USPSTF: Unclear If Benefits of Screening for Atrial Fibrillation Outweigh Harms

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Seth Landefeld, M.D.  Dr. Landefeld is chairman of the department of medicine and the Spencer chair in medical science leadership at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Medicine. Dr. Landefeld also serves on the board of directors of the American Board of Internal Medicine, the UAB Health System, and the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation

Dr. Landefeld

Seth Landefeld, M.D. 
Dr. Landefeld is chairman of the department of medicine and the Spencer chair in medical science leadership at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Medicine.
Dr. Landefeld also serves on the board of directors of the American Board of Internal Medicine, the UAB Health System, and the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by atrial fibrillation and whom it primarily affects?

Response: Atrial fibrillation—or AF—is an irregular heartbeat. AF affects nearly 3 million Americans and is a leading cause of stroke. Older age and obesity increase the risk of AF, and the condition also occurs more in men than in women. With an aging society and the growing prevalence of obesity in the U.S., this was an important topic for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force to review.

The Task Force looked at the latest research to see if screening for atrial fibrillation using electrocardiography—or ECG, which is a test that records the activity of someone’s heart—to supplement traditional care is an effective way to diagnose AF and prevent stroke.

We found that more research is needed to determine if screening with ECG can help to identify AF and prevent stroke in adults who are 65 and older and do not have signs or symptoms of the disease.  Continue reading

Requiring Pacemaker Within 30 Days of TAVR Linked To Worse Prognosis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Opeyemi O. Fadahunsi, MBBS, MPH
Department of Medicine
Reading Health System
West Reading, Pennsylvania

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

Response: Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a minimally invasive approach to managing symptomatic severe aortic stenosis in patients who have a high surgical risk or are deemed to be inoperable. One of the most frequent complications is development of conduction abnormalities requiring permanent pacemaker placement. We compared clinical outcomes in patients requiring permanent pacemaker placement post-TAVR to those not requiring a pacemaker using a large US database called the STS/ACC TVT RegistryTM . We used real-world data of patients undergoing TAVR in the US at 229 sites between November 2011 and September 2014.

The frequency of pacemaker placement within 30 days post-TAVR was 6.7% (651 of 9,785 patients). Those who needed a pacemaker within 30 days post-TAVR had longer hospital and intensive care unit stays compared to those who did not. Furthermore, those who needed a pacemaker had a higher risk of death from any cause at one year compared to those who did not get a pacemaker.

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