Author Interviews, BMJ, Cancer Research, Heart Disease, Pharmacology / 24.01.2016

More on Heart Disease on Interview with: Professor Ian C K Wong Fellow of Royal Pharmaceutical Society Fellow of Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (Honorary) Fellow of the Higher Education Academy Chair in Pharmacy Practice Head of Research Department of Practice and Policy UCL School of Pharmacy London  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Wong: Previous studies had showed an increased cardiovascular risk associated with clarithromycin (a widely used antibiotic) but the duration of effect remained unclear. Therefore, we conducted this study to investigate the duration of cardiovascular adverse effect provided that the risk exists after patients receiving clarithromycin in Hong Kong. We used three study designs to examine the  association (temporal relationship) between clarithromycin and cardiovascular adverse outcomes such as myocardial infarction, arrhythmia, stroke, cardiac mortality at different time points.

We found that there was an increased short-term risk of myocardial infarction, arrhythmia and cardiac mortality associated with clarithromycin in all study designs. However, no long-term risk was observed. In every 1000 patients, there was 1.90 extra myocardial infarction events in current use of CLARITHROMYCIN when compared with the use of amoxicillin.

Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC / 23.01.2016 Interview with: Frank J. Rybicki, MD, PhD Professor, Chair and Chief, Department of Radiology The University of Ottawa, Faculty of Medicine and The Ottawa Hospital Editor-in-Chief, 3D Printing in Medicine Medical Research: What is the background for this document? Dr. Rybicki: This document represents a conglomeration of the approach to appropriateness of three large medical professional groups. The American College of Radiology Appropriateness Criteria® are evidence based guidelines to assist referring physicians to order the most appropriate imaging test for a wide range of clinical scenarios. The Appropriateness Criteria are divided by organ section, and while they include emergent imaging studies, there is not a single publication to provide imaging guidance for patients who present to the emergency room with chest pain. The American College of Cardiology Appropriate Use Criteria provides evidence based data for a very large gamut of cardiovascular conditions. These guidelines include emergent cardiovascular imaging; however the Appropriate Use Criteria are divided by modality and like the ACR have not specially addressed this important, high risk patient population. The American College of Emergency Physicians, a key stakeholder group that represents referring physicians, has developed a large number of guidelines but also has not organized this group of imaging recommendations. Thus, the background of this document was a joint effort among all three societies to update, harmonize, and publish contemporary guidelines that can be readily incorporated into clinical practice but also provide standards for a large fraction of patients who come to the emergency room with chest pain who require imaging to evaluate for a life threatening diagnosis. Medical Research: What types of chest pain conditions are covered by these guidelines? Dr. Rybicki: Based on the background as noted above, the Writing Group for this important document included cardiologists, emergency physicians, and radiologists. Since the group was charged with describing common clinical scenarios seen in contemporary practice, there are four entry points for chest pain conditions. They are as follows:
  1. Suspected Non-ST Segment Elevation Acute Coronary Syndrome
  2. Suspected Pulmonary Embolism
  3. Suspected Acute Syndrome of the Aorta
  4. Patients for Whom a Leading Diagnosis is Problematic or not Possible 
Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 22.01.2016 Interview with: Jimmy T. Efird, PhD, MSc Director Center for Epidemiology and Outcomes Research East Carolina Heart Institute Brody School of Medicine East Carolina University NC Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Efird: While postoperative atrial fibrillation (POAF) is a common complication following coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG), little is known about the association among obesity, POAF, and race in this population. Recently, increased body mass index (BMI) has been shown to be a stronger predictor for incident atrial fibrillation (AF) in blacks compared with whites in the general population. However, a similar finding has not been examined in patients undergoing CABG. In this study of 13,594 patients undergoing CABG at the East Carolina Heart Institute, risk for postoperative atrial fibrillation increased with obesity severity among black not white patients, after adjusting for demographics and prior medical history/comorbidities. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Infections, JACC / 20.01.2016 Interview with: François Delahaye, MD, PhD Department of Cardiology Hôpital Louis Pradel, Hospices Civils de Lyon Université Claude Bernard Lyon, France Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: Infective endocarditis (IE) is a severe disease, with an in-hospital mortality rate of about 20%. Five percent to 10% of patients will have additional episodes of IE. Thus, looking for and treating the portal of entry (POE) of IE is particularly important. The POE of the present episode must be identified in order to treat it. The potential POE of a new episode must be searched for in order to eradicate it and thus lower the risk for a new IE episode. Yet published research on this topic is nonexistent. The search for and treatment of the POE are not even mentioned in the guidelines on IE. We thus undertook a study of the performance of a systematic search for the portal of entry of the present episode of IE and of a potential new episode of Infective endocarditis. Patients were systematically seen by a stomatologist, an ear, nose, and throat specialist, and a urologist; women were systematically seen by a gynecologist; patients were seen by a dermatologist when there were cutaneous and/or mucous lesions. Colonoscopy and gastroscopy were performed if the microorganism came from the gastrointestinal tract in patients ≥ 50 years of age and in those with familial histories of colonic polyposis. Treatment of the portal of entry was systematically considered. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Response: The POEs of the present Infective endocarditis episodes were identified in 74% of the 318 included patients. The most frequent portal of entry was cutaneous (40% of identified POEs). It was mainly (62% of cutaneous POEs) associated with health care and with intravenous drug use. The second most frequent POE was oral or dental (29%). A dental infectious focus was more often involved (59% of oral or dental POEs) than a dental procedure (12%). POEs were gastrointestinal in 23% of patients. Colonic polyps were found in one-half of the patients and colorectal adenocarcinomas in 14%. Performance was good regarding the search for an oral or dental or a colonic potential POE, which were found in 53% and 40% of patients, respectively. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Radiology / 20.01.2016

More on Heart Disease on Interview with: Yitschak (Yitsik) Biton, MD Postdoctoral Research Fellow University of Rochester Medical Center Saunders Research Building Heart Research Follow-Up Program Rochester, NY Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Biton: Patients with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction have increased risk for sudden cardiac death due to ventricular arrhythmias. The causes of these arrhythmias are thought to be adverse left ventricular remodeling and scarring. Cardiac resynchronization therapy has been previously shown to reverse the adverse process of remodeling and induce reduction in cardiac chamber volumes. Relative wall thickness is a measure of the remodeling process, and it could be classified into normal, eccentric and concentric. In our study we showed that the degree relative wall thickness in patients with dilated cardiomyopathy and eccentric hypertrophy is inversely associated with the risk of ventricular arrhythmias. Furthermore we showed the CRT treated patients who had increase in relative wall thickness (became less eccentric) had lower risk for ventricular arrhythmias. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 20.01.2016

More on Anticoagulants on Interview with: Prof. Raffaele De Caterina M.D., Ph.D University Cardiology Division G. d'Annunzio University Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. De Caterina: There is uncertainty on how to predict bleeding upon treatment with anticoagulants, because bleeding risk scores and thromboembolic risk score fare very similarly in predicting bleeding, making the net clinical benefit difficult to assess in the single patient. Here we find that a history of bleeding – even minor bleeding – has an important prognostic value on the risk of future bleeding – virtually all sorts of future bleeding, with the notable exception of intracranial hemorrhage. Some novel oral anticoagulants (NOACs), such as apixaban, studied here, reduce the risk of major bleeding, and appear to benefit independent of the bleeding history. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Wake Forest / 20.01.2016

More on Heart Disease on Interview with: Ajay Dharod, M.D. Coordinator of Medical Informatics Department of Internal Medicine Wake Forest School of Medicine Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Dharod: There is a relative paucity of data regarding asymptomatic bradycardia in adults free of clinical cardiovascular disease. Are individuals with low heart rates simply healthy individuals with a non-clinically significant finding or is there a subclinical disease process? That was the question that generated this study. Until now, there had not been any research to determine if a slow heart rate contributed to the development of cardiovascular disease. We found that a heart rate (HR) of less than 50 was not associated with an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease in participants regardless of whether they were taking Heart Rate-modifying drugs, such as beta blockers and calcium channel blockers. However, we did find a potential association between bradycardia and higher mortality rates in individuals taking HR-modifying drugs. (more…)
Author Interviews, CMAJ, Heart Disease / 19.01.2016

More on Heart Disease on Interview with: Ian R Drennan ACP PhD(c) Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto Rescu, St. Michael's Hospital Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Drennan : Over the last number of years there has been an increase in the number of people living in high-rise buildings in many major urban centres. Research has shown that there are increased 911-response times for medical calls that occur in high-rise buildings. After a patient collapses in cardiac arrest, the chance of survival decreases by about 7-10% per minute without intervention. However, the impact living in high-rise buildings has on cardiac arrest care and survival remains unknown.  Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Drennan : In this study in Toronto and neighbouring Peel Region we found that there was a significant decrease in survival between cardiac arrests that occurred in private residences on or above 3 floors compared to those that occurred below 3 floors (4.2% vs. 2.6%). Only 0.9% of cardiac arrests that occurred above the 16th floor survived and there were no survivors above the 25th floor. We also found that there was nearly a 2 minute delay in 911-response from when an emergency vehicle arrived on scene to when the 911-first responders arrived at the patient’s side when they were required to respond to the higher floors. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Radiology / 15.01.2016

More on Heart Disease on Interview with: John Nance, MD Division of Cardiovascular Imaging, Department of Radiology and Radiological Science Medical University of South Carolina Charleston, South Carolina  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Nance: There are known ethnic and racial disparities in the burden, morbidity, and mortality of cardiovascular disease. The causes, of course, are multifactorial, and range from genetic differences to healthcare access issues. Our goal was to further explore these differences by utilize a dataset encompassing black and white patients who had undergone a coronary CT angiogram for the assessment of acute chest pain. We compared various measures of myocardial morphology and function, namely myocardial mass, interventricular septal wall thickness, left ventricular inner diameter in diastole and systole, and ejection fraction. We found that black patients had significantly higher myocardial mass than whites despite adjusting for age, gender, body mass index, and hypertension. Likewise, the septal wall was thicker in black patients. Interestingly, ejection fraction was slightly lower in black patients, but this finding was not statistically significant.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Geriatrics, Heart Disease, Lancet / 15.01.2016

Click Here for More on Heart Disease on Interview with: Bjørn Bendz MD PhD and Nicolai K. TegnMD Department of Cardiology, Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet Oslo, Norway  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: According to life expectancy statistics, a person who reaches age 80 can expect to live an average of 8 years (in men) and 9 years (in women). People over 80 yrs are underrepresented in clinical trials, they are less likely to receive treatment according to guidelines. Our study, which directly targets the over-80 population, is the first to demonstrate that a more invasive strategy results in better outcomes in these patients. We believe our study provides a sufficient basis to recommend an invasive approach.” (more…)
Annals Thoracic Surgery, Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 14.01.2016 Interview with: Islam Elgendy, MD Clinical Pharmacology, Cardiology University of Florida Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Elgendy: This study aimed to review the current evidence for the effect of statin therapy before and after bypass surgery on different outcomes. The evidence suggests that statins can help reduce cardiac complications, such as atrial fibrillation, following the surgery. Statin use also seemed to be associated with a reduced risk of death during and immediately after bypass surgery. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 14.01.2016

Click Here for more Articles on Nutrition and Heart Disease Interview with: James J. DiNicolantonio, PharmD Associate Editor BMJ Open Heart Cardiovascular Research Scientist Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. DiNicolantonio: We comprehensively reviewed the literature looking at the cardiovascular effects of saturated fat and compared them with refined sugars (sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup).  Our main finding is that saturated fat per se is not necessarily unhealthy.  Importantly, people eat foods, not saturated fat, and depending on what foods are consumed determines if saturated fat associates with health risk.  For example, the consumption of processed meat is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, whereas dairy is not.  Importantly, the replacement of saturated fat with refined sugars seems to increase the risk of myocardial infarction.  Hence, reducing added sugars should be the main focus rather than reducing saturated fat, as the latter could translate to reductions in healthy whole foods that just so happen to also be high in saturated fat (but also provide other healthy fats). (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC / 13.01.2016

Tanush Gupta, MD Interview with: Tanush Gupta, MD Chief Resident & Instructor of Medicine and Prakash Harikrishnan, MD Prakash Harikrishnan, MD Fellow in Cardiology New York Medical College at Westchester Medical Center Valhalla, NY   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: Complete heart block (CHB) is a relatively frequent complication in patients hospitalized with ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). Patients who develop complete heart block in the setting of STEMI have a 3- to 5-fold increase in in-hospital mortality compared to those without CHB. However, most of the existing reports on CHB complicating STEMI are from the pre-thrombolytic and thrombolytic era in the 1980s and 1990s, before the widespread use of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and advent of modern adjunctive medical therapies. Hence, the purpose of this investigation was to examine the association of complete heart block with in-hospital outcomes in patients hospitalized with STEMI and to examine the temporal trends in the incidence and outcomes of CHB complicating STEMI using the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) databases from 2003 to 2012. (more…)
Author Interviews, Clots - Coagulation, FDA, Heart Disease, JAMA, Johns Hopkins / 12.01.2016 Interview with:
Victor Serebruany, MD, PhD
HeartDrug Research, Towson, Maryland
Department of Neurology Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, Maryland Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Serebruany: Missing data are common challenges to the validity of trial results, yet it is unclear how to characterize the extent of missing data.  We compared the published lost-to-follow-up rates to incomplete follow-up rates determined from subject records submitted to the FDA for major oral antithrombotic trials.  The 21 trials having both sets of rates included 270,089 patients followed for a median duration of 20 months.  The mean published lost-to-follow-up rates is 0.4% (median 0.3%, range 0.005% to 2%), consistently much lower than the FDA incomplete follow-up rates: mean 12% (median 13%, range 2% to 23%).  There is no correlation between the publication and FDA-calculated  rates (R 0.07, p = 0.76).   The FDA rates exceed greatly the endpoint rate differences: mean 1.3% (median 1,0%, range 0.2% to 3.0%). Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Dr. Serebruany: That the FDA incomplete follow-up rates greatly exceed the endpoint rate differences raises questions of whether the endpoint differences may be due to differential follow-up rather than drug effect.  That they greatly exceed the measures routinely reported for trials, i.e., lost-to-follow-up rates, suggests that current trial reporting is inadequate.  Completeness of follow-up and other indicators of trial data quality should be considered when interpreting trial results. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Sleep Disorders / 11.01.2016 Interview with: Sunil Sharma MD, FAASM Associate Professor of Medicine Director, Pulmonary Sleep Medicine Associate Director, Jefferson Sleep Disorders Center Thomas Jefferson University and Hospitals Philadelphia, PA 19107 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Sharma: Congestive heart failure (CHF) is the most common cause of hospital admission and readmissions in United States. More health care dollars are spent on CHF than any other diagnosis. A large chunk of this cost is due to hospital admission.  An estimated 50% of the CHF patients are readmitted within 6 months of discharge. The recent Protection Affordable Care Act (ACA) imposes penalties on hospitals for readmissions within first 30-days. It is therefore imperative to find ways to impact the natural history of the disease. Sleep disordered breathing is a common disorder associated with CHF. It is estimated that up to 70% of the patient with CHF may have SDB. Studies have shown that untreated SDB can worsen CHF and treatment of Sleep disordered breathing has been shown to improve heart function (ejection fraction).  (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Frailty, Geriatrics, Heart Disease, Johns Hopkins / 10.01.2016 Interview with: Ariel R. Green, M.D., M.P.H Assistant Professor of Medicine Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) are widely used to prevent sudden cardiac death in patients with systolic heart failure. Older adults with heart failure often have multiple coexisting conditions and are frail, increasing their risk of death from non-cardiac causes. Our understanding of outcomes in older patients with ICDs is limited. Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Response: Our major finding was that more than 10% of patients currently receiving ICDs for primary prevention of sudden cardiac death (meaning that they have never had a potentially lethal arrhythmia but are at risk for one, usually due to systolic heart failure) are frail or have dementia.​ Patients with these geriatric conditions had substantially  higher mortality within the first year after ICD implantation than those without these conditions. Frailty and dementia were more strongly associated with mortality than were traditional comorbidities such as diabetes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Heart Disease, JAMA, Nutrition / 08.01.2016 Interview with: Dalane W. Kitzman, M.D. Professor, Cardiology Sticht Center on Aging Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine Translational Science Institute Wake-Forest Baptist Health Winston-Salem, NC Medical Research: What is the background of the research? Dr. Kitzman: Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction (HFPEF) is a relatively recently recognized disorder.  It used to be thought that it was rare.  However, we now realize that HFPEF is the dominant form of heart failure in America.  It is also the fastest growing cardiovascular disorder.  Interestingly, this disorder occurs almost exclusively among older persons, particularly women.  The need is great because outcomes in persons with HFPEF (death, rehospitalization, health care costs) are worsening.  This stands in contrast to most other cardiovascular disorders which are on the decline and / or are experiencing greatly improved outcomes.  Remarkably, all of the large studies that have used medications in HFPEF that seemed they should be ‘sure bets’ showed no benefit for their primary outcomes.  Thus, this is also the only major cardiovascular disorder where there is no proven medication treatment.  That means physicians take ‘educated guesses’ in choosing treatment for this large group of patients. The main symptom in patients with chronic HFPEF is shortness of breath and and fatigue with exertion.  We showed in 2002 in JAMA that when we objectively measured this symptom with expired gas analysis (Peak VO2), this was as severely decreased in HFPEF as in patients with HFREF (severely reduced EF), the classic, well accepted form of heart failure.  That and other studies helped lead to acceptance of HFPEF as a true Heart Failure disorder. We first showed 5 years ago that 4 months of exercise training improves peak VO2 and quality of life in patients with HFPEF.  In fact, exercise remains the only proven means to improve these patients’ chronic symptoms. The goal of our study was to determine if weight loss diet also improved peak VO2 and quality of life in HFPEF patients, alone and in combination with exercise training.  This was based on the under-recognized fact that over 80% of Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction patients are overweight or obese.  It was already known that weight loss diet in other groups of older persons improves peak VO2 and quality of life.  And small studies of weight loss surgery in the other form of HF (HFREF) suggested that weight loss can improves symptoms, peak VO2, and quality of life.  However, there had never been a study of weight loss, by diet or other means, in HFPEF.  In fact, it had been thought, based on observational data, that weight loss diet might be contraindicated in HFPEF. So we recruited 100 overweight / obese patients age 60 years and older with this disorder from our community; 80% were women.  The exercise was standard exercise training that we’d previously shown was effective.  The meals for the weight loss diet were prepared in our metabolic kitchen by a regisered dietition.  Patients made out menus selecting preferred foods.  Well balanced, healthy, nutritious, but very palatable.  The portions were controlled so that there was a 350 caloric deficit per day deficit, on average.  Pateints made their own breakfast with guidance, unlimited of certain fruits and vegetables, and occasional “free days”, such as for holidays.  Patients loved the meals and wanted to continue after the 5 month study. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Heart Disease, Pediatrics / 07.01.2016 Interview with: Daniel A. Mulrooney, MD, MS Cancer Survivorship Jude Children's Research Hospital TN 38105-3678 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Dr. Mulrooney:  This is a cross-sectional analysis performed in the St. Jude Lifetime Cohort Study (SJLIFE), an ongoing study designed to facilitate longitudinal evaluation of health outcomes among adults previously treated for childhood cancer.  Following patients over the life spectrum can be challenging making it difficult to understand the long-term health effects of childhood cancer therapy.  Previous studies have relied on self-report, registry, or death certificate data.  Our study is novel because we clinically evaluated cancer survivors on the St. Jude campus and identified substantial, asymptomatic cardiac disease (cardiomyopathy, coronary artery disease, valvular disease, and conduction/rhythm disorders).
  • Cardiomyopathy was present in 7.4% of survivors and newly identified by screening in 4.7%.
  • Coronary artery disease was present in 3.8% of survivors and newly identified by screening in 2.2%.
  • Valvular disease (regurgitation or stenosis) was present in 28% of survivors and newly identified by screening in 24.8%.
  • Conduction or rhythm abnormalities were present in 4.4% of survivors and newly identified by screening in 1.4%.
The prevalence of these cardiac findings might be expected in an older population but not necessarily in this young adult (median age at time of study 31 years, range: 18-60) population.    (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Stanford, Surgical Research / 04.01.2016 Interview with: Dr. Mary Hawn MD MPH Chair, Department of Surgery Stanford School of Medicine Stanford, California Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Hawn: Patients with known coronary artery disease are at higher risk for adverse cardiac events in the peri-operative period.  Revascularization with coronary stents does not appear to mitigate this risk and in fact, may elevate the risk if surgery is in the early post-stent period.  Drug eluting stents pose a particular dilemma as these patients require 12 months of dual anti platelet therapy to prevent stent thrombosis, thus elective surgery is recommended to be delayed during this period.  In contrast, bare metal stents with early epithilialization are not at the same risk for stent thrombosis with anti platelet cessation.   In our retrospective cohort study, however, we observed that stent type was not a major driver of adverse events in the early post-stent period and that underlying cardiac disease and acuity of the surgery explained most of the risk.  We undertook this study to determine the influence of the underlying indication for the stent procedure on surgical outcomes over time following the stent. (more…)
Author Interviews, Duke, Heart Disease, Kidney Disease / 03.01.2016 Interview with: Renato D. Lopes MD, MHS, PhD Duke University Medical Center Duke Clinical Research Institute Durham, NC 27705   John P. Vavalle, MD, MHS Assistant Professor of Medicine Division of Cardiology UNC Center for Heart & Vascular Care Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Dr. Lopes: Patients with varying degrees of underlying renal failure who presented for primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) for the treatment of ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) were studied as part of the APEX-AMI trial. Baseline renal dysfunction portends a worse prognosis in patients undergoing PCI. However, the association between clinical outcomes and angiographic results with baseline renal function in this population of STEMI patients is not clearly defined.  We report the results of a trial population with a full spectrum of underlying renal function (normal to dialysis dependent) and developed a prediction model for the development of acute kidney injury following primary percutaneous coronary intervention. In summary, patients with worse underlying renal function had worse angiographic outcomes, higher mortality, and were less likely to be treated with evidence-based medications.  The rate of acute kidney injury (AKI) after PCI appears to increase with worsening underlying renal function, except for those with Class IV chronic kidney disease where the rate of AKI was lowest.  Our novel prediction model for the development of AKI found that the strongest predictors of AKI were age and presenting in Killip Class III or IV. (more…)
Author Interviews, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, Heart Disease, JAMA, Kidney Disease, Surgical Research / 29.12.2015 Interview with: Azra Bihorac, MD, MS and Department of Anesthesiology Charles Hobson, MD, MHA Department of Surgery, Malcolm Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Department of Health Services Research, Management, and Policy University of Florida Gainesville Florida  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response:   Background is that as ICU clinicians we see acute kidney injury (AKI) and chronic kidney disease (CKD) frequently and have to deal with the consequences, and as AKI researchers we have shown that even mild and moderate AKI – even if there is complete resolution of the AKI by the time of hospital discharge – result in significantly increased morbidity and mortality for the surgical patient. Furthermore we are aware of the existing relationship between CKD and cardiovascular mortality, and we wanted to explore any relationship between AKI and cardiovascular mortality in the vascular surgery patients that we care for on a daily basis. The most important finding was the strong association between AKI and cardiovascular mortality in these patients – equal to the well-known association between CKD and cardiovascular mortality. (more…)
Author Interviews, CT Scanning, Heart Disease / 24.12.2015 Interview with: Dr. Joan Pinto-Sietsma MD PhD Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Academic Medical Center Amsterdam, The Netherlands.  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: A positive family history for premature coronary artery disease is an important risk factor for coronary artery disease. Therefore, it is frequently proposed to be included in current risk assessment tools and clinical practice guidelines. On the other hand, a positive family history for coronary artery disease only identifies families at risk, whereas it fails to identify which specific individual within a family is at particular risk. Therefore, its applicability in clinical practice is limited. The detection of subclinical atherosclerosis as assessed by assessing coronary artery calcification, with CT scanning, has emerged as prognostic evaluation of coronary artery disease. Prospective follow-up studies have shown that coronary artery calcification predicts cardiovascular events, independent of risk factors. Therefore, assessing coronary artery calcifications in families with premature coronary artery disease might help in determining which individuals within such families are at particular risk and therefore help decide regarding treatment. We analysed the association between a positive family history for premature coronary artery disease and coronary artery calcifications in 704 asymptomatic individuals. Furthermore, we assessed the predictive value of coronary artery calcifications in individuals with a positive family history for premature coronary artery disease in a sub analysis in 834 individuals of the St. Francis Heart Study, in which subjects were followed for about 3.5 years. We observed, that individuals of high risk families (a positive family history of premature coronary artery disease) had a 2 time higher risk to have a calcium score > the 80th percentile as compared to individuals with a negative family history of premature coronary artery disease. Besides, individuals from high risk families with a high calcium score (> the 80th percentile) had a 2 time higher risk to get a cardiovascular event in 3,5 years, whereas individuals of high risk families without coronary calcifications did not have an increased risk at all. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Heart Disease, Lancet / 24.12.2015 Interview with: Kazem Rahimi | FRCP DM MSc FESC Associate Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Oxford Deputy Director, The George Institute for Global Health James Martin Fellow in Healthcare Innovation, Oxford Martin School Honorary Consultant Cardiologist, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Prof. Rahimi: Although the benefits of blood pressure lowering treatment for prevention of cardiovascular disease are well established, the extent to which these effects differ by baseline blood pressure, presence of co-morbidities (such as stroke or diabetes), or drug class is less clear. Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Prof. Rahimi: Our study has several implications for clinical practice. Our findings suggest that blood pressure lowering to levels below those recommended in current guidelines (ie, systolic blood pressure of less than 140 mm Hg) will reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. By showing no evidence for a threshold below which blood pressure lowering ceases to work, the findings call for blood pressure lowering based on an individual’s potential net benefit from treatment rather than treatment of the risk factor to a specific target. Furthermore, the differences we identified between classes of drugs support more targeted drug use for individuals at high risk of specific outcomes (eg, calcium channel blocker therapy for individuals at high risk of stroke or and diuretics are more eff ective for prevention of heart failure). Overall, our findings clearly show that treating blood pressure to a lower level than currently recommended could greatly reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and potentially save millions of lives if the treatment was widely implemented. The results provide strong support for reducing systolic blood pressure to less than 130 mmHg, and blood pressure-lowering drugs should be offered to all patients at high risk of having a heart attack or stroke, whatever their reason for being at risk.  (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Education, Heart Disease, Stroke / 23.12.2015 Interview with: Carole Decker, RN, PhD, CPHQ, FAHA Director, Cardiovascular Outcomes Research Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute Kansas City, MO 64111 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Decker: Stroke is the leading cause of disability and the fifth leading cause of death. The utilization of thrombolytic therapy is the national standard of care for acute ischemic stroke (AIS) treatment resulting in improved outcomes at 90 days and yet only 7% of patients with AIS receive a thrombolytic. The American College of Emergency Physicians emphasizes the importance of using a shared medical decision-making model with AIS patients and their caregivers to discuss benefits and risks of treatment. The recommended door-to-needle (emergency door to thrombolytic administration) is 60 minutes to achieve the optimal patient outcomes which can be problematic in that conversation on benefits and risks occurs in a hurried emergency setting. Multiple risk models to identify individualized benefits and risks of thrombolytic therapy have been developed but few are used prospectively and are not used at the point of care. Our team created ePRISM (Personalized Risk Information Services Manager), a Web-based tool, to generate personalized documents with patient-specific outcomes based on validated risks models. To support knowledge transfer and creation of a shared decision-making tool, our multidisciplinary team conducted qualitative interviews to define the information needs and preferred presentation format for stroke survivors, caregivers, and clinicians considering thrombolytic treatment. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Emergency Care, Heart Disease / 21.12.2015 Interview with: Florence Leclercq, MD, PhD Department of Cardiology Arnaud de Villeneuve Hospital University hospital of Montpellier Montpellier,France Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Patients with history of coronary artery disease (CAD) are considered as a population with high risk of further coronary eventsHowever, frequent pre-existing ECG changes observed in these patients result in difficulty interpreting new ECG aspects in case of chest discomfort. Furthermore, anxiety frequently induced non-cardiac causes of chest pain in these patients, leading to unjustified admission to cardiology units.  Moreover, levels of troponin are usually higher in patients with previous CAD compared to patients without history of angina, resulting in difficulty interpreting baseline values in this population.  Conversely, copeptin may be influenced by the severity of myocardial ischemia and resulting endogenous stress, and could be a useful additional marker to exclude severe coronary stenosis in high-risk patients with recent chest pain. This propective monocentric study evaluates the incremental value of copeptin associated with high-sensitivity cardiac T troponin (hs-cTnT) to exclude severe coronary stenosis in 96 patients with coronary artery disease  (CAD) and acute chest pain.   Mean age of patients was 60 +/- 13.8 years and the mean time between chest pain onset and blood samples of copeptin was 4.2 +/-2.7 hours. According to clinical decision, coronary angiography was performed in 71 patients (73.9 %) and severe stenosis diagnosed in 14 of them (14.6%). No ischemia was detected on SPECT imaging (n=25). Among the 69 patients with a negative kinetic of hs-cTnT and a negative baseline copeptin, 5 (7.4%) had a severe stenosis (NPV 0.93; 95% CI: 0.87-0.99), 4 of them related to in-stent restenosis (NPV for exclusion of native coronary stenosis: 0.98; 95% CI: 0.93-1). We can conclude that in patients with preexisting CAD, and once Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI) is excluded, copeptin increases the NPV of  hs-cTnT  to rule out severe coronary stenosis or significant myocardial ischemia. Coronary stenosis not detected with this strategy concerned exclusively in-stent restenosis or stenosis related to infarcted -related  coronary artery without myocardial viability. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Surgical Research / 17.12.2015 Interview with: Dr Gerry McCann MD Reader in Cardiovascular Imaging Department of Cardiovascular Sciences University of Leicester Leicester UK Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. McCann:  Cardiologists increasingly treat patients who suffer a large heart attack with an emergency procedure performed under local anaesthetic. The blocked artery that causes the heart attack is opened by inserting a small metal stent at the blockage. Up to 50% of patients treated in this way also have other narrowed heart arteries. Two recent studies (PRAMI and CvLPRIT) in patients with heart attacks and multiple narrowed arteries have suggested that treating all of the narrowed arteries (complete revascularization) may be better than just treating the blocked artery. However, there is concern that the longer procedure, and putting in more stents, may cause more injury to the heart. Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings Dr. McCann:  We studied 203 patients having a heart attack who were randomly assigned to have only the blocked artery opened (105 patients) or complete revascularization during the initial hospitalization (98 patients) in the CvLPRIT study. We assessed the size of the heart attack and any smaller areas of damage using MRI scanning. Patients who were treated with complete revascularization were more likely to have evidence of more than 1 heart attack on the MRI than if only the blocked artery was treated (22% vs. 11% of patients). However, these additional heart attacks were generally small and the total percentage of the heart that was damaged was not increased (12.6% vs. 13.5%). The pumping function of the heart measured 3 days and 9 months after treatment was also similar with both treatments. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, NEJM, Surgical Research / 17.12.2015 Interview with: Dr. Jochen Reinöhl Consultant and Head of the ISAH team (intervention for structural and congenital cardiovascular diseases) Department of Cardiology and Angiology I  (Medical Director: Prof. Dr. Christoph Bode) University Heart Center Freiburg ∙ Bad Krozingen Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Reinöhl: Aortic valve stenosis is a medical condition with very high short-term mortality. Previously its only treatment – therefore the gold standard – consisted of surgical valve replacement. Since 2007 transcatheter aortic-valve replacement (TAVR) can be considered alternative. Its impact on clinical practice, however, is largely unknown. TAVR numbers rose from 144 in 2007 to 9,147 in 2013, whereas surgical aortic-valve replacement procedures only marginally decreased from 8,622 to 7,048. For both groups in-hospital mortality, as well as, the incidence of stroke, bleeding and pacemaker implantation (but not acute kidney injury) decreased. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Hospital Readmissions / 15.12.2015 Interview with: Javed Butler MD MPH Chief, Division of Cardiology Stony Brook University Health Sciences Center SUNY at Stony Brook, NY Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Butler: There is a lot of emphasis on reducing the risk of readmission after heart failure hospitalization. The main focus is on early readmissions as the risk for readmission is highest earlier post discharge. In this study, we described the fact that certainly there is some increased risk post discharge, the majority of the risk is actually dependent on the patient and disease characteristics at the time of discharge as opposed to true reduction in risk over time, which is partially related to differential attrition of high risk patients earlier post discharge. (more…)
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Heart Disease, Women's Heart Health / 10.12.2015 Interview with: Sherry L. Grace, PhD Professor, York University Senior Scientist, University Health Network University of Toronto MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Grace: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality for women world-wide. Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is an outpatient secondary prevention program composed of structured exercise and comprehensive education and counseling.Cardiac rehabilitation participation results in lower morbidity and mortality, among other benefits. Unfortunately, women are significantly less likely to adhere to these programs than men. While the traditional model of Cardiac rehabilitation care is a hospital-based mixed-sex program, women are the minority in such programs, and state that these programs do not meet their care preferences. Two other models of CR care have been developed: hospital-based women-only (sex-specific) and monitored home-based programs. Women’s adherence to these program models is not well known. Cardiac Rehabilitation for her Heart Event Recovery (CR4HER) was a 3 parallel arm pragmatic randomized controlled trial‎ (RCT) designed to compare women’s program adherence to traditional hospital-based CR with males and females attending (mixed-sex), home-based CR (bi-weekly phone calls), and women-only hospital-based CR. The primary outcome was program adherence operationalized as  Cardiac rehabilitation site-reported percentage of prescribed sessions completed by phone or on-site, as reported by a staff member who was blind to study objectives. The secondary outcomes included functional capacity. It was hoped that by identifying the CR program model which resulted in the greatest adherence for women, their participation and potentially their cardiac outcomes could be optimized. MedicalResearch: What are the main findings? Dr. Grace: Similar to previous research, we found that women did not adhere very highly to the  Cardiac rehabilitation programs. Half of the women dropped out of CR, and this occurred regardless of the type of program they went to. Some women did not even start Cardiac rehabilitation at all, even though we had referred them. On average, the women went to just over half the sessions (at the CR centre or on the phone; they were prescribed a median of 24 sessions). If we consider only the women who actually started CR, they attended almost 2/3rds of prescribed CR sessions. Women experienced gains in their exercise capacity over the course of CR participation. Attending the traditional co-ed program was associated with the greatest exercise capacity. This could be due to the fact that the staff push them to exercise at their target levels when they are in a supervised program. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Emergency Care, Heart Disease / 10.12.2015 Interview with: Justin A. Ezekowitz, MBBCh MSc Associate Professor, University of Alberta Co-Director, Canadian VIGOUR Centre Cardiologist  and Director, Heart Function Clinic Nariman Sepehrvand, MD Research Fellow & Graduate Student Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute University of Alberta Edmonton, Canada  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Ezekowitz: Major practice guidelines recommend the use of natriuretic peptide (NP) testing for diagnosing acute heart failure (HF) in emergency departments (ED). Despite these guidelines, the majority of healthcare regions all around the world (except for the United States and New Zealand) have restricted access to NP testing due to concerns over cost to healthcare systems. In the province of Alberta, Canada, however, a province-wide access to NP testing was provided for all EDs in 2012. This study investigates the factors that are related to the utilization of NP testing in EDs. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Ezekowitz: There was a substantial geographic variation in testing for NPs, despite having a single payer system and the universal availability of NP testing in Alberta. Several factors (including male sex, some comorbidities like prior heart failure, urban residence, type of care provider and ED clinical volume) influenced the utilization of testing for NPs in routine ED practice. Interestingly, patients with heart failure who were tested for NPs at ED, had a higher rate of hospital admission and lower 7 day and 90 day repeat ED visit rates compared to those who were not tested. (more…)