming the lowest levels of sodium are more accurate. (more…)
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Heart Disease, JACC, Pediatrics / 03.10.2016 Interview with: Dr. James McKinney MD MSc FRCP(C) Division of Cardiology University of British Columbia What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is the leading medical cause of death in young athletes. Sporting activity may predispose athletes with underlying cardiovascular conditions to develop life threatening ventricular arrhythmias during physical exercise. Despite being a relatively rare event, the death of a young healthy person is a tragic event that is difficult to comprehend. The prevalence of an underlying cardiovascular disorder in young athletes that predisposes to SCD is approximately 0.3%. Sudden cardiac death is often the first clinical manifestation of an underlying cardiovascular condition; up to 80% of athletes are previously asymptomatic. Pre-participation screening is the systematic practice of medically evaluating athletes for the purpose of identifying (or raising suspicion of) abnormalities that could provoke sudden death. There is agreement amongst sporting and medical bodies that athletes should undergo some form of pre-participation screening. An Achilles’ heel of screening is the significant number of false-positive screens that require subsequent costly secondary testing to rule out disease. Prevention of sudden cardiac death among athletes is a common goal, however the optimal strategy for its achievement is uncertain. (more…)