Statin Nation ‘Census’ Highlights Major Disparities

–Women, minorities treated at significantly lower rates Anyone reading this is almost certainly aware of the enormous importance of statins in the current health scene. But until now they may have had a hard time to bring precise numbers and statistics to this all important story. Now data from a large federal survey confirm that…

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No Cognitive Benefit from Heart Drugs in HOPE-3

–Substudy finds mental function unimproved by BP, cholesterol treatments NEW ORLEANS — A large substudy of the HOPE-3 trial found no benefit relating to cognitive function in patients who took cholesterol or blood pressure-lowering drugs. In recent years cognitive decline and dementia have emerged as a concern equal if not even greater than cardiovascular disease…

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Long-Term Benefit in HF Patients Elusive for Novel Vasodilator

–Investigational drug ularitide had no effect on mortality or clinical outcomes NEW ORLEANS — Short term vasodilator treatment for acute heart failure in the hospital did not lead to long term clinical benefits in the largest and most rigorous trial in the field yet performed, researchers said. In the TRUE-AHF trial 2,157 patients with acute…

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Debate Ensues As USPSTF Finalizes Statin Primary Prevention Guideline

–Broad disagreement about how, when, and if to use statins. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has issued final recommendations regarding the use of statins for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in adults. The recommendations, first proposed last December, are broadly consistent with the 2013 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guidelines. But accompanying the…

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Novel Cholesterol Therapy Flops And Company Ends Development

–13 years after ApoA-1 Milano sparked excitement the novel HDL therapy appears to be dead. After 13 years and despite the efforts of 3 separate companies, the novel cholesterol therapy known as ApoA-1 Milano appears to be dead. On Monday afternoon the Medicines Company announced that it had discontinued development of the drug and would…

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Cardiac Devices Could Become a Big Problem For Califf And The FDA

–Approvals with no strong evidence of efficacy: What could go wrong?  The FDA has a big problem. It likes to approve new drugs and devices. Approvals look good politically and allow the FDA to boast each year about their large number of approvals. But when the FDA approves a drug or device that doesn’t work…

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Early Watchman Experience Reassuring, But Many Questions Remain

In the year and a half after its approval the Watchman left atrial appendage closure device was successfully implanted 95.6% of the time, or more than 3,600 times out of a total of 3,822 consecutive cases. The finding comes from procedural data collected by Boston Scientific and presented at TCT by Vivek Reddy (Mt. Sinai)…

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The Impact Of ABSORB II: Down The Slippery Slope

When it was approved earlier this year in July the Absorb (Abbott) bioresorbable stent provoked a fair amount of discussion about the “slippery slope of noninferiority.” Although the stent met the FDA criteria for approval, the available trial results went in the wrong direction and there was a particularly concerning warning sign of a higher…

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Pfizer Ends Development Of Its PCSK9 Inhibitor

–Immune issues and diminishing efficacy doomed the new drug. Pfizer announced on Tuesday that it was discontinuing development of bococizumab, its cholesterol-lowering PCSK9 inhibitor under development. “The totality of clinical information now available for bococizumab, taken together with the evolving treatment and market landscape for lipid-lowering agents, indicates that bococizumab is not likely to provide…

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Debaters At Interventional Cardiology Meeting Literally Put The Gloves On

The world’s premiere interventional cardiology meeting now features cardiologists wearing boxing shorts and gloves. The Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) meeting in Washington, DC kicked off  with a “Saturday Night Fights” theme for its debate session, and the participants– nearly all greying, eminent male interventional cardiologists– adopted the theme whole-heartedly. All lovey-dovey at the start of #TCT2016 fights pic.twitter.com/upGprIcxkQ…

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Impella No Better Than IABP in Cardiogenic Shock

–Underpowered IMPRESS trial shows no mortality benefit A rare randomized trial and a new meta-analysis both failed to find any evidence that Impella mechanical circulatory support devices are any better than intra-aortic balloon pumps (IABPs) for patients with cardiogenic shock. For many years, the intra-aortic balloon pump has been the standard device to increase circulation…

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Universal Child FH Screening Proposed

–Novel strategy would identify both children and adults at high risk for CV events. Doctors in the U.K. are proposing a novel strategy to identify very young children with familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). The strategy would also identify and help prevent events in the parents who also have FH. The new approach begins with a heel-stick…

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Calcium Levels and CV Risk: New Study Finds No Link

–But most agree dietary calcium is preferable to supplements A new review concludes that a high level of calcium intake, whether from food or supplements, is not linked to increased cardiovascular risk, as long as the total calcium intake remains below the tolerable upper level of intake (2,000-2,500 mg/day). The systematic review, published in Annals…

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Eliquis Nipping At The Heels of NOAC Market Leader Xarelto

–But the overall market for the new oral anticoagulants continues to expand. The new oral anticoagulant (NOAC) market is growing larger and is becoming increasingly competitive. The latest market data shows that apixaban (Eliquis, Pfizer and BristolMyers Squibb) is challenging the established leader in the field, rivaroxaban (Xarelto, Johnson & Johnson). According to recent data…

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Novel Cholesterol Drugs Move Forward In Clinical Trials

–New information about upcoming cholesterol drugs from the Medicines Company and Esperion Recently the makers of two novel cholesterol-lowering drugs in development provided important updates on their progress. On Tuesday, the Medicines Company announced positive top-line results for a trial of its unusual PCSK9 synthesis inhibitor scheduled to be presented in November. Last week Esperion…

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Caffeine Study Gives Heart Failure Patients Green Light To Drink Coffee

–A small but rigorous study found no arrhythmias caused by caffeine consumption. Many people with heart failure are advised to avoid coffee because of fears that caffeine might provoke an arrhythmia. Now a rare example of a randomized controlled trial in the field offers some assuring evidence that these patients can safely drink coffee. The…

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Calcium Supplements Linked To Increased Cardiovascular Risk

–But the observational study suggested an overall benefit for dietary calcium. A new observational study finds that calcium supplements may increase cardiovascular risk. By contrast, dietary calcium was linked to a protective effect. Many people– in particular, older women– take calcium supplements to prevent or treat osteoporosis, though the supporting evidence for this use is…

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FDA Reaffirms Safety And Efficacy Of Rivaroxaban

–FDA says no changes needed to the rivaroxaban label. Following a year of controversy and uncertainty relating to the anticoagulant drug rivaroxaban (Xarelto, Johnson & Johnson), the FDA has reaffirmed the drug’s safety and efficacy. Rivaroxaban is approved for stroke reduction in patients with atrial fibrillation. The indication is based on results of the ROCKET-AF…

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No, $75 Million Won’t Cure Heart Disease Or Reinvent Science

–Silicon Valley hype and hubris come to cardiology. We may be close to peak hype and hubris in cardiology. This week some of the smartest people on the planet said that $75 million can help find new ways to prevent heart disease AND, as if that’s not enough, completely reinvent the way we do science….

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LDL-Lowering Genetic Variants Linked to Diabetes Risk

–What can genetics tell us about diabetes incidence with cholesterol drugs? Editor’s note: The following guest post was contributed by Marilyn Mann, a well-known advocate for patients with familial hypercholesterolemia and a patient advisor to Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, several LDL-lowering genetic…

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Trump’s Risk For A Cardiac Event Is Seven Times Hilary Clinton’s Risk

Editor’s note: The following guest post is reprinted with permission from Dr. Anthony Pearson, a cardiologist who is the medical director of the Echocardiography Laboratory and Anticoagulation Clinic at St. Lukes Hospital, Chesterfield, Missouri. Dr. Pearson writes The Skeptical Cardiologist blog, where this post originally appeared. Donald Trump recently appeared on the Dr. Oz show and handed a letter to the…

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More Bleeding Linked To Rivaroxaban In Observational Study

–Compared to dabigatran, rivaroxaban was associated with more intracranial and other serious bleeds. A new observational study finds that patients who take rivaroxaban (Xarelto, Johnson & Johnson) may be more likely to have serious bleeding events than patients who take dabigatran (Pradaxa, Boehringer Ingelheim). In a paper published in JAMA Internal Medicine, David Graham and…

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Ticagrelor No Better Than Clopidogrel In Peripheral Artery Disease

AstraZeneca announces top-line results from EUCLID trial ahead of the AHA. Ticagrelor is no better than clopidogrel in patients who have peripheral artery disease, a large new study will show. On Tuesday morning AstraZeneca announced the top line results of the EUCLID (Examining Use of Ticagrelor in PAD) trial. The full results will be presented…

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More Blasts Of Concern Over ROCKET-AF

The controversy over the big Xarelto trial does not appear to be going away. A new investigation published in the BMJ raises more troubling questions about the ROCKET-AF trial, which compared the novel oral anticoagulant rivaroxaban (Xarelto, Johnson & Johnson) to warfarin in patients with atrial fibrillation. The controversy about the trial first unfolded last…

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NIH Funds Second Round Of Controversial Chelation Tria

–TACT2 will test chelation in heart attack patients with diabetes. The NIH has agreed to fund a second round of a highly controversial study testing the possible benefits of chelation therapy in heart attack patients with diabetes. The second Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT2), now recruiting patients at more than 100 clinical sites, is…

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