Can Patients With A Pacemaker or Defibrillator Get An MRI?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Robert Russo, MD, PhD, FACC The Scripps Research Institute The La Jolla Cardiovascular Research Institute

Dr. Robert Russo

Robert Russo, MD, PhD, FACC
The Scripps Research Institute
The La Jolla Cardiovascular Research Institute 

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

Response: For an estimated 2 million people in the United States and an additional 6 million people worldwide, the presence of a non-MRI-conditional pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is considered a contraindication to magnetic resonance imaging. This creates a dilemma for at least half of these patients, who are predicted to require an MRI scan during their lifetime after a cardiac device has been implanted. Safety concerns for patients with an implanted cardiac device undergoing MRI are related to the potential for magnetic field-induced cardiac lead heating resulting in myocardial thermal injury, and a detrimental change in pacing properties. As a result, patients with an implanted device have long been denied access to MRI, although it may have been the most appropriate diagnostic imaging modality for their clinical care. Despite the development of MRI-conditional cardiac devices, a strategy for mitigating risks for patients with non MRI-conditional devices and leads will remain an enduring problem for the foreseeable future due to an ever increasing demand for MRI and the large number of previously and currently implanted non-MRI-conditional devices.

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Long Telomeres May Be Good For Heart Disease, Bad For Cancer Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Philip C. Haycock, PhD MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit University of Bristol Bristol, England

Dr. Philip Haycock

Philip C. Haycock, PhD
MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit
University of Bristol
Bristol, England

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

Response: The direction and causal nature of the association of telomere length with risk of cancer and other diseases is uncertain. In a Mendelian randomization study of 83 non-communicable diseases, including 420,081 cases and 1,093,105 controls, we found that longer telomeres were associated with increased risk for several cancers but reduced risk for some other diseases, including cardiovascular diseases.

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Paracardial Fat Linked To Postmenopausal Coronary Artery Calcification

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Samar R. El Khoudary, Ph.D., M.P.H. Assistant professor Department of Epidemiology University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

Dr. El Khoudary,

Samar R. El Khoudary, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Assistant 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: Our study revealed a previously unknown, menopause-specific indicator of heart disease risk. For the first time, we’ve pinpointed the type of heart fat, linked it to a risk factor for heart disease and shown that menopausal status and estrogen levels are critical modifying factors of its associated risk in women.

My team evaluated clinical data, including blood samples and heart CT scans, on 478 women from Pittsburgh and Chicago enrolled in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN). The women were in varying stages of menopause, averaged 51 years old and were not on hormone replacement therapy.

In a previous study, we showed that a greater volume of paracardial fat, but not epicardial fat, after menopause is associated with a decline in the sex hormone estradiol—the most potent estrogen—in women. The higher volume of epicardial fat was tied to other risk factors, such as obesity.

In the new study, we built on those findings to discover that not only is a greater paracardial fat volume specific to menopause, but—in postmenopausal women and women with lower levels of estradiol—it’s also associated with a greater risk of coronary artery calcification, an early sign of heart disease that is measured with a heart CT scan.

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Cardioprotective Effect of Soy in Japanese May Be Mediated Through Equol

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Akira Sekikawa, Ph.D.</strong> Associate professor of epidemiology University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

Dr. Sekikawa

Akira Sekikawa, Ph.D.
Associate professor 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: We found that Japanese men who are able to produce equol—a substance made by some types of “good” gut bacteria when they metabolize isoflavones (micronutrients found in dietary soy)—have lower levels of a risk factor for heart disease than their counterparts who cannot produce it. All monkeys can produce equol, as can 50 to 70 percent of people in Asian countries. However, only 20 to 30 percent of people in Western countries can.

Scientists have known for some time that isoflavones protect against the buildup of plaque in arteries, known as atherosclerosis, in monkeys, and are associated with lower rates of heart disease in people in Asian countries. It was surprising when a large trial of isoflavones in the U.S. didn’t show the beneficial effects on atherosclerosis.

My colleagues and I recruited 272 Japanese men aged 40 to 49 and performed blood tests to find out if they were producing equol. After adjusting for other heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking and obesity as well as dietary intake of isoflavones, we found that the equol-producers had 90-percent lower odds of coronary artery calcification, a predictor of heart disease, than the equol non-producers.

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Testosterone Improves Anemia and Bone Strength, Worsens Coronary Plaque and Has No Effect on Memory

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ronald S. Swerdloff, MD Chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine and Director of a World Health Organization Collaborative Center in Reproduction a Mellon Foundation Center for Contraceptive Development and a NIH Contraceptive Clinical Trial Center Director of the Harbor-UCLA Reproductive Program LA BioMed Lead Researcher David Geffen School of Medicine UCLA Health

Dr. Ronald Swerdloff

Ronald S. Swerdloff, MD
Chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine and
Director of a World Health Organization Collaborative Center in Reproduction
a Mellon Foundation Center for Contraceptive Development and a
NIH Contraceptive Clinical Trial Center
Director of the Harbor-UCLA Reproductive Program
LA BioMed Lead Researcher
David Geffen School of Medicine
UCLA Health

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

Response: While we have long known that testosterone levels decrease as men age, very little was known about the effects of testosterone treatment in older men with low testosterone until last year.

Our team of researchers from LA BioMed and 12 other medical centers in the U.S., in partnership with the National Institute on Aging, conducted a coordinated group of seven trials known as The Testosterone Trials (TTrials). We studied the effects of testosterone treatment for one year as compared to placebo for men 65 and older with low testosterone. The TTrials are now the largest trials to examine the efficacy of testosterone treatment in men 65 and older whose testosterone levels are low due seemingly to age alone.

The first published research from the TTrials last year reported on some of the benefits to testosterone treatment. We have now published four additional studies in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and JAMA Internal Medicine that found additional benefits and one potential drawback.

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Factors That Expose Cardiologists To More Radiation During Procedures Outlined

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alessandro Sciahbasi, MD, PhD  Sandro Pertini Hospital Rome, Italy

Dr. Sciahbasi

Alessandro Sciahbasi, MD, PhD
Sandro Pertini Hospital
Rome, Italy

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

Response: Radiation exposure is an important issue for interventional cardiologists due to the deterministic and stochastic risks for operators, staff and patients. Consequently, it is important to know which are the determinants of operator radiation exposure during percutaneous coronary procedures in order to reduce radiation exposure. Despite different studies have already evaluated the radiation dose during percutaneous coronary procedures, most data were obtained using an indirect measure of the operator dose expressed in term of fluoroscopy time or dose area product (DAP) and only in a minority of studies dedicated operator dosimeters were used. The aim of our study was to evaluate operator radiation exposure during percutaneous coronary procedures with dedicated electronic dosimeters in a high volume center for transradial procedures.

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Tool Can Help Avoid Overtesting in Evaluation of Chest Pain

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

James E. Udelson, MD Chief, Division of Cardiology Director, Nuclear Cardiology Laboratory Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine

Dr. James Udelson

James E. Udelson, MD
Chief, Division of Cardiology
Director, Nuclear Cardiology Laboratory
Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine  

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: There are millions of stress tests done every year in the United States and many of them are normal,” said James Udelson, MD, Chief of the Division of Cardiology at Tufts Medical Center and the senior investigator on the study. “We thought that if we could predict the outcome of these tests by using information we already had from the patient before the test, we could potentially save the health care system money and save our patients time and worry.”   We were able to get a strong prediction of the possibility of having entirely normal testing and no clinical events such as a heart attack, by developing a risk prediction tool using ten clinical variables that are commonly available to a physician during an evaluation”

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Heart Disease Costs Expected To Top $1Trillion Per Year By 2035

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Olga Khavjou RTI International

Olga Khavjou

Olga Khavjou
RTI International

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

Response: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the United States and is one of the costliest chronic diseases. As the population ages, CVD costs are expected to increase substantially. To improve cardiovascular health and control health care costs, we must understand future prevalence and costs of CVD.

In 2015, 41.5% (more than 100 million people) of the U.S population was estimated to have some form of CVD. By 2035, the number of people with CVD is projected to increase to over 130 million people, representing a 30% increase in the number of people with CVD over the next 20 years. Between 2015 and 2035, real total direct medical costs of CVD are projected to more than double from $318 billion to $749 billion and real indirect costs (due to productivity losses) are projected to increase from $237 billion to $368 billion. Total costs (medical and indirect) are projected to more than double from $555 billion in 2015 to $1.1 trillion in 2035.

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Roles of Angiotensin Peptides and Recombinant Human ACE2 in Heart Failure

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Gavin Y Oudit, MD, PhD, FRCPC Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Alberta Clinician-Scientist, Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute Canada Research Chair in Heart Failure Division of Cardiology, 2C2 Walter Mackenzie Health Sciences Centre Edmonton, Alberta

Dr. Gavin Oudit

Gavin Y Oudit, MD, PhD, FRCPC
Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Alberta
Clinician-Scientist
Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute
Canada Research Chair in Heart Failure
Division of Cardiology
Edmonton, Alberta

Heart specialist Gavin Oudit and his research team discovered a molecule — angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2)—that works to restore balance to the pathways responsible for chronic and acute heart failure, including in hearts from patients with advanced heart failure who underwent heart transplants.

In developing the new drug, Oudit and his team discovered to an extent not seen before how the renin-angiotensin system (RAS), which regulates the body’s sodium balance, fluid volume, and blood pressure, is at play in both acute and chronic heart failure. In collaboration with Dr. Oudit, recombinant human ACE2 was made by Apeiron Biologics, purchased by GlaxoSmithKline, and has recently completed phase II clinical trial.

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New Blood Test May Screen For ATTR Cardiac Amyloidosis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Frederick L. Ruberg, MD Director, Cardiovascular Medicine Fellowship Training Program Director, Pilot Grants Program, Boston University Clinical and Translational Science Institute Director, Advanced Cardiac Imaging Program Section of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine Department of Radiology Boston Medical Center

Dr. Frederick Ruberg

Frederick L. Ruberg, MD
Director, Cardiovascular Medicine Fellowship Training Program
Director, Pilot Grants Program, Boston University Clinical and Translational Science Institute
Director, Advanced Cardiac Imaging Program
Section of Cardiovascular Medicine
Department of Medicine
Department of Radiology
Boston Medical Center 

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

Response: ATTR cardiac amyloidosis is an under-recognized cause of congestive heart failure in older adults that results from the deposition of misfolded TTR protein in the heart. One cause of ATTR cardiac amyloidosis is a genetic abnormality, inherited from an affected patient’s parent, that causes the protein TTR to misfold. The most common genetically inherited cause of ATTR amyloidosis in the US is called Val122Ile (V122I), named for the specific mutation in the TTR gene, that is seen in approximately 3.5% of US African Americans. ATTR cardiac amyloidosis was once an untreatable disease, but now new drugs are in different stages of clinical trial testing. Thus, recognition is important to get patients on the right treatments.

One of the principal reasons why the disease is under-recognized is that doctors don’t have proven and available diagnostic tests that can be applied in the outpatient clinic. This study demonstrated that a new point-of-care diagnostic test, using measurement of a blood protein called retinol binding protein 4 (RBP4) and other standard of care test information, can accurately diagnose ATTR cardiac amyloidosis. We demonstrated the validity of this test in two separate cohorts of patients with proven ATTR cardiac amyloidosis due to the Val122Ile mutation and control patients with heart failure but without amyloidosis.

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Anti-Cancer Agent May Have Simultaneous Regenerative Properties

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lawrence Lum, Ph.D. Associate Professor Virginia Murchison Linthicum Scholar in Medical Research UT Southwestern Medical Center

Dr. Lum

Lawrence Lum, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Virginia Murchison Linthicum Scholar in Medical Research
UT Southwestern Medical Center

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

Response: Scarring of the adult heart due to excessive fibrotic responses is common after a heart attack, or following radiation therapy for the treatment of certain cancers. We have identified an anti-cancer agent currently in clinical development called WNT-974 that decreases fibrotic responses and improves heart function following myocardial infarction in mice. This unexpected observation was the outcome of a study focused on identifying unwanted adult tissue toxicities associated with this class of chemicals.

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Therapeutic Hypothermia After In-Hospital Cardiac Arrest in Children

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Victoria Pemberton, RNC, MS, CCRC Program Officer Division of Cardiovascular Sciences National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, NIH Bethesda, Maryland

Victoria Pemberton

Victoria Pemberton, RNC, MS, CCRC
Program Officer
Division of Cardiovascular Sciences
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, NIH
Bethesda, Maryland

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

  • Previous studies have examined cardiac arrest when it occurs outside of the hospital in both children and adults, with current guidelines recommending hypothermia (body cooling) or normothermia (maintenance of normal body temperature) after such an arrest.   This trial addresses pediatric cardiac arrest in a hospital setting, for which no previous data existed. Because children who experience an in-hospital cardiac arrest differ significantly from children who arrest outside of the hospital, it is important to test these treatments in this population.
  • The trial found no significant differences in survival and neurobehavioral functioning a year after cardiac arrest between children assigned to the hypothermia arm and those assigned to normothermia.

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