Readmissions After LVAD For Heart Failure High, Mostly For Non-Cardiac Causes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Sahil Agrawal, MBBS MD

Division of Cardiology, St. Luke’s University Health Network, Bethlehem, PA
Dr Lohit Garg MD
Division of Cardiology
Lehigh Valley Health Network, Allentown 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Readmissions among advanced heart failure patients are common and contribute significantly to heath care related costs. Rates and causes of readmissions, and their associated costs among patients after durable left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantation have not been studied in a contemporary multi-institutional setting. We studied the incidence, predictors, causes, and costs of 30-day readmissions after LVAD implantation using Nationwide Readmissions Database (NRD) in our recently published study.

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Both Vegetarian and Mediterranean Diets Beneficial for Weight Loss and Heart Health

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Vegetarian dan dan noodles” by Andrea Nguyen is licensed under CC BY 2.0Francesco Sofi, MD PhD
Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine
University of Florence, Florence, Italy; Clinical Nutrition Unit, Careggi University Hospital
Don Carlo Gnocchi Foundation Italy, Onlus IRCCS
Florence, Italy 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Mediterranean and Vegetarian diets are two of the most beneficial dietary patterns for prevention of chronic degenerative diseases.

No studies have been conducted in the same group of subjects, by comparing these two dietary profiles.

Main results are that both diets have been found to be beneficial for cardiovascular prevention, in the same group of subjects at low risk of cardiovascular disease.

In particular, vegetarian diet determined a reduction of total and LDL-cholesterol, whereas Mediterranean diet resulted in lower levels of triglycerides and some inflammatory parameters

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Real World Studies Compares Dabigatran with Rivaroxaban or Apixaban in Nonvalvular AFib

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Todd C. Villines, M.D. FSCCT Professor of Medicine Uniformed Services University School of Medicine Director of Cardiovascular Research and Cardiac CT Cardiology Fellowship Program Director Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Bethesda, Maryland Assistant Professor of Medicine Georgetown School of Medicine

Dr. Villines

Todd C. Villines, M.D. FSCCT
Professor of Medicine
Uniformed Services University School of Medicine
Director of Cardiovascular Research and Cardiac CT
Cardiology Fellowship Program Director
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
Bethesda, Maryland
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Georgetown School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This study was a retrospective, observational real-world analysis assessing the safety and effectiveness of novel oral anticoagulants (NOACs) among patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) treated through the U.S. Department of Defense Military Health System. The study examined major bleeding and stroke rates in NVAF patients who had initiated treatment with dabigatran compared to those treated with rivaroxaban or apixaban.

The study examined two cohorts: one that resulted in 12,763 propensity score matched dabigatran (150 mg bid) and rivaroxaban (20 mg daily) patients, and another that resulted in 4,802 propensity score matched dabigatran (150 mg bid) and apixaban (5 mg bid) patients. Dabigatran patients demonstrated lower rates of major bleeding compared to rivaroxaban patients (2.08 percent vs 2.53) percent and similar rates of stroke (0.60 percent vs 0.78 percent). In the exploratory analysis, dabigatran and apixaban patients showed similar rates of major bleeding (1.60 percent vs 1.21 percent) and stroke (0.44 percent vs 0.35 percent). Continue reading

Wearable Device Study Confirms Moderate-to-Vigorous Physical Activity Linked To Decreased Mortality

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

I-Min Lee, MD, ScD Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Professor of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA 02215

Dr. Lee

I-Min Lee, MD, ScD
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Professor of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Boston, MA 02215

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The fact that physical activity lowers the risk of premature mortality is not a new fact – we have many studies showing this.  However, previous studies have primarily relied on self-reported physical activity, and self-reports tend to be imprecise.  Based on these self-report studies, we know that physical activity is associated with a 20-30% reduction in mortality rates.  And, these self-report studies also have focused on moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity, since they are more reliably reported than lighter intensity activity.  We have little information on whether light-intensity activities (e.g., light household chores, very slow walking such as when strolling and window shopping) are associated with lower mortality rates.

We now have “wearables” – devices that can more precisely measure physical activity at low (as well as higher) intensities, and sedentary behavior.  The present study, conducted between 2011 and 2015, investigated a large cohort of older women (n=16,741; mean age, 72 years)  who were asked to wear these devices for a week – thus, providing detailed physical activity and sedentary behavior measures.  During an average follow-up of about two-and-a-half years, 207 women died.  The study confirmed that physical activity is related to lower mortality rates.

What is new and important is how strong this association is when we have more precise measures of physical activity – the most active women had a 60-70% reduction in mortality rates, compared with the least active, during the study.  For context, non-smokers have about a 50% risk reduction, compared to smokers, which is why patients (and doctors) should pay attention to being physically active.

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Hormones Affect Carotid Plaque Stability and Stroke Vulnerability

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Marija Glisic Epidemiology, Erasmus MC

Marija Glisic

Marija Glisic
Epidemiology, Erasmus MC 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Carotid atherosclerosis is one of most important risk factors for developing stroke. Carotid atherosclerotic plaques characterized by lipid core presence and intraplaque haemorrhage are considered to be unstable, and therefore more prone to rupture and lead to consequent stroke. Sex differences have been observed in carotid plaque composition as well as in stroke incidence. Sex hormones, particularly estrogen and testosterone actions are suggested to underlie the observed sex differences in atherosclerosis. Experimental evidence suggests a direct action of estradiol and testosterone on the vascular system, affecting various mechanisms that may impact plaque composition and subsequently stroke risk.

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In Euthyroid Individuals, Higher Free Thyroid Levels Linked To Greater Risk of Atrial Fibrillation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Christine Baumgartner MD
Inselspital
Universitätsspital Bern
Bern, Switzerland
Research Fellow, Division of Hospital Medicine
UCSF

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Overt and subclinical hyperthyroidism increase the risk of atrial fibrillation, but it is unclear whether subclinical hypothyroidism, which is known to increase cardiovascular events, or thyroid function in the normal range are also associated with incident atrial fibrillation. Given the high prevalence of atrial fibrillation and its associated morbidity and mortality, identifying potentially modifiable risk factors is important. Therefore, we aimed to assess the risk of atrial fibrillation in individuals with subclinical hypothyroidism or variations of thyroid function within the normal range.

Our main findings are that higher free thyroxine levels are associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation in euthyroid individuals, but thyroid-stimulating hormone levels within the euthyroid or subclinical hypothyroid range was not related to atrial fibrillation risk.

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Interventional Cardiologists Can Face Risks To Brain From Unprotected Radiation Exposure

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Maria Grazia Andreassi

Dr. Andreassi

Dr. Maria Grazia Andreassi, PhD
Director, Genetics Research Unit
CNR Institute of Clinical Physiology, Pisa- Italy

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In recent years, there has been a growing concern about the health risks for contemporary interventional cardiologists who have a high and unprecedented levels of occupational ionizing radiation (IR) exposure. Because dysregulation of microRNAs (miRNAs) have been shown in many human diseases, we investigated the differential expression of miRNAs in the plasma of interventional cardiologists professionally exposed to IR and unexposed controls.

In this study, our microarray analysis with 2,006 miRNAs and subsequent validation identified brain-specific miR-134 as one of the miRNAs that is highly dysregulated in the response to ionizing radiation exposure, supporting the notion that the brain damage is one of the main potential long-term risks of unprotected head irradiation in interventional cardiologists, with possible long-lasting cognitive consequences. Indeed, miR-134 was first identified as a brain-specific miRNA, which is involved in synapse development and directly implicated in learning and memory.

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Tall Height Is a Risk Factor For Venous Thromboembolism

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Bengt Zöller, MD, PhD
Associate professor in Internal Medicine
Specialist Physician in Clinical Chemistry
Specialist Physician in Family Medicine
Lund University/ Region Skåne
Center for Primary Health Care Research
University Hospital, Malmö, Sweden

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Previous studies have suggested an association between height and venous thromboembolism but association might be confounded. We therefore permed a Nationwide study including a cohort of siblings -a co sibling analysis to adjust for familial confounders (genetic and shared familial environmental factors).

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Familial Hypercholesterolemia: “Junk” RNA May Facilitate Gene Therapy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Tamer Sallam, MD PhD Assistant Professor of Medicine Co-Director UCLA Center for Lipid Management Lauren B. Leichtman and Arthur E. Levine CDF Investigator Assistant Director, STAR Program Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Los Angeles, California 90095-1679 

Dr. Sallam

Tamer Sallam, MD PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Co-Director UCLA Center for Lipid Management
Lauren B. Leichtman and Arthur E. Levine CDF Investigator
Assistant Director, STAR Program
Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Los Angeles, California 90095-1679

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This study is extension of our previous work published in Nature showing that a gene we named LeXis (Liver expressed LXR induced sequence) plays an important role in controlling cholesterol levels. What is unique about  LeXis is that it belongs to a group of newly recognized mediators known as long noncoding RNAs. These fascinating factors were largely thought to be unimportant and in fact referred to as “junk DNA” prior the human genome project but multiple lines of evidence suggest that they can be critical players in health and in disease.

In this study we tested whether we can use  LeXis “gene therapy”  to lower cholesterol and  heart disease risk. This type of approach is currently approved or in testing for about 80 human diseases.

Our finding was that a single injection of LeXis compared with control significantly  reduced heart disease burden in mouse subjects. Although the effect size was moderate we specifically used a model that mimics a very challenging to treat human condition known as familial hypercholesterolemia..Familial hypercholesterolemia is one of the most common genetic disorders affecting up to 2 million Americans and characterized by 20 fold  fold increase risk of early heart attacks and often suboptimal response to currently available treatments.

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Children from Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Families Have Increased Cardiovascular Risks

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Lead author, Dr Richard Liu, MCRI Ph.D. student and
Senior author – Professor David Burgner PhD
The Child Health CheckPoint Investigator Group
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute
The Royal Children’s Hospital
Parkville, Victoria, Australia

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The socioeconomic gradient in cardiovascular disease is well recognised in adults. The more disadvantaged someone is, the higher their risk of heart attack and stroke. The mechanisms by which this occurs are not well understood, but we know the pathological process underlying this, thickening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis, begins very early in life. Our current understanding of the early development of atherosclerosis has previously been limited mainly to autopsy studies. Non-invasive imaging is increasingly being used to examine the early development of atherosclerosis.

We wanted to determine if there was an association between socioeconomic disadvantage and the thickness of the carotid artery wall in mid-childhood, which in adults is a proxy for atherosclerosis and indicates higher risk for heart attack and stroke in later life. We analysed both family and neighbourhood socioeconomic position data from 1477 Australian families, which included data on income, education and occupation of parents, as well as the relative socioeconomic status of the immediate neighbourhood.

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Obesity Paradox: Overweight and Mildly Obese Stroke Patients Have Better Prognosis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Hugo J. Aparicio, MD, MPH Assistant Professor Vascular Neurology, Department of Neurology Investigator, The Framingham Heart Study www.framinghamheartstudy.org Boston University School of Medicine Boston, MA 02118-2526

Dr. Aparicio

Hugo J. Aparicio, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor
Vascular Neurology, Department of Neurology
Investigator, The Framingham Heart Study
www.framinghamheartstudy.org
Boston University School of Medicine
Boston, MA 02118-2526

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The association of body weight with survival after stroke has been studied before and is a controversial topic. Results have varied between studies and have often been contradictory. The observational findings that carrying extra weight can be protective after having a disease, like stroke or heart attack, has been called an obesity paradox, since obesity in itself is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and mortality in the general population. Stroke research has focused on hospitalized stroke patients with weight measured at the time of the stroke. BMI is often missing in this group of patients, especially when a stroke is severe or the patients cannot report their weight. In the FHS we have data regarding weight prior to stroke, obtained during regularly scheduled research exams, with multiple data points on body weight and vascular risk factors over time. All before the stroke occurs. And have also compared survival outcomes with a group of control participants, those without stroke, to see if the so-called ‘obesity paradox’ is a non-specific finding seen in older adults or seen specifically in stroke patients.

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Increase In Risk Factors Contribute To More Strokes in Rural Areas

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

George Howard, Dr.PH PI of the REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) Study Department of Biostatistics University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, AL

Dr. Howard

George Howard, Dr.PH
PI of the REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) Study
Department of Biostatistics
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Birmingham, AL

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Rural areas have been known to have a higher death rate than urban, and higher death from stroke in rural areas is a major contributor to this disparity.

The goal of the research was to assess if the higher deaths from stroke was because rural people are more likely to have a stroke, or more likely to die from a stroke once it occurs.   This distinction is critically important, since intervention to reduce stroke deaths in rural area would focus on stroke prevention if the former, but would focus on improving stroke care (after the stroke) if the latter.

We found that the higher mortality from stroke appears to be almost completely due to more people having stroke.   As such, we need to focus on efforts to reduce the risk of rural areas.   While there are well-documented differences in stroke care between urban and rural areas, resolving these differences will not be likely reduce the rural excess death from stroke.

It would seem that the higher risk of having a stroke could be due to the observation that those in rural areas are more likely to have major stroke risk factors, including hypertension, diabetes and cigarette smoking; however, the higher prevalence of these risk factors don’t seem to explain the higher risk.   So what causes the higher risk remains a mystery.

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Cirrhosis May Raise Risk of Hemorrhagic Stroke

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Neal S. Parikh, M.D.
Administrative Chief Resident
Department of Neurology
Weill Cornell Medicine & NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In contrast to the gastrointestinal and systemic hemorrhagic and thrombotic complications of cirrhosis, little was known about the risk of cerebrovascular complications.

In this analysis of Medicare beneficiaries’ claims data, we found cirrhosis to be associated with stroke, with associations appearing to be stronger for hemorrhagic stroke than for ischemic stroke. We controlled for demographic variables and stroke risk factors and relevant comorbidities, and our results were essentially unchanged in multiple sensitivity analyses.

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Acupuncture Therapy and Incidence of Depression After Stroke

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Chung-Yen Lu, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Sport and Health Management, Da-Yeh University, Changhua, Taiwan; Department of Chinese Medicine, Taipei Hospital, Ministry of Health and Welfare,
New Taipei, Taiwan 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Post-stroke depression is a common mood complication of patients with stroke and may deteriorate motor function and cognitive function. Acupuncture therapy is an alternative and supplementary medical care often used worldwide. Previous studies have reported that acupuncture therapy for post-stroke depression may involve multiple therapeuticeffects including treating neurological disorders and physical disabilities following stroke, which are predictors of post-stroke depression. However, population-based evaluations on the association between acupuncture treatment and prevention of post-stroke depression are rare.  Continue reading

Most Strokes In Women With Preeclampsia During Pregnancy Occur After Delivery

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Eliza Miller, M.D. Vascular neurology fellow New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center New York City

Dr. Eliza Miller

Eliza Miller, M.D.
Vascular neurology fellow
New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center
New York City 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Preeclampsia is a common disorder that causes high blood pressure during pregnancy. It affects about 1 in 20 pregnant women. Women with preeclampsia are at higher risk for stroke during pregnancy and post-partum, but it’s very difficult to predict who is going to have a stroke. Our study looked at a large dataset of billing data from New York State, and compared women who had preeclampsia and strokes to women who had preeclampsia but did not have a stroke.

We found that preeclamptic women with urinary tract infections, bleeding or clotting disorders, or preexisting high blood pressure were at higher risk of having strokes during pregnancy or postpartum.

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Normalizing Testosterone With Replacement Therapy Reduced Atrial Fibrillation Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Rajat S. Barua, MD; PhD; FACC; FSCAI Associate Professor of Medicine (Cardiology), University of Kansas School of Medicine Director, Cardiovascular Research, Dept. of Cardiology, Kansas City VA Medical Center Director, Interventional Cardiology & Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory Kansas City VA Medical Center

Dr. Barua

Rajat S. Barua, MD; PhD; FACC; FSCAI
Associate Professor of Medicine (Cardiology), University of Kansas School of Medicine
Director, Cardiovascular Research, Dept. of Cardiology, Kansas City VA Medical Center
Director, Interventional Cardiology & Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory
Kansas City VA Medical Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Atrial fibrillation is the most common cardiac arrhythmia worldwide, with significant morbidity, mortality and financial burden. Atrial fibrillation is known to increase with age and is higher in men than in women. Although the underlying mechanisms of this sex difference are still unclear, one preclinical and several small clinical studies have suggested that testosterone deficiency may play a role in the development of atrial fibrillation. To date, no studies have investigated the effect of testosterone-level normalization on incidence of new atrial fibrillation in men after testosterone replacement therapy.

In this study, we investigated the incidence of atrial fibrillation in hypogonadal men with documented low testosterone levels. We compared the incidence of atrial fibrillation among patients who did not receive any testosterone replacement therapy, those who received testosterone replacement therapy that resulted in normalization of total testosterone, and those who received testosterone replacement therapy but that did not result in normal total testosterone levels.

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SPRINT Trial: Intensive Blood Pressure Control Reduces Risk of LVH

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Elsayed Z. Soliman MD, MSc, MS, FAHA, FACC Director, Epidemiological Cardiology Research Center (EPICARE) Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Prevention Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Cardiology Section Wake Forest School of Medicine Medical Center Blvd, Winston Salem, NC 27157

Dr. Soliman

Elsayed Z. Soliman MD, MSc, MS, FAHA, FACC
Director, Epidemiological Cardiology Research Center (EPICARE)
Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Prevention
Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Cardiology Section
Wake Forest School of Medicine
Medical Center Blvd, Winston Salem, NC 27157

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: We already know that left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH, which is the most common complication of high blood pressure, is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). We also know that successful management of high blood pressure (BP) leads to regression of LVH and improved CVD outcomes in patients with hypertension. However, it is unknown whether intensive BP lowering beyond that recommended would reduce the risk of LVH in patients with hypertension, and whether reducing the risk of LVH explains the reported CVD benefits of intensive BP lowering in this population. Therefore, we examined the differential impact of intensive BP lowering (target systolic BP (SBP).

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Improving Statin Adherence Would Reduce Need For Expensive PCSK9 Inhibitors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Julia M. Akeroyd, MPH

Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness, and Safety (IQuESt)
Michael E. DeBakey Veteran Affairs Medical Center
Salim S Virani, MBBS, Ph.D.
Baylor College of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: In the recently published Further Cardiovascular Outcomes Research with PCSK9 Inhibition in Subjects with Elevated Risk (FOURIER) trial, treatment with evolocumab resulted in a 15% relative (1.5% absolute) risk reduction of major cardiovascular events in patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) at a median follow-up of 2.2 years. Given the high cost of evolocumab, there is a need to identify what proportion of ASCVD patients would qualify for evolocumab based on FOURIER entry criteria and how eligibility would change if maximal doses of evidence-based lipid lowering therapies were required.

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Three Distinct Cardiac Stem Cell Populations Isolated from a Single Human Heart Biopsy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Megan M. Monsanto, B.S. Joint Doctoral Student Department of Cell and Molecular Biology San Diego State University & University of California San Diego

Megan Monsanto

Megan M. Monsanto, B.S.
Joint Doctoral Student
Department of Cell and Molecular Biology
San Diego State University &
University of California San Diego

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In the field of cardiovascular research there is ongoing debate regarding the optimal cell population(s) to use for the treatment of patients with heart failure. A major reason being, the lack of understanding of the actions and synergism between distinct myocardial-derived stem cell populations. This prompted our group to establish a protocol to isolate multiple stem cell populations from a single human myocardial tissue sample that will allow for the discovery of new insights at the cellular level, with the ultimate goal being to achieve true myocardial regeneration upon injection back into the patient.

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Blood Pressure Medications In Elderly Require Personalized Approach

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Rathi Ravindrarajah PhD Division of Health and Social Care Research Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine  Guy’s Campus King’s College London

Dr. Ravindrarajah

Dr. Rathi Ravindrarajah PhD
Division of Health and Social Care Research
Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine
Guy’s Campus
King’s College London

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Clinical trials show that it is beneficial to lower systolic blood pressure (SBP) in adults aged 80 and over, but non-randomized epidemiological studies suggest that lower systolic blood pressure may be associated with a higher risk of mortality.

Our main findings were that there was a terminal decline in systolic blood pressure in the final 2 years of life suggesting that the higher mortality in those with a low SBP shown in non-randomized epidemiological studies might be due to reverse causation.

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Effects of ICD Shock and Anti-Tachycardia Pacing on Anxiety and Quality of Life

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Alessandro Paoletti Perini, MD, PhD and

Valentina Kutyifa MD, PhD
University of Rochester Medical Center
Heart Research Follow-Up Program
Rochester, New York, 14642

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The present study is a pre-specified sub-study of the Multicenter Automatic Defibrillator Implantation Trial – Reduce Inappropriate Therapy (MADIT-RIT), which was published on the New England Journal of Medicine in 2012. The main trial showed that innovative ICD programming was associated with reduction in inappropriate ICD therapy and mortality.

In the present investigation we focused on the detrimental effects that ICD firings, either appropriate or inappropriate, may have on patients’ psychological well-being.

We observed that multiple appropriate and inappropriate shocks are associated with increased levels of ICD-related anxiety, a specific kind of psychological disorder which affects patients implanted with an ICD. Multiple appropriate ATP were also proved associated with higher anxiety, although not as much as shocks. On the other hand, we did not find a significant association with anxiety for multiple inappropriate ATP.

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Discovery of New Gene That Causes Sudden Death in Young Athletes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Lia Crotti, MD, PhD

Department of Cardiovascular, Neural and Metabolic Sciences
San Luca Hospital
IRCCS Istituto Auxologico Italiano

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Sudden cardiac death in one of the major cause of death in Western Countries and among the causes of these deaths in young people under the age of 35, inherited forms of cardiomyopathy have a prominent role. Among these cardiomyopathies, Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC) plays a major role. In ARVC, the heart tissue is replaced by fatty and fibrous tissue. This process encourages the development of life-threatening arrhythmias, such as ventricular fibrillation, that causes a cardiac arrest and sudden death in few minutes without a ready device to shock the heart. Intense physical activity favors the progression of the disease and arrhythmias are frequently triggered by adrenergic activation: those are the reason why young athletes with this disease are at high risk.

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Natural History of Ruptured But Untreated Intracranial Aneurysms

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Miikka Korja
Chief Innovation Officer
Neurosurgeon
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
HUS, Helsinki University Hospital

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Helsinki University Hospital, one of the largest hospital organizations in industrialized countries, has a very long history in conducting studies on brain aneurysms and aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. The one and only study on the natural history of ruptured aneurysms has also been conducted in Helsinki 50 years ago (published in 1967). The term “natural history” refers to an approach where the cause of a patient’s disease is not treated at all. In this case, it means that ruptured aneurysms in patients with devastating brain hemorrhage, aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage, were left untreated.

Therefore, these patients have a high risk of a rebleeding from the once ruptured aneurysm. As ruptured aneurysms are nowadays unexceptionally treated, if the patient survives the primary bleeding event, such natural history studies are impractical to conduct.

We wanted to update the 50 years old data by using a historical patient registry. Back in the old days, many of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage patients were not treated because for example surgery was considered too risky or patients were classified as too old for surgery. By using the historical data, we showed that aneurysmal SAH, if not treated, is even more devastating disease than believed. Based on our results, we can state that 75-89% of today’s patients die in a year without treatments.

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Aspirin Desensitization in Patients With Coronary Artery Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Roberta Rossini, MD, PhD USC Cardiologia, Cardiovascular Department Bergamo, Italy

Dr. Rossini

Dr. Roberta Rossini, MD, PhD
USC Cardiologia, Cardiovascular Department
Bergamo, Italy 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Aspirin (ASA) is stilll the cornerstone of antithrombotic therapy in patients with coronary artery disease, especially after PCI, both

in the acute and the chronic phase of treatment. However, ≈2% of patients have hypersensitivity to ASA. ASA desensitization may represent a valid approach. Desensitization protocols generally involve gradual increases in patient exposure to ASA with the goal of mitigating or abolishing immune-mediated reaction. However, many desensitization protocols require several days to be completed, making them unpractical. This may also contribute to the limited experience with applying ASA desensitization protocols in real-world practice in patients with CAD.

We previously reported the results of a pilot investigation supporting the feasibility of performing a rapid (<6 hours)

Aspirin desensitization protocol in patients undergoing PCI with stent implantation (Rossini R, Angiolillo DJ, Musumeci G, Scuri P, Invernizzi P, Bass TA, Mihalcsik L, Gavazzi A. Aspirin desensitization in patients undergoing percutaneous coronary interventions with stent implantation. Am J Cardiol. 2008;101:786–789. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2007.10.045). The encouraging findings from our pilot feasibility investigation prompted the design of a larger scale multicenter investigation aimed to assess the safety and efficacy of a rapid aspirin  desensitization protocol in patients with a history of ASA hypersensitivity undergoing coronary angiography.

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Paracardial Fat Linked To Postmenopausal Coronary Artery Calcification

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Samar R. El Khoudary, Ph.D., M.P.H. Assistant professor Department of Epidemiology University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

Dr. El Khoudary,

Samar R. El Khoudary, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Assistant professor
Department of Epidemiology
University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Our study revealed a previously unknown, menopause-specific indicator of heart disease risk. For the first time, we’ve pinpointed the type of heart fat, linked it to a risk factor for heart disease and shown that menopausal status and estrogen levels are critical modifying factors of its associated risk in women.

My team evaluated clinical data, including blood samples and heart CT scans, on 478 women from Pittsburgh and Chicago enrolled in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN). The women were in varying stages of menopause, averaged 51 years old and were not on hormone replacement therapy.

In a previous study, we showed that a greater volume of paracardial fat, but not epicardial fat, after menopause is associated with a decline in the sex hormone estradiol—the most potent estrogen—in women. The higher volume of epicardial fat was tied to other risk factors, such as obesity.

In the new study, we built on those findings to discover that not only is a greater paracardial fat volume specific to menopause, but—in postmenopausal women and women with lower levels of estradiol—it’s also associated with a greater risk of coronary artery calcification, an early sign of heart disease that is measured with a heart CT scan.

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