Tag Archives: Heart Disease

Technology: AI Offers Window On Heart Health

AI can pick up on subtle clues from a person’s physiological state such as their heart rate, the time differences between each heartbeat or the electrical signals their heart produces in order to identify irregularities that point to medical conditions.

“Being able to detect atrial fibrillation just by wearing a wristwatch all the time, that kind of relatively simple technology could actually have a massive impact,” explained consultant cardiologist Tim Fairbairn, cardiovascular imaging lead at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital in the UK.

Clinical: Yale Women’s Heart Health Program

The Women’s Heart and Vascular Program provides state-of-the-art cardiac care for women with heart disease, as well as expert screening of women at risk for heart disease.

Heart disease remains the number one killer of American women and there is a great need for specialized care directed at women’s cardiac needs. The Women’s Heart and Vascular Program is dedicated to screening, educating and treating women at risk for, or with established heart disease.

Under the direction of Lisa A. Freed, MD, FACC, the Women’s Heart and Vascular Program incorporates not only her expertise in cardiology, but also collaborates with experts in diabetes, menopause, nutrition, exercise physiology, and smoking cessation. In addition, Dr. Freed consults with experts in sleep apnea and mental health professionals for intervention with co-existing depression and anxiety.

The program also focuses on clinical research in collaboration with Yale’s Women’s Health Research Center in order to advance the care of women with heart disease. 

2021 HEART RESEARCH: TOP FINDINGS OF CARDIOLOGISTS

Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) was supported as superior to fractional flow reserve (FFR)–guided percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) for three-vessel coronary artery disease (CAD). PCI failed to meet noninferiority criteria at 1-year follow-up in a study comparing outcomes between FFR-guided PCI using contemporary stents and CABG. This adds to existing evidence showing superior outcomes with CABG in patients with the most-complex CAD.

The sodium–glucose transporter-2 (SGLT-2) inhibitor empagliflozin was found to be beneficial in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. Empagliflozin is the first medication shown to improve outcomes in this population. It’s unknown if this is a class effect of all SGLT-2 inhibitors, but this could be a game changer.

Poor-quality carbohydrates were linked to cardiovascular mortality, around the world. Consumption of higher-glycemic-index carbohydrates was associated with higher rates of cardiovascular disease and mortality in countries all around the world. These data are particularly important because lower-income countries often have diets high in refined carbohydrates, which may worsen cardiovascular disparities.

New guidelines for managing valvular heart disease were released. These new guidelines add or elevate several recommendations for transcatheter therapy, and they lower thresholds for intervention in some conditions.

The editors of Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes addressed racial-ethnic disparities. The editors affirmed that structural racism is a public health crisis and that the scientific publishing community can play a role in addressing it.

Tricuspid annuloplasty for moderate regurgitation during mitral-valve surgery was of unclear benefit. Annuloplasty was associated with less progression of moderate tricuspid regurgitation but more pacemakers at 2 years. Unfortunately, this mixed outcome does not clearly inform the decision on performing annuloplasty at the time of surgery, and longer-term follow-up is needed.

Immediate angiography was not beneficial in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest without ST elevation. Patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest who did not have ST elevation on their initial ECG did not benefit from immediate angiography. Although a potential coronary culprit was identified in about 40% of patients, neurologic injury was by far the most frequent cause of death, negating any benefit from coronary revascularization.

Many statin side effects are related to the “nocebo” effect. A creative study enrolled 60 people with statin intolerance and gave them 12 randomly ordered 1-month treatment periods: 4 periods of no medication, 4 of placebo, and 4 of statin. Symptom intensity did not differ between placebo and statin periods and, interestingly, some even had more symptoms on placebo. This demonstrates that some cases of “statin intolerance” may be related to the “nocebo” effect.

Shorter duration of dual antiplatelet therapy following PCI/stent placement was found to be acceptable in patients with high bleeding risk. A large, randomized trial found that 1 month of dual antiplatelet therapy provided similar clinical outcomes and a lower bleeding risk than 3-to-6-month regimens for this challenging patient subset.

De-escalation” of dual antiplatelet therapy for patients undergoing PCI for acute myocardial infarction (MI). This industry-funded study evaluated patients who had received 1 month of aspirin plus ticagrelor after acute MI and stent placement and “de-escalated” half to aspirin plus clopidogrel. At 1 year, there was significantly less bleeding in the de-escalation group and a nonsignificant trend toward fewer ischemic events as well.

Heart Health: What Is Cholesterol? (AHA Video)

There are two types of cholesterol: LDL cholesterol, which is bad, and HDL, which is good. Learn why too much cholesterol and elevated triglycerides can lead to heart disease and stroke. Make it a priority to have your cholesterol checked.

Health: Foods That Fight Inflammation (Harvard)

ATHEROSCLEROSIS: STRESS, LACK OF SLEEP & EXERCISE AND POOR DIET RAISE RISKS

Swirski acknowledged that “there is no question” that genetics play a role in cardiovascular health, but in the last several years, four risk factors — stress, sleep interruption or fragmentation, diet, and sedentary lifestyle — have been clearly identified as contributing to atherosclerosis, commonly referred to as hardening of the arteries, which can lead to a variety of complications, including death.

DR. C’S JOURNAL: WHAT IS VALVULAR HEART DISEASE?

I continue to be amazed by-and grateful for -the astounding collection of miracles that is the human body. Each element is durable if properly maintained and potentially provides us with a long and healthy life. The heart Valves are a part this wonderful orchestra, opening and closing about 2 billion times in a full lifetime.

It is possible to visually appreciate our heart and it’s valves, but millions of other microscopic-nanoscopic-little protein machines are also opening, closing, twisting and folding anonymously, allowing us to live and move.

Now is a particularly good time to talk about the heart valves because imaging devices are available to detect, and surgical techniques are at hand to treat, the common problems that develop in the course of optimally guiding our blood through the heart, into 2 separate circuits, the pulmonary, and the systemic. Life can be defined as an island of order in a sea of chaos. Energy is required to allow this island to fend off dissolution. The energy is used to continually maintain the integrity of our cells, the island in this metaphor, and keep entropy at bay.  Myriads of biochemical mechanisms direct this repair. Sleep, diet, and exercise aid in the mending.

We use our bodies in the daytime, and at night switch to a cleansing and repairing function, sleep.  Diet, and our resident microbiome, provide the materials for this restoration. Exercise helps utilize excessive nutrients, and directs our metabolism towards regeneration and repair.

Some valvular problems are present at birth because of defective development. Bicuspid aortic valves and mitral prolapse are examples. Hypertension places a strain on the entire system. Type two diabetes can cause inflammation and abnormal deposits in the valves. A variety of biochemical pathways active during the formation of the heart can go awry and fail to maintain the neatly layered deposits of collagen, proteoglycans and elastic tissue that forms the basis of the valves, and the endothelial cells that line them.

Tobacco smoke, which harms in so many other ways, can also damage the heart valves, as can infections, which sometimes grow on the heart valves themselves. Symptoms of heart valve disease include abnormal sounds that your doctor can hear, or the the presence of fatigue, shortness of breath, swelling of the ankles, and dizziness, which are common symptoms of cardiac malfunction. Unusual chest pains, particularly with mitral prolapse, and irregular heartbeat can also be present.

Replacement of some valves via a catheter inserted in an artery is one of the recent advances in treatment of Valvular heart disease.

Ultrasound is particularly useful in diagnosing valvular heart disease, but a whole cafeteria of diagnostic tests are available to doctors these days.
Please refer to the following Mayo clinic article for more information.

—Dr. C

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MEDICINE: TRANSCATHETER TREATMENTS FOR VALVULAR HEART DISEASE (JAMA VIDEO)

Transcatheter valvular repair and implantation has become increasingly common for treating patients diagnosed with valvular heart diseases.

0:00 This video summarizes the three transcatheter valvular therapies currently in use in the United States: transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI), transcatheter valve-in-valve procedures, and transcatheter edge-to-edge mitral valve repair.

0:47 Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVI) for patients with severe aortic stenosis regardless of surgical risk 2:47 Transcatheter valve-in-valve procedures for patients with bioprosthetic valve failure

3:35 Transcatheter mitral valve repair for high surgical risk degenerative mitral regurgitation and for severe functional mitral regurgitation regardless of surgical risk.

Read the complete review.

Tachycardia: Types, Causes & Symptoms (Mayo Clinic)

Tachycardia is the medical term for a heart rate over 100 beats per minute. There are many heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias) that can cause tachycardia.

Types of tachycardia

There are many different types of tachycardia. They’re grouped according to the part of the heart responsible for the fast heart rate and cause of the abnormally fast heartbeat. Common types of tachycardia include:

  • Atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is a rapid heart rate caused by chaotic, irregular electrical impulses in the upper chambers of the heart (atria). These signals result in rapid, uncoordinated, weak contractions of the atria.Atrial fibrillation may be temporary, but some episodes won’t end unless treated. Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of tachycardia.
  • Atrial flutter. In atrial flutter, the heart’s atria beat very fast but at a regular rate. The fast rate results in weak contractions of the atria. Atrial flutter is caused by irregular circuitry within the atria.Episodes of atrial flutter may go away themselves or may require treatment. People who have atrial flutter also often have atrial fibrillation at other times.
  • Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). Supraventricular tachycardia is an abnormally fast heartbeat that starts somewhere above the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles). It’s caused by abnormal circuitry in the heart that is usually present at birth and creates a loop of overlapping signals.
  • Ventricular tachycardia. Ventricular tachycardia is a rapid heart rate that starts with abnormal electrical signals in the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles). The rapid heart rate doesn’t allow the ventricles to fill and contract efficiently to pump enough blood to the body.Ventricular tachycardia episodes may be brief and last only a couple of seconds without causing harm. But episodes lasting more than a few seconds can become a life-threatening medical emergency.
  • Ventricular fibrillation. Ventricular fibrillation occurs when rapid, chaotic electrical impulses cause the lower heart chambers (ventricles) to quiver instead of pumping necessary blood to the body. This can be deadly if the heart isn’t restored to a normal rhythm within minutes with an electric shock to the heart (defibrillation).Ventricular fibrillation may occur during or after a heart attack. Most people who have ventricular fibrillation have an underlying heart disease or have experienced serious trauma, such as being struck by lightning.