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December 2008 Briefing - Cardiology

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Cardiology for December 2008. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal articles, as well as the FDA approvals and regulatory changes that are the most likely to affect clinical practice.

Managed Care Not Beneficial for Some Medicare Patients

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Among Medicare beneficiaries undergoing carotid endarterectomies, managed care plans do not have a positive impact on inappropriateness, referral patterns or outcomes, according to a report published in the November/December issue of the American Journal of Medical Quality.

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Common Gene Variants Linked to High Blood Pressure

TUESDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Common variants in a serine/threonine kinase gene -- STK39 -- which regulates the kidneys' excretion of salt, may be associated with an increased risk of hypertension, according to a study published online Dec. 29 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Increased Heart Failure Risk Following Heart Attack

TUESDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Newly diagnosed heart failure develops in approximately three-quarters of elderly patients within the first five years after their initial myocardial infarction, according to a report published in the Jan. 6 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Valve Prosthesis Mismatch Linked to Increased Mortality

TUESDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Mismatches between valve prostheses and patients may lead to increased late overall mortality and cardiovascular mortality, according to research published in the Jan. 6 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Kidney Disease Predicts Cardiovascular Mortality

MONDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Chronic kidney disease may be as important a risk factor for cardiovascular mortality as is diabetes mellitus or prior myocardial infarction in elderly patients, according to research published Dec. 15 in the American Journal of Cardiology.

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Drug-Eluting Stents Found to Have Benefits in Grafts

MONDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Compared with bare-metal stents, the use of paclitaxel-eluting stents in saphenous vein graft lesions is associated with less angiographic restenosis and target vessel failure, according to research published online Dec. 23 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Socioeconomic Status Predicts Post-Heart Attack Lifestyle

FRIDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Heart attack survivors with lower socioeconomic status are significantly less likely than those with higher socioeconomic status to make healthy lifestyle changes during the early convalescent period, according to study findings published in the Dec. 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

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Increasing HDL Level Linked to Lower Heart Disease Risk

FRIDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- In apparently healthy men, an increasing level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is associated with a significantly decreased risk of coronary heart disease, according to study findings published in the Dec. 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

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Pre-Hospital Delays Still Common for Heart Attack Patients

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 24 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with acute myocardial infarction, delay times in seeking medical care have not changed during the past 20 years, according to research published in the Dec. 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

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Fish Oil May Reduce Death from Cardiac Causes

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Fish oil supplementation is associated with a reduction in deaths from cardiac causes, but does not have an impact on arrhythmias or sudden cardiac death, according to a report published online Dec. 23 in BMJ.

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Sleep Duration Linked to Coronary Artery Calcification

TUESDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- In middle-aged adults, longer sleep duration is independently associated with a decreased risk of coronary artery calcification, according to the results of a study published in the Dec. 24/31 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Gene Variant Linked to Clopidogrel Susceptibility

TUESDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- In younger patients who have had a heart attack and are taking the anti-platelet drug Plavix (clopidogrel), a variant of a liver enzyme responsible for converting the drug to its active form is an independent predictor of cardiovascular events, according to research published online Dec. 22 in the New England Journal of Medicine and Dec. 23 in The Lancet.

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Elevated Body Mass Index Raises Heart Failure Risk in Men

TUESDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Overweight as well as obese men are at higher risk of heart failure than lean men, while vigorous exercise reduces this risk, according to a report published online Dec. 22 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Glycemic Control Goals in Diabetes Unchanged

MONDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with diabetes should continue to maintain glycemic control with a target hemoglobin A1C less than 7 percent despite the results of recent clinical trials, according to a position statement published online Dec. 17 in Diabetes Care.

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Thromboembolic Prophylaxis Practices Vary by Surgeon

MONDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Spinal surgeons vary widely in their practices for thromboembolic prophylaxis after high-risk surgery and often base their decisions on personal experience over scientific evidence, according to the results of a study published in the Dec. 15 issue of Spine.

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Blood Pressure Changes May Affect Thinking Ability

FRIDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Individuals with prehypertension or hypertension may have poorer cognitive performance at times when their blood pressure is higher than average, according to research published in the December issue of the Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences.

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Thyroid Hormone Receptors Regulate Angiogenesis

FRIDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Thyroid hormone receptors (TRs) are important for coronary angiogenesis, and normal vascular density can be restored after injury by chronic triiodothyronine (T3) treatment, according to a study published online Dec. 12 in Endocrinology.

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Benefits of Tighter Glucose Control in Diabetics Studied

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Tighter control of glucose levels in veterans with type 2 diabetes did not improve their rates of cardiovascular events, death or microvascular complications, according to the results of a study published online Dec. 17 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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No Benefit of Thrombolysis During Resuscitation

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Thrombolytic treatment with tenecteplase during cardiopulmonary resuscitation does not improve survival or other outcomes compared with placebo, researchers report in the Dec. 18 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Cardiovascular Death Rates Have Declined Since 1995

TUESDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Although death rates from cardiovascular disease have declined in the United States, the overall disease burden remains significant, according to a report from the American Heart Association Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee published online Dec. 15 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Get With the Guidelines Program Improves Stroke Care

TUESDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Participation in the Get With the Guidelines-Stroke program results in sustained improvements in the care of patients with acute stroke and transient ischemic attack, according to a study published online Dec. 15 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Psychological Distress Linked to Cardiovascular Risk

TUESDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Behavioral factors such as smoking and physical inactivity account for most the increased cardiovascular risk observed in patients with high levels of psychological distress, according to study findings published in the Dec. 16/23 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Women Cardiologists Have Made Strides in Past Decade

TUESDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- During the past 10 years, women have made progress in cardiology. Their numbers have nearly doubled, and they report high levels of career satisfaction, mentor interaction and access to flexible working hours. But gender discrimination remains a pervasive problem, according to a Survey Report published in the Dec. 16/23 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Cardiovascular Risk High in Patients with Liver Disease

MONDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Many patients with end-stage liver disease are at risk of developing coronary artery disease, researchers report in the December issue of Liver Transplantation.

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Living Arrangement May Impact Coronary Heart Disease Risk

MONDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Living in a multi-generational family increases the risk of coronary heart disease among Japanese women, likely due to increased stress from multiple family roles, according to data published online Dec. 15 in the journal Heart.

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High Resting Heart Rate Linked to Obesity and Diabetes

FRIDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- A resting heart rate of 80 beats per minute and higher is associated with an increased risk of developing obesity and diabetes two decades later, according to the results of a study published online Dec. 11 in the American Journal of Hypertension. In a related study in the Dec. 12 issue of Science, a mutation in a protein that breaks down triglycerides leads to lower serum triglycerides and fewer signs of atherosclerosis.

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Program Improves Venous Thromboembolism Prophylaxis

THURSDAY, Dec. 11 (HealthDay News) -- A risk assessment and prophylaxis regimens for venous thromboembolism (VTE) provided in patients' charts can improve appropriate prophylaxis for VTE, researchers report in the December issue of the Southern Medical Journal.

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Cardiovascular Risk Higher with Pulmonary Fibrosis

THURSDAY, Dec. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease both before and after diagnosis, researchers report in the Dec. 15 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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Thirty Genetic Loci Linked to Lipoprotein Levels

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 10 (HealthDay News) -- An additional 11 loci associated with variations in lipoprotein levels have been identified, bringing the total to 30, according to study findings published online Dec. 7 in Nature Genetics.

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Reperfusion Often Delayed in Women with Heart Attack

TUESDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Reperfusion is delayed among women with acute ST-elevation myocardial infarction compared with their male counterparts, and evidence-based treatments are underused in women, according to a report published online Dec. 8 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Drug-Eluting Stents Linked to Better Outcomes in Diabetics

MONDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with diabetes mellitus, the use of drug-eluting stents is associated with a significantly decreased risk of in-stent restenosis, target lesion revascularization and heart attacks during follow-up compared with the use of bare-metal stents, according to a report published in the Nov. 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

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At-Risk Patients May Benefit from Higher-Dose Aspirin

FRIDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- In patients diagnosed with atherosclerotic vascular disease, higher-dose aspirin may be more effective at reducing the risk of fatal atherothrombotic events than lower-dose aspirin, according to a report published in the Nov. 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

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Seasonal Variations Seen in Heart Attack Risk in Japan

FRIDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- In a Japanese city, the incidence of heart attacks and case fatality rates are significantly higher during the winter and spring than in other seasons, according to a study published in the Nov. 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

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Stem Cell Web Sites Often Overly Optimistic

FRIDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- "Direct-to-consumer" Web sites on stem cell treatments are overly optimistic and make claims that are not supported by the scientific and clinical literature, according to an article in the Dec. 4 issue of Cell Stem Cell. A related editorial describes new guidelines for the responsible transition of basic stem cell research into clinical applications.

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Drug Therapies Studied for Atherosclerosis

FRIDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Atherosclerosis was not dramatically improved by either the fibrate fenofibrate or a combination treatment with statins plus ezetimibe, according to two studies published online Dec. 3 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Beta Blockers Reduce Death in Patients with Arrhythmias

THURSDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment with β blockers in the first 24 hours after a heart attack reduces in-hospital death in patients with sustained ventricular arrhythmias, according to the results of a study published in the Dec. 1 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

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Passive Smoke Heart Burden Remains Substantial

THURSDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Although passive smoking has been steadily declining in the United States, it still accounts for many coronary heart disease deaths and heart attacks, and imposes substantial treatment costs, according to a study published in the January issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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Drug Combination Reduces Risk of Cardiovascular Events

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Combination therapy with the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor benazepril and the calcium-channel blocker amlodipine is superior to the treatment combination of benazepril and the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide in preventing cardiovascular events, according to an article published in the Dec. 4 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Rapid Response Teams Do Not Reduce Code Rates

TUESDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- The introduction of a rapid response team may reduce the rate of cardiopulmonary arrests outside of intensive care, but the hospital-wide mortality and code rates remain unchanged, researchers report in the Dec. 3 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Heavy Drinking Ups Women's Risk of Atrial Fibrillation

TUESDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Middle-aged women who consume two or more alcoholic drinks a day are at a slightly but statistically significant higher risk of atrial fibrillation than non-drinking women, according to research published in the Dec. 3 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Generic Drugs Equally Effective in Cardiovascular Disease

TUESDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- In the treatment of cardiovascular disease, evidence does not support the notion -- often expressed in journal editorials and the popular press -- that generic drugs are inferior to brand-name drugs, according to a report published in the Dec. 3 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Candesartan Investigated in Hypotensive Patients

TUESDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Among heart failure patients with low ejection fraction and low systolic blood pressure, treatment with candesartan is still efficacious, according to the results of a clinical study reported in the Dec. 9 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Cardiovascular Disease

TUESDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Vitamin D deficiency is associated with a higher frequency of cardiovascular disease, according to a study in the Dec. 1 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology. A related review in the Dec. 9 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology discusses the links between vitamin D deficiency, cardiovascular disease and insulin resistance.

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Guidelines for Sudden Cardiac Death Reviewed

TUESDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Most European cardiology societies and sports federations require electrocardiograms for pre-participation screening of athletes, but U.S. guidelines do not, according to two reports published in the Dec. 9 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Low Blood Pressure May Raise SIDS Risk in Preterm Infants

MONDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- An increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in preterm infants may be due to lowered blood pressure compared with term infants, according to data reported in the December issue of Pediatrics.

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Emergency Catheterization OK in Contrast Allergic Patients

MONDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with a history of contrast allergy can safely undergo emergency catheterization for ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction if pretreated, according to a report in the Dec. 1 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

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General and Local Anesthetic Both Good for Carotid Surgery

MONDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- The outcomes of carotid surgery are similar whether the patient is under local or general anesthesia, according to a report published online Nov. 27 in The Lancet.

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A Good Boss Can Cut Your Risk of Heart Disease

MONDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- A healthy work environment, with a good manager at the helm, can decrease the risk of ischemic heart disease among employees regardless of individual risk factors, according to the results of a Swedish study reported online Nov. 27 in the journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

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Physician's Briefing
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