Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Lipids / 28.01.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dong Zhao MD.PhD Deputy Director & Professor andDong Zhao MD.PhD Deputy Director & Professor and Dr. Que Qi, MD.PhD Assistant Professor Beijing Institute of Heart,Lung & Blood Vessel Diseases Capital Medical University Beijing Anzhen HospitalDr. Que Qi, MD.PhD Assistant Professor Beijing Institute of Heart,Lung & Blood Vessel Diseases Capital Medical University Beijing Anzhen Hospital Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Dong Zhao: Lower serum HDL-C level used to be considered as a key risk factor of atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases. This knowledge was based on very consistent findings from researcher of basic science and observational studies of epidemiology. HDL-C has been also introduced as "good cholesterol" to the public. However, this well accepted knowledge was challenged when two large RCTs demonstrated that increased serum HDL-C by CETP inhibitor (ILLUMINATE and dal-OUTCOMES) failed to show benefits on reducing the risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Therefore, many researchers questioned whether serum HDL-C can fully represent the capacity of cholesterol reverse transport of HDL particle, an underpinning of the anti-atherogenic function of HDL. And HDL particle number was considered to be better than HDL-C as a proper parameter to assess the function of HDL. In fact, RCTs that increased serum HDL-C substantially by CETP inhibitor had little effect on HDL particle number, thus resulting in increased cholesterol-overloaded HDL particle. Previous experimental studies observed that cholesterol-overloaded HDL particle exerted a negative impact on cholesterol reverse transport. However, it remains unclear whether cholesterol-overloaded HDL is involved in the development of atherosclerosis in humans. In our study, we measured HDL particle number using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and calculated the ratio of HDL-C to HDL particles number to estimate the cholesterol content per HDL particle (HDL-C/P ratio). We found that cholesterol-overloaded HDL particles, indicated by high HDL-C/P ratio, are independently associated with the progression of carotid atherosclerosis in asymptomatic individuals from a community-based cohort study of the Chinese Multi-provincial Cohort Study-Beijing Project. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Heart Disease / 28.01.2015

Andre Lamy MD MHSc COMPASS (CABG sub-group PI) CORONARY Principal Investigator Professor, Dept Surgery, Division Cardiac Surgery Associate Member, Dept Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics McMaster University Hamilton General Hospital Hamilton, ON, CanadaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Andre Lamy MD MHSc COMPASS (CABG sub-group PI) CORONARY Principal Investigator Professor, Dept Surgery, Division Cardiac Surgery Associate Member, Dept Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics McMaster University Hamilton General Hospital Hamilton, ON, Canada Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Lamy: The Canadian healthcare system operates in an environment that must constantly find new ways to make healthcare delivery more efficient. In the TIMACS clinical led by Dr. Shamir Mehta, it was found that the primary outcome was similar for an early invasive procedure within 24 hours and a delayed approach of after 36 hours in outcomes. However, because of the inherent shorter length of stay associated with early invasive procedures within 24 hours there will be definite cost-savings from an early invasive strategy. Dr. Andre Lamy et al looked at the cost implications of this shorter length of stay in the TIMACS trial and explored the impact of the use of a catheterization lab on days when they are normally not in use (i.e. weekends), which may negate the savings of early intervention. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Lamy: The main findings of our study were that early invasive strategy was cost-saving for Canadian NTSE-ACS patients due to significant savings from the shorter length of stay. These savings were present even if as many as 50% of TIMACS patients were assumed to be weekend cases. Given many high-risk NSTE-ACS patients receive delayed intervention due to weekend catheterization lab status, these findings support operating catheterization labs on weekends to facilitate the use of early invasive intervention. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Mayo Clinic, Testosterone / 27.01.2015

Abraham Morgentaler, MD Director and Founder Men’s Health BostonMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Abraham Morgentaler, MD Director and Founder Men’s Health Boston Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There has been  tremendous media attention over the last 15 months to two retrospective studies that reported increased cardiovascular risks with testosterone. Those reports anchored a variety of stories critical of testosterone therapy for non-scientific reasons, such as alleged dangers of direct-to-consumer advertising.  In this review we investigated the two recent studies in depth, as well as the broader literature regarding testosterone and cardiovascular issues. One primary finding was that the studies alleging risk were remarkably weak and flawed- one reported low rates of MI and had no control group, and the other had such large data errors (nearly 10% of the all-male population turned out to be female!) that 29 medical societies have called for its retraction. In contrast, there is substantial literature suggesting that testosterone therapy, or naturally occurring higher levels of testosterone, is protective against atherosclerosis, and mortality.  Several small randomized controlled trials in men with known heart disease- angina and congestive heart failure- have even shown benefits for men that received testosterone compared with placebo. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, Kidney Disease, Rheumatology / 27.01.2015

Dr Gomez-Puerta MD, PhD, MPH Division of Rheumatology, Immunology, and Allergy; Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA Medical Research Interview Dr Gomez-Puerta MD, PhD, MPH Division of Rheumatology, Immunology, and Allergy; Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Gomez-Puerta: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease of unknown etiology which can cause multiorgan system damage and which disproportionately affects women and non- Caucasian minorities. Up to 60% of SLE patients develop renal disease, lupus nephritis (LN), and of these, approximately one fifth progress to end-stage renal disease (ESRD). The risk of cardiovascular (CV) events and mortality is higher in patients with ESRD and in particular in patients suffering SLE. However, information about CV outcomes and mortality is limited in patients with LN associated ESRD. We observed important variation in cardiovascular outcomes and mortality by race and ethnicity among lupus nephritis related ESRD patients. After adjusting for multiple demographic and clinical factors and accounting for the competing risk of kidney transplantation and loss to follow-up, our results illustrate for the first time that Asian (vs. White) and Hispanic (vs. non-Hispanic) lupus nephritis related ESRD patients have lower mortality risks. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, BMJ, Heart Disease / 25.01.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Maria Guzman-Castillo Department of Public Health and Policy University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Guzman-Castillo: The UK has experienced a remarkable 60% reduction in coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality since the 1970s. However CHD remains the leading cause of premature death. The aim of our study was to analyse the recent falls in coronary heart disease mortality and quantify the relative contributions from preventive medications and from population-wide changes in blood pressure and cholesterol levels, particularly exploring the potential effects on socioeconomic inequalities, an aspect not well explored in the past. Our study found that, approximately 22,500 fewer deaths were attributable to reductions in blood pressure and cholesterol in the English population between 2000-2007. The substantial decline in blood pressure was responsible for approximately 13,000 fewer deaths. Approximately 1,800 fewer deaths came from medications and some 11,200 fewer deaths from population-wide changes. Reduction in population blood pressure fewer deaths in the most deprived quintile compared with the most affluent. Reduction in cholesterol resulted in substantially smaller gains, approximately 7,400 fewer deaths; approximately 5,300 fewer deaths were attributable to statin use and approximately 2,100 DPPs to population-wide changes. Interestingly, statins prevented more deaths in the most affluent quintile compared with the most deprived. Conversely, population-wide changes in cholesterol prevented threefold more deaths in the most deprived quintile compared with the most affluent. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Outcomes & Safety / 25.01.2015

Herbert Aronow, MDMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Herbert D. Aronow, MD, MPH, FACC, FSCAI, FSVM Governor, American College of Cardiology (ACC) – Michigan Chapter Chair, ACC Peripheral Vascular Disease Section Trustee, Society for Vascular Medicine Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Aronow: Psychomotor and cognitive performance may be impaired by sleep deprivation.  Interventional cardiologists perform emergent, middle-of-the-night procedures, and may be sleep-deprived as a consequence.  Whether performance of middle-of-the-night percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) procedures impacts outcomes associated with PCI procedures performed the following day is not known.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Outcomes & Safety, Surgical Research / 23.01.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Keita Morikane, Director Division of Clinical Laboratory and Infection Control Yamagata University Hospital Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The risk factors for surgical site infection following cardiac surgery is extensively investigated, but those specifically of open heart surgery or coronary artery bypass remains unknown. The main findings were that the risk factors between the two types of cardiac surgery were considerably different. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Statins / 20.01.2015

Dr. Robert S. Rosenson, MD Professor, Cardiology Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Cardiovascular Institute New York, New York 10029MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Robert S. Rosenson, MD Professor, Cardiology Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Cardiovascular Institute New York, New York 10029 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Rosenson: High intensity statin therapy is evidence-based and guideline directed for patients with acute coronary syndromes.  In a 5 percent random sample of Medicare patients, we investigated the utilization of high vs low-moderate dosage statin in older adjusts who were admitted with an acute myocardial infarction of severe myocardial ischemia requiring hospitalization for a revascularization procedure (PCI or CABG). We report that only 27 percent of hospitalized patients received high-intensity statin therapy based on their first outpatient fill for a statin medication.  The most important determinant for the utilization of statin therapy is the dosage of the statin previously prescribed as an outpatient.  When patients were started on a high-intensity statin, the continued use diminished in the ensuing year (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Heart Disease, JACC, Outcomes & Safety / 19.01.2015

Dr. P. Michael Ho, MD PhD Denver Veteran Affairs Medical Center, University of Colorado, Denver, Section of Cardiology Denver, Colorado 80220.MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. P. Michael Ho, MD PhD Denver Veteran Affairs Medical Center, University of Colorado, Denver, Section of Cardiology Denver, Colorado 80220. Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Ho: There is increasing interest in measuring health care value, particularly as the healthcare system moves towards accountable care. Value in health care focuses on measuring outcomes achieved relative to costs for a cycle of care. Attaining high value care - good clinical outcomes at low costs - is of interest to patients, providers, health systems, and payers. To date, value assessments have not been operationalized and applied to specific patient populations. We focused on percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) because it is an important aspect of care for patients with ischemic heart disease, is commonly performed and is a costly procedure. In this study, we evaluated 1-year risk-adjusted mortality and 1-year risk-standardized costs of care for all patients who underwent PCI in the VA healthcare system from 2008 to 2010. We found that median one-year unadjusted hospital mortality rate was 6.13% (interquartile range 4.51% to 7.34% across hospitals). Four hospitals were significantly above the one-year risk standardized median mortality rate, with median mortality ratios ranging from 1.23 to 1.28; no hospitals were significantly below median mortality. Median 1-year total unadjusted hospital costs were $46,302 (IQR of $37,291 to $57,886) per patient. There were 16 hospitals above and 19 hospitals below the risk standardized average cost, with risk standardized ratios ranging from 0.45 to 2.09 reflecting much larger magnitude of variability in costs compared to mortality. These findings suggest that there are opportunities to improve PCI healthcare by reducing costs without compromising outcomes. This approach of evaluating outcomes and costs together may be a model for other health systems and accountable care organizations interested in operationalizing value measurement. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Salt-Sodium / 19.01.2015

Andreas Kalogeropoulos, MD MPH PhD Assistant Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) Emory University School of Medicine Emory Clinical Cardiovascular Research Institute Atlanta GA 30322MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Andreas Kalogeropoulos, MD MPH PhD Assistant Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) Emory University School of Medicine Emory Clinical Cardiovascular Research Institute Atlanta GA 30322 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Kalogeropoulos: There is ongoing debate on how low should we go when it comes to dietary sodium (salt) restriction recommendations. In this study, we examined the association between self-reported dietary sodium intake and 10-year risk for death, cardiovascular disease, and heart failure in approximately 2,600 adults 71-80 years old. The subjects (women: 51.2%; white: 61.7%; black: 38.3%) were participants of the community-based Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study, which is sponsored by NIH and focuses on aging processes, i.e. was not specifically designed to address the issue of dietary salt intake. Also, it is important to note that salt intake was self-reported (not objectively measured) using a food frequency questionnaire, which underestimates salt intake. Keeping these limitations in mind, we did not observe a significant association between self-reported sodium intake and 10-year mortality, cardiovascular disease, and heart failure. Ten-year mortality was lower in the group reporting 1500–2300 mg daily sodium intake (30.7%) compared to those reporting daily intake less than 1500 mg (33.8%) or over 2300 mg (35.2%); however, this difference was not statistically significant. The 10-year event rates for cardiovascular disease (28.5%, 28.2%, and 29.7%) and heart failure (15.7%, 14.3%, and 15.5%) were also comparable across the <1500-mg, 1500-2300-mg, and >2300-mg dietary sodium intake groups. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dental Research, Heart Disease / 19.01.2015

Dr. Francisco Mesa Department of Periodontics, School of Dentistry, University of Granada, Spain MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Francisco Mesa Department of Periodontics, School of Dentistry, University of Granada, Spain Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Mesa: The size of an acute myocardial infarct (AMI) is one of the determinants of its severity, i.e., the degree of myocardial necrosis. This necrosis is indicated by peak troponin I levels in the blood. Among the acute myocardial infarct patients in our study, mediated regression analysis demonstrated that troponin I levels were higher, i.e., the infarct size was larger, in those with chronic periodontitis. (more…)
Erasmus, General Medicine, Heart Disease, JACC / 18.01.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview Invitation Dr. Eric Boersma Associate Professor of Clinical Cardiovascular Epidemiology Thoraxcenter, Erasmus Medical Center and Cardiovascular Research Institute COEUR, Rotterdam, the Netherlands MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Boersma: Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) is a novel intracoronary imaging technique. The NIRS-derived lipid core burden index (LCBI) quantifies the lipid content within the coronary artery wall. This study was designed to evaluate the prognostic value of LCBI in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) undergoing coronary catheterization (CAG). We learned that patients with high (above the median) LCBI values had 4 times higher risk of coronary events during 1 year follow-up than those with low values. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Heart Disease / 18.01.2015

Dr. Jonathan L. Silverberg MD PhD MPH Assistant Professor in Dermatology, Medical Social Sciences and Preventive Medicine Northwestern University, Chicago, IllinoisMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Jonathan L. Silverberg MD PhD MPH Assistant Professor in Dermatology, Medical Social Sciences and Preventive Medicine Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Silverberg: There is a growing body of literature supporting an association between psoriasis and increased cardiovascular risk. We hypothesized that these associations are not specific to psoriasis. Rather, they likely occur in other chronic inflammatory skin disorders, namely eczema. We studied two large-scale US population-based studies and found that adults with eczema were more likely to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol and were less physically active. In turn, they also have higher rates of obesity, high blood pressure, prediabetes and type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. Of note, eczema was associated with these disorders even after controlling for smoking, alcohol consumption and physical activity. This suggests that chronic inflammation and/or other factors related to eczema may also drive increased cardiovascular risk. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Stroke / 17.01.2015

Jonathan Thigpen, PharmD Assistant Professor Clinical and Administrative Sciences Notre Dame of Maryland University School of PharmacyMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jonathan Thigpen, PharmD Assistant Professor Clinical and Administrative Sciences Notre Dame of Maryland University School of Pharmacy Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Thigpen: This effort assessed the accuracy of International Classification of Disease 9th Edition (ICD-9) stroke codes in identifying valid stroke events in a cohort of atrial fibrillation (AF) patients. The initial electronic search yielded 1,812 events across three stroke centers (Boston Medical Center, Geisinger Health System, and University of Alabama). All ICD-9 identified stroke events were vetted through manual chart review with final adjudication by a stroke neurologist. Atrial fibrillation was verified by evidence via electrocardiogram at stroke admission, 6 months prior to, or 90 days after stroke admission. In addition to assessing the accuracy of the stroke codes alone, we also assessed the accuracy of stroke and Atrial fibrillation codes combined as well as the accuracy of stroke codes when seeking for stroke associated with Atrial fibrillation. These additional steps give readers insight as to the accuracy and reliability of using ICD-9 codes alone to create a stroke plus AF cohort. We feel that this effort is extremely important given the increasing reliance on ICD-9 codes as a means of identifying stroke events and covariates in research, especially research using administrative data. The positive predictive value (PPV) of stroke codes alone was 94.2%. PPVs did not differ across clinical site or by type of event (ischemic vs. intracranial hemorrhage). PPV of stroke codes did differ by event coding position (primary vs. other; 97.2% vs. 83.7%) and by ischemic stroke code (433 vs. 434; 85.2% vs. 94.4%). When combined with validation of Atrial fibrillation codes, the PPV of stroke codes decreased to 82.2%. After excluding ischemic stroke due to a different mechanism (eg, vascular procedure, tumor, sepsis) the PPV dropped further to 72.8%. As a separate exercise, manual review confirmed 33 (7.2%) ischemic strokes in 458 events coded as "without infarction". (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Hospital Readmissions, NYU / 16.01.2015

Leora Horwitz, MD, MHS Director, Center for Healthcare Innovation and Delivery Science New York University Langone Medical Center Director, Division of Healthcare Delivery Science Department of Population Health, NYU School of Medicine New York, NY 10016MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Leora Horwitz, MD, MHS Director, Center for Healthcare Innovation and Delivery Science New York University Langone Medical Center Director, Division of Healthcare Delivery Science Department of Population Health, NYU School of Medicine New York, NY 10016 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Horwitz: We reviewed over 1500 discharge summaries from 46 hospitals around the nation that had been collected as part of a large randomized controlled trial (Telemonitoring to Improve Heart Failure Outcomes). All summaries were of patients who were admitted with heart failure and survived to discharge. We found that not one of them met all three criteria of being timely, transmitted to the right physician and fully comprehensive in content. We also found that hospitals varied very widely in their average quality. For instance, in some hospitals, 98% of summaries were completed on the day of discharge; in others, none were. In the accompanying Data Report, we show that summaries transmitted to outside clinicians and including more key content elements are associated with lower risk of rehospitalization within 30 days of discharge. This is the first study to demonstrate an association of discharge summary quality with readmission. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Heart Disease, Lipids / 15.01.2015

Jean-Claude Tardif MD Professor of Medicine Director of the Research Centre Montreal Heart Institute Montreal, Quebec CanadaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jean-Claude Tardif MD Professor of Medicine Director of the Research Centre Montreal Heart Institute Montreal, Quebec Canada MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Tardif: Epidemiological and mechanistic studies have suggested that high-density lipoproteins (HDL) could have beneficial cardiovascular properties. However, several medications targeting HDL have failed in recent clinical trials, including the CETP inhibitor dalcetrapib in the dal-Outcomes trial. We hypothesized that dalcetrapib would be beneficial in the subset of patients with the appropriate genetic profile. We conducted the pharmacogenomic analysis of approximately 6000 patients from the dal-Outcomes study which showed that patients with the AA genotype at a specific genetic location (rs1967309) of the adenylate cyclase (ADCY9) gene benefited from a 39% reduction in cardiovascular events including cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, stroke, unstable angina and the need for coronary revascularization when treated with dalcetrapib compared to placebo. In contrast, patients with the GG genotype had a 27% increase in cardiovascular events. We then obtained confirmatory evidence from the dal-Plaque-2 imaging study which revealed that patients with the protective genotype (AA) had a reduction in their carotid artery wall thickness and that those with the genotype associated with clinical harm (GG) had an increase in their wall thickness. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 15.01.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lauren Petrick Ph.D. The Lipid Research Laboratory Rappaport Faculty of Medicine and Research Institute The Technion Center of Excellence in Exposure Science and Environmental Health (TCEEH), Technion, Haifa, Israel MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Petrick: Nanoparticles are becoming ubiquitous in our environment, leading to higher chances of exposure. This exposure may be especially chronic for those employed in research laboratories and in high tech industry where workers handle, manufacture, use and dispose of nanoparticles. Furthermore, nanoparticle exposure to the general population occurs in the form of ultrafine particles (UFP) primarily from transportation exhaust. While nanoparticle toxicity has been investigated in general terms, its atherogenic effects and mechanisms of nanoparticle atherogenicity are not yet clear. Therefore, we decided to expose engineered silica nanoparticles to macrophages in order to investigate cell atherogenicity and cytotoxicity. What we found is that the nanoparticles were cytotoxic and increased oxidative stress and triglyceride (TG) accumulation in the cells.  Triglyceride accumulation in macrophages was not due to a decrease in triglyceride cell secretion or to an increased triglyceride biosynthesis rate, but was the result of attenuated triglyceride hydrolysis secondary to decreased lipase activity and both adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) and hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) protein expression. This supports a possible role for ultrafine particles in exacerbating atherosclerosis development, and shows increased cardiovascular risk associated with nanoparticle exposure. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease / 14.01.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Paula Chu Doctoral candidate Harvard University's Health Policy Program Boston MA Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study was borne out of a mutual interest in the effects of yoga and wellness in general between myself and my coauthors. ​We had heard and read about yoga's effects on certain conditions like anxiety and pain, and we wanted to see if there was scientific evidence on yoga's impact on measurable physiological cardiovascular ​outcomes. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMC, Genetic Research, Heart Disease, Pharmacology / 12.01.2015

Caroline Attardo Genco, PhD Professor Department of Medicine, Section of Infectious Diseases Department of Microbiology Boston University School of Medicine Boston MA 02118MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Caroline Attardo Genco, PhD Professor Department of Medicine, Section of Infectious Diseases Department of Microbiology Boston University School of Medicine Boston MA MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Genco: Atherosclerosis is a common cardiovascular disease associated with heart attack and stroke. Although it has been shown that a diet high in fat as well as exposure to certain bacteria can cause atherosclerosis (the buildup of fats, cholesterol, and other substances on artery walls which can restrict blood flow), we have for the first time identified distinct gene pathways that are altered by these different stimuli. One of these bacteria, Porphyromonas gingivalis, is found in the mouth of humans with periodontal disease. Another is the bacteria Chlamydia pneumoniae, which causes pneumonia. We found that even though these three different stimuli all cause atherosclerosis, the gene pathways are distinct depending upon stimulus. This is the first study that has performed side-by-side comparison of genome-wide gene expression changes to address this issue. In this study, we used four experimental groups to compare genome-wide expression changes in vascular tissue. The first group was subjected to Porphyromonas gingivalis, while the second group received Chlamydia pneumoniae. The third group was placed on a high-fat Western style diet, while the fourth group was the control group. In collaboration with the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at Boston University, we performed genome-wide microarray profiling and analysis of vascular tissue from all groups to reveal gene pathways altered in vascular tissue by each treatment group. These findings may explain how specific infections or high-fat diet may cause atherosclerotic plaques to undergo changes that affect their size and stability and may ultimately lead to a heart attack. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Yale / 10.01.2015

David L. Katz, MD MPH FACPM FACP President of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine Yale University Prevention Research Center Derby, CT; Griffin Hospital, Derby, CTMedicalResearch.com Interview with: David L. Katz, MD MPH FACPM FACP President of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine Yale University Prevention Research Center Derby, CT; Griffin Hospital, Derby, CT Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Katz: We have long advised patients at risk for heart disease to avoid eggs- but have thought relatively little about what they might wind up eating instead.  While coronary care units banish eggs, they routinely serve white bread, bagels, pancakes, etc.  In general, the exclusion of eggs from the diet may result in more sugary, starchy foods- and if so, might do net harm.  We have previously studied egg intake in healthy and dyslipidemic adults, and seen no adverse effects on blood flow or biomarkers in the short term (6 wks).  This study examined this issue in adults with coronary artery disease- and again, no adverse effects were seen. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC / 08.01.2015

Zugui Zhang PhDMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Zugui Zhang PhD Value Institute, Christiana Care Health System Newark, Delaware MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Dr. Zhang: The strategies of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) for revascularization have been compared in randomized clinical trials. Questions still remain concerning the comparative effectiveness of PCI and CABG. The best way to control for treatment-selection bias is to conduct a randomized trial, but such trials often have limited power to evaluate subgroups. More importantly, the results may not be generalizable, since patients are often highly selected. Nonrandomized, observational data from clinical databases can complement data from clinical trials, because observational data, if they are from a larger and more representative population, may better reflect real-world practice. ASCERT (American College of Cardiology Foundation and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons Collaboration on the Comparative Effectiveness of Revascularization Strategies) was a large observational study designed to compare the long-term effectiveness of CABG and PCI to treat coronary artery disease (CAD) over 4 to 5 years. This study examined the cost-effectiveness of CABG versus PCI for stable ischemic heart disease. MedicalResearch: What are the main findings? Dr. Zhang: This study examined the cost-effectiveness of CABG versus PCI for stable ischemic heart disease.   Adjusted costs were higher for CABG for the index hospitalization, study period, and lifetime by $10,670, $8,145, and $11,575, respectively. Patients undergoing CABG gained an adjusted average of 0.2525 and 0.3801 life-years relative to PCI over the observation period and lifetime, respectively. The life-time incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of CABG compared to PCI was $30,454/QALY gained. This study shows that over a period of 4 years or longer, CABG is associated with better outcomes but at higher cost than PCI among older patients with 2- or 3-vessel CAD. Under the assumption that our analysis has fully accounted for both measured and unmeasured confounding, in patients with stable ischemic heart disease, CABG will often be considered cost-effective at thresholds of $30,000 or $50,000/QALY. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Heart Disease, JACC, Lifestyle & Health / 07.01.2015

Andrea Kaye Chomistek ScD Assistant Professor Epidemiology and Biostatistics Indiana University BloomingtonMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Andrea Kaye Chomistek ScD Assistant Professor Epidemiology and Biostatistics Indiana University Bloomington   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Chomistek:  Although mortality rates from coronary heart disease in the U.S. have been in steady decline for the last four decades, women aged 35-44 have not experienced the same reduction. This disparity may be explained by unhealthy lifestyle choices. Thus, the purpose of our study was to determine what proportion of heart disease cases and cardiovascular risk factors (diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol) could be attributed to unhealthy habits. We defined healthy habits as not smoking, a normal body mass index, physical activity of at least 2.5 hours per week, watching seven or fewer hours of television a week, consumption of a maximum of one alcoholic drink per day on average, and a diet in the top 40 percent of a measure of diet quality based on the Alternative Healthy Eating Index. We found that women who adhered to all six healthy lifestyle practices had a 92 percent lower risk of heart attack and a 66 percent lower risk of developing a risk factor for heart disease. This lower risk would mean three quarters of heart attacks and nearly half of all risk factors in younger women may have been prevented if all of the women had adhered to all six healthy lifestyle factors. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 07.01.2015

Dr. Kongkiat Chaikriangkrai MD Department of Medicine, Houston Methodist Hospital Houston, TX 77030 MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Kongkiat Chaikriangkrai MD Department of Medicine, Houston Methodist Hospital Houston, TX 77030 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Chaikriangkrai: Coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) and coronary artery calcium score are well known to be useful tools for patients suspected for coronary artery disease.  Although both imaging studies are similar in many ways (e.g. CT-based studies, anatomical evaluation of coronary artery disease, etc.), they are completely independent tests that measure different aspects of coronary artery. Furthermore, each test also requires its own separate scan. In earlier times, calcium score testing was routinely performed prior to CCTA since high calcium score can affect diagnostic accuracy of CCTA. Therefore, CCTA may not be the best option for patients who are known to have high calcium score and other tests along the line can be further considered. However; there have been debates over the need for calcium score scan in this setting alone without enough evidence of additive prognostic benefit of measuring calcium score on top of CCTA due to concerns of extra radiation exposure from performing CT scanning twice. From this very clinical question, our study was designed to examine whether there was any additional benefit of measuring calcium score over CCTA alone (i.e. Does a patient with high calcium score have worse prognosis than a patient with lower calcium score given that both have similar CCTA results?) Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Chaikriangkrai: Our study found that both CCTA and calcium score testing carried its own prognostic value which was independent from each other. Furthermore, measuring calcium score also gave extra ability to predict bad clinical outcomes on top of the information obtained from CCTA alone in patients suspected for coronary artery disease (i.e. A patient with high calcium score did have worse prognosis than a patient with lower calcium score given that both have similar CCTA results). (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, University of Pittsburgh / 07.01.2015

Inmaculada Hernandez, PharmD PhD Student, Health Services Research and Policy Deparment of Health Policy and Management Graduate School of Public Health University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA 15261MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Inmaculada Hernandez, PharmD PhD Student, Health Services Research and Policy Deparment of Health Policy and Management Graduate School of Public Health University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA 15261 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The approval of dabigatran was considered a major contribution to the therapeutic arsenal of anticoagulants since warfarin, whose therapeutic management is complicated, was the only oral anticoagulant approved before 2011. Clinicians therefore considered dabigatran a very promising drug; however, the safety warnings released by the regulatory agencies and the reports of bleeding published in 2011 raised concerns about the safety profile of dabigatran. By the time we initiated our study, the FDA had concluded that dabigatran was associated with similar rates of bleeding than warfarin. However, the results of this observational study were not adjusted by patient characteristics. We therefore compared the risks of bleeding with dabigatran and warfarin adjusting for patient characteristics and using propensity score methods to mitigate selection biases, which observational studies are sensitive to. We found that dabigatran was associated with a higher risk of major bleeding and gastrointestinal bleeding than warfarin. However, the risk of intracranial bleeding was lower with dabigatran. In addition, we found that the increased risk of bleeding with dabigatran was specially higher for African Americans and for patients with chronic kidney disease. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, Heart Disease / 05.01.2015

Nancy L. Sin, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow Center for Healthy Aging & Department of Biobehavioral Health The Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA 16802MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nancy L. Sin, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow Center for Healthy Aging & Department of Biobehavioral Health The Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA 16802 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Sin: Older patients with coronary heart disease often experience declines in functional status, which is the ability to perform daily activities such as bathing, walking, and doing housework. The key factors that contribute to functional status among cardiac patients are not well-understood. Previous studies have found only weak or no associations between cardiovascular disease severity and functional status. Psychological factors—such as depression—are known to increase the risk of functional impairment, but this has not been studied long-term in patients with coronary heart disease. It is unclear the extent to which long-term functional status is determined by psychological factors versus cardiovascular disease severity. The purpose of our study was to compare the contributions of depressive symptoms with those of cardiovascular disease severity (specifically, left ventricular ejection fraction, exercise capacity, and angina frequency) for predicting subsequent functional decline in 960 older adults with stable coronary heart disease. Across a 5-year period, people who had more severe depressive symptoms were at greater risk of functional decline, independent of cardiovascular disease severity, demographics, health behaviors, cognitive function, and other factors.  Low exercise capacity was also strongly related to future functional decline, but ejection fraction and angina frequency were not. These findings underscore the importance of considering both mental and physical health in determining long-term functional status. (more…)
Annals Thoracic Surgery, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Surgical Research, Yale / 02.01.2015

Karthik Murugiah MBBS Fellow in Cardiovascular Medicine Yale School of Medicine Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE) New Haven, CT 06510MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Karthik Murugiah MBBS Fellow in Cardiovascular Medicine Yale School of Medicine Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE) New Haven, CT 06510 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Aortic valve disease is common among older people and frequently requires valve replacement. 1-year survival after open surgical aortic valve replacement is high (9 in 10 survive the year after surgery). Our study focuses on the experience of these survivors in terms of the need for hospitalization during the year after surgery. Among patients >65 years of age enrolled in Medicare who underwent surgical replacement of their aortic valve and survived at least one year, 3 in 5 were free from hospitalization during that year. Both, the rates of hospitalization and the average total number of days spent in the hospital in the year following surgery have been decreasing all through the last decade (1999 to 2010). (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 30.12.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yan Liang, MD, PHD on behalf of co-authors Emergency and Intensive Care Center, State Key Laboratory of Cardiovascular Disease, Fuwai Hospital, National Center for Cardiovascular Disease, Chinese Academy of Medical Science and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The background of this study is mainly derived from the results of CURRENT-OASIS7 which has shown a 7-day 150 mg maintenance dose (MD) clopidogrel could reduce cardiovascular events among subgroup patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) compared with the 75 mg/day regimen. We conducted a meta-analysis based on 17 randomized controlled trials to determine whether prolonging the high MD clopidogrel (≥150 mg) treatment period to at least 4 weeks could reduce major adverse cardiac events (MACEs) in the PCI patients with and without high on-clopidogrel platelet reactivity (HPR). Our study concluded that the high  maintenance dose clopidogrel was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of MACEs in PCI patients without increasing the rate of “Major/Minor bleeding” or “Any bleeding” in comparison with standard 75mg MD clopidogrel, and the “HPR Patients” subgroup were also benefited from such high MD treatment. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Stroke / 28.12.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Torben Bjerregaard Larsen Associate professor, MD, PhD, FESC Aalborg University Hospital Department of Cardiology Aalborg Thrombosis Research Unit Denmark Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Larsen: Heart failure is a major public health issue with an increasing prevalence. Heart failure is associated with an increased risk of stroke, also in patients without concomitant atrial fibrillation. However, recent prospective randomized controlled trials investigating the effect of antithrombotic therapy in heart failure patients in sinus rhythm revealed that the benefit of warfarin in reducing stroke was counterbalanced by an increased risk of bleeding. Whether subgroups within the heart failure population would benefit from antithrombotic therapy is currently unknown. Therefore, possible subgroups with a higher risk of stroke within the heart failure population must be identified. We investigated whether female sex was associated with a higher risk of stroke, since female sex has been associated with an increased stroke risk among patients with atrial fibrillation. In our study, we found an association between female sex and decreased stroke risk in heart failure patients in sinus rhythm which persisted after adjustment for concomitant cardiovascular risk factors. This association was attenuated with increasing age which could possibly be due to competing risks of death, since competing risk of death was substantial among males in the older age groups. (more…)