Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Lancet, Mayo Clinic, Technology / 02.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_50536" align="alignleft" width="166"]Paul Friedman, M.D. Professor of Medicine Norman Blane & Billie Jean Harty Chair Mayo Clinic Department of Cardiovascular Medicine Honoring Robert L. Frye, M.D. Dr. Friedman[/caption] Paul Friedman, M.D. Professor of Medicine Norman Blane & Billie Jean Harty Chair Mayo Clinic Department of Cardiovascular Medicine Honoring Robert L. Frye, M.D. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heart rhythm that is often intermittent and asymptomatic.  It is estimated to affect 2.7–6.1 million people in the United States, and is associated with increased risk of stroke, heart failure and mortality. It is difficult to detect and often goes undiagnosed. After an unexplained stroke, it is important to accurately detect atrial fibrillation so that patients with it are given anticoagulation treatment to reduce the risk of recurring stroke, and other patients (who may be harmed by this treatment) are not. Currently, detection in this situation requires monitoring for weeks to years, sometimes with an implanted device, potentially leaving patients at risk of recurrent stroke as current methods do not always accurately detect atrial fibrillation, or take too long. We hypothesized that we could train a neural network to identify the subtle findings present in a standard 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) acquired during normal sinus rhythm that are due to structural changes associated with a history of (or impending) atrial fibrillation.   Such an AI enhanced ECG (AI ECG) would be inexpensive, widely available, noninvasive, performed in 10 seconds, and immensely useful following embolic stroke of unknown source to guide therapy. To test this hypothesis, we trained, validated, and tested a deep convolutional neural network using a large cohort of patients from the Mayo Clinic Digital Data Vault.
Author Interviews, Frailty, Geriatrics, Heart Disease / 29.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr-Dalgaard MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We know that having atrial fibrillation puts you at a higher risk of falls, especially if you are elderly and frail. Additionally, some of the medications used to treat it can cause bradycardia (low heart rate), which could itself increase the risk of falls. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate if common medications used to treat atrial fibrillation in older patients were associated with fall-related injuries and syncope (fainting). The medications investigated were rate-lowering drugs (beta-blockers, digoxin, verapamil, diltiazem) and the anti-arrhythmic drugs (amiodarone, propafenone, and flecainide).
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Cleveland Clinic, Exercise - Fitness, Heart Disease / 26.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_50454" align="alignleft" width="159"]Dermot Phelan, MD, PhD Director of the Sports Cardiology Center Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio Dr. Phelan[/caption] Dermot Phelan, MD, PhD Director of the Sports Cardiology Center Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: It is well recognized that long-term elite endurance athletes are at higher risk of atrial fibrillation.  We wished to evaluate whether this held true for primarily strength-type athletes. We had the opportunity to screen almost 500 former NFL athletes.  It became clear that we were seeing more atrial fibrillation than one would expect during the screenings.
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Clots - Coagulation, Heart Disease, Kidney Stones / 16.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_50193" align="alignleft" width="84"]Sunil Badve MBBS, MD, DNB, FRACP, PhD, FASN Senior Research Fellow, Renal & Metabolic Division Staff specialist nephrologist | St George Hospital University of New South Wales The George Institute for Global Health Australia Dr. Badve[/caption] Sunil Badve MBBS, MD, DNB, FRACP, PhD, FASN Senior Research Fellow, Renal & Metabolic Division Staff specialist nephrologist | St George Hospital University of New South Wales The George Institute for Global Health Australia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Despite the high prevalence of cardiovascular thrombotic events and venous thromboembolism (VTE) in chronic kidney disease (CKD), oral anticoagulant therapy is often underutilized in patients with advanced CKD and dialysis-dependent end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) due to uncertainty of benefit and potential bleeding complications. This comprehensive systematic review was performed to study the benefits and harms of oral anticoagulant therapy in patients with CKD.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC / 10.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Susana Ravassa PhD Program of Cardiovascular Diseases, CIMA University of Navarra, and IdiSNA Navarra Institute for Health Research Pamplona, Spain  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is an evolving epidemic responsible for substantial morbidity, mortality and health-care expenditure. In particular, when AF and heart failure (HF) occur in combination, clinical evolution is particularly poor. Left atrial (LA) myocardial interstitial fibrosis (MIF) is the main structural lesion in AF and considered as the main factor responsible for the perpetuation of this pathology. In addition, it is known that MIF is associated with a lower effectiveness of the treatment of AF by pulmonary vein isolation with catheter ablation. Therefore, the identification of biomarkers related to MIF, as an affordable and minimally invasive approach, is of great interest to detect patients at risk of AF, as well as to monitor their response to the LA ablation therapy. We had previously demonstrated that the deleterious impact of MIF in the heart is due to alterations in both the quality (i.e., extent of cross-linking among collagen fibrils and type of collagen fibers that determine their rigidity and resistance to degradation [collagen cross-linking or CCL]) and the quantity (i.e., extent of collagen fibers that occupy the myocardial tissue [collagen deposition or CD]) of fibrotic tissue. We have shown that certain circulating biomarkers related to collagen type I metabolism are associated with CCL and CD. On the one hand, the serum carboxy-terminal propeptide of procollagen type I (PICP), released during the conversion of procollagen type I into fibril-forming mature collagen type I, is directly correlated with myocardial CD. On the other hand, the ratio of serum carboxy-terminal telopeptide of collagen type I to serum matrix metalloproteinase-1 (serum CITP:MMP-1 ratio) is inversely correlated with myocardial CCL, as the higher is the cross-linking among collagen type I fibrils the lower will be the cleavage of CITP by MMP-1 during the process of degradation of the fiber. Interestingly, we have previously reported that the combination of these biomarkers identifies patients with heart failure presenting with a complex pattern of MIF characterized by both increased CCL and CD (CCL+CD+) showing a higher risk of adverse clinical evolution as compared with heart failure  patients without this combination of biomarkers. As both increased CCL and CD have been found in the left atrial myocardium in patients with AF, we designed this investigation to explore whether the CCL+CD+ combination of biomarkers is associated with AF.
Author Interviews, Clots - Coagulation, Duke, Heart Disease, NEJM / 21.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_20394" align="alignleft" width="200"]Renato D. Lopes MD, MHS, PhD Duke University Medical Center Duke Clinical Research Institute Durham, NC 27705 Dr. Renato Lopes[/caption] Renato D. Lopes MD, MHS, PhD Professor of Medicine Division of Cardiology Duke University Medical Center Duke Clinical Research Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS), approximately 20% to 30% of those with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) have concomitant coronary artery disease (CAD), and 5 to 10% of patients who undergo PCI have NVAF. These patients often receive both antiplatelet therapy and oral anticoagulants; and how best to combine these agents to minimize bleeding risk without compromising protection against thrombosis is an important unanswered question. Analysis of results for bleeding indicated no significant interaction between the two randomization factors permitting independent analysis of results for the two key comparisons. The first showed that apixaban was both non-inferior and significantly superior to VKA for the primary outcome with a 31% reduction in the relative risk for bleeding. Aspirin significantly increased the relative risk for bleeding versus placebo by 89%. Results for the composite of death and hospitalization showed that apixaban resulted in a relative risk reduction of 17%, primarily driven by a reduction in all cause hospitalization. There was no significant difference between results for aspirin versus placebo for this outcome. Analysis of the composite of death and ischemic events indicated no significant differences in results for apixaban versus VKA or aspirin versus placebo.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA / 19.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_47952" align="alignleft" width="167"]Dr. Carina Blomström-Lundqvist, MDProfessor of CardiologyDepartment of CardioloyInstitution of Medical ScienceUppsala, Sweden Dr. Blomström-Lundqvist[/caption] Dr. Carina Blomström-Lundqvist, MD Professor of Cardiology Department of Cardioloy Institution of Medical Science Uppsala, Sweden MedicalResearch.com: 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. 
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Thyroid Disease, Vanderbilt / 27.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_47159" align="alignleft" width="150"]Joe-Elie Salem, MD, PhD Associate Professor - MCU-PH, Sorbonne Université - INSERM - CIC, Clinical Pharmacology, Cardio-oncology, APHP, La Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France Adjunct Associate Professor, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Cardio-oncology Clinical Pharmacology, Nashville, TN Dr. Salem[/caption] Joe-Elie Salem, MD, PhD Associate Professor - MCU-PH, Sorbonne Université - INSERM - CIC, Clinical Pharmacology, Cardio-oncology, APHP, La Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France Adjunct Associate Professor, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Cardio-oncology Clinical Pharmacology, Nashville, TN MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: A study by researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center has strengthened the link between thyroid function and atrial fibrillation (AF), an irregular heart rhythm that increases the risk of stroke and other heart-related complications. They phenome-wide association study scanned the medical records of more than 37,000 people for an association between genetically determined variation in thyroid stimulating hormone levels (a measure of thyroid function) and AF risk. Previous observational studies have found that subclinical hyperthyroidism, an overactive thyroid which does not meet the clinical threshold for diagnosis or treatment, nevertheless can increase the risk of atrial fibrillation.  But whether to treat subclinical hypo- or hyperthyroidism to reduce AF risk remains a matter of debate in the medical community. 
Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 30.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_46279" align="alignleft" width="142"]Jonathan S. Steinberg, MD Director, SMG Arrhythmia Center Summit Medical Group Professor of Medicine (adj) University of Rochester School of Medicine Core Professor of Cardiology and Internal Medicine Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall U Short Hills, NJ 07078 Dr. Steinberg[/caption] Jonathan S. Steinberg, MD Director, SMG Arrhythmia Center Summit Medical Group Professor of Medicine (adj) University of Rochester School of Medicine Core Professor of Cardiology and Internal Medicine Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall U Short Hills, NJ 0707 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The autonomic nervous system activity plays an important role in the onset and perpetuation of atrial fibrillation, particularly for AF that follows cardiac surgery. Botulinum toxin (BTX) is a potent inhibitor of neural transmission. In a randomized placebo-controlled study of 60 patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery, patients who received intraoperative Botulinum toxin injections to the neural ganglia on the cardiac surface exhibited a sustained reduction in the incidence and overall burden of atrial fibrillation (AF) over 3 years of follow-up, accompanied by a reduction in need for hospitalization.
Author Interviews, Circadian Rhythm, Heart Disease / 11.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: sunset copyright American Heart AssociationJay Chudow, M.D. Montefiore Medical Center Bronx, New York MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
  • Others found associations between daylight saving time transitions and sleep duration, sleep quality, workplace injuries and traffic accidents. Regarding cardiovascular health, studies in Europe and the United States have found an increased incidence of acute myocardial infarction and ischemic stroke in the days following daylight saving time transitions.
  • Our study found a significant increase in admissions for atrial fibrillation following the daylight saving time spring transition compared to the yearly average (average of 3.13 vs 2.56 admissions per day over the Monday to Thursday period). No significant difference was found following the autumn transition.
  • These findings add atrial fibrillation as a known condition associated with daylight saving time transitions. It adds to the knowledge base of negative health consequences of daylight saving time. 
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Surgical Research / 31.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_45588" align="alignleft" width="125"]Akram Elgendy MD Division of Cardiovascular Medicine University of Florida   Dr. Elgendy[/caption] Akram Elgendy MD Division of Cardiovascular Medicine University of Florida   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Recent clinical trials have demonstrated that percutaneous patent foramen ovale closure is associated with lower risk of stroke recurrence in cryptogenic stroke patients. However, new-onset atrial fibrillation (AF) has been reported as a safety concern. To better understand the risk of new-onset AF, we performed a meta-analysis of PFO closure trials in patients with cryptogenic stroke and migraine.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Technology / 04.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_28381" align="alignleft" width="200"]Waqaas Al-Siddiq Waqaas Al-Siddiq[/caption] Waqaas Al-Siddiq Founder and CEO of Biotricity Inc MedicalResearch.com: In light of Apple's announcement that it will incorporate an EKG monitoring device into Apple watches in the near future, would you discuss your vision of the growing medical wearables market?  Response: First of all, the public is still largely confused as to what constitutes a medical wearable device. Apple’s new watch, with its EKG monitoring service, is not a medical wearable because it will not produce clinical-grade data needed for diagnosis or treatment. This is not to say that Apple’s watch isn’t helpful. Many people are not even aware that they have a heart problem, but if their Apple watch consistently tells them that they have an irregular heart rhythm, or arrhythmia, they could take that as a sign to go to a physician and get a professional diagnosis. A physician will then prescribe a medical wearable device, such as our Bioflux, to monitor the patient’s heart rhythm. Medical-grade wearable devices produce clinical-grade data that is accurate to within 90-95 percent or higher and are prescribed by physicians to make diagnoses and treatment plans. That being said, I envision that the medical wearables market will expand considerably with the advent of consumer-based wearables that facilitate health tracking. One of the biggest problems we have today is a lack of awareness. Anywhere between 2.7 and 6.1 million people in the U.S. suffer from atrial fibrillation - a condition that makes the heart beat irregularly - and many aren’t aware that they have the condition. Consumer-based health trackers like the Fitbit and the Apple Watch can help raise awareness and alert consumers to possible health issues, which will encourage them to see a physician for a thorough and professional examination and diagnosis. This, in turn, gives the medical wearable market a boost as more people will be diagnosed with the aid of a medical wearable. Another factor that is playing into this adoption trend is that next-generation medical wearables are increasingly becoming smaller and easier to use for both patients and physicians. So, I think that the future of medical wearables will see them firmly entrenched in mainstream practice and eventually become tools within the home for individuals with chronic issues. 
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA / 10.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_43824" align="alignleft" width="143"]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[/caption] 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. 
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Heart Disease, JACC / 09.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_43632" align="alignleft" width="200"]John D Horowitz, MBBS, PhD. Director of Cardiology/Clinical Pharmacology Queen Elizabeth Hospital University of Adelaide Australia Dr. Horowitz[/caption] John D Horowitz, MBBS, PhD. Director of Cardiology/Clinical Pharmacology Queen Elizabeth Hospital University of Adelaide Australia  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response:  Atrial fibrillation (AF) describes intermittent or permanent episodes of irregular pulse, due to rapid electrical activity within the atria (filling chambers) of the heart. During AF, the atria quiver, rather than contract, and the response of the ventricles is often rapid, resulting in palpitations and an increased risk of development of heart failure. AF may occur at any age, but is most common in ageing patients (typically over 75 years). The primary importance of AF is that it markedly increases the risk of thrombus formation in the atrium, with the resultant problem that these thrombi may dislodge (embolise), and commonly block arteries in the brain, causing strokes. Hence patients with AF are usually treated with anticoagulants. Although AF often occurs in patients with prior damage to their hearts and atrial distension, there has been evidence for about the past 8 years that AF also is caused, at least in part, by inflammatory changes: two components have been identified as possible causes for this inflammation: lack of nitric oxide (NO) effect[ NO is  an anti-inflammatory chemical formed by all tissues in the body],  and excess activity of the pro-inflammatory enzyme myeloperoxidase (MPO).  High concentrations of ADMA, which inhibits NO formation, may result from effects of MPO on tissues. SDMA, which is closely related to ADMA, also exerts pro-inflammatory effects and tends to suppress NO formation. The currently reported study began with the design of the ARISTOTLE trial, an investigation of the (then) novel anticoagulant apixaban as an alternative to warfarin therapy, as a means of preventing strokes in patients with AF. It was elected to perform a substudy to investigate the potential role of ADMA and SDMA as modulators of risk in patients with atrial fibrillation. This substudy, performed in just over 5000 patients from the ARISTOTLE trial, essentially asked two questions: (1) There are several indices of stroke risk in patients with atrial fibrillation, such as the CHADS2 score. These all rely on patient characteristics (eg age, presence of diabetes) rather than chemical changes. We postulated that there would be a direct relationship between clinically based risk scores and ADMA/SDMA concentrations. (2) More ambitiously, we postulated that ADMA and SDMA concentrations would represent INDEPENDENT risk markers for major adverse effects in atrial fibrillation patients on anticoagulant treatment, namely stroke, major bleeding and risk of mortality.  ADMA/SDMA concentrations were determined in Adelaide, Australia, while statistical analyses were performed in Uppsala, Sweden.
Asthma, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA / 11.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_43088" align="alignleft" width="128"]Aivaras Cepelis, MSci Department of Public Health and Nursing, Faculty of Medicine and Health Science, NTNU, Norwegian University of Science and Technology Trondheim, Norway Aivaras Cepelis[/caption] Aivaras Cepelis, MSci Department of Public Health and Nursing, Faculty of Medicine and Health Science NTNU, Norwegian University of Science and Technology Trondheim, Norway MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Atrial fibrillation is the most common sustained, irregular and often rapid heart rate with a lifetime risk of 26%. The number of adults with atrial fibrillation is projected to double by 2050. Atrial fibrillation is also linked to adverse cardiovascular outcomes such as doubled risk of stroke and cardiovascular mortality. Therefore, we believe that research into the novel risk factors of the disease is highly warranted. One of the potential condition that could play a role in the growing prevalence of atrial fibrillation is asthma. Asthma is a chronic inflammatory airway disease, affecting as many as 30 million children and adults in Europe. High levels of systemic inflammation biomarkers have been reported in both uncontrolled asthmatics and patients with atrial fibrillation. Furthermore, beta-agonists, the most common prescribed asthma control medication, has been shown to influence heart rate and increase the risk of irregular heartbeat. However, research looking at asthma and atrial fibrillation link are lacking and no previous studies have assessed the dose-response relationship between levels of asthma control and atrial fibrillation. We utilized over 54 000 adults from a large well-defined Norwegian population cohort The Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT) to explore this association.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Occupational Health / 08.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_42267" align="alignleft" width="354"]atrial-fibrillation Atrial Fibrillation-
Wikipedia[/caption] Eleonor Fransson, PhD Associate Professor in Epidemiology Department of Natural Sciences and Biomedicine School of Health and Welfare JÖNKÖPING UNIVERSITY MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Atrial fibrillation is a very common heart rhythm disorder affecting a large number of people in the population, but there is limited knowledge about risk factors for the disease. This is especially true when it comes to the role of occupational factors. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: We found that work stress measured as job strain, that is, a combination of having high psychological job demands and low control over the work situation, was associated with almost 50% increased risk of atrial fibrillation. When we combined the results from our study with two previously published studies on the same topic, we found that work stress was associated with 37% increased risk.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Stroke / 19.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anna Gundlund, MD, PhD Herlev-Gentofte Hospital, Department of Cardiology Denmark  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Atrial fibrillation increases a person’s risk of ischemic strokes up to 5-fold. Oral anticoagulation therapy lowers this risk effectively (>60%) and is therefore recommended for patients with atrial fibrillation and at least 1-2 other risk factors for stroke. Our study show, that oral anticoagulation therapy is still underused in patients with atrial fibrillation – even after a stroke event. In stroke survivors with atrial fibrillation, oral anticoagulation therapy were associated with better outcomes than no oral anticoagulation therapy. 
Author Interviews, Duke, Heart Disease, JACC / 07.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_20394" align="alignleft" width="200"]Renato D. Lopes MD, MHS, PhD Duke University Medical Center Duke Clinical Research Institute Durham, NC 27705 Dr. Renato Lopes[/caption] Renato D. Lopes MD, MHS, PhD Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology Duke University Medical Center Duke Clinical Research Institute Terrace Level, Durham, NC 27705 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? 1-      Digoxin is used in ≈ 30% of patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) worldwide, despite the lack of randomized clinical trials to assess its efficacy and safety in this setting. 2-      Current AF guidelines recommend digoxin for rate control in patients with AF with and without heart failure (HF). 3-      There are no specific recommendations about serum digoxin concentration monitoring in the atrial fibrillation guidelines.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Stroke / 13.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40003" align="alignleft" width="200"]Normal rhythm tracing (top) Atrial fibrillation (bottom) Wikipedia image Normal rhythm tracing (top) Atrial fibrillation (bottom)
Wikipedia image[/caption] João Pedro Ferreira, MD, PhD & Faiez Zannad, MD, PhD National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM)Center for Clinical Multidisciplinary Research 1433INSERM U1116University of LorraineRegional University Hospital of NancyFrench Clinical Research Infrastructure Network (F-CRIN) Investigation Network Initiative–Cardiovascular and Renal Clinical Trialists, Nancy, France Department of Physiology and Cardiothoracic SurgeryCardiovascular Research and Development UnitFaculty of MedicineUniversity of Porto, Porto, Portugal MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: It is uncertain whether patients with a myocardial infarction with systolic dysfunction but without atrial fibrillation have increased risk for stroke. In this study including >22,000 patients and 600 stroke events we found a subgroup of patients at high risk for stroke despite not having atrial fibrillation. These patients are older, have worse renal function, frank signs of pulmonary congestion, hypertension and previous stroke history. We created a simple and “ready to use” score that allows the identification of these patients in routine clinical practice. 
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Kidney Disease, Mayo Clinic / 21.11.2017

[caption id="attachment_38440" align="alignleft" width="400"]Atrial Fibrillation - Wikipedia image Normal rhythm tracing (top) Atrial fibrillation (bottom) Wikipedia[/caption] Interview with: Dr Xiaoxi Yao PhD Assistant Professor Researcher Mayo Clinic What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Lifelong oral anticoagulation, either with warfarin or a non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulant (NOAC), is indicated for stroke prevention in most patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). Emerging evidence suggests that NOACs may be associated with better renal outcomes than warfarin. The study found renal function decline is common among patients with atrial fibrillation treated with oral anticoagulants. NOACs, particularly dabigatran and rivaroxaban, may be associated with lower risks of adverse renal outcomes than warfarin.
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Heart Disease / 26.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_37734" align="alignleft" width="200"]Dr. Leif Friberg MD, PhD Associate professor in cardiology Karolinska Institute Friberg Resarch Stockholm, Sweden  Dr. Leif Friberg[/caption] Dr. Leif Friberg MD, PhD Associate professor in cardiology Karolinska Institute Friberg Resarch Stockholm, Sweden  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: I have been doing research on atrial fibrillation and stroke risk for many years and knew that the very common heart arrhythmia is associated with a 40% increased risk of dementia. Considering that that 12-15% of 75 years olds have this arrhythmia, and even more at higher ages, the problem is significant to say the least. The mechanism behind stroke in atrial fibrillation is that blood clots are formed in the heart. When these are dislodged they travel with the blood stream and may get stuck in the narrow vessels of the brain where they stop blood flow causing brain infarction or stroke. Oral anticoagulant drugs like warfarin or the newer so called NOAC (new oral anticoagulant) drugs are highly efficient in preventing formation of these large blood clots and offer at least 70% risk reduction. Now, blood clots come in different sizes. There are also microscopic clots that do not cause symptoms of stroke but all the same eat away at the brain at a slow but steady pace. Imaging studies shows this after only a few months or even weeks of atrial fibrillation. Our hypothesis was therefore: If anticoagulants are so effective in protecting against large clots, will they not help against the small ones too?
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Thyroid, UCSF / 26.10.2017

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.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 22.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_37661" align="alignleft" width="138"]Parveen K. Garg, MD, MPH Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine Keck Hospital of USC  Dr. Garg[/caption] Parveen K. Garg, MD, MPH Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine Keck Hospital of USC  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Atrial fibrillation is the most commonly presenting cardiac arrhythmia in clinical practice, affecting over 2 million people in the United States. This arrhythmia accounts for up to 15% of all strokes and annual costs for AF treatment are estimated at over 6.5 billion dollars. Despite the growing public health challenge that AF poses, effective prevention strategies are lacking. In 2010, the American Heart Association identified metrics of ideal cardiovascular health known as Life’s Simple 7 to target for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. We wanted to determine whether adherence to these health metrics helps prevent atrial fibrillation as well. Therefore, we examined the association between the Life’s Simple 7 (LS7) and incident atrial fibrillation in the REasons for Geographic And Ethnic Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study. We found that individuals in this study with optimal cardiovascular health (high adherence to LS7 metrics) had an over 30% lower risk of developing atrial fibrillation compared to those with inadequate cardiovascular health (low adherence to LS7 metrics). We also observed that even minor improvements in adherence to the LS7 (increase in total score by 1-point) were associated with a 5% lower risk of atrial fibrillation.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 07.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_36803" align="alignleft" width="142"]Nassir F. Marrouche, MD Professor, Internal Medicine Cardiology University of Utah Dr. Marrouche[/caption] Nassir F. Marrouche, MD Professor, Internal Medicine Cardiology University of Utah  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Study the effectiveness of catheter ablation of Atrial Fibrillation in patients with heart failure in improving hard primary endpoints of mortality and heart failure progression when compared to conventional standard treatment
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Emergency Care, Heart Disease / 06.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_36808" align="alignleft" width="200"]Sandra L. Jackson, PhD National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Chamblee GA Dr. Sandra  Jackson[/caption] Sandra L. Jackson, PhD National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Chamblee GA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: People who have atrial fibrillation are at increased risk for having a heart attack or stroke. While we know that the percentage of the population with atrial fibrillation is increasing in the US, there is no national surveillance system to track the burden of emergency department visits, hospitalizations and deaths related to atrial fibrillation across all ages and health insurance provider types. This study combined data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project and the National Vital Statistics System to provide national estimates for atrial fibrillation-related healthcare service use and deaths from 2006-2014.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 25.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: James A. Reiffel, M.D Professor Emeritus of Medicine Special Lecturer in Medicine Dept of Medicine Cardiology Columbia University Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Atrial fibrillation is a common arrhythmia (multi-millions of Americans) and carries with it a risk of stroke and of heart failure (among others) if not treated preventively. In many people, atrial fibrillation comes to attention because of symptoms, but not in all. The chances of developing Atrial fibrillation are substantially increased in certain populations of patients, such as the ones we enrolled in our study.  Continuous monitoring of such patients, as we did, and as others have also done recently, though in smaller numbers of patients, can detect otherwise unsuspected atrial fibrillation, which can lead to treatment before complications arise. We found that using such monitoring, when monitored for 18 months, almost 1 in 3 patients had atrial fibrillation detected, as did 40% by 30 months. Intermittent monitoring, including by cell phones, may detect some atrial fibrillation but it is not nearly as effective as the type of monitoring we did and so many patients will be missed by lesser monitoring methods.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 28.07.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_36205" align="alignleft" width="200"]Tom Marshall, MSc, PhD, MRGP, FFPH Professor of public health and primary care Institute of Applied Health Research University of Birmingham Birmingham UK Prof. Marshall[/caption] Tom Marshall, MSc, PhD, MRGP, FFPH Professor of public health and primary care Institute of Applied Health Research University of Birmingham Birmingham UK  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: It is widely recognised that anticoagulants are underused in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) although they are effective in reducing risk of stroke. We investigated whether this could be explained by the fact that many AF patients have conditions which are considered relative contraindications to their use. We analysed electronic medical records from 645 general practices from 2004 to 2015 and included over 1 million patients with AF. We found that about 6% of AF patients had are relative contraindications such as recent history of major bleeding. In each of the 12 years, similar numbers of patients with and without contraindications were prescribed anticoagulants.
Author Interviews, BMJ, Heart Disease / 14.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_35317" align="alignleft" width="200"]Dr Nicola Adderley BA, MSci (Cantab), MA, MPhil, PhD Institute of Applied Health Research Research Fellow University of Birmingham Dr. Adderley[/caption] Dr Nicola Adderley BA, MSci (Cantab), MA, MPhil, PhD Institute of Applied Health Research Research Fellow University of Birmingham MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained cardiac arrhythmia and a major global public health problem. It is associated with a five-fold increase in risk of stroke. There are three types of AF – paroxysmal, persistent or permanent. In paroxysmal AF, episodes come and go, and usually stop without any treatment. With persistent AF episodes can last for periods of more than seven days and are treated with medication or a medical procedure called cardioversion. In permanent AF, the irregular heartbeat is present all the time and cardioversion has failed to restore a normal heart rhythm. All patients with AF, including paroxysmal AF, are at an increased risk of stroke. UK guidelines recommend anticoagulant treatment, such as the blood-thinning drug warfarin, for patients with all types of AF in order to reduce the risk of stroke. Our study aimed to determine whether patients with paroxysmal AF are less likely to be treated with anticoagulants than patients with persistent or permanent AF and to investigate trends in treatment between 2000 and 2015.
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Testosterone / 24.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_34833" align="alignleft" width="149"]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[/caption] 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.