Stun guns: study raises questions about safety

Although promoted as a safe alternative to traditional firearms, a new study published online in the American Journal of Cardiology finds that the incidence of shooting-related deaths increased rather than decreased with the introduction of stun guns. You can also read a press release issued by the University of California, San Francisco….

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Drug-eluting stents: are they cost effective?

If you take into account the extra expenses associated with late stent thrombosis, drug-eluting stents are not very cost effective, according to a new analysis by a McGill University team in the American Journal of Cardiology….

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Pooled analysis shows ezetimibe enhances CRP reduction

We still don’t know for sure what the clinical effects of ezetimibe are, but a new pooled analysis in AJC by Pearson et al shows that adding ezetimibe to statins “ignificantly enhanced CRP reductions”….

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Pascal Goldschmidt can’t stop running

As if his marathon 16 hour workdays aren’t enough, Pascal Goldschmidt, dean of the University of Miami’s hypercompetitive medical school, runs real marathons, according to a feature story in the Miami Herald.  Each week Goldschmidt runs with a group of medical students and this Sunday they will run together in the Miami Marathon….

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Abbott’s Xience V claims bragging rights as top-selling stent

The economy may be in the dumps but today Abbott reported 10% growth in the last quarter. In addition to strong sales for its blockbuster Humira, company growth was fueled by rapidly growing sales of its Xience V drug-eluting stent. According to Abbott, the Xience V became the US market leader in the fourth quarter. The…

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How does the media report on cardiovascular genetics?

Last week Nature Genetics published– and we duly reported– an important study identifying a newly identified genetic mutation associated with cardiomyopathy that is widely prevalent in India. If you’re interested in the way important studies like this get translated in the media, you should take a look at a recent entry in the Knight Science…

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President Obama receives advice from Steve Nissen

He may or may not still be a candidate for the top FDA job, but Steve Nissen gives Obama his advice about how to fix the FDA in a commentary in Nature. Nissen’s proposals include an end to FDA secrecy, a fixed 6-year term for the commissioner, and a complete revision of the agency’s funding…

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Diastolic dysfunction associated with reduced exercise capacity

I’m not sure what’s new or surprising here, but a new report in JAMA (2009;301[3]:286-294) from a team at the Mayo carefully documents the association between diastolic dysfunction and reduced exercise capacity….

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Califf reportedly still in running for FDA commssioner

Duke’s Robert Califf’s is being interviewed for the FDA commissioner job, but the leading candidate is still Baltimore Commissioner of Health Joshua Sharfstein, according to an item on the In Vivo Blog. The blog doesn’t cite any sources, but says that Califf is the favorite of FDA insiders, while Sharfstein is the internal favorite in the…

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Gene variant found to increase risk of cardiomyopathy seven-fold in South Asians

A paper in Nature Genetics reports a seven-fold increase in cardiomyopathy in South Asians with a common 25 base pair deletion of the cardiac myosin binding protein C (MYBPC3). The variant occurs more frequently in southern and western India than in the north, and this distribution correlates with higher rates of heart failure in southern India,…

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ACC preannouncement season begins with small company’s press release

I’d never heard of targeted pulsed electromagnetic field (tPEMF(tm)), or that it might be beneficial in ischemic heart disease, until I ran across the press release below. I’m always wary of press releases like these, especially when they come from tiny precarious companies. Nevertheless, there’s something intriguing about this, but I urge you to exhibit extreme…

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FAME pubbed in NEJM: is FFR ready to step into the spotlight?

One of the most intriguing studies at last fall’s TCT was FAME, which tested the value of fractional flow reserve (FFR) versus conventional angiography for guiding PCI. Now the study has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, accompanied by an editorial written by Stephen Ellis. The use of FFR resulted in a…

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Newer antipsychotic agents also cause SCD

Newer antipsychotic agents like olanzapine, risperidone, and quetiapine are just as likely to cause sudden cardiac death as older agents such as haloperidol and thioridazine, according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. In an accompanying editorial, Sebastian Scheeweiss and Jerry Avorn argue that in “the absence of clearly established…

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More headaches for PFO closure devices

PFO closure devices have been having a tough time. First the trials for treatment of migraine ran into all sorts of trouble. (See below.) Now the first trial for prevention of stroke may be in similar hot water. Yesterday, NMT medical issued a press release with a very complicated update on the company’s CLOSURE I clinical…

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Senate investigation revealing new details in Avandia case, WSJ reports

Senator Grassley’s investigation into the Avandia case is turning up new, potentially embarrassing details about GSK’s internal responses to the controversy, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal.  In response to the forthcoming Nissen meta-analysis, a GSK consultant wrote: “The numbers are the numbers, the analysis is very similar to our own.” The WSJ…

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Exercise found beneficial in PAD patients

PAD patients benefit from treadmill exercise, according to a new study published in JAMA.  …

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Despite negative endpoints, researchers remain committed to lifestyle modifications

Despite two negative NHLBI-sponsored trials presented at the AHA last November, researchers remain convinced that lifestyle modification is worthwhile, according to  a feature news story in JAMA by Mike Mitka. Both FIT Heart and HF-ACTION failed to reach their primary endpoint, but the researchers, Lori Mosca of Columbia and Chris O’Connor of Duke, make a strong case…

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Medtronic acquires AF ablation company

Medtronic announced today that it had bought Ablation Frontiers, Inc. The company specializes in radiofrequency catheter ablation for AF. Medtronic appears to be committed to covering the AF field. Last fall it acquired Cryocath, which specialized in cryoablation treatments for AF. You can read the Medtronic press release or the Wall Street Journal story….

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After a year-long review FDA finds nothing new about vytorin

The FDA has finally completed its review of ENHANCE that it started in January 2008. It’s finding: there was no difference in clinical outcome between the vytorin-treated and the simvastatin-treated patients in clinical outcomes, though vytorin, as expected, had greater efficacy in lowering cholesterol. The FDA advises patients that, pending the results of IMPROVE-IT, “patients…

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Boston Scientific acquires company with biodegradable polymer DES technology

Boston Scientific has announced that it has bought Labcoat Limited, a private company developing advanced DES technology located in Ireland. You can read the press release by clicking below:…

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HIV-infected cardiothoracic surgeon

The CDC is reporting in MMWR about an Israeli cardiothoracic surgeon who was found to be infected with HIV in 2007. Although he practiced for more than 20 years and performed approximately 150 procedures each year, he does not appear to have transmitted the virus to any of his patients….

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45 years in the business (Bill Roberts part 2)

In addition to dissecting, like the good pathologist he is, the status of cardiovascular journals (see previous post in this blog),  Bill Roberts, AJC editor, looks back on 45 years in the cardiovascular arena. In 1963  he was a cardiology fellow under Braunwald at the NIH. Roberts writes: That was the year President John F. Kennedy…

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Too many cardiology journals! Bill Roberts, AJC editor, speaks out

William Roberts, the editor of The American Journal of Cardiology since shortly after William Harvey discovered the circulation of the blood, makes a bold statement in an online editor’s note (in press): “there are too many cardiovascular journals!”…

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Court dismisses complaint against Medtronic over Fidelis leads

A US District Court has dismissed a case against Medtronic over the Fidelis lead failures. The decision follows the significant precedent-setting Supreme Court decision last year in Riegel v Medtronic. You can read the Wall Street Journal story or the Medtronic press release by clicking below….

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Has COURAGE been vindicated?

The ACC, the AHA, and a whole alphabet soup worth of other cardiovascular organizations (SCAI, STS, AATS, ASNC, ASE, HFSA SCCT) have published (or in some cases just endorsed) a report, called the ACCF/SCAI/STS/AATS/AHA/ASNC 2009 Appropriateness Criteria for Coronary Revascularization. The report  will probably provide comfort to those who were big supporters of COURAGE. I’m guessing…

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