Category: Cardiology

Hot Topics: Cardiologists Weigh In On Nutrition Facts and Fads

Trending Cardiovascular Nutrition Controversies

Freeman AM, Morris PB, Barnard N, et al. Trending cardiovascular nutrition controversies. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2017;69(9):1172-1187.

The potential cardiovascular benefits of several trending foods and dietary patterns are still incompletely understood, and nutritional science continues to evolve. However, in the meantime, a number of controversial dietary patterns, foods, and nutrients have received significant media exposure and are mired by hype. This review addresses some of the more popular foods and dietary patterns that are promoted for cardiovascular health to provide clinicians with accurate information for patient discussions in the clinical setting.

Posted in Cardiology, Hot Topics in Research, Nutrition

Hot Topics: Women in Poverty More at Risk for Heart Attacks Than Men

Sex differences in the relationship between socioeconomic status and cardiovascular disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Backholer K, Peters SAE, Bots SH, Peeters A, Huxley RR, Woodward M. Sex differences in the relationship between socioeconomic status and cardiovascular disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 2016.

Background Low socioeconomic status (SES) is a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) but whether its effects are comparable in women and men is unknown.

Methods PubMed MEDLINE was systematically searched. Studies that reported sex-specific estimates, and associated variability, of the relative risk (RR) for coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke or CVD according to a marker of SES (education, occupation, income or area of residence), for women and men were included. RRs were combined with those derived from cohort studies using individual participant data. Data were pooled using random effects meta-analyses with inverse variance weighting. Estimates of the ratio of the RRs (RRR), comparing women with men, were computed.

Results Data from 116 cohorts, over 22 million individuals, and over 1 million CVD events, suggest that lower SES is associated with increased risk of CHD, stroke and CVD in women and men. For CHD, there was a significantly greater excess risk associated with lower educational attainment in women compared with men; comparing lowest with highest levels, the age-adjusted RRR was 1.24 (95% CI 1.09 to 1.41) and the multiple-adjusted RRR was 1.34 (1.09 to 1.63). For stroke, the age-adjusted RRR was 0.93 (0.72 to 1.18), and the multiple-adjusted was RRR 0.79 (0.53 to 1.19). Corresponding results for CVD were 1.18 (1.03 to 1.36), 1.23 (1.03 to 1.48), respectively. Similar results were observed for other markers of SES for all three outcomes.

Conclusions Reduction of socioeconomic inequalities in CHD and CVD outcomes might require different approaches for men and women.

Posted in Cardiology, Front Page, Hot Topics in Research

Hot Topics: Lifestyle Makes a Difference in Heart Disease

Genetic Risk, Adherence to a Healthy Lifestyle, and Coronary Disease

Khera AV, Emdin CA, Drake I, et al. Genetic risk, adherence to a healthy lifestyle, and coronary disease. N Engl J Med. 2016;375(24):2349-2358.

Both genetic and lifestyle factors contribute to individual-level risk of coronary artery disease. The extent to which increased genetic risk can be offset by a healthy lifestyle is unknown.

Using a polygenic score of DNA sequence polymorphisms, we quantified genetic risk for coronary artery disease in three prospective cohorts — 7814 participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study, 21,222 in the Women’s Genome Health Study (WGHS), and 22,389 in the Malmö Diet and Cancer Study (MDCS) — and in 4260 participants in the cross-sectional BioImage Study for whom genotype and covariate data were available. We also determined adherence to a healthy lifestyle among the participants using a scoring system consisting of four factors: no current smoking, no obesity, regular physical activity, and a healthy diet.

The relative risk of incident coronary events was 91% higher among participants at high genetic risk (top quintile of polygenic scores) than among those at low genetic risk (bottom quintile of polygenic scores) (hazard ratio, 1.91; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.75 to 2.09). A favorable lifestyle (defined as at least three of the four healthy lifestyle factors) was associated with a substantially lower risk of coronary events than an unfavorable lifestyle (defined as no or only one healthy lifestyle factor), regardless of the genetic risk category. Among participants at high genetic risk, a favorable lifestyle was associated with a 46% lower relative risk of coronary events than an unfavorable lifestyle (hazard ratio, 0.54; 95% CI, 0.47 to 0.63). This finding corresponded to a reduction in the standardized 10-year incidence of coronary events from 10.7% for an unfavorable lifestyle to 5.1% for a favorable lifestyle in ARIC, from 4.6% to 2.0% in WGHS, and from 8.2% to 5.3% in MDCS. In the BioImage Study, a favorable lifestyle was associated with significantly less coronary-artery calcification within each genetic risk category.

Across four studies involving 55,685 participants, genetic and lifestyle factors were independently associated with susceptibility to coronary artery disease. Among participants at high genetic risk, a favorable lifestyle was associated with a nearly 50% lower relative risk of coronary artery disease than was an unfavorable lifestyle. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others.)

Posted in Cardiology, Hot Topics in Research, Internal Medicine, January

Phenotype-Specific Treatment of Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction

Phenotype-Specific Treatment of Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction

Heart failure (HF) with preserved ejection fraction (EF; HFpEF) accounts for 50% of HF cases, and its prevalence relative to HF with reduced EF continues to rise. In contrast to HF with reduced EF, large trials testing neurohumoral inhibition in HFpEF failed to reach a positive outcome. This failure was recently attributed to distinct systemic and myocardial signaling in HFpEF and to diversity of HFpEF phenotypes. In this review, an HFpEF treatment strategy is proposed that addresses HFpEF-specific signaling and phenotypic diversity. In HFpEF, extracardiac comorbidities such as metabolic risk, arterial hypertension, and renal insufficiency drive left ventricular remodeling and dysfunction through systemic inflammation and coronary microvascular endothelial dysfunction. The latter affects left ventricular diastolic dysfunction through macrophage infiltration, resulting in interstitial fibrosis, and through altered paracrine signaling to cardiomyocytes, which become hypertrophied and stiff because of low nitric oxide and cyclic guanosine monophosphate. Systemic inflammation also affects other organs such as lungs, skeletal muscle, and kidneys, leading, respectively, to pulmonary hypertension, muscle weakness, and sodium retention. Individual steps of these signaling cascades can be targeted by specific interventions: metabolic risk by caloric restriction, systemic inflammation by statins, pulmonary hypertension by phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors, muscle weakness by exercise training, sodium retention by diuretics and monitoring devices, myocardial nitric oxide bioavailability by inorganic nitrate-nitrite, myocardial cyclic guanosine monophosphate content by neprilysin or phosphodiesterase 9 inhibition, and myocardial fibrosis by spironolactone. Because of phenotypic diversity in HFpEF, personalized therapeutic strategies are proposed, which are configured in a matrix with HFpEF presentations in the abscissa and HFpEF predispositions in the ordinate.


Sanjiv J. Shah, Dalane W. Kitzman, Barry A. Borlaug, Loek van Heerebeek, Michael R. Zile, David A. Kass and Walter J. Paulus

Posted in Cardiology, coronary artery disease, December, Hot Topics in Research

Long-term benefits and risks of frontline nilotinib vs imatinib for chronic myeloid leukemia in chronic phase: 5-year update of the randomized ENESTnd trial

Long-term benefits and risks of frontline nilotinib vs imatinib for chronic myeloid leukemia in chronic phase: 5-year update of the randomized ENESTnd trial

In the phase 3 Evaluating Nilotinib Efficacy and Safety in Clinical Trials–Newly Diagnosed Patients (ENESTnd) study, nilotinib resulted in earlier and higher response rates and a lower risk of progression to accelerated phase/blast crisis (AP/BC) than imatinib in patients with newly diagnosed chronic myeloid leukemia in chronic phase (CML-CP). Here, patients’ long-term outcomes in ENESTnd are evaluated after a minimum follow-up of 5 years. By 5 years, more than half of all patients in each nilotinib arm (300 mg twice daily, 54%; 400 mg twice daily, 52%) achieved a molecular response 4.5 (MR4.5; BCR-ABL ⩽0.0032% on the International Scale) compared with 31% of patients in the imatinib arm. A benefit of nilotinib was observed across all Sokal risk groups. Overall, safety results remained consistent with those from previous reports. Numerically more cardiovascular events (CVEs) occurred in patients receiving nilotinib vs imatinib, and elevations in blood cholesterol and glucose levels were also more frequent with nilotinib. In contrast to the high mortality rate associated with CML progression, few deaths in any arm were associated with CVEs, infections or pulmonary diseases. These long-term results support the positive benefit-risk profile of frontline nilotinib 300 mg twice daily in patients with CML-CP.

A Hochhaus, G Saglio, TP Hughes, RA Larson, D-W Kim, S Issaragrisil, PD le Coutre, G Etienne , PE Dorlhiac-Llacer, RE Clark, IW Flinn, H Nakamae, B Donohue, W Deng, D Dalal, HD Menssen and HM Kantarjian

Leukemia (2016) 30, 1044–1054; doi:10.1038/leu.2016.5

Posted in August, Blood, Hot Topics in Research, Oncology

Detyrosinated microtubules buckle and bear load in contracting cardiomyocytes

Detyrosinated microtubules buckle and bear load in contracting cardiomyocytes

The microtubule (MT) cytoskeleton can transmit mechanical signals and resist compression in contracting cardiomyocytes. How MTs perform these roles remains unclear because of difficulties in observing MTs during the rapid contractile cycle. Here, we used high spatial and temporal resolution imaging to characterize MT behavior in beating mouse myocytes. MTs deformed under contractile load into sinusoidal buckles, a behavior dependent on posttranslational “detyrosination” of α-tubulin. Detyrosinated MTs associated with desmin at force-generating sarcomeres. When detyrosination was reduced, MTs uncoupled from sarcomeres and buckled less during contraction, which allowed sarcomeres to shorten and stretch with less resistance. Conversely, increased detyrosination promoted MT buckling, stiffened the myocyte, and correlated with impaired function in cardiomyopathy. Thus, detyrosinated MTs represent tunable, compression-resistant elements that may impair cardiac function in disease.

Posted in Cardiology, Hot Topics in Research, June

Dietary patterns and the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events in a global study of high-risk patients with stable coronary heart disease

Dietary patterns and the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events in a global study of high-risk patients with stable coronary heart disease

Objectives To determine whether dietary pattern assessed by a simple self-administered food frequency questionnaire is associated with major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) in high-risk patients with stable coronary artery disease.

Background A Mediterranean dietary pattern has been associated with lower cardiovascular (CV) mortality. It is less certain whether foods common in western diets are associated with CV risk.

Methods At baseline, 15 482 (97.8%) patients (mean age 67 ± 9 years) with stable coronary heart disease from 39 countries who participated in the Stabilisation of atherosclerotic plaque by initiation of darapladib therapy (STABILITY) trial completed a life style questionnaire which included questions on common foods. A Mediterranean diet score (MDS) was calculated for increasing consumption of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, fish, and alcohol, and for less meat, and a ‘Western diet score’ (WDS) for increasing consumption of refined grains, sweets and deserts, sugared drinks, and deep fried foods. A multi-variable Cox proportional hazards models assessed associations between MDS or WDS and MACE, defined as CV death, non-fatal myocardial infarction, or non-fatal stroke.

Results After a median follow-up of 3.7 years MACE occurred in 7.3% of 2885 subjects with an MDS ≥15, 10.5% of 4018 subjects with an MDS of 13–14, and 10.8% of 8579 subjects with an MDS ≤12. A one unit increase in MDS >12 was associated with lower MACE after adjusting for all covariates (+1 category HR 0.95, 95% CI 0.91, 0.98, P = 0.002). There was no association between WDS (adjusted model +1 category HR 0.99, 95% CI 0.97, 1.01) and MACE.

Conclusion Greater consumption of healthy foods may be more important for secondary prevention of coronary artery disease than avoidance of less healthy foods typical of Western diets.



Ralph A. H. Stewart1*, Lars Wallentin2, Jocelyne Benatar1, Nicolas Danchin3, Emil Hagstro¨m2, Claes Held2, Steen Husted4, Eva Lonn5, Amanda Stebbins6, Karen Chiswell6, Ola Vedin2, David Watson7, and Harvey D. White

Posted in Cardiology, coronary artery disease, Hot Topics in Research, May

Pioglitazone after Ischemic Stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack

Pioglitazone after Ischemic Stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack

BACKGROUND Patients with ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) are at increased risk for future cardiovascular events despite current preventive therapies. The identification of insulin resistance as a risk factor for stroke and myocardial infarction raised the possibility that pioglitazone, which improves insulin sensitivity, might benefit patients with cerebrovascular disease.

METHODS In this multicenter, double-blind trial, we randomly assigned 3876 patients who had had a recent ischemic stroke or TIA to receive either pioglitazone (target dose, 45 mg daily) or placebo. Eligible patients did not have diabetes but were found to have insulin resistance on the basis of a score of more than 3.0 on the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) index. The primary outcome was fatal or nonfatal stroke or myocardial infarction.

RESULTS By 4.8 years, a primary outcome had occurred in 175 of 1939 patients (9.0%) in the pioglitazone group and in 228 of 1937 (11.8%) in the placebo group (hazard ratio in the pioglitazone group, 0.76; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.62 to 0.93; P=0.007). Diabetes developed in 73 patients (3.8%) and 149 patients (7.7%), respectively (hazard ratio, 0.48; 95% CI, 0.33 to 0.69; P<0.001). There was no significant between-group difference in all-cause mortality (hazard ratio, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.73 to 1.17; P=0.52). Pioglitazone was associated with a greater frequency of weight gain exceeding 4.5 kg than was placebo (52.2% vs. 33.7%, P<0.001), edema (35.6% vs. 24.9%, P<0.001), and bone fracture requiring surgery or hospitalization (5.1% vs. 3.2%, P=0.003).

CONCLUSIONS In this trial involving patients without diabetes who had insulin resistance along with a recent history of ischemic stroke or TIA, the risk of stroke or myocardial infarction was lower among patients who received pioglitazone than among those who received placebo. Pioglitazone was also associated with a lower risk of diabetes but with higher risks of weight gain, edema, and fracture. (Funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; number, NCT00091949.)


W.N. Kernan, C.M. Viscoli, K.L. Furie, L.H. Young, S.E. Inzucchi, M. Gorman, P.D. Guarino, A.M. Lovejoy, P.N. Peduzzi, R. Conwit, L.M. Brass,* G.G. Schwartz, H.P. Adams, Jr., L. Berger, A. Carolei, W. Clark, B. Coull, G.A. Ford, D. Kleindorfer, J.R. O’Leary, M.W. Parsons, P. Ringleb, S. Sen, J.D. Spence, D. Tanne, D. Wang, and T.R. Winder


N Engl J Med 2016;374:1321-31. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1506930 Copyright © 2016 Massachusetts Medical Society

Posted in Cardiology, Hot Topics in Research, May

Low-Dose Acetylsalicylic Acid Treatment and Impact on Short-Term Mortality in Staphylococcus aureus Bloodstream Infection: A Propensity Score–Matched Cohort Study

Low-Dose Acetylsalicylic Acid Treatment and Impact on Short-Term Mortality in Staphylococcus aureus Bloodstream Infection: A Propensity Score–Matched Cohort Study


Objectives: Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infection is associated with considerable mortality. Experimental models suggest a direct antistaphylococcal effect of acetylsalicylic acid, but evidence from human studies is scarce. We aimed to estimate the effect of low-dose acetylsalicylic acid therapy on mortality in bloodstream infections caused by S. aureus compared with Escherichia coli.

Design: Retrospective cohort study based on observational data from 838 and 602 episodes of S. aureus and E. coli bloodstream infection, respectively. Setting: Swiss tertiary referral center. Patients: Adult patients with S. aureus and E. coli bloodstream infection, respectively, categorized according to low-dose acetylsalicylic acid therapy as outpatient or inpatient before bacteremia.

Interventions: None.

Measurements and Main Results: Thirty-day all-cause mortality was analyzed in a total of 314 propensity score-matched S. aureus bloodstream infection and in 268 E. coli bloodstream infection patients, respectively (1:1 match of low-dose acetylsalicylic acid users and nonusers). S. aureus bloodstream infection cases and controls were equally matched for relevant confounders except treatment with statins, which was strongly associated with a low-dose acetylsalicylic acid use (p < 0.001). At day 30, 12.1% of cases and 27.4% of controls had died (hazard ratio, 0.40; p < 0.001). Low-dose acetylsalicylic acid use was associated with a reduced 30-day all-cause mortality in multivariate analysis (hazard ratio, 0.38; 95% CI, 0.21-0.69; p = 0.001) of matched patients and also of the entire cohort (n = 689) after adjustment for the propensity score (hazard ratio, 0.58, 95% CI, 0.34-0.98; p = 0.04). In contrast, low-dose acetylsalicylic acid use was not associated with the primary endpoint in patients with E. coli bloodstream infection (hazard ratio, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.40-1.55; p = 0.8).

Conclusions: Low-dose acetylsalicylic acid at the time of bloodstream infection was strongly associated with a reduced short-term mortality in patients with S. aureus bloodstream infection. Future studies are required to investigate if early low-dose acetylsalicylic acid is a suitable treatment in patients with S. aureus bloodstream infection.

Osthoff, Michael MD; Sidler, Jan A. MD; Lakatos, Botond MD; Frei, Reno MD; Dangel, Marc MPH; Weisser, Maja MD; Battegay, Manuel MD; Widmer, Andreas F. MD, MS

Copyright (C) by 2016 by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Posted in April, Cardiology, Hot Topics in Research Tagged with: , ,

Antithrombotic Therapy for VTE Disease: CHEST Guideline and Expert Panel Report

Antithrombotic Therapy for VTE Disease: CHEST Guideline and Expert Panel Report

BACKGROUND: We update recommendations on 12 topics that were in the 9th edition of these guidelines, and address 3 new topics.

METHODS: We generate strong (Grade 1) and weak (Grade 2) recommendations based on high- (Grade A), moderate- (Grade B), and low- (Grade C) quality evidence.

RESULTS: For VTE and no cancer, as long-term anticoagulant therapy, we suggest dabigatran (Grade 2B), rivaroxaban (Grade 2B), apixaban (Grade 2B), or edoxaban (Grade 2B) over vitamin K antagonist (VKA) therapy, and suggest VKA therapy over low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH; Grade 2C). For VTE and cancer, we suggest LMWH over VKA (Grade 2B), dabigatran (Grade 2C), rivaroxaban (Grade 2C), apixaban (Grade 2C), or edoxaban (Grade 2C). We have not changed recommendations for who should stop anticoagulation at 3 months or receive extended therapy. For VTE treated with anticoagulants, we recommend against an inferior vena cava filter (Grade 1B). For DVT, we suggest not using compression stockings routinely to prevent PTS (Grade 2B). For subsegmental pulmonary embolism and no proximal DVT, we suggest clinical surveillance over anticoagulation with a low risk of recurrent VTE (Grade 2C), and anticoagulation over clinical surveillance with a high risk (Grade 2C). We suggest thrombolytic therapy for pulmonary embolism with hypotension (Grade 2B), and systemic therapy over catheter-directed thrombolysis (Grade 2C). For recurrent VTE on a non-LMWH anticoagulant, we suggest LMWH (Grade 2C); for recurrent VTE on LMWH, we suggest increasing the LMWH dose (Grade 2C).

CONCLUSIONS: Of 54 recommendations included in the 30 statements, 20 were strong and none was based on high-quality evidence, highlighting the need for further research.


CHEST 2016; 149(2):315-352

Clive Kearon, MD, PhD; Elie A. Akl, MD, MPH, PhD; Joseph Ornelas, PhD; Allen Blaivas, DO, FCCP; David Jimenez, MD, PhD, FCCP; Henri Bounameaux, MD; Menno Huisman, MD, PhD; Christopher S. King, MD, FCCP; Timothy A. Morris, MD, FCCP; Namita Sood, MD, FCCP; Scott M. Stevens, MD; Janine R. E. Vintch, MD, FCCP; Philip Wells, MD; Scott C. Woller, MD; and COL Lisa Moores, MD, FCCP

Posted in Blood, Hot Topics in Research, Lung, March, Research Commentary