Patients With Type II Diabetes Have Greatest Risk of Heart Failure

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Araz Rawshani, PhD Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine Institute of Medicine University of Gothenburg Gothenburg, Sweden

Dr. Rawshani

Dr Araz Rawshani, PhD
Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine
Institute of Medicine
University of Gothenburg
Gothenburg, Sweden

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

 Response: Patients with type 2 diabetes have 2 to 4 times greater risk for death and cardiovascular events compared to the general population. There are several randomized trails that encourage a range of interventions that target traditional and modifiable risk factors, such as elevated levels for glycated hemoglobin, blood pressure and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol to reduce the risk for complications of type 2 diabetes. However, there are few randomized trails that have investigated the effects of multifactorial risk factor intervention in reducing the risk for death and cardiovascular events, as compared to patients that are treated with usual care.

We set out to investigate the extent to which the excess risk associated with type 2 diabetes may be mitigated or potentially eliminated by means of evidence-based treatment and multifactorial risk factor modification. In addition, we estimated the relative importance between various risk factors and the incremental risk of death and cardiovascular events associated with diabetes. Furthermore, we investigated the association between glycated hemoglobin, systolic blood pressure and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) within evidence based target ranges and the abovementioned outcomes.

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New Biomarkers Predictive of Atrial Fibrillation Outcome

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

John D Horowitz, MBBS, PhD. Director of Cardiology/Clinical Pharmacology Queen Elizabeth Hospital University of Adelaide Australia

Dr. Horowitz

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.

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Type of Oral Contraceptive Can Influence Effect of Medications on EKG Change

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Joe-Elie SALEM, MD-PhD Chef de Clinique Assistant, Médecin délégué du Centre d'Investigation Clinique Paris-Est Institut CardioMétabolisme et Nutrition INSERM

Dr. Salem

Joe-Elie SALEM, MD-PhD
Chef de Clinique Assistant, Médecin délégué du Centre d’Investigation Clinique
Paris-Est
Institut CardioMétabolisme et Nutrition
INSERM

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

Response: The drug-induced long QT syndrome (diLQTS) is a problem for clinicians balancing risk and benefits across multiple therapeutic areas, and for pharmaceutical scientists and regulators evaluating new drug candidates. The prevalent view is that block of a specific ion current, the rapid component of the cardiac delayed rectifier (IKr), is the common mechanism predisposing to diLQTS across drug classes and that patients with mutations in ion channel genes are at especially increased risk. In the very extreme form of diLQTS, a specific form of ventricular arrhythmia potentially lethal, called Torsade de Pointes, can occur. All IKr blocking drugs do not confer the same Torsade de Pointes risk; the risk with antiarrhythmics such as sotalol or dofetilide can be 1-2%, while the risk with IKr-blocking antibiotics such as moxifloxacin is much lower, <1/20,000.

Women are at higher risk of diLQTS than men. Androgens are protective. Influence of hormonal contraception on diTdP and QT prolongation is controversial

MedicalResearch.com: Were you surprised by the study findings, why or why not? 

Response: We were not really surprised because the influence of testosterone (the main androgenic hormone) to shorten the duration of cardiac repolarization was already known. We wanted to see if this effect was also present with contraceptive pills with various androgenic-like activities.

MedicalResearch.com: Can you explain what exactly is “sotalol-induced QTc prolongation”? 

Response: After each heartbeat, the heart recovers to normal. This phenomenon is called ventricular repolarization and can be assessed on the electrocardiogram by measuring the duration of a parameter called QT interval. This QT interval is influenced by many factors one of them being heart rate. QT interval is therefore corrected for the heart rate observed at the time of its measurement (QTc). Sotalol is one of several drugs given to prolong ventricular repolarization, and hence QTc, as a mean to prevent the recurrence of some disturbances of heart beats. These disturbances are called arrhythmias. However, drugs which prolong QTc can also provoke a very rare arrhythmia which can cause cardiac arrest or the heart to stops. Only rare susceptible patients are at risk of having this drug-induced arrhythmia and most patients who receive sotalol and have prolonged QTc are doing well. 

MedicalResearch.com: What were the drug-induced alterations in “ventricular repolarization” seen among the women? 

Response: The alterations of ventricular repolarization were those expected with sotalol: prolongation of QTc interval and changes is the morphology of the T-wave which is part of the QT interval. What we found is that the extent of QTc prolongation and T-wave morphological changes caused by sotalol was greater in women who were receiving the anti-androgenic contraceptive pill drospirenone compared with levonorgestrel. This is in line with the known effect of androgens to shorten ventricular repolarization in men but it was not known to be influenced by the progestin androgenic activity of oral contraceptives in women. 

MedicalResearch.com: What new information does this study provide to the scientific literature on oral contraceptives? 

Response: We did not show that oral contraceptives influence ventricular repolarization. This was not the purpose of the study. Our study, with its limitations, suggests that the type of oral contraceptive can influence the effects of drugs such as sotalol which prolong QTc. Drospirenone, an oral contraceptive with antiandrogenic properties, was associated with greater drug-induced QTc prolongation than levonorgestrel, an oral contraceptive with androgenic activity. Whether this is associated with a greater risk of provoking arrhythmias with antiandrogenic pills is not proven although there are indirect indications from an analysis of the European pharmacovigilance database, that this might be the case. Additional studies need to be performed to better assess this risk.

MedicalResearch.com: What were some limitations of the study? 

Response: The type of oral contraceptive taken by women participating in the study was prescribed by their physician and women receiving different oral contraceptives may have differed in their response to sotalol for other reasons. In other words, oral contraceptives were not administered by chance to the women (the study was not randomized but observational) and this is not the most robust method to examine the influence drugs in general. Also, the level of the natural sex hormones in the blood of the study participants was not measured and it may have influenced QTc interval  

MedicalResearch.com: Why is this study important? 

Response: In spite of its limitations, our study prompts for a more thorough assessment of the influence of progestin androgenic activity of oral contraceptives on drug-induced QTc interval prolongation and the risk of associated arrhythmias. It also emphasizes the importance of androgens as a factor limiting the risk of QTc prolongation in patients receiving drugs which prolong ventricular repolarization.

Citation: 

Salem J, Dureau P, Bachelot A, et al. Association of Oral Contraceptives With Drug-Induced QT Interval Prolongation in Healthy Nonmenopausal Women. JAMA Cardiol. Published online August 01, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2018.2251

The information on MedicalResearch.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.

 

When It Comes to LDL-C, “You Really Can’t Be Too Low”

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Marc S. Sabatine, MD, MPH  Chairman | TIMI Study Group  Lewis Dexter, MD, Distinguished Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital  Professor of Medicine | Harvard Medical School

Dr. Marc Sabatine

Marc S. Sabatine, MD, MPH
Chairman | TIMI Study Group
Lewis Dexter, MD, Distinguished Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Professor of Medicine | Harvard Medical School

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

Response: Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) is a well-established risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

The initial statin trials studied patients with high levels of LDL-C, and showed a benefit by lowering LDL-C.

We and others did studies in patients with so-called “average” levels of LDL-C (120-130 mg/dL), and also showed clinical benefit with lowering.

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Heart Failure Medications Underutilized in Medical Practice

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Greene

Stephen J. Greene, MD
Fellow, Division of Cardiology
Duke University Medical Center
Durham, NC, USA

Stephen J. Greene, MD Fellow, Division of Cardiology Duke University Medical Center Durham, NC, USA

Dr. Fonarow

Gregg C. Fonarow, MD, FACC, FAHA, FHFSA
Eliot Corday Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Science
UCLA

 


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

Response: Heart failure is a very common medical condition impacting roughly 6 million men and women in the United States, and associated with impaired quality of life, frequent hospitalizations, and high rates of death.

There are over 300,000 deaths each year in the US among patients with heart failure. Half of heart failure patients have heart failure because of a weak heart muscle where the heart cannot eject a normal amount of blood with each heartbeat, a term called “reduced ejection fraction.” Fortunately, there are multiple medications proven in large clinical trials to make people with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction live longer and feel better.

We also have target doses for these medications, which are the doses used in the trials where the medication proved its benefit. These medications and the target doses are strongly recommended in professional guidelines to improve patient outcomes.

To make sure patients have the best outcomes possible, it is important that we work to get patients on these proven medications if at all possible. Unfortunately, prior research has suggested that many patients eligible for these medications in regular outpatient practice do not receive them.

Most of this research is several years old, and there have been a lot of efforts to improve the quality of heart failure care in the meantime. In our study, we wanted to see if there have been improvements in the use and dosing of proven heart failure medications in modern-day practice. We also wanted to determine which patient factors were associated with not receiving a medication, or receiving the medication at a below target dose.

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Who is Underrepresented in Cardiology Trials?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Quoc Dinh Nguyen, MD MA MPH Interniste-gériatre – Service de gériatrie Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal – CHUM

Dr. Nguyen

Quoc Dinh Nguyen, MD MA MPH
Interniste-gériatre – Service de gériatrie
Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal – CHUM

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

Response: Randomized trials are the best evidence basis we have to treat patients. It is known for more than 20 years that older adults and women are disproportionately excluded from randomized trials in cardiology diseases. As the current US population is fast aging, we examined whether this underrepresentation improved or worsened in the last 20 years in the most influential studies published between 1996 and 2015.

The main finding is that the women and older adults continue to be underrepresented in cardiology trials. Overall, the mean age was 63 years and the percentage of women was 29%. For coronary heart disease, women comprise 54% of the US population in need of treatment, yet are only 27% of the trial population. For heart failure, the median age of older adults in the US population is 70 years whereas it is only 64 years in the trial population.

Our results indicate that the gap has very slowly narrowed in the last 2 decades. However, based on current trends, reaching proportionate enrollment would require between 3 and 9 decades. This persistent lack of representation has significant impacts on the ability of clinicians to provide evidenced based care for these segments of the population. Physicians and other health care professionals are forced to extrapolate study results from younger and male-predominant populations. This is problematic since we know that older adults and women may react differently to medications and to interventions.  Continue reading

Prehabilitation Seeks to Improve Outcomes in Frail Older Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Rakesh Arora MD Department of Surgery, Max Rady College of Medicine University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada Cardiac Sciences Program St Boniface Hospital Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Dr. Rakesh Arora

Rakesh Arora MD PhD
Department of Surgery, Max Rady College of Medicine
University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada
Cardiac Sciences Program
St Boniface Hospital
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

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

Response: It is increasingly understood that patients with heart disease are getting older and sicker. In Canada, over 5.7 million people are estimated to be aged over 65 years and as a result a greater number of older adults often complex other health issues are now require cardiac procedures.  This places some patients, particular those who are more frail at a higher vulnerability to poorer postoperative outcomes and a complicated recovery process after cardiac surgery.  In addition, such patients experience a reduced quality of life as a result of loss of the ability to independently perform activities of daily living (i.e. as cooking, cleaning, bathing activities, toileting etc).

During the preoperative waiting period, the cardiac symptoms and anxiety induces inactivity that in turn compounds the physical and mental deconditioning. In order to improve the functional capacity and enhance postoperative recovery, prehabilitation (“prehab”), a component of the Enhanced Recovery Protocols (ERPs), may be of particular importance.

Prehabilitation (a.k.a. “prehab”) has been described as a preoperative cardiac rehabilitation intervention, a combination of exercise training, education, and social support, affecting patients’ physical and psychological readiness for surgery with the overarching goal to reduce postoperative complications and hospital length of stay as well as ideally improving the transition from the hospital to the community.   Continue reading

Algorithm Allows Patients To Calculate Their Risk of Stroke and Heart Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Doug Manuel MD, MSc, FRCPC Professor and Senior Scientist Ottawa Hospital Research Institute | L’Institut de Recherche de l’Hôpital d’Ottawa Department of Family Medicine, University of Ottawa Départment de Médicine Familiale Université d’Ottawa 

Dr. Manuel

Dr. Doug Manuel MD, MSc, FRCPC
Professor and Senior Scientist
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute | L’Institut de Recherche de l’Hôpital d’Ottawa
Department of Family Medicine, University of Ottawa
Départment de Médicine Familiale
Université d’Ottawa 

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

Response: A lot of people are interested in healthy living, but often we don’t have that discussion in the doctor’s office,” says Dr. Manuel, who is also a professor at the University of Ottawa. “Doctors will check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, but they don’t necessarily ask about lifestyle factors that could put you at risk of a heart attack and stroke. We hope this tool can help people — and their care team — with better information about healthy living and options for reducing their risk of heart attack and stroke.”

“What sets this cardiovascular risk calculator apart is that it looks at healthy living, and it is better calibrated to the Canadian population,” says Dr. Doug Manuel, lead author, senior scientist at The Ottawa Hospital and a senior core scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES).”  Continue reading

Not All HDL Cholesterol is Good – Size Matters

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Samar R. El Khoudary, PhD, MPH, BPharm, FAHA Associate Professor, Epidemiology PITT Public Health Epidemiology Data Center University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA 15260 

Dr. El Khoudary

Samar R. El Khoudary, Ph.D., M.P.H. BPharm, FAHA
Associate Professor
Department of Epidemiology
University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

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

Response: The background for this study is based on the current measurements used to determine cardiovascular disease risk in postmenopausal women. Higher levels of HDL “good cholesterol” as measured by the widely available clinical test, HDL-Cholesterol, may not always be indicative of a lower risk of cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women.

HDL is a family of particles found in the blood that vary in sizes, cholesterol contents and function. HDL particles can become dysfunctional under certain conditions such as chronic inflammation. HDL has traditionally been measured as the total cholesterol carried by the HDL particles, known as HDL cholesterol. HDL cholesterol, however, does not necessarily reflect the overall concentration, the uneven distribution, or the content and function of HDL particles.

We looked at 1,138 women aged 45 through 84 enrolled across the U.S. in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), a medical research study sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). MESA began in 1999 and is still following participants today. We assessed two specific measurements of HDL: the number and size of the HDL particles and total cholesterol carried by HDL particles. Our study also looked at how age when women transitioned into post menopause, and the amount of time since transitioning, may impact the expected cardio-protective associations of HDL measures.

Our study points out that the traditional measure of the good cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, fails to portray an accurate depiction of heart disease risk for postmenopausal women. We reported a harmful association between higher HDL cholesterol and atherosclerosis risk that was most evident in women with older age at menopause and who were greater than, or equal to, 10 years into post menopause. In contrast to HDL cholesterol, a higher concentration of total HDL particles was associated with lower risk of atherosclerosis. Additionally, having a high number of small HDL particles was found beneficial for postmenopausal women. These findings persist irrespective of age and how long it has been since women became postmenopausal.

On the other hand, large HDL particles are linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease close to menopause. Women are subject to a variety of physiological changes in their sex hormones, lipids, body fat deposition and vascular health as they transition through menopause. We are hypothesizing that the decrease of estrogen, a cardio-protective sex hormone, along with other metabolic changes, can trigger chronic inflammation over time, which may alter the quality of HDL particles. Future studies should test this hypothesis.

The study findings indicate that measuring size and number of HDL particles can better reflect the well-known cardio-protective features of the good cholesterol in postmenopausal women. Continue reading

USPSTF and PAD: Uncertain if Nontraditional Risk Factors Can Predict Heart Disease or Stroke Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Michael Barry MD Director of the Informed Medical Decisions Program Health Decision Sciences Center at Massachusetts General Hospital Physician at Massachusetts General Hospit Professor of Medicine,Harvard Medical School

Dr. Barry

Dr. Michael Barry MD
Director of the Informed Medical Decisions Program
Health Decision Sciences Center at Massachusetts General Hospital
Physician at Massachusetts General Hospit
Professor of Medicine,Harvard Medical School 

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

Response: Peripheral artery disease—which is known as PAD—is a disease that reduces blood flow to a person’s limbs, especially the legs. PAD can cause leg and foot pain when resting or walking, wounds to not heal properly, and loss of limbs. Additionally, people with PAD are more likely to experience a cardiovascular disease event, such as heart attack and stroke.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force looked at the latest research to see if screening people without signs or symptoms of PAD using the ankle brachial index (ABI) can prevent heart attack, stroke, or other adverse health effects. We found that more research is needed to determine if screening with ABI can help to identify PAD and/or prevent heart attack or stroke in people without signs or symptoms.

Additionally, in a separate recommendation statement, we looked into the effectiveness of what we call nontraditional risk factors for assessing a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease. Clinicians typically check someone’s risk for cardiovascular disease using traditional risk factors, such as age, race, and smoking status. The Task Force looked at the current evidence to see if three additional, nontraditional risk factors can help prevent heart disease or stroke. The nontraditional factors considered were ABI measurements, an elevated amount of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) in the blood, and an elevated amount of calcium in the coronary arteries (CAC score).

In this recommendation, we also found that there is insufficient evidence to recommend for or against using nontraditional risk factors in addition to those normally used to assess cardiovascular disease risk in people without signs or symptoms.  Continue reading

Patients Who Discharge From Hospital Against Medical Advice Have Double Rate of Readmission

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor Mamas Mamas (BM BCh, MA, DPhil, MRCP) Professor of Cardiology at Keele University and an Honorary Professor of Cardiology at the University of Manchester

Prof. Mamas

Professor Mamas Mamas (BM BCh, MA, DPhil, MRCP)
Professor of Cardiology at Keele University and an
Honorary Professor of Cardiology at the University of Manchester

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

Response: Discharge against medical advice occurs in 1 to 2% of all medical admissions but little / no data around how frequently this occurs in the context of PCI or the outcomes associated with such a course of action. We undertook this study to understand both how commonly discharge against medical advice occurs, the types of patients it occurs in and outcomes in terms of both readmission rates and causes of readmisison.   Continue reading

Study Finds No Link Between Dairy Fats and Heart Disease or Mortality

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Milk” by Mike Mozart is licensed under CC BY 2.0Marcia C. de Oliveira Otto, PhD, FAHA
Assistant Professor
Division of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences
University of Texas
Houston, TX 77030-3900 |

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

Response: Our research adds to a growing body of evidence showing no harm in relation to heart disease or overall mortality associated with consumption of whole-fat dairy foods.

The findings also indicate that one of three fatty acids present in dairy fat was linked to lower risk of stroke among older adults. To the best of our knowledge, ours was the first large study to use repeated measures of fatty acids over time and evaluate association with mortality in older adults, which allowed us to expand and contribute to this important debate regarding fat intake and health.

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Asthma Linked to Increased Risk of Atrial Fibrillation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

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

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.

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Women With History of Preeclampsia or Gestational Hypertension Have Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jennifer J. Stuart, ScD Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Reproductive & Cardiovascular Epidemiology  Department of Epidemiology Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health  Division of Women's Health Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Dr. Stuart

Jennifer J. Stuart, ScD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Reproductive & Cardiovascular Epidemiology
Department of Epidemiology
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Division of Women’s Health
Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School

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

Response: Preeclampsia and gestational hypertension are common pregnancy complications involving high blood pressure that develops for the first time during pregnancy and returns to normal after delivery. Approximately 10 to 15% of all women who have given birth have a history of either preeclampsia or gestational hypertension. Previous studies have shown that women with a history of high blood pressure in pregnancy are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease events like heart attack and stroke later in life when compared to women with normal blood pressure in pregnancy. However, what is less clear is to what extent these women are more likely to develop chronic hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol and when these risk factors begin to emerge after pregnancy.

We examined this question in a cohort of nearly 60,000 American women who we were able to follow for up to 50 years after their first pregnancy. Previous studies have been limited by small numbers, short follow-up, or a lack of information on shared risk factors, such as pre-pregnancy body mass index, smoking, and family history. This research was conducted within the Nurses’ Health Study II, which collected data on these pre-pregnancy factors in tens of thousands of women over several decades.

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Bad Genes and Unhealthy Lifestyle Contribute to Cardiovascular Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Pim van der Harst MD, MSc Professor and Scientific Director Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory University Medical Center Groninger

Dr. van der Harst

Pim van der Harst MD, MSc
Professor and Scientific Director Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory
University Medical Center Groninger

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

Response: Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The disease is driven by both genetic (inherited) and lifestyle factors such as smoking, physical activity and body mass index (BMI).

However, little is known about the interplay between genetic and lifestyle factors. So we looked into how lifestyle influences risk in individuals with a low genetic risk compared to those with a high genetic risk.

 

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: We studied 339,003 unrelated individuals participating in UK Biobank project and looked into 5 very important cardiovascular conditions: coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation, stroke, hypertension and type 2 diabetes.

We then calculated the genetic risk of these individuals bases on the DNA information and assessed their lifestyle. We found that both genetics and an unhealthy lifestyle increased the risk of developing these conditions in an additive way.

Risk appears simply as a summation of bad genes and an unhealthy lifestyle, there is no multiplier effect. A healthy lifestyle is always beneficial, independent of the luck you had with your genes. However, we do see patterns suggesting that for some conditions the risk is approximately the same for those with good genes and poor lifestyle compared to those with poor genes and a poor lifestyle. Best is to have both, good genes and a healthy lifestyle. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: No matter how good your genes are, a good lifestyle is always beneficial. However, if you have a high genetic risk you really should pay even more attention an adhering to a healthy lifestyle, otherwise they are in double trouble. Also our study is important as it lays a foundation for personalized risk assessment. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Now we can combine the personal genetics with a person’s lifestyle we should work towards personalized risk assessment and estimate the effect of lifestyle changes for an individual.

No disclosures

Citation: 

Associations of Combined Genetic and Lifestyle Risks With Incident Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes in the UK Biobank Study – M. Abdullah Said, Niek Verweij, Pim van der Harst. JAMA Cardiology 2018 

The information on MedicalResearch.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.

 

Safety Net and Smaller Hospitals Not Well Represented in Medicare’s Bundled Payment Program for Heart Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dan Blumenthal, MD, MBA Assistant in Medicine, Division of Cardiology Massachusetts General Hospital Instructor in Medicine Harvard Medical School

Dr. Blumenthal

Dan Blumenthal, MD, MBA
Assistant in Medicine, Division of Cardiology
Massachusetts General Hospital
Instructor in Medicine
Harvard Medical School 

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

Response: Despite dramatic advances in the treatment of cardiovascular disease (CVD) over the past half-century, CVD remains a leading cause of death and health care spending in the United States (US) and worldwide. More than 2000 Americans die of CVD each day, and more than $200 billion dollars is spent on the treatment of CVD each year in the US By 2030, over 40% of the US population is projected to have some form of CVD, at a cost of $1 trillion to the US economy.

The tremendous clinical and financial burden of cardiovascular illness has helped motivated policymakers to develop policy tools that have the potential to improve health care quality and curb spending.  Alternative payment models, and specifically bundled payments—lump sum payment for defined episodes of care which typically subsume an inpatient hospitalization and some amount of post-acute care—represent a promising tool for slowing health care spending and improving health care value.

Despite broad interest in implementing bundled payments to achieve these aims, our collective understanding of the effects of bundled payments on .cardiovascular disease care quality and spending, and the factors associated with success under this payment model, are limited.

Medicare’s Bundled Payments of Care Improvement (BPCI) is an ongoing voluntary, national pilot program evaluating bundled payments for 48 common conditions and procedures, including several common cardiovascular conditions and interventions.   In this study, we compared hospitals that voluntarily signed up for the four most commonly subscribed cardiac bundles—those for acute myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, coronary artery bypass graft surgery, and percutaneous coronary intervention—with surrounding control hospitals in order to gain some insight into the factors driving participation, and to assess whether the hospitals participating in these bundles were broadly representative of a diverse set of U.S. acute care hospitals.  Continue reading

For Low Risk Patients, USPSTF Does Not Recommend Adding ECG Screening to Standard Risk Management Assessment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Michael Barry MD Director of the Informed Medical Decisions Program Health Decision Sciences Center at Massachusetts General Hospital Physician at Massachusetts General Hospit Professor of Medicine,Harvard Medical School

Dr. Barry

Dr. Michael Barry MD
Director of the Informed Medical Decisions Program
Health Decision Sciences Center at Massachusetts General Hospital
Physician at Massachusetts General Hospit
Professor of Medicine,Harvard Medical School

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

Response: Cardiovascular disease (CVD), which can lead to heart attack and stroke, causes 1 in 3 deaths among adults in the United States. The Task Force reviewed the latest research on whether adding an electrocardiogram—or ECG, which is a test that records a person’s heart activity—to the standard ways we measure CVD risk can help prevent heart attack and stroke in people who do not have symptoms and are generally healthy, as well as people who are already at risk for these conditions.

The evidence shows that adding screening with ECG to the ways we already measure CVD risk is unlikely to help prevent heart attack or stroke in people at low risk. It can also cause harms—such as those from follow-on procedures like angiography and angioplasty, which can lead to heart attack, kidney failure, and even death. As a result, the Task Force recommends against screening with ECG for this group.

For those who might benefit the most—people who are already at medium or high risk of CVD—there is not enough evidence to say whether or not adding screening with an ECG to standard care helps prevent heart attack and stroke. This is an area where we need more research.  Continue reading

Enabling Angioplasty-Ready “Smart” Stents to Detect In-Stent Restenosis and Occlusion

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kenichi Takahata, Ph.D., P.Eng. Associate Professor Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering Faculty of Applied Science University of British Columbia Vancouver, B.C., Canada

Dr. Takahata

Kenichi Takahata, Ph.D., P.Eng.
Associate Professor
Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering
Faculty of Applied Science
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, B.C., Canada

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

Response: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one cause of mortality globally. One of the most common and proven treatments for CVD is stenting. Millions of stents are implanted annually worldwide. However, the most common complication called in-stent restenosis, re-narrowing of stented arteries, still poses a significant risk to patients.

To address the current lack of diagnostic technology to detect restenosis at its early stage, we are developing “smart” stents equipped with microscale sensors and wireless interface to enable continuous monitoring of restenosis through the implanted stent. This electrically active stent functions as a radio-frequency wireless pressure transducer to track local hemodynamic changes upon a re-narrowing condition. We have reported a new smart stent that has been engineered to fulfill clinical needs for the implant, including its applicability to current stenting procedure and tools, while offering self-sensing and wireless communication functions upon implantation.

The stent here has been designed to function not only as a typical mechanical scaffold but also as an electrical inductor or antenna. To construct the device, the custom-designed implantable capacitive pressure sensor chip, which we developed using medical-grade stainless steel, are laser-microwelded on the inductive antenna stent, or “stentenna”, made of the same alloy. This forms a resonant circuit with the stentenna, whose resonant frequency represents the local blood pressure applied to the device and can be wirelessly interrogated using an external antenna placed on the skin.

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Bisexual Men Face Greater Risk of Heart Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Billy A. Caceres, PhD, RN, AGPCNP-BC NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing New York, NY 10010

Dr. Caceres

Billy A. Caceres, PhD, RN, AGPCNP-BC
NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing
New York, NY 10010

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

Response: Although current evidence, primarily based on self-reported data, suggests gay and bisexual men report higher rates of cardiovascular risk factors (such as poor mental health and tobacco use) than heterosexual men, few studies have examined heart disease risk in this population. This study is one of the few studies to examine heart disease risk in gay and bisexual men using biological measures.

Using data from a nationally representative sample we identified higher rates of mental distress, obesity, hypertension, and diabetes among bisexual men compared to exclusively heterosexual men after adjusting for traditional risk factors (demographic characteristics, mental distress, and health behaviors). We also included men who identified as heterosexual but report a history of same-sex sexual behavior. Gay and heterosexual-identified men who have sex with men displayed similar risk profiles to exclusively heterosexual men.

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Individuals With Very High Levels of Lipoprotein(a) May Benefit Most From LDL(a)-Lowering Drugs

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Stephen Burgess PhD Programme Leader at the Medical Research Council Biostatistics Unit University of Cambridge

Dr. Burgess

Dr. Stephen Burgess PhD
Programme Leader at the Medical Research Council Biostatistics Unit
University of Cambridge

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

Response: Lipoprotein(a) is a lipoprotein subclass, and an important biomarker for coronary heart disease. As a clinical biomarker, it has a similar story to LDL-cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol), in that it is thought to be a causal risk factor for coronary heart disease, and so is a potential target for drug development. However, while drugs that lower LDL-cholesterol, such as statins, have been successful in reducing coronary heart disease risk, drugs that lower lipoprotein(a) have not as yet been successful. New drugs are currently in development that specifically target lipoprotein(a) and can lower lipoprotein(a) concentrations by 80-90%. We performed this study to investigate whether these drugs are likely to be successful in reducing coronary heart disease risk.

We compared individuals with naturally-occurring genetic variants that predispose them to a higher or lower lifetime concentration of lipoprotein(a) as a way of mimicking a randomized controlled trial. This approach has previously been undertaken for other biomarkers, including LDL-cholesterol. We found that having 10mg/dL lower genetically-predicted concentration of lipoprotein(a) was associated with a 5.8% reduction in coronary heart disease risk.

However, associations between genetically-predicted LDL-cholesterol and coronary heart disease risk are quantitatively much stronger than the proportional effect of LDL-cholesterol lowering on coronary heart disease risk as estimated by statin trials. This is because differences in genetic variants reflect lifelong changes in LDL-cholesterol, whereas statin trials only lower LDL-cholesterol for a few years. Hence, using the ratio between the genetic and trial estimates for LDL-cholesterol, we estimate that lowering lipoprotein(a) by 10mg/dL in a short-term clinical trial would only reduce coronary heart disease risk by 2.7%. To obtain the same reduction in coronary heart disease risk of around 20% as observed in statin trials, lipoprotein(a) would have to be lowered by around 100mg/dL. This explains why previous trials of less specific and less potent lipoprotein(a)-lowering drugs have failed to demonstrate benefit.

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Stress Echocardiography vs Coronary CT To Evaluate Chest Pain in ER

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jeffrey M. Levsky, M.D., Ph.D. Associate Professor, Department of Radiology Associate Professor, Department of Medicine (Cardiology) Albert Einstein College of Medicine Montefiore Medical Center 

Dr. Levsky

Jeffrey M. Levsky, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Radiology
Associate Professor, Department of Medicine (Cardiology)
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Montefiore Medical Center

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

Response: Millions of Americans are evaluated each year for acute chest pain in the Emergency Department.  There are multiple modalities that can be used to triage these patients and there have only been a few studies comparing different imaging methods.

We chose to study Stress Echocardiography and Coronary CT Angiography, two exams that have not been compared directly in this population.  We found that Stress Echocardiography was able to discharge a higher proportion of patients in a shorter amount of time as compared to Coronary CTA.  Continue reading

Fewer Re-infarctions With hs Troponin To Assess Heart Attacks

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Martin J Holzmann MD, PhD

Dr. Holzmann

Martin J Holzmann MD, PhD
Functional Area of Emergency Medicine
Department of Internal Medicine,
Solna, Karolinska Institutet
Stockholm, Sweden

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

Response: We wanted to investigate how the introduction of the new high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT) assay affected incidence of myocardial infarction (MI) use of coronary angiography, cardiac revascularizations, and prognosis in patients with myocardial infarction.

We found that the incidence of MI increased by approximately 5%, with no change in mortality, but with an 11% reduced risk of reinfarctions, and a small increase in coronary angiographies, and cardiac revascularizations by 16%, and 13%, respectively.  Continue reading

Red Meat Allergy Caused by Lone Star Tick Linked to Coronary Artery Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Lone Star Tick” by Katja Schulz is licensed under CC BY 2.0Jeffrey Wilson, MD, PhD

Research Fellow, Allergy & Immunology
University of Virginia 

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

Response: Galactose-α-1,3-galactose (α-Gal) represents an oligosaccharide that is present in mammalian products and is the causal allergen in a syndrome of delayed red meat allergy (commonly called α-Gal syndrome). Sensitization to this allergen has been linked to tick bites, specifically the lone star tick in the United States.

Thus, sensitization to α-Gal (and the prevalence of subjects with symptomatic red meat allergy) is relatively common where the lone star tick is common, i.e- the southeast.

For a variety of reasons we hypothesized that specific immune sensitization (which relates to IgE antibody production) to α-Gal would be a risk factor for coronary artery disease. To address this possibility we measured IgE specific to α-Gal in 118 adults subjects from central Virginia who had undergone advanced cardiac imaging with a technique called intravascular ultrasound. Out of the cohort 26% of the subjects in the study had the sensitivity to α-Gal.

The main finding was that subjects with the IgE sensitization to α-Gal had greater amounts of atherosclerosis, as well as atherosclerotic plaques with more unstable characteristics. This association was significant when controlled for traditional cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes and lipids levels.

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Tobacco Flavorings On Their Own May Cause Heart Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“fathers day” by James Simkins is licensed under CC BY 2.0Jessica L. Fetterman, PhD

Assistant Professor of Medicine
Boston University School of Medicine

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

Response: In our study, we studied endothelial cells, the cells that line the inside of the blood vessels. We collected endothelial cells from smokers both who use menthol and non-menthol cigarettes are impaired compared to non-smokers and we could make the non-smoker cells look like the endothelial cells of smokers by treating with menthol or eugenol (provides a clove spice-flavoring).

To test a wider variety of commonly used flavoring additives, we treated cultured (outside of the body in a dish) endothelial cells with some of the most commonly used flavoring additives in tobacco products and at different concentrations/doses. We then evaluated the effects of flavoring additives by looking at measures of cell death, oxidative stress, inflammation, and the ability of the cells to produce nitric oxide, a cardio-protective chemical made by endothelial cells that is lost when the cells become damaged.

We found that the flavoring additives used in tobacco products like e-cigarettes are toxic to the cells that line the blood vessels (endothelial cells). Our works suggests that the flavoring additives used in tobacco products may be harmful to the cardiovascular system.

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Children of Older Mothers More Susceptible to Heart Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sandra T. Davidge, PhD, FCAHS Executive Director, Women and Children's Health Research Institute Canada Research Chair in Maternal and Perinatal Cardiovascular Health Professor, Depts. of Ob/Gyn and Physiology University of Alberta Edmonton, Alberta Canada

Dr. Davidge

Sandra T. Davidge, PhD, FCAHS
Executive Director, Women and Children’s Health Research Institute
Canada Research Chair in Maternal and Perinatal Cardiovascular Health
Professor, Depts. of Ob/Gyn and Physiology
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada

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

Response: This research contributes to the growing body of literature that developmental programming of adult onset cardiovascular disease originates in the womb.

Our study is among the first to discover that maternal age may be considered a ‘prenatal stress’ in certain circumstances.

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