Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC / 07.04.2016 Interview with: Laura Mauri, MD,MSc Professor, Harvard Medical School Brigham and Women Hospital What is the background for this study? Dr. Mauri: The Dual Antiplatelet Therapy (DAPT) Study, the largest randomized controlled trial to date comparing different durations of dual antiplatelet therapy (thienopyridine plus aspirin) after coronary stenting, found that patients who were free from major ischemic or bleeding events at 1 year after coronary stenting with either drug-eluting or bare metal stents, and who were compliant with their antiplatelet therapy, experienced significant reductions in stent thrombosis and myocardial infarction (MI) but increases in moderate or severe bleeding when treated with 30 months of thienopyridine plus aspirin, as compared with 12 months.  In this analysis of the DAPT Study, we wanted to determine whether the subset of patients who had a MI before the study or at the time of the index stenting procedure had different risks or benefits with long-term dual antiplatelet therapy compared to patients with no history of MI prior to or at the time of the index stenting procedure.  We also wanted to evaluate whether the use of a clinical decision tool to identify patients expected to derive benefit vs. harm from continuing thienopyridine beyond one year after coronary stenting (the DAPT Score), would aid in the individualized prescription of dual antiplatelet therapy duration among these populations. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Heart Disease, JACC, Stroke / 06.04.2016 Interview with: Kazuomi Kario, MD, PhD, FACP, FACC, FAHA, FESC Professor, Chairman Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine Jichi Medical University School of Medicine (JMU) JMU Center of Excellence, Cardiovascular Research and Development (JCARD) Hypertension Cardiovascular Outcome Prevention and Evidence in Asia (HOPE Asia) Network Staff Visiting Professor of Medicine, UCL Institute of Cardiovascular Science University College London, London UK What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Kario: The relationship between out-of-office blood pressure (BP), such as ambulatory BP and home BP, and cardiovascular events has been investigated in several studies. However, there is insufficient evidence as yet regarding which BP measurement predicts coronary artery disease (CAD) events most strongly. The HONEST Study is the largest prospective observational study in the world, which enrolled >20,000 hypertensive patients. The study observed cardiovascular events, monitoring both clinic BP and home BP on treatment of antihypertensive agent. The present analysis shows that home BP measured in morning (morning home BP) is a strong predictor of both CAD and stroke events in future, and may be superior to clinic BP in this regard. Furthermore, there does not appear to be a J-curve in the relationship between morning home BP and CAD or stroke events. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Vitamin D / 05.04.2016 Interview with: Dr Klaus Witte MD, FRCP, FESC, FACC Associate Professor and Consultant Cardiologist Lead Clinician for Cardiology University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Witte: Chronic heart failure (CHF) is a condition of heart muscle weakness that despite optimal treatment often leaves patients with ongoing symptoms of breathlessness and fatigue. Vitamin D has a large number of effects in the body beyond its known effects on the skeleton. Patients with  Chronic heart failure are frequently deficient in vitamin D, but until now there were no data demonstrating a benefit from supplements. We conducted a randomised, placebo-controlled study of a non-calcium-based vitamin D supplement providing 4000IU or 100mcg per day of vitamin D3 (VINDICATE). Endpoints included 6-minute walk distance and cardiac function. We saw no improvement in 6 minute walk distance but a large and significant improvement in heart function (left ventricular ejection fraction) and heart size (left ventricular dimensions and volumes) after on year. We saw no significant adverse effects and the tablets were well tolerated. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Heart Disease, JACC / 05.04.2016 Interview with: Dr. Jordan B. King Post Doctoral Fellow Pharmacotherapy Outcome Resctr, University of Utah What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The cornerstone of treatment in heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) revolves around low-cost generic medications such as angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) and beta-blockers (BBs). However, recently the dual-acting angiotensin receptor neprilysin inhibitor (ARNI) sacubitril-valsartan, demonstrated improved survival and reduction in heart failure hospitalizations relative to enalapril, an ACEI, and optimal background therapy. This creates a situation in which we have a new medication which improves outcomes, but carries a high price tag ($4,560 per year) compared with ACEIs, the standard of care over the last 20 years, and are available as generic medications for <$50 per year. We set out to determine the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) per quality adjusted life year gained (QALY) from the perspective of a health care payer in the U.S. The ICER is a measure of how much we have to pay for sacubitril-valsartan to gain 1 unit of health relative to enalapril. In this case the unit of health is a year of life adjusted for quality. We used a Markov model to estimate the costs and effectiveness of the two treatment options over a lifetime. In the base case, the ICER for sacubitril-valsartan was $50,959 per QALY gained. Health care interventions which cost <$50,000 per QALY are generally considered cost-effective, but some argue that <$100,000 per QALY is a more appropriate threshold in the U.S. In a probabilistic sensitivity analysis, 57% and 80% of all simulations fell below the $50,000 and $100,000 per QALY thresholds, respectively. Sacubitril-valsartan was the less costly treatment arm in 5% of simulations, and enalapril dominated (less costly and more effective) in 17% of simulations. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC / 05.04.2016 Interview with: Ross T. Tsuyuki, BSc(Pharm), PharmD, MSc, FCSHP, FACC Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) and Director, EPICORE Centre Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry University of Alberta EPICORE CENTRE Research Transition Facility University of Alberta Edmonton, AB What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: As you know, most cardiovascular disease is caused by modifiable risk factors. However, the identification and control of these risk factors continues to elude us. Pharmacists in the community are the most accessible primary healthcare providers. That is being increasingly recognized and the scope of practice for pharmacists has been changing to meet these needs. In Alberta, Canada, pharmacists have one of the broadest scopes of practice - many can independently prescribe and order laboratory tests. We sought to test the effect of a pharmacist-based prescribing and care program in patients at high risk for cardiovascular events. We enrolled 723 patients at high risk for cardiovascular events (defined as those with diabetes, vascular disease (coronary, cerebrovascular, or peripheral arterial disease), chronic kidney disease, or high Framingham risk (>20%) primary prevention. All patients were recruited by their pharmacist and had to have at least one modifiable risk factor not well controlled. Patients were randomized to receive pharmacist intervention or usual care. Intervention patients received a Medication Therapy Management review, consisting of assessment of cardiovascular risk, patient education, and management of the patients' risk factors, according to the latest Canadian guidelines. Pharmacists conducted follow-up visits monthly. Usual care patients were the control (comparison) group and received usual pharmacist and physician care. Both groups were followed for 3 months. The primary outcome measure was the difference in estimated cardiovascular risk at 3 months, as calculated using validated risk engines such as Framingham, the International Risk Score, and the UKPDS risk. We found a 21% reduction in the risk for cardiovascular events in the pharmacist care group compared to control. There was also significant reductions in blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, glycated hemoglobin in those with diabetes, and 21% fewer smokers in the pharmacist care group compared to control. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC / 27.03.2016 Interview with: Leonardo Calo', MD, FESC and Annamaria Martino, MD Policlinico Caslino, Rome, Italy What is the background for this study Response: Brugada syndrome is a genetic syndrome associated to an increased risk of sudden cardiac death. For years, dispersion of repolarization within the right ventricle has been considered the cause of arrhythmogenesis in Brugada syndrome. However, recent studies have suggested that the pathophysiologic basis of this syndrome is a conduction delay in the right ventricular outflow tract. The risk stratification of sudden cardiac death in patients affected by Brugada syndrome, especially those who are asymptomatic, is unclear. An S wave in lead I reflects the depolarization of the right ventricular outflow tract, and appears to be prominent when right ventricular enlargement and fibrosis are present (i.e in cor pulmonale or congenital cardiac diseases). Therefore we aimed at verify whether, a prominent S in DI lead could identify Brugada syndrome patients at risk of sudden cardiac death. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, JACC, Radiology / 10.03.2016 Interview with: Guillermo J. Tearney, MD PhD Mike and Sue Hazard Family MGH Research Scholar Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School Wellman Center for Photomedicine Massachusetts General Hospital What is the background for this study? Dr. Tearney: In this study, we investigated a new, advanced catheter-based imaging technology for identifying the coronary plaques that may potentially precipitate heart attack. The new technique combines intracoronary OCT, that provides images of tissue emicrostructure with near-infrared autofluorescence (NIRAF) that informs on the molecular/biological characteristics of plaque. What are the main findings? Dr. Tearney: Our main findings were that: 1) Intracoronary OCT-NIRAF is safe and feasible in patients 2) NIRAF was elevated focally in portions of the coronary artery that contained high risk OCT features, and 3) The findings are suggestive that NIRAF may be a new imaging feature that is indicative of inflammation in human coronary lesions in vivo. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC / 10.03.2016 Interview with: Cathy Handy, MD MPH  Fellow, Department of Oncology Johns Hopkins Hospital What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Handy: We explored the relationship between coronary artery calcium and age related diseases.  Coronary artery calcium refers to calcium deposits in the blood vessels of the heart.  It can be seen with a non invasive imaging test and is thought to be a biologic measure of aging.  Previous research has shown coronary artery calcium to be highly correlated with cardiovascular disease and mortality. We found that it is also associated with an increased risk of cancer, pneumonia, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and hip fractures. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Surgical Research / 06.03.2016 Interview with: Seung-Whan Lee, MD, PHD Associate professor, Asan Medical Center University of Ulsan College of Medicine on behalf of our investigators.  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: Survival benefit of successful coronary Chronic Total Occlusion  (CTO) recanalization has been a rationale behind PCI for CTOs. However, this knowledge is based on many observational studies that predate the widespread use of dedicated devices or techniques, drug-eluting stents (DESs), and current standards of medical management, making them low-quality evidence from the current perspective. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Response: Our study showed that successful PCI using DES was not associated with a lower risk for mortality compared with failed CTO-PCI. The revascularization strategy for non-CTO vessels, high frequency of subsequent CABG in patients with failed PCI, and high procedural success with low life-threatening complication rate may all have contributed to our study finding. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Heart Disease, JACC / 04.03.2016 Interview with: Silvia G Priori ,MD, PhD and Andrea Mazzanti, MD Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The study investigates a novel therapeutic approach for Long QT Syndrome type 3: a malignant varian of long QT Syndrome a disease in which the risk of arrhythmias is proportional to the prolongation of QT interval. LAQT3 is caused by gain of function mutations in the gene SCN5A that encode for the alpha subunit of the cardiac sodium channel. These mutations increase the late sodium current (INa late) that prolongs the QT interval and predisposes the heart to develop life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias. In 1996 we demonstrated in an animal model of Long QT Syndrome type 3 that administration of mexiletine was able to shorten QT interval and the same results were obtained in LQT3 patients treated with mexiletine : these data provided rational for the adoption in clinical practice guidelines to recommend the use of mexiletine to shorten QT interval in LQT3 patients with the expectation that shortening QT interval would reduce the risk of arrhythmic death. In this setting, our study is the first to provide data in support of the view that mexiletine shortens QT interval and reduces the probability to experience arrhythmic events. (more…)
Author Interviews, JACC, Thromboembolism, Yale / 01.03.2016 Interview with: Behnood Bikdeli MD Department of Internal Medicine and Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE) Yale University School of Medicine New Haven, CT 06510  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The idea of closing the path of inferior vena cava (IVC) to prevent blood clots migrating to the pulmonary circulation and causing a pulmonary embolism (PE) has been around for over 150 years. We were aware than many practitioners might think of IVC filters for that reason, and specifically with the introduction of retrievable filters in recent years; that have made it more palatable for referring physicians. However, there is a paucity of high-quality data to suggest the efficacy of IVC filters. The two existing large trials did not show a mortality benefit from use of filters, and the guidelines have very narrow indications for use of IVC filters in patients who have already had a pulmonary embolism. Having said that, we wondered whether despite the absence of high-quality comparative effectiveness data, filters might be commonly used in patients with PE, particularly among older adults who are a vulnerable population (at higher risk of PE, at higher risk of PE complications; but also less likely to receive other advanced therapies for PE). Our study common use of IVC filters among older adults in the US; with over 75% relative increase in use of IVC filters from 1999 to 2010 (from ~5000 patients with PE in 1999 to ~9000 patients with PE in 2010). We also noted wide regional variations in the use of IVC filters (e.g. highest in the South Atlantic and lowest in the Mountain region). Such differences fundamentally persisted over time. In addition, we noted declining short-term and 1-year mortality rates in patients with pulmonary embolism over time, irrespective of whether or not they received an IVC filter. (more…)
Author Interviews, JACC, Metabolic Syndrome, OBGYNE, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Women's Heart Health / 26.02.2016 Interview with: Catherine J. Vladutiu, PhD, MPH Research Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology Chapel Hill, NC Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Vladutiu: During pregnancy, women experience physiological changes and are at risk of pregnancy-related complications, some of which are associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular health outcomes in later life.  Physiologic adaptations occurring across successive pregnancies may be associated with an even higher risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes. Previous studies have found an association between higher parity (i.e., number of live births) and the metabolic syndrome (MetS). However, no studies have examined this association in a Hispanic/Latina population. Hispanic women have a higher prevalence of the MetS than non-Hispanic women.  Latinos are also the fastest growing minority population in the U.S. and Hispanic/Latina women report higher fertility and birth rates than their non-Hispanic counterparts. (more…)
Author Interviews, Clots - Coagulation, Genetic Research, Heart Disease, JACC / 23.02.2016 Interview with: Professor Keith AA Fox Duke of Edinburgh Professor of Cardiology University of Edinburgh Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Prof. Fox: From previous reports, certain alleles of CYP2C19 are associated with reduced enzymatic function and reduced conversion of clopidogrel to the active metabolite. Patients carrying these reduced function alleles (reduced metabolizers) exhibit higher platelet reactivity when treated with clopidogrel, compared with patients without reduced-function alleles (extensive metabolizers). However, the relationship of CYP2C19 genotype and outcomes in medically managed patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS) is not known. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Prof. Fox: There was no association between CYP2C19 metabolizer status (EM vs. RM) and the primary composite endpoint of cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction (MI), or stroke (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.86). EM and RM patients had similar rates of the primary endpoint whether treated with prasugrel (HR: 0.82) or clopidogrel (HR: 0.91; p for interaction non significant). (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Surgical Research / 14.02.2016 Interview with: Josep Rodés-CabauMD Director, Catheterization and Interventional Laboratories Quebec Heart and Lung Institute Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Laval University Quebec City, Quebec, Canada Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Several concerns have recently emerged regarding valve thrombosis post-TAVR. It has been also proposed that rapid changes in transvalvular gradients may be the hallmark of valve thrombosis despite of the absence of clinical symptoms. However, no data exist on the incidence of and factors associated with valve hemodynamic deterioration (VHD) following TAVR. We included 1,521 patients who underwent TAVR in 10 centers worldwide. VHD was defined as an absolute change in mean transvalvular gradient during follow-up ≥10 mm Hg compared with discharge assessment. Incidence of  valve hemodynamic deterioration was 4.5% during a mean echocardiographic FU of 20 months (2.8% within the first year). We found that the lack of anticoagulation therapy, a valve-in-valve procedure (TAVR in a surgical valve), a greater BMI, and the use of a 23mm transcatheter valve were the factors associated with higher rates of VHD post-TAVR. Also, the absence of anticoagulant therapy remained as an independent predictor of VHD in a sub-analysis excluding patients with small valves, valve-in-valve procedure, and aortic regurgitation at discharge ≥moderate. We think these results suggest a thrombotic mechanism as one of the factors underlying VHD. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Heart Disease, JACC, McGill / 13.02.2016 Interview with: Roxanne Pelletier, PhD Divisions of General Internal Medicine and of Clinical Epidemiology Department of Medicine The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre Montreal, Quebec, Canada Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Pelletier: The increased risk of mortality in young females compared with males after acute coronary syndrome (ACS) remain difficult to understand. As gender-related characteristics has evolved considerably in the last decades (e.g. hours of paid work have increased significantly among women), we hypothesized that these sex differences in adverse outcomes following  acute coronary syndrome are partly explained by gender, rather than by biological sex itself. As explained in our paper, "Gender reflects social norms and expectations ascribed to women and men, in contrast to biological characteristics that are captured by sex. Gender can be referred to as the nonbiological aspects of being male or female (e.g., social roles, personality traits).Our team had previously shown that sex differences in access to care for ACS were partly explained by these gender-related characteristics, such that both men and women presenting with acute coronary syndrome and with personality traits and social roles traditionally ascribed to women (e.g. sensitive to the needs of others, shy, household  responsibility, child care) were waiting longer before diagnostic tests and were less likely to receive invasive treatment procedures such as percutaneous coronary intervention, when compared to men and women with masculine gender-related characteristics. We then aimed to assess whether gender was also playing a role in sex differences in adverse outcomes following acute coronary syndrome. (more…)
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Heart Disease, JACC / 13.02.2016 Interview with: Daniel Kim-Shapiro, PhD Professor and Associate Chair of Physics Harbert Family Distinguished Chair Director, Translational Science Center Wake Forest University Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Kim-Shapiro: Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HDPEF) is the most common form of heart failure.  It is characterized by poor perfusion to active muscles which results in poor exercise capacity and a poor quality of life.  Currently, the only effective treatment for this condition is aerobic exercise. Several studies have shown that dietary nitrate, usually in the form of beet root juice, increases nitric oxide bioavaiability in a way that targets areas of low oxygen so that perfusion increases where it is needed.  This action relies on conversion of nitrate to nitrite by oral bacteria with subsequent conversion of nitrite to nitric oxide.  Nitrite from the blood is taken up by salivary glands so that dosing with dietary nitrate can be long-lasting. The main finding of this study was that daily intake of high nitrate containing beet root juice improved exercise endurance in patients with HFPEF. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Heart Disease, JACC / 29.01.2016 Interview with: Joseph Yeboah MD, MS Heart and Vascular Center of Excellence Assistant Professor, Cardiology Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity Epidemiology & Prevention Wake Forest University School of Medicine  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Yeboah: In 2013 the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association introduced a new way of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk assessment. The document also recommended the use of additional risk markers including coronary artery calcium (CAC), ankle brachial index, high sensitivity C-reactive protein, family history of ASCVD, to refine ASCVD risk assessment for primary prevention. The goal of this study was to assess the utility of these recommended additional risk markers for primary ASCVD risk assessment in the most ethnically diverse prospective cohort in the USA. We found that among the additional risk markers considered in this analysis, only coronary artery calcium modestly improved primary ASCVD risk assessment. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC / 23.01.2016 Interview with: Frank J. Rybicki, MD, PhD Professor, Chair and Chief, Department of Radiology The University of Ottawa, Faculty of Medicine and The Ottawa Hospital Editor-in-Chief, 3D Printing in Medicine Medical Research: What is the background for this document? Dr. Rybicki: This document represents a conglomeration of the approach to appropriateness of three large medical professional groups. The American College of Radiology Appropriateness Criteria® are evidence based guidelines to assist referring physicians to order the most appropriate imaging test for a wide range of clinical scenarios. The Appropriateness Criteria are divided by organ section, and while they include emergent imaging studies, there is not a single publication to provide imaging guidance for patients who present to the emergency room with chest pain. The American College of Cardiology Appropriate Use Criteria provides evidence based data for a very large gamut of cardiovascular conditions. These guidelines include emergent cardiovascular imaging; however the Appropriate Use Criteria are divided by modality and like the ACR have not specially addressed this important, high risk patient population. The American College of Emergency Physicians, a key stakeholder group that represents referring physicians, has developed a large number of guidelines but also has not organized this group of imaging recommendations. Thus, the background of this document was a joint effort among all three societies to update, harmonize, and publish contemporary guidelines that can be readily incorporated into clinical practice but also provide standards for a large fraction of patients who come to the emergency room with chest pain who require imaging to evaluate for a life threatening diagnosis. Medical Research: What types of chest pain conditions are covered by these guidelines? Dr. Rybicki: Based on the background as noted above, the Writing Group for this important document included cardiologists, emergency physicians, and radiologists. Since the group was charged with describing common clinical scenarios seen in contemporary practice, there are four entry points for chest pain conditions. They are as follows:
  1. Suspected Non-ST Segment Elevation Acute Coronary Syndrome
  2. Suspected Pulmonary Embolism
  3. Suspected Acute Syndrome of the Aorta
  4. Patients for Whom a Leading Diagnosis is Problematic or not Possible 
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Infections, JACC / 20.01.2016 Interview with: François Delahaye, MD, PhD Department of Cardiology Hôpital Louis Pradel, Hospices Civils de Lyon Université Claude Bernard Lyon, France Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: Infective endocarditis (IE) is a severe disease, with an in-hospital mortality rate of about 20%. Five percent to 10% of patients will have additional episodes of IE. Thus, looking for and treating the portal of entry (POE) of IE is particularly important. The POE of the present episode must be identified in order to treat it. The potential POE of a new episode must be searched for in order to eradicate it and thus lower the risk for a new IE episode. Yet published research on this topic is nonexistent. The search for and treatment of the POE are not even mentioned in the guidelines on IE. We thus undertook a study of the performance of a systematic search for the portal of entry of the present episode of IE and of a potential new episode of Infective endocarditis. Patients were systematically seen by a stomatologist, an ear, nose, and throat specialist, and a urologist; women were systematically seen by a gynecologist; patients were seen by a dermatologist when there were cutaneous and/or mucous lesions. Colonoscopy and gastroscopy were performed if the microorganism came from the gastrointestinal tract in patients ≥ 50 years of age and in those with familial histories of colonic polyposis. Treatment of the portal of entry was systematically considered. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Response: The POEs of the present Infective endocarditis episodes were identified in 74% of the 318 included patients. The most frequent portal of entry was cutaneous (40% of identified POEs). It was mainly (62% of cutaneous POEs) associated with health care and with intravenous drug use. The second most frequent POE was oral or dental (29%). A dental infectious focus was more often involved (59% of oral or dental POEs) than a dental procedure (12%). POEs were gastrointestinal in 23% of patients. Colonic polyps were found in one-half of the patients and colorectal adenocarcinomas in 14%. Performance was good regarding the search for an oral or dental or a colonic potential POE, which were found in 53% and 40% of patients, respectively. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Radiology / 20.01.2016

More on Heart Disease on Interview with: Yitschak (Yitsik) Biton, MD Postdoctoral Research Fellow University of Rochester Medical Center Saunders Research Building Heart Research Follow-Up Program Rochester, NY Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Biton: Patients with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction have increased risk for sudden cardiac death due to ventricular arrhythmias. The causes of these arrhythmias are thought to be adverse left ventricular remodeling and scarring. Cardiac resynchronization therapy has been previously shown to reverse the adverse process of remodeling and induce reduction in cardiac chamber volumes. Relative wall thickness is a measure of the remodeling process, and it could be classified into normal, eccentric and concentric. In our study we showed that the degree relative wall thickness in patients with dilated cardiomyopathy and eccentric hypertrophy is inversely associated with the risk of ventricular arrhythmias. Furthermore we showed the CRT treated patients who had increase in relative wall thickness (became less eccentric) had lower risk for ventricular arrhythmias. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC / 13.01.2016

Tanush Gupta, MD Interview with: Tanush Gupta, MD Chief Resident & Instructor of Medicine and Prakash Harikrishnan, MD Prakash Harikrishnan, MD Fellow in Cardiology New York Medical College at Westchester Medical Center Valhalla, NY   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: Complete heart block (CHB) is a relatively frequent complication in patients hospitalized with ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). Patients who develop complete heart block in the setting of STEMI have a 3- to 5-fold increase in in-hospital mortality compared to those without CHB. However, most of the existing reports on CHB complicating STEMI are from the pre-thrombolytic and thrombolytic era in the 1980s and 1990s, before the widespread use of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and advent of modern adjunctive medical therapies. Hence, the purpose of this investigation was to examine the association of complete heart block with in-hospital outcomes in patients hospitalized with STEMI and to examine the temporal trends in the incidence and outcomes of CHB complicating STEMI using the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) databases from 2003 to 2012. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Surgical Research / 17.12.2015 Interview with: Dr Gerry McCann MD Reader in Cardiovascular Imaging Department of Cardiovascular Sciences University of Leicester Leicester UK Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. McCann:  Cardiologists increasingly treat patients who suffer a large heart attack with an emergency procedure performed under local anaesthetic. The blocked artery that causes the heart attack is opened by inserting a small metal stent at the blockage. Up to 50% of patients treated in this way also have other narrowed heart arteries. Two recent studies (PRAMI and CvLPRIT) in patients with heart attacks and multiple narrowed arteries have suggested that treating all of the narrowed arteries (complete revascularization) may be better than just treating the blocked artery. However, there is concern that the longer procedure, and putting in more stents, may cause more injury to the heart. Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings Dr. McCann:  We studied 203 patients having a heart attack who were randomly assigned to have only the blocked artery opened (105 patients) or complete revascularization during the initial hospitalization (98 patients) in the CvLPRIT study. We assessed the size of the heart attack and any smaller areas of damage using MRI scanning. Patients who were treated with complete revascularization were more likely to have evidence of more than 1 heart attack on the MRI than if only the blocked artery was treated (22% vs. 11% of patients). However, these additional heart attacks were generally small and the total percentage of the heart that was damaged was not increased (12.6% vs. 13.5%). The pumping function of the heart measured 3 days and 9 months after treatment was also similar with both treatments. (more…)
Author Interviews, Duke, Heart Disease, JACC, Kidney Disease / 08.12.2015 Interview with: Daniel Friedman, MD Cardiology Fellow Duke University Hospital Durham, North Carolina MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Friedman: Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) has been demonstrated to reduce heart failure hospitalizations, heart failure symptoms, and mortality in randomized clinical trials. However, these well-known trials either formally excluded or did not report enrollment of patients with more advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD), which we defined as a glomerular filtration rate of <45ml/minute. Since advanced CKD has been associated with an increased risk of adverse outcomes among patients with a variety of pacemakers and defibrillators, many have questioned whether the risks of CRT may outweigh the benefits in this population. Furthermore, many have hypothesized that the competing causes of morbidity and mortality among advanced CKD patients who meet criteria for CRT may mitigate clinical response and net benefit. Our study assessed the comparative effectiveness of CRT with defibrillator (CRT-D) versus defibrillator alone in CRT eligible patients with a glomerular filtration rate of <60ml/minute (Stage III-V CKD, including those on dialysis). We demonstrated that CRT-D use was associated with a significant reduction in heart failure hospitalization or death in the overall population and across the spectrum of CKD. The lower rates of heart failure hospitalization or death was apparent in all subgroups we tested except for those without a left bundle branch block. Importantly, we also demonstrated that complication rates did not increase with increasing severity of CKD. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Surgical Research / 23.11.2015 Interview with: Chunsheng Wang, MD Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Shanghai Cardiovascular Institution and Zhongshan Hospital Fudan University, Shanghai, China Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Wang: Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) has been widely used in high-risk patients for surgical aortic valve replacement. However, the majority of the TAVR devices were designed for aortic valve stenosis with significant valve calcification. For most of these devices, predominant aortic regurgitation remained to be a technological challenge because of questionable anchoring, which can result in a high incidence of valve migration and paravalvular leak. Consequently, the guidelines from the United States and the Europe suggest that candidates with predominant aortic regurgitation (>grade 3+) or noncalcified valve should not undergo TAVR. Patients with predominant aortic regurgitation who are at prohibitive risk for surgery need an alternative treatment. A new generation of transcatheter aortic valve devices with secure anchoring is needed. Six patients with native aortic regurgitation without significant valve calcification (age, 61 to 83 years; mean age, 75.50±8.14 years) underwent transapical implantation of the J-Valve prosthesis (JieCheng Medical Technology Co.,Ltd., Suzhou, China), a self-expandable porcine valve. Implantations were successful in all patients. During the follow-up period (from 31 days to 186 days, mean follow-up was 110.00±77.944 days), only 1 patient had trivial prosthetic valve regurgitation, and none of these patients had paravalvular leak of more than mild grade. There were no major postoperative complications or mortality during the follow-up. Our study demonstrated the feasibility of transapical implantation of the J-Valve system in high-risk patients with predominant aortic regurgitation. (more…)
Author Interviews, Columbia, Heart Disease, JACC, Transplantation / 14.11.2015 Interview with: Raymond Givens MD PhD  Columbia University Medical Center  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Givens: Multiple listing- i.e., simultaneous placement on multiple organ transplant waiting lists- is allowed by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). Because insurance generally does not pay for the costs of transportation between multiple centers or of temporary housing, there has been concern that the multiple-listing policy gives an unfair advantage to wealthier patients. We examined the UNOS database from 2000-2013 and identified 33,928 patients who were listed for a first-time single-organ heart transplant, 2% of whom met our definition of multiple-listing. Compared to single-listed patients, multiple-listed patients lived in ZIP codes with significantly higher median incomes, and were more likely to have private insurance and less likely to be supported by Medicaid. They were also significantly more likely to have blood type O and to live in areas with higher predicted waiting times. Despite having lower listing priority at the start of the primary listing and lower predicted mortality, the multiple-listed patients were often upgraded at secondary listing and had a higher eventual transplant rate (74.4% vs 70.2%) and lower mortality rate while listed (8.1% vs 12.2%). When the multiple-listed cohort was compared against a propensity-score-matched single-listed subset the relative rare of transplant was 3.02. There were no differences in post-transplant survival. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, JACC, University Texas / 11.11.2015

Dr. Wanpen Vongpatanasin MD Program Director, Hypertension Fellowship Program Professor of Internal Medicine Director of the University of Texas Southwestern Hypertension Interview with: Dr. Wanpen Vongpatanasin MD Program Director, Hypertension Fellowship Program Professor of Internal Medicine Director of the University of Texas Southwestern Hypertension Program Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Vongpatanasin: Home blood pressure measurement may reveal very different number when compared to clinic blood pressure in hypertensive patients.  This difference can manifest as white coat hypertension (White Coat Hypertension; elevated office blood pressure with normal ambulatory or home blood pressure), or masked hypertension (MH; elevated ambulatory or home BP with normal office blood pressure).  Although numerous epidemiological studies from Europe and Asia have shown increased cardiovascular risks associated with White Coat Hypertension and masked hypertension, previous studies have not addressed cardiovascular outcomes associated with White Coat Hypertension and masked hypertension in the general population in the United States. We found that  participants in the Dallas Heart Study, a multiethnic populational-based study in the Dallas County, both White Coat Hypertension and MH are associated with increased aortic stiffness and markers of kidney damage when compared to the group with normal blood pressure both at home and in the clinic. Furthermore, both white coat hypertension and masked hypertension are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events, including coronary heart disease, stroke, atrial fibrillation, heart failure, and cardiovascular death over a median follow-up period of 9 years. (more…)