Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Toxin Research / 31.05.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Renjie Chen PhD and Dr. Haidong Kan, PhD School of Public Health, Key Lab of Public Health Safety of the Ministry of Education, Fudan University, Shanghai, China MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Although several previous studies in developed countries with cleaner air have reported health benefits due to air filtration, no such interventional studies were conducted in a developing country with much severer air pollution problems. Our main findings suggested that even a short-term intervention (2 days) could significantly reduce indoor air pollution and improve cardiopulmonary health among healthy young adults. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, NIH, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 31.05.2015

Dr. Samson Y. Gebreab, Ph.D., M.Sc. Lead Study Author and Research Scientist National Human Genome Research Institute Bethesda, MarylandMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Samson Y. Gebreab, Ph.D., M.Sc. Lead Study Author and Research Scientist National Human Genome Research Institute Bethesda, Maryland Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Gebreab: It is well known that African Americans hold a commanding lead in cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality and morbidity compared to whites and other ethnic groups.  Furthermore, the risk for developing CVD begins early in life and extends over a lifecourse.  Previous studies have indicated the influence of both childhood and adult socioeconomic status (SES) on CVD risk. However, the impact of lifecourse socioeconomic status (both childhood and adulthood) on CVD risk in African American population is not fully understood.  The purpose of our study was to investigate the associations of different measures of lifecourse socioeconomic status with cardiovascular disease risk in African Americans and whether the associations were modified by sex and/ or age after controlling for known cardiovascular disease risk factors.  We analyzed 10-year follow-up data of African American adults who were participating in Jackson Heart Study, Jackson, MS. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Gebreab: Our findings highlights that among those of lower socioeconomic status,  women and younger (<=50 years old)  African Americans are at increased risk of CVD, including heart disease and stroke compared to their counterparts of higher socioeconomic status groups.          African American women in the lowest socioeconomic status, had more than twice the risk of developing cardiovascular disease than those in the highest socioeconomic status group.          African Americans of 50 years and younger in the lowest socioeconomic status group had more than three times higher risk of experiencing a cardiovascular disease event than those in the highest socioeconomic status group. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, BMJ, Heart Disease, Women's Heart Health / 27.05.2015

Alexandra Gonçalves, MD, PhD Postdoctoral Research Fellow Cardiovascular Department Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA 02115MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alexandra Gonçalves, MD, PhD Postdoctoral Research Fellow Cardiovascular Department Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA 02115 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Gonçalves: Excessive alcohol consumption is associated with alcoholic cardiomyopathy, while light to moderate drinking might have benefits in the risk of heart failure (HF). However, the cardiovascular mechanisms and the alcohol dosage associated with risks or potential benefits are uncertain. Furthermore, the variation in the toxic and protective effects of alcohol by sex remains controversial, as women may be more sensitive than men to the toxic effects of alcohol on cardiac function, developing alcoholic cardiomyopathy at a lower total lifetime dose of alcohol compared to men. In this study we assessed the associations between alcohol intake and cardiac structure and function by echocardiography, in elderly men and women in the large, community-based Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Dr. Gonçalves: We studied 4466 participants (76±5 years and 60% women) with alcohol consumption ascertained, who underwent transthoracic echocardiography. Participants were classified into 4 categories based on self-reported alcohol intake: non-drinkers, drinkers of up to 7 drinks per week, ?7 to 14 and ? 14 drinks per week. In both genders, increasing alcohol intake was associated with larger left ventricular (LV) diastolic and systolic diameters and larger left atrial diameter. In men, increasing alcohol intake was associated with greater LV mass and higher E/E’ ratio. In women, increasing alcohol intake was associated with lower LV ejection fraction. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Weight Research / 21.05.2015

Michelle Schmiegelow, MD, PhD-studerende Hjertemedicinsk Forskning Gentofte Universitetshospital HellerupMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michelle Schmiegelow, MD, PhD-student Hjertemedicinsk Forskning Gentofte Universitetshospital Hellerup Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. SchmiegelowObesity has become a worldwide epidemic, but the excess cardiovascular risk observed in obese individuals may primarily be attributable to metabolic mediators, rather than obesity per se. Several studies conducted in primarily non-Hispanic white populations suggest that obese individuals without the metabolic syndrome, defined as metabolically healthy obese, have a cardiovascular risk similar to that of normal weight metabolically healthy individuals. We used prospectively collected data from the Women’s Health Initiative studies to evaluate whether obesity unaccompanied by metabolic abnormalities was associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) across racial/ethnic subgroups in postmenopausal women. Additionally, we examined whether the use of the metabolic syndrome to define the metabolically healthy obese applied to the various racial/ethnic subgroups by quantifying the number and type of metabolic syndrome components. All women were classified by obesity level and metabolic health status at baseline. The women were thus categorized according to body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) into normal weight (BMI 18.5-24.9 kg/m2), overweight (25-29.9 kg/m2) and obese (30.0 kg/m2) women. Metabolic health status was first defined by presence of the metabolic syndrome (yes/no), and second by number of metabolic syndrome components. In accordance with the International Diabetes Federation and the American Heart Association/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute we defined the metabolic syndrome as any two of the following (criteria for women): increased waist circumference ≥80 cm; increased level of triglycerides ≥150 mg/dL (≥1.7 mM); decreased level of HDL-C <50 mg/dL (<1.3 mM); increased blood pressure with either systolic blood pressure ≥130 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure ≥85 mmHg, or treatment with antihypertensive drugs; and impaired fasting serum glucose ≥100 mg/dL (6.1 mM). Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Schmiegelow: The study population comprised 14,364 women without diabetes or prior cardiovascular disease. The women had a median age of 64 years (interquartile range 57–69), and 47% were white, 36% were black and 18% were Hispanic. Over a median follow-up of 13 years (interquartile range 12–14 years), 1,101 women (7.7%) had a first cardiovascular event. The main findings of this study were that metabolic abnormalities appeared to confer more cardiovascular risk among black women than among white women. Consistent with other studies, among white women without the metabolic syndrome, obesity was not associated with increased cardiovascular risk compared with normal weight women. Conversely, black overweight and black obese women had increased cardiovascular risk compared with normal weight black women without the metabolic syndrome, even in absence of the metabolic syndrome. According to number of metabolic syndrome components, black overweight or obese women with just two metabolic abnormalities had increased risk of cardiovascular disease, although they would be considered “metabolically healthy” based on the standard definition, particularly since one of these abnormalities were abdominal obesity for 79% of overweight and 98% of obese women, irrespective of race/ethnicity. White obese women with three metabolic abnormalities did not have a statistically significantly increased cardiovascular risk compared with normal weight metabolically healthy women. Thus, cardiovascular disease risk appeared to be elevated in black women by the presence of only two or three metabolic abnormalities to a degree that would require four or more metabolic abnormalities among white women. These findings did not appear to be driven by any particular combination of metabolic abnormalities. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 19.05.2015

Josep Rodés-Cabau MD Quebec Heart and Lung Institute, Quebec City, QC, CanadaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Josep Rodés-Cabau MD Quebec Heart and Lung Institute, Quebec City, QC, Canada Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Rodés-Cabau: Hemolysis is the breakdown of red blood cells (RBC) in the body. There are many different causes of hemolysis, however a common cause is when RBCs traverse foreign substances, such as inserted heart valve prostheses. The biological interaction between the RBC and a foreign substance may cause RBC lysis/destruction. Furthermore, in the setting of turbulent blood flow, such as when a prosthetic heart valve is starting to leak, the degree of hemolysis could reflect the severity and duration of this leak. In the absence of valve leaks, hemolysis rates and severity may simply reflect how biocompatible a foreign/prosthetic valve is within the body. The lower the hemolysis rate and severity, the more biocompatible the valve/foreign body. There are many different brands and generations of prosthetic heart valves that have been implanted in humans during the prior decades. The early-generation surgically implanted valves caused quite severe hemolysis requiring re-operation when possible. Modern-day surgical heart valves now have superior designs and rarely cause significant hemolysis. Nevertheless the rates of sub-clinical (or biochemical) hemolysis are around 30% for modern-day mechanical heart valves. Nowadays, certain patients are eligible to undergo transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI), a revolutionary means of valve replacement without the need for open heart surgery. However to-date, the biocompatibility of these new transcatheter heart valves has not been tested in humans in vivo. We systematically evaluated hemolysis rates and its associated factors in a large consecutive series of patients undergoing TAVI at the Quebec Heart & Lung Institute, Quebec, Canada. We found that the rate of transcatheter heart valve hemolysis was 15%, lower than that reported for modern-day mechanical surgically implanted valves. No patient demonstrated severe hemolysis. The presence of a size mismatch between the patient and transcatheter valve (termed prosthesis patient mismatch) significantly associated with the likelihood of hemolysis. Indirect measurements of wall shear stress also associated with hemolysis rates. (more…)
Author Interviews, Emergency Care, Heart Disease, JAMA / 18.05.2015

Michael B. Weinstock, MD Professor of Emergency Medicine, Adjunct Department of Emergency Medicine, The Ohio State University College of Medicine Emergency Department Chairman and Director of Medical Education, Mt. Carmel St. Ann's Dept. of Emergency Medicine Columbus, OhioMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael B. Weinstock, MD Professor of Emergency Medicine, Adjunct Department of Emergency Medicine, The Ohio State University College of Medicine Emergency Department Chairman and Director of Medical Education, Mt. Carmel St. Ann's Dept. of Emergency Medicine Columbus, Ohio Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: Patients with potential cardiac ischemia are often admitted to the hospital even after a negative evaluation in the emergency department due to concern about missed MI, unstable angina, or potential for cardiac arrhythmia. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Response: Our study was different than previous studies and clinical decision rules; instead of looking at a 30 day marker, which is important to the cardiologist, ours looked at the risk of a Clinically Relevant Adverse Cardiac Event (CRACE) occurring during hospitalization. These events included inpatient STEMI, life-threatening arrhythmia, cardiac or respiratory arrest, or death. The study found only 4 of these events out of 7266 patients studied and of the 4, two were possibly iatrogenic, suggesting that after a negative ED evaluation (including 2 negative serial cardiac enzyme tests, non-ischemic and interpretable ECG, and nonconcerning vital signs) a patient can be safely sent home for an expedited cardiac outpatient evaluation. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Heart Disease / 18.05.2015

dr-pascal-stammetMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Pascal Stammet Dépt. Anesthésie-Réanimation Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg Luxembourg MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr Stammet: Patients hospitalized after an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) survive in about fifty percent and nine out of ten survivors have a good functional level six months after the arrest. However, in the early days after the cardiac arrest it is difficult to distinguish those who will survive from those who have very severe brain damage, not compatible with life. Biomarkers, like neuron specific enolase (NSE) have shown a prognostic value for outcome prediction. As a consequence of the widespread use of induced hypothermia, to improve survival and neurological function, for patients resuscitated form cardiac arrest, concerns have arisen about the impact of body temperature on previously published cut-off values for poor outcome. NSE has thus been questioned as a useful clinical tool. Recently, the Target Temperature Management trial (TTM-trial) published in November 2013 in the NEJM has shown no benefit of a target body temperature of 33°C over 36°C in patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest admitted to the ICU. In the present sub-study, we have analyzed the value of NSE to predict outcome in a cohort of 686 patients of the TTM-trial. Importantly, serial measurements of NSE at 24, 48 and 72 hours allowed accurate outcome prediction, with better performance than clinical and peri-arrest data alone. NSE did not significantly differ between temperature groups meaning that clinicians can use NSE as an adjunct prognostic tool regardless of the chosen temperature management strategy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Infections, JACC / 12.05.2015

J L Mehta, MD, PhD Professor of Medicine and Physiology and Biophysics Stebbins Chair in Cardiology University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Little Rock, AR 72205MedicalResearch.com Interview with: J L Mehta, MD, PhD Professor of Medicine and Physiology and Biophysics Stebbins Chair in Cardiology University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Little Rock, AR 72205 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Mehta: In 2007, ACC/AHA published new guidelines regarding infective endocarditis (IE) prevention. This guideline drastically differed from the way we practiced and prescribed antibiotics to our patients when they undergo surgery or any other procedure like dental procedure, endoscopy, etc. to prevent infective endocarditis. As a result of these guideline, antibiotic use is now being restricted to only a small number of patients who have cardiac conditions that puts them at very high risk for adverse outcomes from IE. However, there is paucity of data on IE trends in the community following such a major change in practice. Therefore evaluated the trend in incidence of infective endocarditis and their outcomes before and after the advent of new guideline. Our study has several important findings. First, there has been a steady increase in the incidence of infective endocarditis hospitalizations over the last decade in the US. However, the incidence of IE pre- and post-inception of new antibiotic prophylaxis guidelines is not significantly different. In parallel to these findings, the rate of valve replacement for infective endocarditis did not change after the release of new guidelines in 2007. Secondly, the increase in IE incidence was seen across all types of pathogens- Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, gram negative bacteria and fungi. The major offender involved in IE in the United States is Staphylococcus. Finally, the rate of Streptococcus infective endocarditis related hospitalization increased significantly following the release of new guideline in the US, while Staphylococcus IE hospitalizations although on rise, did not increase significantly following the 2007 ACC/AHA guideline update. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Kidney Disease / 12.05.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kirolos A. Jacob, MD, MSc PhD Candidate Division Vital Functions, Cardiothoracic Surgery and Intensive Care Medicine University Medical Center Utrecht Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Jacob: Heart surgery carries many risks for a patient undergoing such a procedure. One of the most devastating complications following open heart surgery is kidney failure requiring dialysis. Most of these patients who develop kidney failure requiring dialysis after surgery have some form of chronic kidney disease before the operation, which placed them at especially high risk. Approximately one out of every 100 patients undergoing open heart surgery develops severe kidney failure. When such kidney failure occurs, the patient has more than 40% chance of dying. 1% sounds like a small percentage, however given the fact that each year, over half a million people undergo heart surgery in the USA alone, this means that an estimated 5,000 patients develop renal failure and of those about 2,500 die as a result of this complication. This figure is rising yearly as more and more patients are being operated due to the aging population. Also, this elderly population has often significant pre-existing kidney disease, further increasing the incidence of kidney failure after a heart operation. Thus, treatment strategies are needed for this relatively small yet very important and expanding group of patients. Heart surgery initiates an inflammatory reaction across the human body due to the surgical trauma and the heart-lung machine. This systemic immune system reaction is thought to play a vital role in the development of kidney injury after heart surgery. Our study investigated the effects of dexamethasone, a strong anti-inflammatory drug, on severe kidney injury after heart surgery. Severe kidney injury was defined as the use of dialysis during the hospital stay after surgery. We discovered that patients who receive the drug used 56% less frequently kidney dialysis, when compared to those receiving a placebo. Thus patients who did not receive the drug had about 2.5x higher risk for developing kidney failure when compared to those receiving dexamethasone. The beneficial effects of dexamethasone were particularly present in those who already had pre-existing kidney disease before heart surgery. This reinforces the fact that this drug could be of major importance for the increasing elderly population with pre-existing kidney disease undergoing a heart operation. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Mediterranean Diet, Nutrition / 10.05.2015

Miguel Á. Martínez-González, MD, MPH, PhD Department of Preventive Medicine & Public Health School of Medicine, University of Navarra Navarra, SpainMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Miguel Á. Martínez-González, MD, MPH, PhD Department of Preventive Medicine & Public Health School of Medicine, University of Navarra Navarra, Spain Medical Research: What are the main findings? Response: The diet-heart hypothesis has been researched during decades. A common mistake was to assume that a high intake of all types of fat was detrimental for cardiovascular health and could cause heart attacks and strokes. Therefore a low-fat diet was proposed as the best way to prevent heart attacks and strokes. This was wrong. Alternatively, the Mediterranean diet, rich in fat from natural vegetable sources (olive oil, tree nuts), was also considered a healthy dietary pattern. However, most of the evidence to support these benefits of a fat-rich Mediterranean diet came from observational studies and no randomized clinical trial had ever assessed the Mediterranean diet in PRIMARY prevention (i.e. in initially healthy people) (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 07.05.2015

Kristian Kragholm, MD, PhD-student Cardiovascular Research Center, Department of Anesthesiology, Aalborg University HospitalMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kristian Kragholm, MD, PhD-student Cardiovascular Research Center, Department of Anesthesiology, Aalborg University Hospital Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Kragholm: During 2001-2010 in Denmark, survival to 30 days and 1 year more than doubled. Whether this substantial improvement in survival was accompanied by good functional recovery in survivors was not clear. Discharge neurological status or post-discharge follow-up assessments were not systematically recorded in Denmark but through nationwide registries employment outcomes were available. Therefore, we examined return to work as a marker of favorable neurological outcome in 30-day survivors of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in a nationwide study in Denmark between 2001-2011. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Kragholm: More than 75% of all 30-day out-of-hospital survivors in Denmark during 2001-2011 who were employed prior to arrest returned to work Not only did the majority of these survivors return to work, survivors also sustained work without any long-term sick absences for a median time of 3 years and maintained the same income after arrest as before arrest. Finally, relative to survivors who did not receive bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), chances for return to work were increased by approximately 40% if bystanders had provided CPR in multivariable adjusted modeling. (more…)
Author Interviews, Electronic Records, Emergency Care, Heart Disease, JACC / 07.05.2015

Justin A. Ezekowitz, MBBCh MScAssociate Professor, University of Alberta Co-Director, Canadian VIGOUR Centre Director, Heart Function Clinic Cardiologist, Mazankowski Alberta Heart InstiMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Justin A. Ezekowitz, MBBCh MSc Associate Professor, University of Alberta Co-Director, Canadian VIGOUR Centre Director, Heart Function Clinic Cardiologist, Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Ezekowitz: Heart Failure is a prevalent health issue that carries high morbidity and mortality. Most epidemiologic research derives information from hospital discharge abstracts, but emergency department visits are another source of information. Many have assumed this code is accurate in the emergency department but uncertainty remains. In our study, we assessed patients at their presentation to Emergency Department, which is usually the first medical contact for acutely ill patients with heart failure. The objective of our study was to compare administrative codes for acute heart failure (I50.x) in the emergency department against a gold standard of clinician adjudication. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Ezekowitz: Emergency department administrative data is highly correlated with a clinician adjudicated diagnosis. The positive predictive value of acute heart failure as the main diagnosis was 93.3% when compared to clinician adjudication, supported by standardized scoring systems and elevated BNP. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Diabetes, Heart Disease / 06.05.2015

Michelle Schmiegelow MD, PhD Student Gentofte Hospital Copenhagen Area, Capital Region, DenmarkMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michelle Schmiegelow MD, PhD Student Gentofte Hospital Copenhagen Area, Capital Region, Denmark

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Schmiegelow: Use of cardiovascular risk stratification models is highly encouraged by U.S. and European guidelines in order to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD). Individuals with insulin resistance are likely to progress to type 2 diabetes, but measures of insulin resistance are not included in current risk stratification models, although this might improve prediction of CVD in patients without diabetes. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether measures of insulin resistance would improve CVD risk predictions based solely on traditional CVD risk factors in postmenopausal women without existing CVD or diabetes. The main outcome was risk of developing CVD, defined as non-fatal and fatal coronary heart disease and ischemic stroke, within ten years, and the measures of insulin resistance considered were fasting serum glucose, fasting serum insulin, “homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance“ (HOMA-IR) and the ratio of triglycerides and high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (TG/HDL-C). From the Women’s Health Initiative Biomarkers studies we identified 15,288 postmenopausal women with no history of CVD, atrial fibrillation, or diabetes at baseline (included 1993–1998), who over a mean follow-up of 9.2 years (standard deviation 1.9 years) had 894 first CVD events (5.8%). (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 06.05.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Hueiming Liu | BA (Hons), MBBS, MIPH Research Fellow, Renal & Metabolic Division The George Institute for Global Health NSW Australia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Liu: Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide and is projected to be the leading cause of death in 2030. A major part of the problem is large treatment gaps globally. Cardiovascular polypills which are fixed dose combinations of frequently indicated cardiovascular medications for high risk primary prevention and secondary prevention have been trialled internationally to improve provider prescribing and patient medication use. Encouragingly, recent results from randomised controlled trials have shown effectiveness in improving adherence.   This study is part of a process evaluation of a pragmatic randomised, controlled trial evaluating a polypill-based strategy for high-risk primary and secondary cardiovascular disease prevention in Australian primary health care. The trial results showed that “ After a median of 18 months, the polypill-based strategy was associated with greater use of combination treatment (70% vs. 47%; relative risk 1.49, (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.30 to 1.72) p < 0.0001; number needed to treat = 4.4 (3.3 to 6.6)) without differences in systolic blood pressure (-1.5 mmHg (95% CI -4.0 to 1.0) p = 0.24) or total cholesterol (0.08 mmol/l (95% CI -0.06 to 0.22) p = 0.26).” Ultimately, the trial was underpowered for clinical outcomes, but in a separate meta-analysis that included 2 other trials using a near identical protocol in other countries, the polypill strategy was associated with significant reductions in blood pressure and LDL cholesterol. A within-trial cost analysis of polypill-based care versus usual care with separate medications showed a statistically significantly lower mean pharmaceutical expenditure and thus potential cost savings to tax payers and the Australian government should the polypill strategy be introduced. In this qualitative study, we explored health provider and patient attitudes towards the use of a cardiovascular polypill as a health service strategy to improve cardiovascular prevention in Australia through in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 47 health providers and 47 patients involved in the trial. (more…)
Author Interviews, Compliance, Emory, Heart Disease / 04.05.2015

Andre Paixao, MD Division of Cardiology Emory University Atlanta, GA, 30322.MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Andre Paixao, MD Division of Cardiology Emory University Atlanta, GA, 30322. Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Paixao: Despite advances in cardiovascular prevention, coronary heart disease remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Understanding risk factor burden and control as well as perceived risk prior to acute myocardial infarction (MI) presentation may identify opportunities for system-based interventions to promote adherence to evidence based recommendations and improve overall cardiovascular health. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Paixao: Our study assessed predicted risk and risk factor control prior to Myocardial Infarction (MI) presentation in 443,117 patients included in the NCDR ACTION Registry-GWTG. Only 36.1% of patients met all assessed risk factor control metrics (i.e. LDL cholesterol, non-HDL cholesterol, nonsmoking status and aspirin use among those with prior cardiovascular disease). Risk factor control was suboptimal in the primary and secondary prevention groups. Prior cardiovascular disease was present in 41.6% of patients presenting with an acute MI. Among those without prior cardiovascular disease or diabetes, only 13.4% were classified as high risk based on the Framingham Risk Score. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Mayo Clinic, Psychological Science / 01.05.2015

Shannon M. Dunlay, M.D. M.S. Advanced Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplantation Assistant Professor of Medicine and Health Care Policy and Research Mayo Clinic RochesterMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Shannon M. Dunlay, M.D. M.S. Advanced Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplantation Assistant Professor of Medicine and Health Care Policy and Research Mayo Clinic Rochester MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Dunlay: Left ventricular assist devices (LVAD) are increasingly utilized as destination therapy (DT) in patients that are not candidates for heart transplantation. Optimal patient selection is essential in improving outcomes, but many of the factors associated with favorable outcomes remain poorly understood. It is important for us to better understand the role that psychosocial factors may play in outcomes after DT LVAD. Unlike transplant, where the limited organ supply requires choosing candidates with optimal psychosocial characteristics, DT LVAD therapy is more readily available as it does not rely on organ donors. There are no clear guidelines on what constitutes an acceptable psychosocial risk prior to DT LVAD. As a result, many programs will offer DT LVAD to candidates despite psychosocial concerns if it is felt they will otherwise benefit. Data are needed to inform programs about whether such candidates are truly at elevated risk of adverse outcomes. In our single-center study including 131 patients, we found that several psychosocial characteristics are predictive of readmission after DT LVAD. A history of illegal drug use and depression are associated with a higher risk of readmission, while tobacco use is associated with lower readmission risk. Psychosocial characteristics were not significant predictors of death after DT LVAD. (more…)
Author Interviews, End of Life Care, Heart Disease, JAMA, Kidney Disease / 27.04.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Susan P. Y. Wong, M.D. Acting Instructor & Senior Research Fellow Division of Nephrology University of Washington Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Wong: There is a paucity of information on the use of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and its outcomes among patients receiving maintenance dialysis. To address this knowledge gap, we performed a retrospective study to define contemporary trends in in-hospital CPR use and its outcomes among a nationally representative sample of 663,734 patients receiving maintenance dialysis between 2000 and 2011. We found that in-hospital CPR use among this cohort of patients was very high—nearly 20 times more common than that found in the general population. The rate of in-hospital CPR use has also been increasing among patients receiving maintenance dialysis despite evidence of poor long-term survival among these patients. Median survival after hospital discharge for members of this cohort was only 5 months, and this has not change substantially in the recent decade. We also found that a large proportion  of dialysis patients who died in hospital settings had received CPR during their terminal hospitalization. This proportion has also been steadily increasing over time, and in 2011, 1 in 5 dialysis patients who died in hospital had received CPR during their terminal hospitalization. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Stroke, University of Pennsylvania / 25.04.2015

Jay Giri, MD MPH Director, Peripheral Intervention Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine University of PennsylvaniaMedicalResearch.com Interview with Jay Giri, MD MPH Director, Peripheral Intervention Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine University of Pennsylvania MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Giri: Carotid artery stents are placed by vascular surgeons or interventional cardiologists to decrease the risk of long-term stroke in patients with severe atherosclerotic disease of the carotid artery.  When these procedures are performed, there is a risk of releasing small amounts of debris into the brain’s circulation, causing a stroke around the time of the procedure (peri-procedural stroke).  In order to mitigate this issue, embolic protection devices (EPD) have been developed to decrease the chances of small debris reaching the brain. Two types of EPD exist.  The first is a small filter meant to catch the debris released by placement of the carotid stent (distal filter EPD). The second is a more complex device type that leads to transient halting of blood flow to the brain in the carotid artery being stented (proximal EPD). Debris-containing blood is removed from the body prior to allowing normal blood flow to proceed back to the brain after stent placement. Our prior research has shown that nearly all (>95%) of domestic carotid stenting procedures are performed with utilization of one of these devices.  We sought to compare important clinical outcomes of stroke and death between these 2 device types within a large national sample of patients undergoing carotid stenting. Some small prior studies have investigated whether the total amount of debris reaching the brain is less with proximal embolic protection devices.  These studies have shown mixed results.  However, no prior study has investigated important clinical outcomes of stroke and death in relation to these devices. We found that overall uptake of proximal embolic protection devices utilization in America has not been robust.  Less than 7% of all domestic CAS procedures are performed with this technology.   Our analysis showed that in-hospital and 30-day stroke/death rates with proximal EPD and distal filter EPD were similar (1.6% vs. 2.0%, p = 0.56 and 2.7% vs. 4.0%, p = 0.22, respectively). (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Depression, Duke, Heart Disease, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 24.04.2015

 Dr. Robert J. Mentz MD Assistant Professor of Medicine Director, Duke University Cooperative Cardiovascular Society Advanced Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplantation Duke University Medical Center Duke Clinical Research InstituteMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Robert J. Mentz MD Assistant Professor of Medicine Director, Duke University Cooperative Cardiovascular Society Advanced Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplantation Duke University Medical Center Duke Clinical Research Institute Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Mentz: Previous studies have shown that depression is associated with worse outcomes in heart failure patients; however, most of these prior studies were conducted in primarily white patient populations. The impact of depressive symptoms on outcomes specifically in blacks with heart failure has not been well studied. We used data from the HF-ACTION trial of exercise training in heart failure patients, which collected data on depressive symptoms via the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II), to assess the association between depressive symptoms and outcomes in black patients as compared with white patients. We found that in blacks with heart failure, baseline symptoms of depression and worsening of symptoms over time were both associated with increased all-cause mortality/hospitalization. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Cost of Health Care, Heart Disease, JACC, Stroke / 22.04.2015

Guijing Wang, PhD Senior health economist Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Centers for Disease Control and PreventionMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Guijing Wang, PhD Senior health economist Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Wang: Our study is one of the first to analyze the impact of hospital costs related to atrial fibrillation (or AFib) in a younger stroke population. To determine these findings, we examined more than 40,000 hospital admissions information involving adults between the ages of 18 and 64 with a primary diagnosis of ischemic stroke between 2010 and 2012. Although AFib is more common among those ages 65 and older, with strokes among younger adults on the rise in the U.S., we wanted to take a comprehensive look at AFib’s impact on hospital costs for these patients. AFib is associated with a 4- to 5-fold increased risk of ischemic stroke, which is the most common type of stroke. Overall, our research found that AFib substantially increased hospital costs for patients with ischemic stroke – and that was consistent across different age groups and genders of those aged 18-64. Of the 33,500 first-time stroke admissions, more than seven percent had AFib, and these admissions cost nearly $5,000 more than those without the condition. In addition, we found that both the costs of hospitalization, as well as the costs associated with AFib, were higher among younger adults (18-54) than those aged 55 to 64. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, NYU, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Sleep Disorders / 22.04.2015

Dr. Larry Chinitz MD Professor of Medicine and Director, Cardiac Electrophysiology NYU Langone Medical CenterMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Larry Chinitz MD Professor of Medicine and Director, Cardiac Electrophysiology NYU Langone Medical Center MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Chinitz: The treatment algorithms proposed currently for maintenance of sinus rhythm in patients with atrial fibrillation focus on use of anti-arrhythmic drugs and catheter ablation. Data available to evaluate the effect of modification of known adverse clinical factors on atrial fibrillation recurrence is scant. Obstructive sleep apnea in a known factor associated with both new onset atrial fibrillation as well as its recurrence after catheter ablation. Through a meta-analysis of available data we found that use of continuous positive airway pressure in patients with sleep apnea was associated with a 42% relative risk reduction in recurrence of atrial fibrillation. This effect was similar across patient groups irrespective of whether they were medically managed or with catheter ablation. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 16.04.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tomi Toukola Medical Research Center Oulu Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Finland Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previously, only few large-scale autopsy studies has been performed of exercise-related sudden cardiac death victims in the general population. FinGesture study project was established in 1998. All consecutive victims of autopsy-verified sudden cardiac death in our study area in northern Finland were included, so microscopic studies and histological examinations were performed alongside forensic autopsies in all cases. In Oulu area there were 328 (mean age, 62 years) cases of exercise-related sudden cardiac death between the years 1998 and early 2007. Male gender, ischemic heart disease and myocardial scarring were findings more commonly associated with exercise-related sudden cardiac death. Another interesting finding was that skiing, cycling and snow shoveling were frequent triggers of sudden cardiac death. (more…)
Author Interviews, Duke, Heart Disease, JACC, Women's Heart Health / 15.04.2015

Matthew E. Dupre, PhD Associate Professor of Medicine Department of Community and Family Medicine Department of Sociology Duke Clinical Research InstituteMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Matthew E. Dupre, PhD Associate Professor of Medicine Department of Community and Family Medicine Department of Sociology Duke Clinical Research Institute MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Dupre: The negative health consequences of divorce have been known for some time. However, we showed that lifetime exposure to divorce can have a lasting impact on ones’ cardiovascular health, particularly in women. This is a good example of why people going through a divorce need a good divorce lawyer chicago in order to keep their stress levels down and help their cardiovascular health. Results from our study showed that risks for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) were significantly higher in women who had one divorce, two or more divorces, and among the remarried compared with continuously married women after adjusting for multiple risk factors. Risks for AMI were elevated only in men with a history of two or more divorces relative to continuously married men. We were especially surprised to find that women who remarried had risks for AMI that were nearly equivalent to that of divorced women. Men who remarried had no significant risk for acute myocardial infarction. The results of this study provide strong evidence that cumulative exposure to divorce increases the risk of acute myocardial infarction in older adults. Also somewhat unexpected was that the associations remained largely unchanged after accounting for a variety socioeconomic, psychosocial, behavioral, and physiological factors. However, we lacked information on several factors that we suspect may have contributed to the risks related to divorce – such as elevated stress, anxiety, and the loss of social support; as well as possible changes is medication adherence or other prophylactic behaviors. MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 12.04.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Salah Altarabsheh, MD,MRCSI Cardiac Surgery Senior Specialist Queen Alia Heart Institute Amman, Jordan Coronary artery bypass grafting is the most common surgical procedure performed by cardiac surgeons worldwide. With the increased life expectancy for the general population, and the added comorbidities among elderly population, we are seeing a good number of elderly populations who are referred for coronary artery bypass surgery. There are few reports which compare off-pump versus on-pump methods of revascularization among this subset of elderly people. We choose octogenarians in our meta-analysis to see whether off-pump revascularization method could be of benefit since there is increased chance to have ascending aortic calcifications among these patients, and off-pump coronary artery bypass in which there is lesser chance for aortic manipulations, can be beneficial. (more…)
Author Interviews, CT Scanning, Duke, Heart Disease, NEJM / 02.04.2015

Pamela S. Douglas, M.D. Duke University School of Medicine Duke University Medical Center Durham, NC 27715MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Pamela S. Douglas, M.D. Duke University School of Medicine Duke University Medical Center Durham, NC 27715 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Douglas: The primary objective of the PROMISE study was to compare the health outcomes of people who went to the doctor with new symptoms such as shortness of breath and/or chest pain that were suggestive of coronary artery disease and that required additional evaluation. This was an important investigation because no large research trial has ever been conducted to help guide the care of such patients. Instead, the selection of tests for such patients—which constitutes at least 4 million patients in the United States each year—has been largely left up to physician and patient preference rather than proven results. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Douglas: 10,003 patients from 193 different medical facilities across the US and Canada agreed to be part of the PROMISE study and  were randomized to a functional stress test or an anatomic test Using CT angiography.  The study found that the clinical outcomes of participants with suspected coronary artery disease were excellent overall, and were similar in terms of death and major cardiac conditions regardless of whether patients had a functional stress test or a computed tomographic scan. However, the CT scan may be better at ruling out the need for subsequent tests and procedures in patients who are free of heart disease, and involved a lower radiation exposure relative to a stress nuclear study. We also found, in a separately reported study, that the costs of the two diagnostic strategies were similar. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Emergency Care, Heart Disease / 02.04.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anne Vorlat MD Department of Cardiology Antwerp University Hospital Department of Cardiology, Edegem, Belgium MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Vorlat: Early diagnosis of myocardial infarction is critical for optimal treatment and prognosis of the patient. The third universal definition of myocardial infarction states that a rise and/or fall of cardiac biomarkers (preferably troponin) with at least one value above the 99th percentile of the upper reference limit is mandatory with symptoms and or ST segment changes on the ECG. Since the development of more sensitive assays for cardiac troponins, myocardial injury can be detected earlier. This has permitted to shorten the timing of the second sampling of cardiac biomarkers from 6h to 3h after the first sampling. Recent studies have tested biomarker protocols with a very short delay (e.g., 1 hour) or with a single measurement of troponin and copeptin (a marker of endogenous stress, not cardiac specific) to rule in or to rule out myocardial injury in a population with chest pain. Although these newer protocols appear to be promising, early presenters (chest pain for less than 2 hours) are underreported. The present study evaluated the usefulness of early rule-in and rule-out biomarker protocols to estimate ischemia-induced myocardial injury in an early presenter model. The “early presenter” model was tested in 107 stable patients after a short period of myocardial ischemia, induced by stenting of a significant coronary artery stenosis. High-sensitivity troponin T (hsTnT), hsTnI and copeptin were measured at the start, and 90, 180 and 360 minutes after stent implantation. We confirmed our hypothesis that short biomarkers protocols underestimate myonecrosis in early presenters. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Imperial College, JAMA, Outcomes & Safety / 01.04.2015

intra-aortic balloon pump, WikipediaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sayan Sen, PhD International Centre for Circulatory Health, National Heart and Lung Institute Imperial College London London, United Kingdom Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Sayan Sen: Intra-aortic balloon pumps (IABP) are often used in Acute Myocardial Infarction, particularly in patients with cardiogenic shock. We analysed the available Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT) and observational studies, spanning 30 years, to establish the evidence for this use. There is no identifiable group of patients with Acute Myocardial Infarction that have been demonstrated to derive a mortality benefit from insertion of an IABP. The studies, including over 17000 patients, have studied mortality in patients receiving IABP in comparison to mortality of patients that received no IABP in the era of no reperfusion, fibrinolysis and primary percutaneous intervention.  This lack of mortality reduction with IABP in AMI is consistent in patients with and without cardiogenic shock across both RCTs and observational studies; questioning the continued use of this technology in Acute Myocardial Infarction. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Kidney Disease / 30.03.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tanush Gupta, MD Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology New York Medical College, NY Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Gupta: There are approximately 600,000 prevalent cases of end stage renal disease (ESRD) in the United States. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in ESRD patients. Moreover, approximately 20% of these deaths due to cardiovascular disease are attributable to acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Multiple studies have shown that ESRD patients have poor short- and long-term survival after AMI relative to the general population. We analyzed the publicly available Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) databases from 2003 to 2011 to examine the temporal trends in ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), use of mechanical revascularization for STEMI, and in-hospital outcomes in adult ESRD patients in the United States. We found that from 2003 to 2011, whereas the number of acute myocardial infarction hospitalizations in ESRD patients increased from 13,322 to 20,552, there was a decline in the number of STEMI hospitalizations from 3,169 to 2,558. The use of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) for STEMI increased from 18.6% to 37.8%, whereas there was no significant change in the use of coronary artery bypass grafting. During the study period, in-hospital mortality in ESRD patients with STEMI increased from 22.3% to 25.3%. We also observed an increase in average hospital charges and a decrease in mean length of stay during the study period. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Weight Research / 24.03.2015

Abhishek Sharma MD (on behalf of all co-authors) Division of Cardiovascular Medicine State University of New York Downstate Medical Center Brooklyn, New YorkMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Abhishek Sharma MD (on behalf of all co-authors) Division of Cardiovascular Medicine State University of New York Downstate Medical Center Brooklyn, New York MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Authors: Heart failure (HF) is the second most common cause of hospitalization after child delivery in the US. In general, increasing degrees of obesity have been associated with progressively worse outcomes among individuals without known cardiovascular (CV) diseases. Therefore intentional weight loss, via structured dietary and exercise training programs or bariatric surgery, has been suggested to reverse hemodynamic and cardiac structural changes associated with obesity. However, several recent studies have reported lower mortality and morbidity among heart failure patients who were overweight or obese compared with those whose weight was normal or subnormal. This phenomenon has been commonly labeled the “obesity paradox” or “reverse epidemiology.” These findings question the prognostic significance of BMI and the practice of extrapolating findings derived from the general population to HF patients. Reasons for the association between BMI and all- cause and CV mortality and hospitalizations in HF are not fully understood. Due to contradictory results in various studies and lack of definitive data on prognostic value of BMI and its purposeful alteration in HF, the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association do not provide any firm recommendations for purposeful weight loss in heart failure. To further explore the relationship between obesity and outcome in heart failure patients, we systematically examined the association between BMI and all- cause mortality, CV mortality and hospitalizations among patients with chronic heart failure. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, NEJM, NYU, UCSD / 20.03.2015

Sripal Bangalore, MD, MHA, FACC, FAHA, FSCAI, Director of Research, Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, Director, Cardiovascular Outcomes Group, The Leon H. Charney Division of Cardiology, Associate Professor of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY 10016.MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sripal Bangalore, MD, MHA, FACC, FAHA, FSCAI Director of Research, Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, Director, Cardiovascular Outcomes Group, Associate Professor of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY 10016 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Bangalore: Prior studies have shown a mortality benefit of bypass surgery over stenting. But these studies compared bypass surgery with older generation stents which are no longer used. We used data from the New York state registry of patients who underwent stenting or bypass surgery for 2 or more blockages of coronary arteries. With data from over 18,000 patients we found that there was no difference between stenting and bypass surgery for long term mortality. In addition we found that both procedures have trade offs. Bypass surgery has upfront risk of death and stroke whereas PCI has long term risk of needing a repeat procedure. In addition, in patients who underwent incomplete revascularization, there was increase in myocardial infarction with PCI. (more…)