Author Interviews, Clots - Coagulation, Heart Disease, JACC, Surgical Research / 30.08.2016 Interview with: Gennaro Giustino MD Resident Physician - Department of Medicine The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai What is the background for this study? Response: A period of dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT) is required after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) with drug-eluting stents (DES). The pathophysiological rationale for DAPT after DES-PCI is predicated on the need to prevent stent-related thrombotic complications while vascular healing and platform endothelialization are ongoing, a process that seems to last between 1 and 6 months with new-generation DES. Whether to extend DAPT after this mandatory period in order to provide a broader atherothrombotic risk protection (for stent-related and non-stent-related atherothrombotic events) is currently a matter of debate. Current guidelines recommend at least 6 months of DAPT after PCI in patients with stable coronary artery disease (CAD) and at least 12 months of DAPT in patients presenting with acute coronary syndrome (ACS). While, several risk scores have been developed to guide clinical decision making for DAPT intensity and duration (namely the DAPT score and the PARIS risk scores) little attention has been payed so far to PCI complexity and the extent of CAD to guide duration of DAPT. In fact irrespective of clinical presentation, patients undergoing more complex PCI procedure (likely due to greater coronary atherosclerotic burden) may remain at greater risk for ischemic events and therefore may benefit of prolonged, or more intense, DAPT. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 26.08.2016 Interview with: John A. Elefteriades, MD William W.L. Glenn Professor of Surgery Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery Yale New-Haven Hospital Director, Aortic Institute at Yale-New Haven Yale University School of Medicine What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In the late 1990’s, Dr. Milewicz’s group in Texas and our group at Yale recognized that thoracic aortic aneurysms and aortic dissections (internal tears of the aorta) ran in families. This paper explores for the first time the ages at which aortic dissections occur among members within a family. Interestingly, we found that once one family member has suffered an aortic dissection, other family members tend to suffer dissection at about the same age (mostly within ten years of the age of the original dissector). (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Emory, Heart Disease / 25.08.2016 Interview with: Alvaro Alonso, MD, PhD Associate Professor Department of Epidemiology Rollins School of Public Health Emory University Atlanta, GA What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is a major public health problem. Each year, 300,000-400,000 Americans experience SCD and, in more than half of these cases, sudden cardiac death is the first manifestation of heart disease. To date, however, we lack effective strategies to identify those at higher risk of developing sudden cardiac death so targeted preventive strategies can be applied. In this study, we develop and validate the first model for the prediction of SCD in ~18,000 adults without a prior history of cardiovascular disease. We show that information on demographic variables (age, sex, race), some traditional cardiovascular risk factors (smoking, elevated blood pressure, diabetes, HDL cholesterol) as well as some factors more specifically related to SCD causes (electrocardiogram QT interval) and novel biomarkers (albumin, potassium in blood, kidney function) can be leveraged to predict risk of SCD and identify individuals more likely to suffer this event. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, Heart Disease, HIV, Vanderbilt / 25.08.2016 Interview with: Matthew S Freiberg, MD, MSc Cardiovascular Medicine Division, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Tennessee Valley Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center, Nashville  TN Tasneem Khambaty, PhD Department of Psychology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida Jesse C. Stewart, PhD Department of Psychology, Indiana University–Purdue University , Indianapolis, Indianapolis What is the background for this study? Response: Due to highly effective antiretroviral therapy, people with HIV are living longer. Unfortunately, these HIV-infected individuals remain at a higher risk for other chronic diseases, with cardiovascular disease (CVD) being one of the leading cause of death in this population. In the general population, depressive disorders, such as major depressive disorder (MDD) and dysthymic disorder, are associated with increased risk of new-onset CVD. Given that roughly 24-40% of HIV-infected individuals have a depressive disorder, we examined whether MDD and dysthymic disorder are also associated with an increased risk of new-onset CVD in people with HIV. (more…)
Author Interviews, Columbia, Heart Disease, JAMA, Medical Imaging / 25.08.2016 Interview with: Adam Castano, M.D., M.S. Division of Cardiology Columbia University Medical Center New York Presbyterian Hospital What is the background for this study? Response: Transthyretin cardiac amyloidosis (ATTR-CA) is an increasingly recognized cause of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). Traditionally, the gold standard for diagnosis has required an endomyocardial biopsy coupled with either immunohistochemistry or mass spectroscopy. These specialized tests are only performed at centers with experienced satff, do not yield prognostically useful information, may be inadvisable for frail older adults, and often present logistical challenges that lead to delayed care. Fortunately, single center studies have demonstrated excellent diagnostic accuracy using technetium 99m pyrophosphate (Tc99mPYP) cardiac imaging for noninvasively detecting ATTR-CA and differentiating it from another major type of cardiac amyloidosis called light chain (AL). But the diagnostic accuracy of this technique in a multicenter study and the association of Tc99mPYP myocardial uptake with survival were not known prior to this study. Therefore, we assessed in a multicenter study Tc99mPYP cardiac imaging as a diagnostic tool and its association with survival. We conducted a retrospective cohort study of 229 patients evaluated at 3 academic specialty centers for cardiac amyloidosis and also underwent Tc99mPYP cardiac imaging. We measured retention of Tc99mPYP in the heart using a semiquantitative visual score (range 0-3) and a more quantitative heart-to-contralateral (H/CL) ratio calculated as total counts in a region of interest over the heart divided by background counts in an identical size region of interest over the contralateral chest. The outcome measured was time to death after Tc99mPYP imaging. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Diabetes, Heart Disease, JAMA, Medical Imaging, NIH / 24.08.2016 Interview with: Nehal N. Mehta, .MD., M.S.C.E. F.A.H.A. Lasker Clinical Research Scholar Section of Inflammation and Cardiometabolic Diseases NIH What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Psoriasis is associated with accelerated cardiovascular (CV) disease; however, screening for CV risk factors in psoriasis remains low. Coronary artery calcium (CAC) score estimates the total burden of atherosclerosis. Psoriasis has been associated with increase CAC score, but how this compares to patients with diabetes, who are aggressively screened for CV risk factors, is unknown. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 20.08.2016 Interview with: Lu Qi, MD, PhD HCA Regents Distinguished Chair and Professor Director,Tulane University Obesity Research Center Department of Epidemiology Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine 1440 Canal Street, Suite 1724 New Orleans, LA 70112 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Gallstone disease has been related to various risk factors of cardiovascular disease, and several previous studies suggest potential link between gallstone disease and heart disease. Our study, for the first time, provide consistent evidence for the association between gallstone disease and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Heart Disease, Science / 19.08.2016 Interview with: Johan LM Björkegren, MD, PhD Professor, Chief Clinical Science Officer Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The STARNET (Stockholm-Tartu Atherosclerosis Reverse Network Engineering Task) study was launched in 2007 by myself and Dr. Arno Ruusalepp MD, PhD, Chief Cardiac Surgeon at Tartu University Hospital in Estonia, and senior co-author on the study. Unlike similar studies, STARNET obtained samples of several key tissues from 600 clinically well-characterized patients with CAD during coronary artery bypass surgery. By using sophisticated data analysis techniques, the researchers found that the gene expression data from STARNET were highly informative in identifying causal disease genes and their activity in networks not only in CAD but also for other cardiometabolic diseases as well as Alzheimer’s disease. By analyzing gene-expression data from multiple tissues in hundreds of patients with coronary artery disease, we were able to identify disease-causing genes that either were specific to single tissues or acted across multiple tissues in networks to cause cardiometabolic diseases. (more…)
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Heart Disease, JACC / 19.08.2016 Interview with: Antonio Pelliccia, MD, FESC Chief of Cardiology Institute of Sport Medicine and Science Rome What is the background for this study? Response: The awareness of the relevant role of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) as cause of athletic field events and the refined Task Force (TF) criteria for the diagnosis of the disease have prompted a large scientific interest and triggered a vast scientific literature on this issue. Indeed, the recent observations by Heidbuchel and La Gerche based on data from a selected group of ultra-endurance athletes, suggesting that strenuous, chronic endurance exercise may ultimately cause, per se, RV dysfunction have further stimulated the need to define the characteristics and limits of training-induced RV remodelling. At present, however, no studies have assessed the characteristic of physiologic right ventricular remodelling as derived from a large population of highly-trained athletes, including a sizeable number of women and comprising a broad spectrum of summer and winter Olympic sport disciplines. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Heart Disease / 19.08.2016 Interview with: Leo F. Buckley, PharmD Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, Virginia What is the background for this study? Response: As the prevalence and costs of heart failure are expected to increase through the year 2030, significant efforts have been devoted towards devising alternatives to inpatient hospitalization for the management of heart failure decompensations. Since loop diuretics are the mainstay of treatment during the majority of hospitalizations, administration of high doses of loop diuretics in the outpatient setting has increased in popularity. We intended to answer two questions with his study: first, can a patient-specific dosing protocol based on a patient’s usual diuretic dose achieve safe decongestion? and second, does this strategy alter the usual course of heart failure decompensation, which oftentimes culminates in inpatient hospitalization? (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Lipids, Nutrition, Omega-3 Fatty Acids / 18.08.2016 Interview with: David Iggman, MD, PhD Unit for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences Uppsala University, Uppsala Center for Clinical Research Dalarna Falun, Sweden What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There is some controversy regarding which dietary fats are preferable and in what amounts, not least regarding the polyunsaturated fats. It is also challenging to adequately assess peoples intakes of dietary fats. The main findings of this study was that among fatty acids in the body (reflecting the intake during the last year or so), linoleic acid (omega-6) was associated with lower mortality in 71-year-old men with 15 years follow-up. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Heart Disease, Microbiome / 18.08.2016 Interview with: Lemin Zheng, Ph.D. Professor, Lab Director, and Principal Investigator The Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Institute of Systems Biomedicine Peking University Health Science Center Beijing  China What is the background for this study? Response: Optical coherence tomography (OCT) has been considered as an ideal tool to characterize accurately atherosclerotic plaques and has potential to detect plaque rupture due to high-resolution (10-20 μm) cross-sectional images of tissue with near infrared light (1-3). Trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) is a gut microbiota-dependent-generated metabolite which is associated with cardiovascular risk by a pathway involving dietary ingestion of nutrients containing trimethylamine, including phosphatidylcholine, choline, and L-carnitine (4-6). In the gut, choline, betaine and carnitine can be metabolized to trimethylamine (TMA) by gut flora microorganism. And TMA could be further oxidized to a proatherogenic species, TMAO, in the liver by flavin monooxygenases 3 (FMO3)4-6. These risk associations have been repeatedly shown in large observational trials (7-10). (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Electronic Records, Heart Disease, Primary Care / 18.08.2016 Interview with: Tom Marshall, PhD, MRCGP, FFPH Professor of public health and primary care Institute of Applied Health Research University of Birmingham Edgbaston, Birmingham What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Shortly before the Health Checks programme began, a programme of targeted case finding was set up in Sandwell in the West Midlands. In general practices in the area a programme nurse searched electronic medical records to identify untreated patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease. The nurse then invited high risk patients for assessment in the practice and those who needed treatment were referred to their GP for further action. This was implemented in stages across 26 general practices, allowing it to be evaluated as a stepped wedge randomised controlled trial. The programme was successful, resulting in a 15.5% increase in the number of untreated high risk patients started on either antihypertensives or statins. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Heart Disease / 17.08.2016 Interview with: Leo F. Buckley, PharmD Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, Virginia What is the background for this study? Response: Heart failure hospitalizations have become a significant burden for both patients and the healthcare systems. Significant efforts have been devoted to identifying alternative treatment pathways for acute decompensated heart failure that do not require hospitalization. Our group previously reported our initial experience with ambulatory intravenous diuretic therapy administered serially over several days to weeks in place of inpatient hospitalization. We found that the rate of hospitalization was significantly reduced compared to expected and that the high dose furosemide protocol utilized was safe and well tolerated by patients. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC / 17.08.2016 Interview with: Dr Janice Atkins Research Fellow Epidemiology and Public Health University of Exeter Medical School RD&E Hospital Wonford Barrack Road, Exeter What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We have previously shown that having longer-lived parents increases your likelihood of living longer, and family history of heart attacks is already used by physicians to identify patients at increased risk of disease. However, it has been unclear how the health advantages of having longer lived parents is transferred to their middle-aged offspring. Our study of nearly 200,000 UK volunteers aged 55-73 at baseline, and followed for 8 years using health records data, found that having longer-lived parents reduced the risk of morbidity and mortality in the participants. We found that for each parent that lived beyond 70 years of age the participants had 20% less chance of dying from heart disease. To illustrate this, in a group of 1,000 people whose father’s died at 70 and followed for 10 years, on average 50 would die from heart disease. When compared to a group whose father’s died at 80, on average only 40 would die from heart disease over the same 10-year period. Similar trends were seen in the mother’s. The relationship between parental age at death and survival and health in their offspring is complex, with many factors playing a role. Shared environment and lifestyle choices play a large role, including smoking habits, high alcohol consumption, low physical activity and obesity; but even accounting for these factors parents lifespan was still predictive in their offspring. The biggest genetics effects on lifespan in our studies affected the participant’s blood pressure, their cholesterol levels, their Body Mass Index, and their likelihood to be addicted to tobacco. These are all factors that affect risk of heart disease, so is consistent with the lower rates of heart disease in the offspring. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC / 16.08.2016 Interview with: Timothy C. Y. Chan, PhD Canada Research Chair in Novel Optimization and Analytics in Health Associate Professor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Director, Centre for Healthcare Engineering Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering | University of Toronto Toronto Ontario What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The immediate access to and use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) can increase the likelihood of survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). Currently, guidelines for AED deployment focus only on spatial factors, such as where to place AEDs with respect to cardiac arrest risk, and assume that the buildings housing the AEDs are open and accessible 24 hours a day. However, this is not the case in reality. AED accessibility by time of day has largely been overlooked despite the fact that cardiac arrest incidence and survival vary by time of day and day of week. In this study we performed two main analyses, using data from Toronto, Canada. First, we determined the impact of accessibility on cardiac arrest coverage. That is, we determined what fraction of OHCAs occurred near a registered AED, but when that AED was unavailable based on the hours of operation of the building. Second, we developed a novel optimization model that identifies locations to place AEDs that maximize the number of out-of-hospital cardiac arrestswith an accessible AED nearby. We compared this approach to one where AEDs were placed guided by only spatial information. We found that of the OHCAs occurring within 100 m of an AED, approximately 21% occur when the AED is inaccessible. Nearby AEDs were inaccessible for 8.6% of OHCAs during the day (8 a.m. – 3:59 p.m.), 28.6% in the evening (4 – 11:59 p.m.) and 48.4% at night (midnight –7:59 a.m.). When applying our optimization model to determine new AED locations, we achieved a 25.3% relative increase in the number of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests that occur near an accessible AED over the spatial-only approach. The relative increase was 10.9% during the day, 38.0% in the evening, and 122.5% at night. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cost of Health Care, Education, Heart Disease, JAMA / 16.08.2016 Interview with: Rory Brett Weiner, MD Assistant Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The increased use of noninvasive cardiac imaging and Medicare spending in the late 1990s and early 2000s has led to several measures to help optimize the use of cardiac imaging. One such effort has been the Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) put forth by the American College of Cardiology Foundation. The AUC for echocardiography have been useful to characterize practice patterns and more recently been used as a tool to try to improve ordering of echocardiograms. Our research group previously conducted a randomized study of physicians-in-training (cardiovascular medicine fellows) and showed that an AUC based educational and feedback intervention reduced the rate of rarely appropriate transthoracic echocardiograms (TTEs). The current study represents the first randomized controlled trial of an AUC education and feedback intervention attending level cardiologists. In this study, the intervention group (which in addition to education received monthly feedback emails regarding their individual TTE ordering) ordered fewer rarely appropriate TTEs than the control group. The most common reasons for rarely appropriate TTEs in this study were ‘surveillance’ echocardiograms, referring to those in patients with known cardiac disease but no change in their clinical status. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Technology / 16.08.2016 Interview with: Dr. Theodore L. Schreiber MD President of the Detroit Medical Center Heart Hospital and DMC Cardiovascular Institute. Doctor Schreiber is involved in ongoing research in carotid artery stenting, has been the principal or co-principal investigator on numerous cardiovascular research studies and has written dozens of book chapters, articles and abstracts on interventional cardiology. Abbott announced July 5, 2016 that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the company's Absorb bioresorbable heart stent, What is the background for this stent? What are the main advantages? Response: The Absorb™ bioresorbable vascular scaffold is an advance in the treatment of coronary artery disease, which affects 15 million people in the United States and remains a leading cause of death worldwide despite decades of therapeutic advances. For this reason, DMC Heart Hospital, which serves a population at high risk of cardiovascular disease, was among the first in the state of Michigan to adopt this new stent. While stents are traditionally made of metal, the Absorb™ stent is made of a naturally dissolving material, similar to dissolving sutures. Absorb™ disappears (except for two pairs of tiny metallic markers that remain in the artery to enable a physician to see where the device was placed) in about three years, after it has done its job of keeping a clogged artery open and promoting healing of the treated artery segment. By contrast, metal stents are permanent implants. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Lipids / 14.08.2016 Interview with: Ziyad Al-Aly, MD, FASN Assistant Professor of Medicine Washington University School of Medicine Co-Director, Clinical Epidemiology Center Associate Chief of Staff for Research and Education Veterans Affairs Saint Louis Health Care System What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: I think the most important, and novel finding is that elevated levels of HDL-cholesterol (which is thought of as the good cholesterol) are associated with increased risk of death. Previously it was thought that high HDL (increased good cholesterol) is a good thing. We used Big Data approach (over 16 million person-years; 1.7 million people followed for over 9 years) to evaluate the relationship between HDL-Cholesterol (the good cholesterol) and risk of death. We found that low HDL is associated with increased risk of death (which is expected and consistent with prior knowledge). The novel and unexpected finding is the observation that high HDL-Cholesterol is also associated with increased risk of death. The relationship between HDL-Cholesterol levels and risk of death is a U-shaped curve where risk is increased at both ends of the HDL-C values spectrum (at both low and high end); Too low and too high is associated with higher risk of death. The findings may explain why clinical trials aimed at increasing HDL-Cholesterol levels failed to show improvement of clinical outcomes. This finding was not expected, and has not been reported previously in large epidemiologic studies such as Framingham Heart Study and others. The Framingham Heart study and others significantly advanced our understanding of the relationship between cholesterol parameters (including HDL-Cholesterol) and clinical outcomes. However, these studies are limited in that the number of patients in these cohorts was several thousands which is relatively small compared to what a Big Data approach (millions of patients) enables us to see. Big Data approach allows a more nuanced (a more detailed) examination of the relationship between HDL and risk of death across the full spectrum of HDL levels. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cleveland Clinic, Genetic Research, Heart Disease, PLoS / 14.08.2016 Interview with: Qing Kenneth Wang PhD, MBA Huazhong University of Science and Technology Wuhan, P. R. China and Department of Molecular Cardiology The Cleveland Clinic Cleveland, Ohio What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) and its complication myocardial infarction (MI or so called heart attacks) are the most common causes of deaths in the US and other parts of the world. Based on the American Heart Association statistics, 620,000 Americans have a new MI each year in the United States alone, 295 000 have a recurrent MI, and nearly 400,000 of them will die from it suddenly. Moreover, an estimated 150,000 silent first MI occur each year. CAD and MI are caused by an occlusion or blockage of a coronary artery, which disrupts blood flow to the heart region, leading to damage or death of cardiac cells, impairment of cardiac function and sudden death. Current treatment of CAD and MI relies on reperfusion therapy with reopening of the occluded coronary artery with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCA) and coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG). However, 12% of patients are not candidates for PCA or CABG due to an unfavorable occlusive pattern, diffuse coronary atherosclerosis, small distant vessels and co-morbidities. An alternative revascularization strategy has to be developed to benefit these patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, Clots - Coagulation, Diabetes, Heart Disease, JACC / 12.08.2016 Interview with: Raffaele Piccolo, MD Department of Cardiology Bern University Hospital University of Bern Bern, Switzerland What is the background for this study? Response: Over the past two decades, the prevalence of diabetes mellitus has doubled in Western countries and future projections are even worse by showing a 55% increase by 2035 when approximately 592 million of people are expected to live with diabetes all over the world. Acute myocardial infarction still represents the most common diabetes-related complication and its occurrence is associated with a higher risk of mortality. Timely recanalization of the occluded coronary vessel with primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) represents the therapy of choice for acute ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). Our study investigated whether the direct application of an intracoronary bolus of abciximab, which is an antiplatelet drug blocking the glycoprotein IIb/III a receptor, at the time of primary PCI improves the outcomes at 1-year follow-up compared with the standard intravenous route. The study was in individual patient-level pooled analysis of 3 randomized trials including 2,470 patients, of whom 473 (19%) had diabetes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Surgical Research, Weight Research / 12.08.2016 Interview with: Dr. Michelle R. Lent, PhD Geisinger Obesity Institute Geisinger Clinic Danville, Pennsylvania What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: More than one-third of adults in the United States live with obesity. Currently, the most effective treatment for obesity is bariatric surgery. Bariatric surgery patients are expected to lose 30 to 40 percent of their body weight, but not all patients are able to lose this amount of weight and others experience weight regain. Why some patients succeed in weight loss over time, while others are less successful, remains unclear. In this study, we evaluated over 200 patient characteristics in relation to long-term weight loss after bariatric surgery (7 years or longer), including gender, age and weight at the time of surgery, lab tests, medical conditions and medications, among others. We found that patients who used insulin, had a history of smoking, or used 12 or more medications before surgery lost the most weight, while patients with high cholesterol, older patients and patients with higher body mass indexes at the time of surgery lost the least amount of weight after surgery. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Stroke, Surgical Research / 12.08.2016 Interview with: Josep Rodés-Cabau, MD Director, Catheterization and Interventional Laboratories Quebec Heart and Lung Institute Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Laval University Quebec City, Quebec, Canada What is the background for this study? Response: Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is increasingly used in patients with severe aortic stenosis deemed at prohibitive or high surgical risk. Recently, a randomized trial demonstrated the non-inferiority of TAVR compared to surgical aortic valve replacement in intermediate risk patients for the outcome of death and disabling stroke at 2 years. Therefore, TAVR indications are likely to expand to younger and lower risk patients in the near future. While the short-term (30-day) cerebrovascular event (CVE) rate post-TAVR has decreased over time, it remains the most dreadful complication of TAVR, and still occurs in 2% to 3% of patients. A few dedicated studies identified numerous predictors of CVE which mainly differ from one study to another. However, identifying the risk factors of CVE is of paramount relevance in clinical practice to implement preventive strategies, either instrumental (embolic protection devices) or pharmacological in high-risk patients. Thus, we performed a systematic review and meta-analysis using random-effect models to provide pooled estimates of sixteen (8 patient-related and 8 procedural-related) clinically-relevant predictors of CVE within 30 days post TAVR. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dental Research, Heart Disease / 10.08.2016 Interview with: John Liljestrand, DDS Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Diseases University of Helsinki What is the background for this study? Response: There is an increased amount of evidence supporting the hypothesis that oral inflammations increase the risk for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). The association between marginal periodontitis, a common inflammatory disease in the tooth supporting tissues, and CVDs is well established. The link is thought to depend on transient but repeated bacteremia, endotoxemia and an increased systemic inflammatory burden. Apical periodontitis is a common manifestation of an endodontic infection, most often caused by dental caries. It is an inflammatory reaction surrounding the root tip of a tooth and it restrains the dental infection from spreading into the bone. Apical periodontitis is similar to marginal periodontitis regarding its microbial profile and ability to increase systemic inflammatory markers. Therefore, it is justified to suggest that apical periodontitis might also increase the risk for CVDs. There is only a minor amount of publications on this topic and further research is still needed.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Kidney Disease, Pharmacology, UCLA / 09.08.2016 Interview with: Jenny Shen, MD, MS Assistant Professor of Medicine David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Los Angeles Biomedical Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: With cardiovascular disease being the No. 1 cause of death in end-stage kidney disease patients on peritoneal dialysis, we examined two classes of medications commonly prescribed to prevent cardiovascular events in these patients and found no significant difference in outcomes. The two classes of medications, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEI) and angiotensin-II receptor blockers (ARB), have slightly different mechanisms and could theoretically have differing outcomes. Previous studies had suggested that ACEI may lead to a kinin-mediated increase in insulin sensitivity not seen with ARB. This could potentially lower the cardiovascular risk in patients on peritoneal dialysis because they are exposed to high glucose loads in their dialysate that may lead to insulin resistance and its associated cardiovascular risk. Using a national database, the U.S. Renal Data System, we surveyed records for all patients enrolled in Medicare Part D who initiated maintenance peritoneal dialysis from 2007 to 2011. Of those, we found 1,892 patients using either drug class. Surveying their medical records, we found no difference in cardiovascular events or deaths between the users for each class of medication. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC / 08.08.2016 Interview with: Ruben Casado-Arroyo, MD, PhD Heart Rhythm Management Center Cardiovascular Division, UZ Brussel–Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Cardiology Department, Arrhythmia Section Erasmus Hospital, Université Libre de Bruxelles Brussels, Belgium What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The objective of this study is to evaluate the evolution of the presentation of Brugada Syndrome (BrS) during the last 30 years. Only the first diagnosed patient of each family was included. The database was divided in two periods (early and latter group) in relation to the consensus conference of 2002. Aborted sudden death as the first manifestation of the disease occurred most frequently in the earlier period 12.1% versus 4.6% of the latter group. Inducibility (induction of ventricular fibrillation) during programmed electrical stimulation was achieved in 34.4% (earlier) and 19.2% (latter) of patients, respectively. A spontaneous type 1 electrocardiogram pattern that is a coved type ST elevation with at least 2 mm (0.2 mV) J-point elevation a gradually descending ST segment followed by a negative T-wave was presented at diagnosis 50.3% (earlier) versus 26.2% (latter patients). Early group patients had a higher probability of a recurrent arrhythmia (sudden cardiac death or ventricular arrhythmias) during follow-up (19%) than those of the latter group (5%). All these difference were significative. Overall, the predictors of recurrent arrhythmias were previous sudden cardiac death and inducibility. In the latter period, only previous sudden cardiac death was a predictor of arrhythmic events. (more…)
Author Interviews, Emory, Heart Disease, JAMA / 06.08.2016 Interview with: Dr. Amit J. Shah MD MSCR Research Assistant Professor Assistant Professor of Epidemiology Rollins School of Public Health Emory University Adjunct appointment in Medicine (Cardiology) Atlanta VA Medical Center What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Nearly ½ of sudden cardiac deaths occur in individuals who were not aware that they had heart disease; this increases the need for primary prevention. We studied whether the electrocardiogram could be a useful tool in helping to measure risk of cardiovascular disease in approximately 10,000 community-based adults aged 40-74 with a simple risk equation that is based on age, sex, and 3 numbers from the ECG: heart rate, T-axis, and QT interval. We found that such an equation estimates risk as well as the Framingham risk equation, which is the standard of care (based on traditional risk factors like smoking and diabetes). When combining both the Framingham and ECG risk assessments together, the accuracy improved significantly, with a net 25% improvement in the risk classification of cardiovascular death compared to using the Framingham equation alone. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Heart Disease, JAMA, Weight Research / 04.08.2016 Interview with: Prof. Peter Nordström PhD Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation Geriatrics, Umeå University Umeå, Sweden What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Numerous studies has shown an association between BMI, CVD and death. However, it is not known to what extent genetic factors influence this relationship. We used over 4000 monozygous twin pairs that had different BMI. This mean that the difference in BMI must be due to environmental factors since the genetic setup is similar in monozygous twins. Since the fatter twin did not have a higher risk of myocardial infarction (MI) or death, environmental factors that increase BMI is very unlikely to increase the risk of myocardial infarction or death. By inference the strong association between BMI, MI and death must be explained by the fact that the same genes control both obesity, MI and death. By contrast, the fatter twin had a higher risk of diabetes. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, Omega-3 Fatty Acids / 02.08.2016 Interview with: Raymond Y. Kwong, MD MPH Director of Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging Associate Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School What is the background for this study? Response: In the past several decades, Omega-3 fatty acids (O3FA) primarily from fish oil have been reported to have many beneficial effects, either directly on the heart or through other effects that indirectly help the heart. However, when it was tested on patients who suffered an acute heart attack by looking at whether patients can live longer by taking omega-3 fatty acids early after the heart attack, there has been some conflicting data in some of the large clinical trials. There are several major factors that inspired the designs of the current OMEGA-REMODEL study: a) Over recent years, many highly effective treatments to improve the survival of heart attack victims have become routine. b) The studies in the past used a relatively lower dose of  Omega-3 fatty acids (1g per day). c) Some have also raised the question whether just patient mortality should be the only/best way we should considered in assessing new treatments for heart attack patients. d) Cardiac remodeling: after a heart attack, heart muscle not damaged by the initial heart attack insult has to overwork to compensate for the damage from the heart attack. Over time scarring may form in the overworked heart muscle, in addition to weakened heart function, may lead to the heart to fail. e)New imaging method: a MRI of the heart, can precisely determine the heart function and the amount of scarring of the overworked heart muscle not damaged from the heart attack. (more…)