Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Nutrition / 01.06.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Elina Hypponen Professor in Nutritional and Genetic Epidemiology Director: Australian Centre for Precision Health University of South Australia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Diet is an important determinant of cardiovascular disease, and several studies have shown an association between high dairy and milk consumption with cardio-metabolic risk factors. Especially high fat dairy products can increase the risk of high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease by increasing the intakes of saturated fat and dietary cholesterol. However, milk is also a rich source of calcium and other nutrients, and evidence from randomized controlled trials has been inconsistent with respect to the role milk may have in cardiovascular health  (more…)
Anesthesiology, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Heart Disease, JAMA, Surgical Research, UCSF / 22.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Elizabeth L. Whitlock, MD, MSc John W. Severinghaus Assistant Professor In Residence Anesthesia & Perioperative Care UCSF Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We have known for a while that, rarely, some older adults suffer substantial, durable cognitive decline after surgery, particularly after coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery; a larger proportion experience a decline in cognitive test performance which doesn't necessarily affect function, but which has caused concern among researchers.  This cognitive decline was attributed, in part, to the cardiac bypass pump. ​Many of the studies had methodological limitations which made it difficult to be sure that the cognitive change was due to surgery and not due more generally to heart problems or atherosclerotic disease, which may also imply cerebrovascular atherosclerosis. Using a large database of older adults who undergo regular cognitive testing, we identified individuals who underwent CABG and compared them to those who underwent percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), a minimally invasive, non-surgical method of opening blocked coronary arteries.  This allowed us to model the rate of memory decline before surgery - which hadn't been done in previous studies - and compare it to the rate of memory decline after surgery in older adults who had serious heart disease (some of whom were treated with CABG, and some treated with PCI). (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Heart Disease, JACC, NYU / 17.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael S. Garshick, MD Assistant Professor Department of Medicine Grossman School of Medicine NYU MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Patients with psoriasis have a 50% higher risk of cardiovascular disease when compared to patients without psoriasis, the mechanisms of which are still under investigation Dyslipidemia is also highly prevalent in psoriasis including elevation in a variety of lipoproteins causal in atherosclerosis. Lipoprotein(a) is an LDL like particle which is associated with atherosclerosis, atherothrombosis, and the development of clinical cardiovascular disease. Traditionally lipoprotein(a) is felt to be inherited rather than acquired, but some evidence suggest that lipoprotein(a) is elevated in those with underlying inflammatory conditions and associated with systemic inflammation including circulating IL-6. We therefore aimed to determine if lipoprotein(a) is elevated in psoriasis and associated with underlying systemic inflammatory profiles and biomarkers of cardiovascular risk.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Transplantation, Yale / 17.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael Fuery, MD Department of Internal Medicine Yale School of Medicine Katherine Clark, MD MBA Division of Cardiovascular Medicine Department of Internal Medicine Yale School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Racial and ethnic disparities affect cardiac transplantation outcomes. In cohort analyses of racial and ethnic groups from the previous three decades, Black patients were constantly at a higher risk of mortality after cardiac transplantation. In 2018, the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) revised the allocation system to expand access to organs for the most medically urgent patients and reduce disparities and regional differences. We sought to evaluate contemporary trends and impact of the new 2018 allocation system. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Menopause, Osteoporosis / 12.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yeonyee E. Yoon, MD, PhD Associate Professor Division of Cardiology, Cardiovascular Center Seoul National University Bundang Hospital South Korea  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Although atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) has been traditionally considered to affect men predominantly, it is nearly common in women. ASCVD is the leading cause of death in both men and women globally, and the population-adjusted risk of ASCVD mortality in women is significantly greater than that in men. Nevertheless, the current focus on the 10-year ASCVD risk estimated by a risk-scoring algorithm such as the Pooled Cohort Equation has shown unsatisfactory accuracy in women. Therefore, new strategies beyond the conventional risk stratification algorithm are needed to improve identification for women at high risk for ASCVD. ASCVD and osteoporosis are major age-related diseases contributing to significant morbidity and mortality in women, and previous epidemiologic studies have suggested a potential association between these diseases. Given that millions of women are screened for osteoporosis using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), potential associations between low bone mineral density (BMD) and ASCVD in women would provide an opportunity to improve the risk stratification of women without any additional costs. Therefore, we aimed to investigate whether the evaluation of BMD provides independent and incremental prognostic values for ASCVD prediction in women.  (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Heart Disease, JACC, Social Issues / 12.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kobina Hagan MBBS, MPH Postdoctoral Fellow Center for Outcomes Research, Houston Methodist Research Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Before the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out, risk mitigation guidelines including respiratory hygiene, social distancing, and job flexibility, were the most effective preventive measures against coronavirus transmission. Social determinants of health scholarships had identified social circumstances to limit adherence to these mitigation guidelines. Individuals with underlying cardiovascular disease are identified as high-risk phenotypes for severe COVID-19 outcomes. In addition, research efforts during the early and middle waves of the pandemic had identified coronavirus exposure risk as a greater mediator of the observed COVID-19 disparities, compared to clinical susceptibility from comorbidities. Yet, population-based evidence on the practice of these mitigation guidelines in this high-risk group were lacking. Consequently, we believed there was a need to robustly characterize COVID-19 risk mitigation practices among adults with cardiovascular disease in the nation. The COVID-19 Household Impact Survey was a survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, to provide statistics about health, economic security, and social dynamics of the US adult household population nationwide and for 18 geographic areas (10 states, 8 metropolitan statistical areas) between April and June 2020. This survey complemented the Household Pulse Survey by the Census Bureau. In this study we described the COVID-19 risk mitigation practices among patients with CVD and evaluated the association between cumulative social determinants of health burden (a measure of social adversity) and adherence these measures.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Heart Disease, NYU, Women's Heart Health / 11.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Darcy Banco, MD, MPH Internal Medicine Resident NYU Langone Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We became interested in this question because of recent epidemiological data showing that despite improvements in the number of heart attacks in overall population, that number is rising among young adults (<= 55 years old) and in particular, young women. Compared to young men, young women with heart attack experience more delays in care and have higher mortality and poorer quality of life after heart attack. Despite these findings, there was also a study that asked young adults who had experienced heart attack: “When you first went for help, did the health care providers think that you were having a problem with your heart?” Women were more likely to answer no to this question. Therefore, our study asked: Are young women evaluated and treated differently than men when presenting to the emergency room with symptoms of chest pain? (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC / 09.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kenechukwu Ndubisi Mezue, M.D Fellow in Nuclear Cardiology  Massachusetts General Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Observational studies have shown that moderate alcohol intake may have beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease. However, the mechanisms through which this benefit occurs is mostly unknown. Chronic stress is also known to associate with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and our group has shown in previous work that increased activity in the stress-associated regions of the brain (such as the amygdala) is significantly associated with increased bone marrow activity, arterial inflammation, and cardiovascular events. Our current study hypothesizes that moderate alcohol intake reduces cardiovascular events by reducing chronic stress-associated brain activity.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Circadian Rhythm, Heart Disease, Occupational Health, Sleep Disorders / 27.04.2021

Circadian misalignment is associated with a high cardiovascular risk among shift workers: MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sara Gamboa Madeira Medical Doctor - General & Family Physician PhD Student - EnviHealth&Co - Faculty of Medicine Lisbon University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: One in every five employees work in shifts across Europe1. Shift work have been associated with an increased risk for several cardiovascular diseases2 and three main mechanism have been proposed: unhealthy behaviours, disturbed sleep, and circadian misalignment. This study focused on the role of circadian misalignment, which we assessed via social jetlag. Social jetlag is calculated using the Munich Chronotype Questionnaire3 by the difference between sleep behaviour on free-days (mainly driven by the individual “biological clock”, also called chronotype) and sleep behaviour on workdays (mainly drive by the “social clock”, namely work schedules). Chronotype is an individual feature which ranges from early/morning people to late/evening people (from proverbial lark to owls), with the majority of the population falling in between as a Gaussian distribution. Therefore higher levels of social jetlag mean a greater mismatch between what your biological clock need (e.g. go to sleep at 9pm) and what your social obligations impose on you (e.g. work until midnight). (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Heart Disease, JAMA / 22.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: First Author Michelle Lee, MD, PharmD Fellow-in-training, Health Services Research & Development Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, Houston, TX   Senior & Corresponding Author Salim S. Virani, MD, PhD, FACC, FAHA, FASPC Professor, Section of Cardiovascular Research Director, Cardiology Fellowship Training Program Baylor College of Medicine Staff Cardiologist, Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center Co-Director, VA Advanced Fellowship in Health Services Research & Development Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, Houston, TX Investigator, Health Policy, Quality and Informatics Program Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center HSR&D Center of Innovation Houston, TX MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), defined as ischemic heart disease (IHD), ischemic cerebrovascular disease (ICVD), or peripheral arterial disease (PAD), is the leading cause of death globally. Particularly in young ASCVD patients, secondary prevention with antiplatelet therapy and statins are extremely important in reducing disease burden. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Red Meat / 15.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Zahra Raisi-Estabragh, PhD fellow Cardiologist Trainee at Queen Mary University of London and Barts Health NHS Trust MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Previous studies have linked greater consumption of red and processed meat to poorer clinical cardiovascular outcomes, for example, higher risk of having a heart attack or of dying from heart disease. However, the biological mechanisms underlying these relationships are not well understood. Furthermore, the impact of meat intake on more direct measures of heart health, such as, structure and function of the heart and blood vessels, has not been previously studied in large cohorts. Examining how meat intake may influence different aspects of cardiovascular health can help us better understand its health effects.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Erectile Dysfunction, Heart Disease, JACC, Karolinski Institute / 10.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Martin J Holzmann MD PhD Department of Emergency Medicine Karolinska University Hospital Stockholm, Sweden  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: ​We published a paper 2007 in Heart where we showed that PDE5i lower mortality in men with a recent myocardial infarction. With this study we wanted to investigate if PDE5i led to a beneficial outcome in men with stable coronary artery disease. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Stroke / 12.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brandon K Fornwalt, MD, PhD Associate Professor, Director Department of Imaging Science and Innovation Geisinger MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is an abnormal heart rhythm that is associated with outcomes such as stroke, heart failure and death. If we know a patient has atrial fibrillation, we can treat them to reduce the risk of stroke by nearly two-thirds. Unfortunately, patients often don’t know they have AF. They present initially with a stroke, and we have no chance to treat them before this happens. If we could predict who is at high risk of either currently having AF or developing it in the near future, we could intervene earlier and hopefully reduce bad outcomes like stroke. Artificial intelligence approaches may be able to help with this task. (more…)
Author Interviews, Chocolate, Heart Disease / 09.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anne Yuk-Lam Ho, MPH Million Veteran Program (MVP) Data Core MVP Coordinating Center VA Boston Healthcare SystemAnne Yuk-Lam Ho, MPH Million Veteran Program (MVP) Data Core MVP Coordinating Center VA Boston Healthcare System MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) has been the leading cause of morbidity and mortality globally. Prevalence of CVD among US population is approximately 7% which places huge burden on our healthcare systems. And prevalence of CVD is as high as 28% among veterans at the VA healthcare system as veteran users are primarily older male with more histories of comorbidities.  Most CVD risk factors including lipids and blood pressure can be controlled by lifestyle modifications, such as diet. Chocolate is among dietary factors that play a role in modulating CVD risk factors is widely consumed in the US (~2.8 billion pounds annually. Although previous studies have reported beneficial effects of chocolate and/or cacao products (rich in flavonoids) on lipids, glucose metabolism and risk of diabetes, and lipids, little is known about the association of chocolate intake with coronary artery disease (CAD) among US veterans. Thus, sought to test the hypothesis that chocolate consumption is associated with a lower risk of CAD among xxx US veterans enrolled in the Million Veteran Program.  (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Heart Disease / 08.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Giordano Bottà, PhD CEO and Co-founder Allelica The Polygenic Risk Score Company MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Previous research identified that polygenic risk score (PRS) has the highest predictive power compared to other risk factors and identifies individuals with the same risk of those with familial hypercholesterolemia, but are invisible to traditional risk assessment. We explored for the first time the interplay between the main causes of atherosclerosis, LDL cholesterol and PRS.  We were interested in helping cardiologists understand why some individuals have bad arteries full of plaques while others don't in presence of the same LDL levels and no additional risk factors. Our findings explain why this is the case: LDL does not affect everyone the same. We believe that we are at the forefront of a change of paradigm in cardiovascular risk assessment: LDL levels cannot be accessed without considering the genetics of an individual. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Stroke / 05.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Fernando D Testai, MD, PhD, FAHA Associate Professor of Neurology and Rehabilitation Stroke Medical Director University of Illinois Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Stroke constitutes a leading cause of disability and mortality in the United States. Large observational studies have shown that up to 90% of the strokes are caused by modifiable vascular risk factors, including hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and several others. In addition, previous history of stroke is one of the most powerful predictors of recurrent stroke. Thus, controlling vascular risk factors in patients with stroke is of paramount importance. To this end, the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association have developed specific targets for blood pressure, glycemic, and cholesterol levels. (more…)
Author Interviews, Columbia, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Exercise - Fitness, Heart Disease, JAMA / 05.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David J. Engel, MD, FACC Division of Cardiology Columbia University Irving Medical Center New York, New York MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Early reports and observations in the COVID-19 pandemic found that patients recovering from mild to severe forms of COVID-19 illness had a higher prevalence of cardiac injury in comparison with what historically has been seen and reported with other viruses. This cardiac injury, categorized as inflammatory heart disease, could have serious implications, including a risk for exercise-triggered sudden cardiac death, for athletes and highly active people who have had prior COVID-19 illness and who return to intensive exercise activity with unknowing subclinical cardiac injury. To address these concerns in COVID positive athletes, the ACC generated return to play cardiac screening recommendations (troponin blood test, ECG, resting echocardiogram) for all competitive athletes after COVID-19 infection prior to resumption of competitive and intensive sport activity. The professional leagues were among the first organizations to return to full-scale sport activity in the setting of the pandemic, and they uniformly adopted and implemented the ACC return to play screening recommendations for all athletes that tested positive for COVID-19. The leagues recognized that there was value in collaborating and formally analyzing their pooled cardiac data, not only for league athlete health and safety purposes, but also to share broadly this information to add to the growing body of knowledge about the virus. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, MD Anderson, Menopause, University of Pittsburgh, Weight Research / 04.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Samar El Khoudary, PhD, MPH, BPharm, FAHA Associate Professor of Epidemiology University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Research increasingly shows that it isn’t so important how much fat a woman is carrying, which doctors typically measure using weight and BMI, as it is where she is carrying that fat. To investigate this, we looked at 25 years of data on 362 women from Pittsburgh and Chicago who participated in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) Heart study. The women, who were an average age of 51, had their visceral adipose tissue—fat surrounding the abdominal organs—measured by CT scan and the thickness of the internal carotid artery lining in their neck measured by ultrasound, at a few points during the study. Carotid artery thickness is an early indicator of heart disease. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Heart Disease, Nature, Statins / 27.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Aakriti Gupta MD MS Fellow, Interventional Cardiology Columbia University Irving Medical Center NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: While taking care of patients with COVID-19 last spring and summer at the height of the pandemic, we observed that patients who got very sick and required hospitalization had high rates of hyperinflammation with elevated CRP levels, and thromboembolic phenomena. As cardiologists who frequently prescribe statins for hyperlipidemia, they were a class of drugs that came naturally to mind for their anti-inflammatory, anticoagulant and immunomodulatory properties in addition to their cholesterol lowering properties. As such, we decided to look at the association of statin use with in-hospital mortality in patients who are hospitalized with COVID-19. (more…)
Author Interviews, Colon Cancer, Heart Disease, JAMA, Nutrition / 18.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nathorn (Nui) Chaiyakunapruk PharmD, PhD Professor, Department of Pharmacotherapy University of Utah College of Pharmacy  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Colorectal cancer is one of the cancers for which we found that the risk can be significantly reduced by modifying diet. Individual components of your diet can contribute to an overall healthy diet pattern to lower the risk of colorectal cancer or increase it. Strong scientific evidence shows that limiting red meat and alcohol consumption, eating foods containing fiber and calcium, consumption of dairy products especially yogurt can help prevent colorectal cancer.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 18.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Amanda Marma Perak, MD, MS Assistant Professor of Pediatrics (Cardiology) and Preventive Medicine (Epidemiology) Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago Chicago Illinois 60611  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The American Heart Association has formally defined cardiovascular health (CVH) based on the combination of 7 key health metrics: body mass index (weight versus height), blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, diet, exercise, and smoking status. As we previously showed, the vast majority of pregnant women in the US have suboptimal CVH levels during pregnancy. We also showed that maternal CVH during pregnancy was associated with the risk for adverse newborn outcomes (such as high levels of body fat), but it was unknown what this might mean for longer-term offspring health. In the current study, the key finding was that mothers' CVH levels during pregnancy were associated with their offspring's CVH levels 10-14 years later, in early adolescence. For example, children born to mothers in the poorest category of CVH (representing 6% of mothers) had almost 8-times higher risk for the poorest CVH category in early adolescence, compared with children born to mothers who had ideal CVH in pregnancy. Even children born to mothers with any "intermediate" CVH metrics in pregnancy -- for example, being overweight but not obese -- had over 2-times higher risk for the poorest CVH category in early adolescence. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC / 05.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Paaladinesh Thavendiranathan MD, SM Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research and the Division of Cardiology Peter Munk Cardiac Center, University Health Network, Joint Department of Medical Imaging, , University Health Networ Toronto, Ontario, Canada MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Anthracyclines are a common class of chemotherapy drugs used to treat patients with blood, breast, and many other cancers. Patients receiving anthracycline based cancer therapy who are deemed to be high cardiovascular risk either based on their age or presence of cardiovascular risk factors are at risk of developing heart failure. In high risk patients this risk of heart failure could be between 5-10% over a 5 year period depending on the treatment regimens used. Therefore it is possible that the cancer patient of today can become a heart failure patient of tomorrow. These cancer treatments are however very effective against the cancer.  So it is important to find strategies to prevent the development of heart failure.  Usually oncologists and cardiologists work together to monitor patients during and after cancer therapy using surveillance strategies. One such strategy is to repeat heart ultrasounds to identify heart dysfunction early followed by initiation of cardioprotective therapy.  Traditional approaches measure left ventricular ejection (LVEF) as a metric of heart function.  However, we have learned that with this approach it may be too late when a change in LVEF is identified. Global longitudinal strain (GLS) is a newer echocardiography method that appears to identify heart dysfunction earlier before a major change in LVEF occurs. However, whether initiation of cardioprotective therapy when a change in GLS is identified can prevent a reduction in heart function and development of cardiotoxicity (significant change to heart function) is unknown. The SUCCOUR trial is an international, multicenter randomized controlled trial that compared using an LVEF based approach to surveillance (arm 1) versus the addition of GLS based surveillance (arm 2) in high risk patients receiving anthracycline based therapy. The study enrolled 153 patients in the LVEF arm and 154 patients in the GLS arm. Majority of the patients (~90%) had breast cancer.   (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 05.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sumeet S. Chugh MD Price Professor and Associate Director, Smidt Heart Institute Medical Director, Heart Rhythm Center Director, Center for Cardiac Arrest Prevention Director, Division of Artificial Intelligence in Medicine, Dept of Medicine Cedars-Sinai, Los Angeles MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: For a variety of reasons, sudden cardiac arrest during nighttime hours is the most perplexing and challenging form of this problem and needs to be investigated in detail. Patients are in a resting state, with decreased metabolism, heart rate, blood pressure, and in the absence of daytime triggers, presumably at the lowest likelihood of dying suddenly. The event can often go unrecognized, even by others sleeping in close proximity. Finally, survival from cardiac arrest at night is significantly lower compared to the daytime. There are no community-based studies out there. Small studies of rare heart disease conditions report that men are more likely to suffer this affliction but the reality is that there were not enough women in those studies to do justice to sex-specific analyses. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, Nature / 04.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Hugo Aerts, PhD Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Associate Professor, Brigham and Women's Hospital Harvard Medical School Director, Program for Artificial Intelligence in Medicine Brigham And Women's Hospital  MedicalResearch.com: Deep convolutional neural networks to predict cardiovascular risk from computed tomography  Response: Cardiovascular disease is the most common preventable cause of death in Europe and the United States. Effective lifestyle and pharmacological prevention is available, but identifying those who would benefit most remains an ongoing challenge. Hence, efforts are needed to further improve cardiovascular risk prediction and stratification on an individual basis. One of the strongest known predictors for adverse cardiovascular events is coronary artery calcification, which can be quantified on computed tomography (CT). The CT coronary calcium score is a measure of the burden of coronary atherosclerosis and is one of the most widely accepted measures of cardiovascular risk. Recent strides in artificial intelligence, deep learning in particular, have shown its viability in several medical applications such as medical diagnostic and imaging, risk management, or virtual assistants. A major advantage is that deep learning can automate complex assessments that previously could only be done by radiologists, but now is feasible at scale with a higher speed and lower cost. This makes deep learning a promising technology for automating cardiovascular event prediction from imaging. However, before clinical introduction can be considered, generalizability of these systems needs to be demonstrated as they need to be able to predict cardiovascular events of asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals across multiple clinical scenarios, and work robustly on data from multiple institutions. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Heart Disease, JAMA, Social Issues, University of Pennsylvania / 02.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sameed Khatana MD, MPH Instructor, Cardiovascular Medicine Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Physician, Philadelphia VA Medical Center  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: After declining for decades, the fall in cardiovascular mortality rates in the US has started to slow down and rates may be rising in certain groups. This stagnation in mortality has been most start among middle-aged adults. These trends have occurred at the same time as growing economic inequality. Our analysis aimed to study the relationship between change in cardiovascular mortality rates between 2010 and 2017 for middle-aged adults across the US and change in economic prosperity levels. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, CT Scanning, Heart Disease, JACC, Statins / 14.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prasanna Venkataraman MBBS Thomas H. Marwick MBBS, PhD Baker Heart and Diabetes Research Institute Monash University, Melbourne Melbourne, Australia   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
  • Coronary artery calcium score (CAC) quantifies coronary calcium as determined by computed tomography and is a good surrogate marker for overall coronary plaque burden. It can help to reclassify patients at intermediate risk – many of whom are actually at low risk and can be reassured. Conversely, the finding of coronary calcium can also motivate patients (and their clinicians) to more aggressively control their cardiovascular risk factors. This is particularly problematic in those with a family history of premature coronary artery disease, where standard risk prediction tools are less accurate. However, CT CAC does not routinely attract third party payer support limiting its access and utilisation.
  • We screened 1084 participants who have a family history of premature coronary disease and a 10-year Pooled cohort Equation (PCE) cardiovascular risk >2% with CAC. We then assessed the cost-effectiveness of commencing statins in those with any coronary calcium compared to a strategy of no CAC testing and commencing statins if their PCE risk was ≥7.5% consistent with current guidelines. 
(more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Heart Disease, JACC / 11.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rishi K. Wadhera, MD, MPP, MPhil Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Associate Program Director, Cardiovascular Medicine Fellowship Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The direct toll of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the U.S. has been substantial, but concerns have also arisen about the indirect effects of the pandemic on higher-risk patients with chronic medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease. Hospitalizations for acute cardiovascular conditions, including myocardial infarction, heart failure, and stroke precipitously declined during the early phase of the pandemic. These patterns have raised concern that patients may be avoiding hospitals due to fear of contracting SARS-CoV-2, and that some have died from cardiovascular conditions without seeking medical care. In addition, there has been growing concern about the the effects of health-care system strain and the deferral of semi-elective procedures on patients with cardiovascular conditions. (more…)
Author Interviews, Clots - Coagulation, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Heart Disease, JAMA / 30.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ana Blasco, MD, PhD Cardiology Department, Hospital Universitario Puerta de Hierro–Majadahonda Madrid, Spain MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Our group has been investigating issues related to coronary thrombosis in patients with acute myocardial infarction for years. Recently, we developed a standardized technique for the detection and quantification of extracellular neutrophil networks (NETs) in coronary thrombi. During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Madrid, Spain, we had some cases of myocardial infarctions with ST elevation and a large thrombotic component among patients with severe SARS-CoV-2 infection. Given the important participation of NETs in severe COVID-19 disease, causing occlusion of microvessels as shown in pulmonary samples, we decided to analyze their role in coronary thrombi. Thanks to similar previous analyzes in patients without COVID-19, we have been able to compare our results with a historical series. (more…)