AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Surgical Research / 30.10.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Stavros G. Drakos, MD, PhD, FACC Professor of Cardiology Univ. of Utah Healthcare & Medical School and the Salt Lake VA Medical Center. Dr. Drakos is Medical Director of the University's Cardiac Mechanical Support/Artificial Heart Program Co-Director Heart Failure & Transplant and Director of Research for the Division of Cardiology MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Heart transplantation and LVADs are first line therapies for advanced chronic heart failure. There were some earlier anecdotal observations and single center small studies from several programs in the US and overseas that left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) significantly reduce the strain on failing hearts and in some cases, using LVADs for limited periods of time has allowed hearts to “rest” and remodel their damaged structures. As a result of these repairs, described as “reverse remodeling,” heart function can improve to the point that the LVAD can be removed. The new study sought to broaden the reach of the research with a multicenter trial involving physicians and scientists at the University of Utah Health, the University of Louisville, University of Pennsylvania, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center, the Cleveland Clinic, and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Emory, Heart Disease, JAMA, Surgical Research / 21.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David H. Howard, PhD Professor, Health Policy and Management Rollins School of Public Health Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Application of the False Claims Act (FCA) to medically unnecessary care is controversial, both in the courts and in the Department of Justice. Although there haven’t been many FCA suits against hospitals and physicians for performing unnecessary percutaneous coronary interventions (PCIs), the suits that have occurred have been against some of the highest-volume hospitals and physicians. Some cardiologists have been sentenced to prison. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Surgical Research / 14.07.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mario Fl Gaudino MD Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery Weill Cornell Medicine  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The radial artery is currently used in less than 10% of CABG procedures in the US.  MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: The JAMA paper provides convincing evidence that the use of the radial artery rather than the saphenous vein to complement the internal thoracic artery for CABG is associated with improved long-term outcomes.  (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Heart Disease / 23.12.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. PJ Devereaux MD, PhD, FRCP(C) Director of the Division of Cardiology Scientific Leader Anesthesiology, Perioperative Medicine, and Surgical Research Group Population Health Research Institute McMaster University  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There is an ethical obligation to provide patients with an accurate estimation of the potential benefits of surgery and the potential risks, to facilitate informed decision making about the appropriateness of surgery.  There are two common approaches to risk estimation. First, physicians commonly use clinical risk indices.  Based upon a patient’s clinical history (e.g., history of prior heart attack or stroke) an estimate of perioperative risk is determined.  Research demonstrates that these clinical risk indices have suboptimal risk discrimination capabilities, and they will underestimate risk in many patients. The second approach that has commonly been used is to have patients undergo an expensive and time consuming non-invasive cardiac test (e.g., stress nuclear cardiac study).  Although these non-invasive cardiac tests can enhance risk estimation in some patients who will have a perioperative cardiac event, these tests more commonly exaggerate risk in patients who will not have a complication. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Surgical Research / 16.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Fausto Biancari, MD, PhD Professor University of Turku and University Oulu, Finland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Current data is scarce regarding the short- and midterm benefit of transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) compared to surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR) in low-risk patients with severe aortic valve stenosis. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: In this observational study on 2841 low-risk patients with aortic valve stenosis from the Finnish nationwide FinnValve registry, propensity score matching analysis showed similar 30-day and three-year survival after TAVR and SAVR. (more…)
Anesthesiology, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, NEJM, Surgical Research / 27.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Giovanni Landoni Intensive Care and Anesthesia Unit Associate professor Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Patients undergoing cardiac surgery are still at risk for perioperative complications. Studies to improve clinical outcomes this setting are important. Inhaled anesthetics have pharmacological properties which reduce myocardial infarction size by 50% in laboratory and animal studies and which might decrease postoperative mortality according to aggregated published randomized data. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Technology / 20.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Annapoorna Kini, MD Zena and Michael A Wiener Professor of Medicine Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory Mount Sinai Heart at Mount Sinai Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  
  • Expanding indication and use of Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) poses a unique problem of coronary access after valve implantation.
  • Troubleshooting tools and techniques have been published but are not available at the fingertips of the user at all the times.
  • We tried to address this unique problem with an innovative educational mobile application (app) called "TAVRcathAID".
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Duke, Heart Disease, JAMA / 05.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Taku Inohara MD, PhD Duke Clinical Research Institute, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina Department of Cardiology Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) has been increasingly used for treating patients with severe aortic stenosis. Owing to the advancement of TAVR technology, the mortality and heart failure (HF) readmission after TAVR is decreasing over time, but 4.3% experienced readmission due to HF and 23.7% died within 1 year after TAVR. Inhibition of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE-Is) or angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs) is known to improve clinical outcomes in patients with heart failure, but there remains unknown whether a RAS inhibitor is associated with a reduction in mortality and heart failure readmission after TAVR. Using the STS/ACC TVT Registry, a nationwide TAVR Registry in the US, we analyzed 15896 propensity-matched patients who underwent TAVR and found that receiving a prescription for a RAS inhibitor at discharge, compared with no prescription, was associated with a reduced risk for mortality ( 12.5% vs 14.9%) and HF readmission (12.0% vs 13.8%). (more…)
Author Interviews, Global Health, Heart Disease, JAMA, Pediatrics, Surgical Research / 17.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marcelo G. Cardarelli, MD Inova Children’s Hospita Fairfax, Falls Church, Virginia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Global Humanitarian Medical efforts consume a large amount of resources (nearly $38B in 2016) and donors (Countries, International organizations, WHO, Individuals) make the decisions as to where their funds should be allocated based on cost-effectiveness studies. Most resources go to prevent/treat infectious diseases, sanitation efforts and maternal/child care issues. An insignificant amount of resources is directed to satisfy the surgical needs of the populations in low and middle income countries (LMICs). The idea behind our project was to find out if it was cost-effective to perform a tertiary surgical specialty (pediatric cardiac surgery) in this context and the answer (at $171 per DALY averted) was an overwhelming yes! But most importantly, we believe, as many others do, that judging the cost/effectiveness of an intervention in order to decide resources allocation is valid for diseases that can be prevented, but not relevant when it comes to surgical problems that are not preventable. Instead, we propose the use of another measure of effectiveness, what we call "The Humanitarian Footprint". The Humanitarian Footprint represents the long term benefits, as measured by changes in the life expectancy, extra years of schooling and potential lifetime earnings of patients treated surgically during humanitarian interventions. To our surprise and based on the results, the effects on society of at least this particular surgical intervention were greater than we expected. We suspect this measure can be used in many other surgical humanitarian interventions as well.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Surgical Research / 27.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Amine Mazine, MD, MSc Associate Editor, BMC Surgery PGY-4 Cardiac Surgery PhD Candidate, Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering McEwen Center for Regenerative Medicine Surgeon-Scientist Training Program University of Toronto MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: We performed this study to compare two methods of replacing a diseased aortic valve in young and middle-aged adults: using an artificial mechanical valve (mechanical aortic valve replacement) versus using the patient’s own pulmonary valve (Ross procedure). The study was a meta-analysis of existing literature that included more than 3,500 adult patients. It found that those who underwent the Ross procedure were 46 per cent less likely to experience death from any cause than patients who underwent mechanical aortic valve replacement. Patients in the Ross group were also less likely to suffer from a stroke or major bleeding, and had better quality of life. Patients who underwent the Ross procedure were more likely to need late reoperation, but this did not negatively impact their survival. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, NEJM, Surgical Research / 27.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jean François Obadia Adult Cardiovascular Surgery and Transplantation Louis Pradel HospitalJean François Obadia MD PhD Adult Cardiovascular Surgery and Transplantation Louis Pradel Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? -By definition a secondary MR concerns a normal valve or sub normal valve inside a dilated heart with poor LV function in a population of Heart failure patients. It is perfectly established today that secondary MR is a predictor of poor clinical outcomes of thissevere population. -Therefore,it has been proposed to treat those regurgitation either by surgery (mainly the downsizing anuloplasty) or by percutaneous technique like the mitraclipwhich has been used more and more frequently recently. -However, a beneficial effect on hardclinical outcomes has never been provedandwe still don’t know if those regurgitations need to be corrected or not, We still don’t Know if the regurgitation is the cause, the consequence or just a marker of poor prognosis. -In this context according to the guidelines, there is a low level of evidence to support those treatments, and Europe and US Guidelines call for prospective randomized studies in this severe population.​ And this excatly what we have done with MITRA-FR (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Surgical Research / 04.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Edward L. Hannan, PhD, MS, MS, FACC Distinguished Professor and Associate Dean Emeritus University at Albany School of Public Health Rensselaer, NY 12144     MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We have done a lot of work on complete revascularization (CR) vs. incomplete revascularization (IR) already, and as a follow-up it seemed as if there may be different types of IR that are associated with even worse outcomes relative to CR and other IR. Incomplete revascularization is associated with worse outcomes if it involves multiple vessels, vessels with severe stenosis, or significant proximal left anterior descending artery vessel (PLAD) stenosis. (more…)
Abuse and Neglect, Circadian Rhythm, Heart Disease, Lancet, Surgical Research / 03.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof David Montaigne MD Faculté de Médecine de Lille H Warembourg Lille, France MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: It is well known for many decades that cardiovascular diseases exhibit a diurnal variation with for instance higher incidence of myocardial infarction in the early morning as opposed to the evening. Although studies on circadian gene knock-out and mutant mice argue for a biorhythm in myocardial ischemia-reperfusion tolerance, whether a biorhythm in the myocardial tolerance to ischemia, exists in humans was unclear because of conflicting reports in the context of myocardial infarction. We demonstrated for the first time in humans that the myocardial tolerance to ischemia-reperfusion is different along the day, in line with rodent experiments performed in the early 2010s. We demonstrated that this biorhythm is clinically meaningful and that it can be targeted as a cardioprotective strategy. In this topic, Rever-alpha is of specific interest. It belongs at the same time to circadian genes and nuclear receptor families: being a nuclear receptor, it is a feasible pharmacological target, conversely to other circadian genes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Surgical Research / 12.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Miguel Haime, MD VA Boston Healthcare System and Boston Medical Center Boston, MA Dr. Haime discusses an abstract about Somahlution DuraGraft during a rapid response session at the 2016 annual meeting of the European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery (EACTS; 1–5 October, Barcelona, Spain) MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery is the standard of care for multi-vessel coronary heart disease. During CABG, we use saphenous vein grafts as bypass conduits for surgical revascularization. Pathophysiological changes that occur in vein grafts during the surgical procedure can compromise the durability and patency of the graft and increase the risk of vein graft failure. At the European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery (EACTS) annual meeting, we presented results from a retrospective, non-randomized study conducted at VA Boston Healthcare System to evaluate the Real World Evidence of DuraGraft®, a vascular graft treatment designed to prevent vein graft failure after CABG. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Infections, Surgical Research / 14.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Josep Rodés-Cabau, MD Director, Catheterization and Interventional Laboratories Quebec Heart and Lung Institute Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Laval University Quebec City, Quebec, Canada MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Infectious endocarditis (IE) is one of the most serious complications after surgical prosthetic valve replacement. There are however scarce data regarding the incidence, predictive factors, treatment, and outcomes of IE post-TAVR. To date, the present study represents the largest series of IE post-TAVR, and the main findings can be summarized as follows: (1) the incidence of infective endocarditis (IE) post-TAVR is similar to that reported for IE after surgical prosthetic valve replacement; (2) among patients undergoing TAVR, younger age, male sex, a history of diabetes mellitus, and moderate-to-severe residual aortic regurgitation were associated with a higher risk of IE, (3) Enterococci species was the most frequently isolated pathogen, (4) IE post-TAVR was associated with a very high rate of in-hospital complications and mortality during index hospitalization and at follow-up. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, NEJM, Surgical Research / 15.03.2015

Barnaby C. Reeves, D.Phil. Professor of Health Services Research, Clinical Trials & Evaluation Unit School of Clinical Sciences, University of Bristol Bristol Royal Infirmary BristolMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Barnaby C. Reeves, D.Phil. Professor of Health Services Research, Clinical Trials & Evaluation Unit School of Clinical Sciences, University of Bristol Bristol Royal Infirmary Bristol Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: Variable decisions are made about when to transfuse patients after cardiac surgery. The circumstances of particular patients influence decisions about whether to give a transfusion. Transfusion is a life-saving intervention when a patient is experiencing life-threatening bleeding but most patients have only one or two units of red cells transfused. These transfusions are given at varying levels of anaemia. Some doctors prefer to give a transfusion after cardiac surgery when a patient is only mildly anaemic, believing that the transfusion will promote recovery, while other doctors prefer to wait to transfuse until a patient is substantially anaemic, believing that a transfusion may do more good than harm and is wasteful if it is not needed. Therefore, we carried out a randomized controlled trial comparing restrictive (transfuse when haemoglobin <7.5 g/dL) and liberal transfusion thresholds (transfuse when haemoglobin <9.0 g/dL).* Medical Research: What are the main findings? Response: We obtained written informed consent before surgery but only randomized participants after surgery, in intensive care, if their Hb dropped below 9 g/dL. (Hence, we recruited over 3,500 patients but randomized only 2007.) This design avoids ‘diluting’ any difference between groups by including participants who would not usually be ‘considered’ for transfusion. The primary outcome was the occurrence of one or more serious complications: heart attack, stroke, acute kidney injury, bowel infarction, infection; this included/involved 35.1% of the patients in the restrictive-threshold group and 33.0% of the patients in the liberal-threshold group. This slight difference – more in the restrictive group – was not statistically significant. We then compared the percentages of patients who died; these were 4.2% in the restrictive group and 2.6% in the liberal group. The difference in this secondary outcome was of borderline statistical significance. Frequencies of other secondary outcomes (infections, ischaemic events, days in critical care and hospital, pulmonary complications) were not different in the two groups. We also carried out some pre-specified sensitivity analyses for the primary outcome and all-cause mortality. The two most important ones aimed to avoid dilution of the difference between groups as a result of patients having transfusions or outcome events before randomization. Excluding patients who were transfused before randomization shifted the treatment effect to favour the liberal threshold more strongly, for both the primary outcome and mortality. Excluding patients who experienced an outcome event in the first 24 hours after randomization did not change the treatment effect for either outcome. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA / 01.10.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joanna Chikwe MD Associate Professor Department of Cardiovascular Surgery Mount Sinai Medical Center and Natalia N. Egorova, PhD Department of Health Evidence and Policy, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, New York Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Answer: This is one of the largest studies to date on the long-term outcomes of patients after aortic valve replacement. We found that bioprosthetic valves are as safe as mechanical valves in younger patients (age 50-69) - specifically, long-term death rates and stroke risk were very similar in patients who had either valve type. The main differences lay in the risk of other long-term complications: patients who had bioprosthetic valves were more likely to need repeat surgery in the long-term, whereas patients who had mechanical valves were more likely to experience a major bleeding event. (more…)
Annals Thoracic Surgery, Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Hospital Readmissions, Pharmacology / 02.05.2014

Michael H. Hall, MD North Shore-LIJ Health SystemMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael H. Hall, MD North Shore-LIJ Health System MedicalResearch: What are the key points of your research? Dr. Hall: Our study was designed to improve care transition from the hospital to home after coronary bypass surgery. The innovative program (Follow Your Heart), implemented at one of our system hospitals, involves sending cardiac surgery nurse practitioners (NPs) who cared for the patients in the hospital to the homes of discharged patients for at least two visits in the first two weeks after discharge. Their goal is to provide continuity of care for patients that they know from the hospital setting and to provide robust medication management, coordinate community services, and be a communications hub for hospital and community providers (primary care, cardiology, and community nurse home visit services). The  nurse practitioners interact with community resources to ensure understanding and satisfaction of the patients’ needs prior to hand-off to those resources after two weeks. Our  nurse practitioners utilize encrypted smart phones to provide reports to all appropriate providers and can even send pictures of incisions to the surgeon when necessary. (more…)