Valvular Heart Disease: Edoxaban vs Warfarin in the ENGAGE AF-TIMI 48 Trial

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Raffaele De Caterina MD, PhD

Professor of Cardiology and Director of the University Cardiology Division
‘G d’Annunzio’ University in Chieti

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

Response: The widely used term “valvular atrial fibrillation” encompasses a variety of conditions in which atrial fibrillation and valvular heart disease coexist. Since most trials of the non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs) have variably excluded “valvular atrial fibrillation”, in more or less restrictive terms, there has been uncertainty whether NOACs can be used in such varied conditions. While atrial fibrillation in the presence of a mechanical valve or rheumatic mitral stenosis has to be a true contraindication (unfavorable data with one NOAC in the former setting; no data in the latter setting), patients with valvular diseases such as mitral insufficiency, aortic stenosis, aortic insufficiency, or with the presence of a bioprosthesis, have been variably included in the phase III trials of NOACs, but had not been extensively and conclusively studied before.

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Does Stress Raise Risk of Atrial Fibrillation?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Simon Graff MD Department of Public Health Research Unit for General Practice Aarhus University Aarhus C, Denmark

Dr. Simon Graff

Simon Graff MD
Department of Public Health
Research Unit for General Practice
Aarhus University
Aarhus C, Denmark 

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

Response: The presented study is a continuation of our interest in the role of stress and the possible causes of atrial fibrillation.  We published a study that showed that spousal bereavement were followed by a transiently increased risk of new onset of atrial fibrillation. With spousal bereavement being one of the most stressful life-event, we wanted to know whether minor and differentiated stress exposures had an effect as well. Therefore we used register based data on perceived stress as a new measure of exposure.

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Appropriate Anticoagulation Underutilized in Atrial fibrillation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Ying Xian
 MD PhD
Department of Neurology,
Duke Clinical Research Institute
Duke University Medical Center
Durham, North Carolina

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

Response: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia. AF increases the risk for stroke and accounts for 10% to 15% of all ischemic strokes. While the burden of AF-related stroke is high, AF is a potentially treatable risk factor. Numerous studies have demonstrated that vitamin K antagonists, such as warfarin, or non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs), reduce the risk of ischemic stroke. Based on these data, current guidelines recommend adjusted-dose warfarin or NOACs over aspirin for stroke prevention in high-risk patients with Atrial fibrillation.

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Stopping Warfarin in Dementia Patients with Atrial Fib Associated With Increased Risk of Stroke and Death

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ariela Orkaby, MD, MPH Geriatrics & Preventive Cardiology Associate Epidemiologist Division of Aging, Brigham and Women's Hospital Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Ariela Orkaby

Ariela Orkaby, MD, MPH
Geriatrics & Preventive Cardiology
Associate Epidemiologist
Division of Aging, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School

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

Response: Atrial Fibrillation is a common heart rhythm that affects 1 in 25 adults over age 60 and 1 in 10 adults over age 80. The feared consequence of atrial fibrillation is stroke, leading to the prescription of blood thinning medications (anticoagulants such as warfarin) to prevent strokes. However, there is an underutilization of these life-saving medications in older adults, and particularly in those who have dementia. In part, this is due to a lack of research and inclusion of older adults with dementia in prior studies.

In this study, we used clinical Veterans Administration data, linked to Medicare, to follow 2,572 individuals over age 65 who had atrial fibrillation and until a diagnosis of dementia. The average age was 80 years, and 99% were male. We found that only 16% remained on warfarin. We used statistical methods to account for reasons why a patient would or would not be treated with warfarin and found that those who continued to take warfarin had a significantly lower risk of stroke (HR 0.74, 95% Confidence interval 0.54- 0.99, p=0.47) and death (HR 0.72, 95% CI 0.60-0.87, p<0.01) compared to those who did not continue to take warfarin, without an increased risk of bleeding.

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Increase In Subdural Hematomas Associated With Increase Use of Antithrombotic Drugs


MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

David Gaist, MD, PhD</strong> Department of Neurology Odense University Hospital University of Southern Denmark Odense, Denmark

Dr. David Gaist

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

Response: The incidence of subdural hematoma (SDH; a bleed located within the skull, but outside the brain) has been reported to be on the increase. Previous studies have shown an association between use of antithrombotic drugs and SDH. However, studies with updated estimates of this risk and with focus on current more complex and aggressive regimens of antithrombotic treatment are scarce.

We therefore performed this study, where we identified 10,010 patients aged 20-89 years that were admitted with SDH in Denmark in 2000 through 2015. Preadmission use of antithrombotic drugs (low-dose aspirin, clopidogrel, vitamin K antagonist, e.g. warfarin, and direct oral anticoagulants) of these cases was compared to that of 400,380 individuals from the general population with no history of SDH (controls).

We found that use of antithrombotic drugs was associated with an increased risk of subdural hematoma . The magnitude of this risk varied by type of antithrombotic, and was, e.g., low for use of low-dose aspirin, and highest for warfarin. Further, with a single exception (low-dose aspirin and dipyridamole), concurrent use of more than one antithrombotic drug was associated with higher risk of SDH, particularly if warfarin was taken along with an antiplatelet drug, e.g., low-dose aspirin or clopidogrel. Increasing use of antithrombotic drugs was observed in the study period. The incidence of subdural hematomas in the Danish population also increased markedly in the years 2000-2015, particularly among those aged 75+ years. Our study indicates that this increased incidence, can, at least partly, be explained by increased use of antithrombotic drugs.

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Which AFib Patients Should Resume Warfarin After Intracranial Hemorrhage?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Peter Brønnum Nielsen MD PhD
Aalborg Thrombosis Research Unit
Department of Clinical Medicine
Faculty of Health
Department of Cardiology, Atrial Fibrillation Study Group
Aalborg University Hospital
Aalborg, Denmark
 

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

Response:   Patients who sustain an intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) event are often excluded from randomized trials investigating stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation (AF) by use of oral anticoagulant treatment.

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Variable Effects of Vitamin C on Post-Operative Atrial Fibrillation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Harri-Hemilae.jpg

Dr. Harri Hemilae

Harri Hemilä, MD, PhD
Department of Public Health
University of Helsinki

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

Response: I have a long term interest in vitamin C. Previously I have shown that it alleviates exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) (http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1710-1492-10-58 ) and shortens the duration of colds ( http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0020168 ). Now I had been following the literature and I noted that a number of randomized trials were being published about vitamin C for preventing post-operative atrial fibrillation (POAF). Therefore I reasoned that it is worthwhile to analyze that set of trials

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AFib Ablation Generally Successful But Not Exempt from Complication Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Elena Arbelo MD PhD Department of Cardiology, Cardiovascular Institute Hospital Clínic de Barcelona. University of Barcelona Barcelona, Spain

Dr. Elena Arbelo

Dr. Elena Arbelo MD PhD
Department of Cardiology, Cardiovascular Institute
Hospital Clínic de Barcelona
University of Barcelona
Barcelona, Spain

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

Response: Almost 20 years after its first description, catheter ablation is a widely-used treatment strategy for patients with symptomatic atrial fibrillation (AF) (AFib) resistant to antiarrhythmic drugs (AAD).

If we look at the results of the ESC Pilot Atrial Fibrillation General Registry1, which included about 3000 consecutive in- and outpatients with AF presenting to cardiologists in nine participating countries in Europe, catheter ablation had previously attempted 7.6% overall, most often in those with paroxysmal AF (15.6%). A further 7.8% were prescribed an ablation as part of their management, which went up to a 19.3% in the case of paroxysmal AFib.

On the other hand, several randomised clinical trials (RCTs) have shown better results of AFib ablation compared to antiarrhythmic drugs (AADs)2-6. However, these studies had a rather small sample size of selected patients, and interventions were undertaken by experienced operators with clearly pre-specified protocols. With rising prevalence of AFib and increasingly available treatment options, it was of utmost importance to have an accurate picture of contemporary AFib ablation and its outcomes which will allow the identification of practice gaps and assist evidence-based guidelines for the management of these patients.

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More Than Moderate Alcohol Not Good For The Heart

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Gregory M Marcus, MD, MAS, FACC, FAHA, FHRS Director of Clinical Research Division of Cardiology Endowed Professor of Atrial Fibrillation Research University of California, San Francisco

Dr. Gregory M Marcus

Gregory M Marcus, MD, MAS, FACC, FAHA, FHRS
Director of Clinical Research
Division of Cardiology
Endowed Professor of Atrial Fibrillation Research
University of California, San Francisco

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

Response: Moderate alcohol consumption has previously been associated with a decreased risk of heart attack. However, as we have previously shown that individuals who believe alcohol to be good for the heart tend to drink more, there is a concern that these previous data might appear to justify excessive alcohol consumption.

In addition, previous research on the topic of alcohol consumption and heart disease has relied almost entirely on participant self-report, which is known to be particularly unreliable among heavy drinkers. Finally, previous research has sought to study relationships between alcohol and various types of heart disease, but there has not been an emphasis on individual-level characteristics that might influence these relationships.
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Predicting Unsuccessful Electrical Cardioversion for Acute Atrial Fibrillation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Juhani Airaksinen, MD, PhD

Professor, Chief of Cardiology
Directork Heart Center
Turku University Hospital

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

Response: Electrical cardioversion (ECV) is an essential part of rhythm control strategy in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF). There is limited information on unsuccessful outcome of ECV (i.e. failure of cardioversion or early recurrence of AF) for acute AF. Our study shows that the risk of unsuccessful outcome of ECV can be predicted using five simple clinical variables. These variables were used to derivate and validate a novel risk stratification tool (the AF-CVS Score) for predicting unsuccessful ECV outcome. Study patients with high AF-CVS Score points (>5) had a high incidence of ECV failure or early AF recurrence.

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Association Between Statin Use and Ischemic Stroke or Hemorrhage in Patients Taking Dabigatran for A Fib

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Tony-Antoniou.jpg

Dr. Tony Antoniou

Dr. Tony Antoniou, PhD Research Scholar
Department of Family and Community Medicine and a Scientist
Keenan Research Centre of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute
St. Michael’s Hospital
Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine and
Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy
University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario

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

Response: Dabigatran etexilate is an anticoagulant that is commonly used for stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation. Absorption of dabigatran etexilate is opposed by intestinal P-glycoprotein, an efflux transporter. Once absorbed, dabigatran etexilate is converted to its active form by carboxylesterase enzymes. Unlike other statins, simvastatin and lovastatin can inhibit P-glycoprotein and carboxylesterase. This may result in increased absorption of dabigatran etexilate, thereby increasing the risk of bleeding. Conversely, inhibition of carboxylesterase may decrease the effectiveness of dabigatran etexilate.

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Smartphone App Can Screen For Atrial Fibrillation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Ngai-yin Chan Princess Margaret Hospital Lai Chi Kok, Hong Kong

Dr. Ngai-yin Chan

Dr. Ngai-yin Chan
Princess Margaret Hospital
Lai Chi Kok, Hong Kong

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

Response: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained heart rhythm disorder which can cause stroke, heart failure and an increased risk of death. The risk of stroke can be reduced substantially with drug treatment. However, a quarter of patients with AF causing stroke have silent and asymptomatic AF before stroke. The current guidelines recommend opportunistic screening for AF. Whether systematic community screening for AF with a convenient smartphone ECG can reduce the burden of AF remains unknown. Continue reading