TAVI: Belgian Researchers Slam Evidence Base And Overuse In Europe

The growing and enthusiastic adoption of transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) in Europe has no justification, according to three researchers who performed a health technology assessment for the Belgian government. In a paper published in BMJ, the authors from the Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre conclude that TAVI should only be used in patients “who are…

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USPSTF Maintains Recommendation Against ECG Screening Of Asymptomatic Low-Risk Adults

The  US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has reaffirmed its 2004 recommendation against ECG screening for asymptomatic adults who are already at low risk for coronary heart disease (CHD). The Task Force also concluded that there was insufficient evidence to assess the risks and benefits of ECG screening in asymptomatic people at intermediate- or high-risk for…

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Authors Retract Article About Websites That Sell Statins Without Prescriptions

An article in Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety about websites that advertise statins to consumers has been retracted by the authors after one company mentioned in the article disputed the authors’ assertion that the company sold statins to patients who did not have a prescription. The news was reported on Retraction Watch. Here’s the notice: The following article…

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FDA Approves Vascepa, A New Fish Oil Pill From Amarin

The FDA has approved a new prescription formulation of fish oils for the treatment of very high levels of triglycerides. The news was  first reported by The Street reporter Adam Feuerstein. The drug will be sold under the brand name Vascepa. According to the company, it will be indicated as an adjunct to diet to reduce triglyceride…

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ESC Position Paper Advocates Population-Based Strategies To Reduce Cardiovascular Deaths

About half of all cardiovascular deaths could be prevented by implementing population-level changes, according to a position paper from the European Society of Cardiology published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. Torben Jørgensen and colleagues maintain that population-level interventions are much more effective than current strategies that seek to reduce individual risk. Population-based strategies include taxation,…

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ROMICAT-II Provokes Opposing Views On CT Angiography In The Emergency Department

For patients with suspected acute coronary syndromes (ACS) CT angiography (CTA) compared to standard treatment can reduce the time in the emergency department (ED), according to results of the ROMICAT-II (Rule Out Myocardial Infarction/Ischemia Using Computer-Assisted Tomography) trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine. However, CTA resulted in more tests being performed and…

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St Jude CEO Spills The Beans On PFO Closure Trial

(Updated at bottom with statement from St. Jude Medical) Dan Starks, the CEO of St Jude Medical, stated during a quarterly earnings call last week that results of the RESPECT trial of PFO closure for crytpogenic stroke were “favorable” and that the full trial results will be presented in October at the TCT meeting in Miami. But his statement…

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Elevated Risk of Acute MI Following Total Hip And Knee Replacement Surgery

A large study reports a high increased risk for acute MI (AMI) in the first 6 weeks after total-hip replacement (THR) or total-knee replacement (TKR) surgery. Analyzing a nationwide cohort from Denmark that included 95,227 patients who underwent THR or TKR and matched controls, Arief Lalmohamed and colleagues calculated the adjusted hazard ratios (HR) for AMI. Their…

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Guest Post: The BMJ’s Amazing Shock and Awe Assault on Sport Drink Science

Guest Post: The BMJ's Amazing Shock and Awe Assault on Sport Drink Science

Editor’s Note: The following guest post by Yoni Freedhoff is reprinted with permission from his blog Weighty Matters. Dr. Freedhoff is an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa the and founder of Ottawa’s Bariatric Medical Institute. The BMJ‘s Amazing Shock and Awe Assault on Sport Drink Science by Yoni Freedhoff wow. Wow, WOw, WOW!…

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FDA Approves Another New Weight Loss Drug

The US FDA today approved a new weight loss drug that will be called Qsymia,the brand name for the combination of two previously approved drugs, phentermine and extended-release topiramate. The drug is manufactured by Vivus, Inc. In a press release, the FDA said Qsymia had been approved for use in obese adults (BMI of 30 or…

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Still The One: Cleveland Clinic Retains Top Spot On US News & World Report Heart Hospital Rankings

US News & World Report has published its annual “Best Hospitals” list. Once again, the Cleveland Clinic is the top hospital for heart and heart surgery. Massachusetts General was the top hospital overall, followed by Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, and the Cleveland Clinic. Here are the top 20 hospitals for heart and heart surgery:…

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Ticagrelor Joins Clopidogrel And Prasugrel In Updated NSTEMI Guidelines

Ticagrelor (Brilinta, AstraZeneca) gains equal standing with prasugrel (Effient, Lilly) and clopdiogrel in the newly released focused update of the ACCF/AHA guidelines for unstable angina and non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI). The change had been widely anticipated since last year’s FDA approval of ticagrelor. “We have put it on equal footing with two other antiplatelet medications,…

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New ICD Lead Technology Creates New Set of Problems: A Perspective From One Electrophysiologist

Lead illus 1

Editor’s Note: The following guest post is published with the permission of its author,  Edward J. Schloss, MD, (Twitter ID @EJSMD) the medical director of cardiac electrophysiology at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, OH. Why I Don’t Like DF-4: A Personal Perspective by Edward J Schloss MD  Since the first human implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) implant in 1980,…

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NY Times: FDA Officials Spied On Its Own Scientists

FDA officials developed “a wide-ranging surveillance operation” against a group of its own “dissident” scientists, according to a news report by Eric Lichtblau and Scott Shane in the New York Times. The surveillance program secretly recorded thousands of emails the scientists sent to each other as well as to members of congress, journalists, and, the…

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The Name Game: Why Did “TAVI” Suddenly Become “TAVR”?

One of the great, unexplained mysteries of the cardiology world in recent years is the sudden name change from TAVI  (transcatheter aortic valve implantation), which had been the universally-used name for the procedure during most of its development period, to TAVR  (transcatheter aortic valve replacement) about the time when the procedure edged closer to US approval. Now,…

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Drug-Eluting Stents Often Used In Patients At Low Risk Of Restenosis

The chief advantage of drug-eluting stents (DES) over bare-metal stents is that they significantly reduce the risk of restenosis. The chief disadvantages of DES are their greater cost and the requirement for prolonged dual antiplatelet therapy after DES implantation. In a study published in Archives of Internal Medicine,  Amit Amin and colleagues analyzed data from 1.5…

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Coca-Cola, The Olympic Torch, And The American College Of Cardiology

Zoghbi torch

William Zoghbi, the current president of the American College of Cardiology, today served as a torchbearer for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The ACC, naturally, was proud of the honor and tweeted the event. Zoghbi himself wrote about it on his ACC blog.  But I couldn’t help noticing one line in Zoghbi’s blog:  I…

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AHA And ADA Cautiously Endorse Non-Nutritive Sweeteners

In a newly released scientific statement the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association offer a cautious endorsement of the use of non-nutritive sweeteners in the diet. But the statement notes that the products are not “magic bullets” and that there is no strong evidence demonstrating beneficial effects of the products. Sugar in the…

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Get Ready For Munich: ESC Releases List Of Hot Line Sessions

Here is the list of Hot Line sessions scheduled for the European Society of Cardiology ESC) meeting in Munich:…

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Stem Cell Therapy Company Hypes Preliminary Results

Update (July 6)–  I have heard from several investigators in the trial that the Osiris press release was issued without any input or consultation from the site investigators. In fact, the site investigators, including several who are  extremely experienced clinical trialists, have expressed frustration and disappointment because their input has not been sought at any point…

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One Reader’s Negative View Of Mark Midei

A few months ago I posted a lengthy piece about Mark Midei, the interventional cardiologist from Maryland who had his medical license suspended last year following a lengthy scandal in which he became the poster-boy (or scapegoat, depending on whom you ask) for all that’s wrong with interventional cardiology in the US. Although I was highly critical…

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Many CHF Patients Not Receiving– Or Getting Benefits From– High Dose ACE Inhibitors And ARBs

Although current guidelines recommend that ACE inhibitors and angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs) be used in high doses in patients with congestive heart failure, many CHF patients currently receive lower than recommended doses of these drugs. In a research letter published online in Archives of Internal Medicine, investigators in Montreal analyzed data from 43,405 patients with a first…

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Severe Blood Conservation Appears Safe In Cardiac Surgery For Jehovah’s Witnesses

Severe blood conservation in conjunction with cardiac surgery is not associated with long-term adverse consequences, according to a new study published in Archives of Internal Medicine.  Investigators from the Cleveland Clinic and the NHLBI compared 322 patients who were Jehovan’s Witnesses with an equal number of matched controls. Due to their religious beliefs Witnesses…

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