Erectile Dysfunction: Advanced Imaging Demonstrates Link with Atherosclerosis Interview with:

Jagat Narula, MD, PhDPhilip J. and Harriet L. Goodhart Professor of Medicine (Cardiology)Associate Dean for Global HealthDirector of the Cardiovascular Imaging ProgramMount Sinai Medical Center

Dr. Narula

Jagat Narula, MD, PhD
Philip J. and Harriet L. Goodhart Professor of Medicine (Cardiology)
Associate Dean for Global Health
Director of the Cardiovascular Imaging Program
Mount Sinai Medical Center What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Atherosclerosis has been linked to causing erectile dysfunction (ED) in the majority of patients with this cardiovascular condition, but researchers have not had the means of demonstrating atherosclerosis in penile arteries until now.  This unique study uses advanced imaging to detect how strong the association actually is.  For the first time, researchers have used advanced imaging of penile arteries to show a link between atherosclerosis and erectile dysfunction (ED).

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TAVRcathAID Mobile App Facilitates Coronary Access Education After TAVR Interview with:

Annapoorna Kini, MDZena and Michael A Wiener Professor of MedicineDirector of the Cardiac Catheterization LaboratoryMount Sinai Heart at Mount Sinai Hospital

Dr. Kini

Annapoorna Kini, MD
Zena and Michael A Wiener Professor of Medicine
Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory
Mount Sinai Heart at Mount Sinai Hospital What is the background for this study?  

  • Expanding indication and use of Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) poses a unique problem of coronary access after valve implantation.
  • Troubleshooting tools and techniques have been published but are not available at the fingertips of the user at all the times.
  • We tried to address this unique problem with an innovative educational mobile application (app) called “TAVRcathAID”.

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Atrial Fibrillation: Study Finds Quality of Life Better After Ablation vs Medication Interview with:

Dr. Carina Blomström-Lundqvist, MDProfessor of CardiologyDepartment of CardioloyInstitution of Medical ScienceUppsala, Sweden

Dr. Blomström-Lundqvist

Dr. Carina Blomström-Lundqvist, MD
Professor of Cardiology
Department of Cardioloy
Institution of Medical Science
Uppsala, Sweden What is the background for this study?  

Response: While all previous trials comparing atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation and antiarrhythmic drugs to our best knowledge have evaluated the efficacy of these treatments in terms of atrial fibrillation (AF) recurrences (with an AF episode of 30 seconds duration as standard primary endpoint) we wanted to use quality of Life (QoL) – general health – as primary endpoint, since the indication for treatment is improving QoL.

This was important since, despite the fact that the indication for treatment is to improve (QoL) and reduce symptom, all prior trials have used 30 seconds AF episodes as standard primary endpoint, which if occurred it would be defined as a failed treatment.

We also wanted to assess effects on various clinical outcome events.

We know from registries such as ORBIT AF registry that around 60 % of AF patients have symptoms resulting in repeated hospitalisation visits in at least 30-40% of patients annually, and that only around 5 % of the AF population are being referred for AF ablation.

Previous trials have used intermittent 24 hours Holter recordings whioch does not give the true AF burden (% of time in AF). We therefore also wanted to assess and compare treatments effects on true AF burden by implanting an implantable cardiac monitor (ICM) which continuosly records the heart rhythm. We would then be able to prove that improvement in QoL was directly related to a reduction in AF burden and that treatment differences in QoL was related to a difference in reduction in AF burden.

We also wanted to study an AF population in their early AF disease state so that we could offer atrial fibrillation ablation to a broader AF population before their atria have become remodelled and too damaged for a pulmonary vein isolation to be effective. 

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New HeartMate 3 LAVD Reduces Risk of Strokes and Clots Interview with:

Mandeep R. Mehra, MD, MSc, FRCP (London)The William Harvey Distinguished Chair in Advanced Cardiovascular MedicineMedical Director, Heart and Vascular Center, Brigham and Women’s HospitalExecutive Director, Center for Advanced Heart DiseaseBrigham and Women’s HospitalProfessor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Mehra

Mandeep R. Mehra, MD, MSc, FRCP (London)
The William Harvey Distinguished Chair in Advanced Cardiovascular Medicine
Medical Director, Heart and Vascular Center
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Executive Director
Center for Advanced Heart Disease
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The MOMENTUM 3 trial is the largest study of LVAD therapy in Advanced Heart Failure with over 1000 randomized patients followed to at least 2 years. This trial tested a novel fully magnetically levitated LVAD, the HeartMate 3 pump against a mechanical bearing containing LVAD, the HeartMate II pump in patients suffering from advanced heart failure (85% of whom were on continuous intravenous Inotropic therapy or IABP device at the time of randomization). While LVADs have improved survival for such patients, the morbidity has remained excessive due to serious complication as a result of problems with hemocompatibility.

The principal concerns revolve around complications of pump thrombosis requiring surgical replacement, strokes and bleeding events, especially gastrointestinal bleeding. The trial has previously reported two interim analyses which suggested signals for superiority on pump replacement and even a decrease in ischemic stroke.

This final full report concludes convincingly that all three domains of hemocompatibility related adverse events are reduced with the novel LVAD with near elimination of pump thrombosis, halving of strokes of any kind and any severity and a marked decrease in bleeding complications.

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Opioid Crisis Linked To Rapid Increase in Chronically Infected Heart Valves Interview with:

Serena Day, MDOhio State University.

Dr. Serena Day

Serena Day, MD
Ohio State University What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The idea for this research came from my own observations of patients that I was caring for in the hospital first as an Internal Medicine Resident and now as a senior Cardiology Fellow. I did my residency here at Ohio State and noticed a marked increase in the number of patients with endocarditis that we were caring for just in my short time here as a trainee.

Over 5 years, we saw an increase of 436% in intravenous drug use related endocarditis. How this disease is treated as changed as well. It used to be that if a patient was a good surgical candidate, we would offer a replacement valve. Now, we see that these patient’s have such a high rate of recurrent intravenous drug use and reinfection of their heart valves that we now treat with antibiotics only rather than surgery. In many cases, the infection never goes away because we can’t offer definitive therapy with surgery due to their high relapse and reinfection rates of nearly 50%.
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Home Treatment of Patients with Low-Risk Pulmonary Embolism Interview with:
Stavros V. Konstantinides, MD, PhD, FESC, FRCP(Glasg)

Professor, Clinical Trials, and Medical Director
Center for Thrombosis and Hemostasis (CTH)
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
Mainz, Germany

Stavros V. Konstantinides, MD, PhD, FESC, FRCP(Glasg)Professor, Clinical Trials, and Medical DirectorCenter for Thrombosis and Hemostasis (CTH)Johannes Gutenberg University MainzMainz, Germany

Dr. Konstantinides What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Acute pulmonary embolism (PE) is the third most frequent acute cardiovascular syndrome. It encompasses a wide spectrum of clinical symptoms and severity, ranging from massive, immediately life-threatening PE with hemodynamic collapse to the low-risk, stable patient with very few symptoms. These latter patients with acute low-risk PE may qualify for early discharge from hospital (e.g., within 48 hours) and continuation of treatment at home. This is a very promising strategy, because it may not only increase patient satisfaction and quality of life, but also help to reduce hospital-related complications and costs. However, it needed to be clearly determined, and tested in a prospective management trial, who are the appropriate candidates for an effective and safe home treatment approach. To this date, trials suggesting favorable clinical outcomes with home treatment of PE are small and date back to the era of vitamin K antagonists. Direct oral anticoagulants permitting a single drug treatment of PE are more promising in this regard, as they may make an early transition from hospital to ambulatory care both safer and more convenient.

The international Home Treatment of Pulmonary Embolism (HoT-PE) phase 4 management trial tested the efficacy and safety of early discharge and ambulatory anticoagulation treatment with the direct factor Xa inhibitor rivaroxaban in patients with acute low-risk PE. Patients were identified on the basis of

  • clinical criteria or PE severity, comorbidity, and contraindications; and
  • the absence of right heart failure or intracardiac thrombi on cardiac imaging. Early termination of the study was possible following the prespecified interim analysis, which was performed after recruitment and 3-month evaluation of 525 patients (50% of the planned trial population). At the interim analysis, the primary efficacy outcome of symptomatic recurrent venous thromboembolism or PE-related death occurred in only 3 (0.6%) patients (compared to an estimated 1.7% rate based on historical data). This rate was sufficiently low to reject the primary hypothesis as predefined in the statistical analysis plan. None of the recurrent events was nonfatal.Major bleeding occurred in 6 (1.2%) patients of the safety population. The study could therefore be terminated early for efficacy. 

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Even with Controlled LDL-Cholesterol, PCI Stent Patients Have Residual Inflammatory Risk Interview with:

Dr. George Dangas MD PhDProfessor of Medicine, CardiologyMount Sinai Health System

Dr. Dangas

Dr. George Dangas MD PhD
Professor of Medicine, Cardiology
Mount Sinai Health System What is the background for this study?

Response: Widespread use of statins targeted to decrease levels of low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) below 70mg/dL are recommended by guidelines. However, residual cholesterol risk may only be one part of the residual risk equation. Indeed, Biological inflammation has long been known as a pathophysiological mechanism of atherosclerosis and the recent CANTOS trial opened new therapeutic perspective by demonstrating that inflammation modulation via selective interleukin-1β inhibition could result in improved diagnosis in patients with coronary artery disease.

However, the prevalence and impact of a residual inflammatory biological syndrome in patients with controlled cholesterol risk is unclear. Continue reading

Smartphone App Will Be Able to Predict Diabetes Interview with:

Robert Avram MD MScDivision of CardiologyUniversity of California, San Francisco

Dr. Robert Avram

Robert Avram MD MSc
Division of Cardiology
University of California, San Francisco What is the background for this study? Would you briefly describe what is meant by Photoplethysmography?

While analyzing the heart rate data as collected using smartphones apps in the Health-eHeart study, we noticed that diabetic patients had, on average, a higher ‘free-living’ heart rate than non-diabetic patients when adjusted from multiple factors. This pushed us to analyze the signal to see if there were other features that would help differentiate diabetes patients from non-diabetes patients. By identifying these features, we saw a huge opportunity to develop a screening tool for diabetes using deep learning and a smartphone camera and flash, in order to classify patients as having prevalent diabetes/no-diabetes.

Photoplethysmography is the technique of measuring the difference in light absorption by the skin in order to detect blood volume changes in the microvasculature. Most modern mobile devices, including smartphones and many fitness trackers (Apple Wathc, FitBit), have the ability to acquire PPG waveforms, providing a unique opportunity to detect diabetes-related vascular changes at population-scale.  Continue reading

Short Naps May Aid in Blood Pressure Control Interview with:

Dr Manolis S Kallistratos MD, PhD, FESC,EHSAsklepeion General HospitalGreece

Dr. Kallistratos

Dr Manolis S Kallistratos MD, PhD, FESC,EHS
Asklepeion General Hospital
Greece What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Lifestyle changes represent the cornerstone of treatment of arterial hypertension. Alcohol and salt reduction may decrease blood pressure levels by 2 to 8 mmHg.

In our study 60 minutes of midday sleep decrease 24 hours systolic blood pressure levels by up to 3 mmHg in well controlled hypertensives. That is an effect as potent as other well-established life style changes.

The magnitude of blood pressure decrease might seem small, but a drop in blood pressure as small as 2 mmHg can reduce the risk of cardiovascular events by up to 10 percent.  Continue reading