Cardiovascular Disease

May 162012
 
Tattletales rain on private cardiologists' cash-grabbing parade

Did you know that about half of cardiologists’ $400,000+ average income comes from self-referring patients to undergo imaging studies on scanners owned in part or in whole by the physicians themselves? This type of arrangement violates the spirit but not the letter of the Stark Law, created in 1992 to address the inevitable economic and medical inequities that result when physicians are permitted [… read more]

May 132012
 
Chantix: no excess cardiovascular risk in new meta-analysis

(image: People’s Pharmacy) Sure to re-light controversy around Pfizer’s varenicline (Chantix): a new study concludes the smoking cessation drug likely carries no increased risk for cardiovascular events.  Judith Prochaska and Joan Hilton (University of California – San Francisco) report the results in the May 4 BMJ. Sonal Singh (Johns Hopkins) et al’s previous meta-analysis, reported in CMAJ [… read more]

May 032012
 
Epinephrine in field no help after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest?

(image: Hospira) Akihito Hagihara et al present suggestive data in the March 21 JAMA that giving epinephrine to people with out of hospital cardiac arrest increases their chances of making it to the hospital with a pulse, but not of making it home with decent brain function or functional status. In a prospective observational analysis [… read more]

Apr 022012
 

This post was featured on KevinMD.com; an excerpt follows. “Full code” is the universal default status for patients who haven’t chosen otherwise. Yet I suspect most physicians believe this policy is wrong. We feel in our hearts we’re doing harm when we perform CPR on poor souls whose bodies are trying to naturally end their [… read more]

Feb 222012
 
Restrictive blood transfusion was fine for high-CV-risk patients after hip fracture repair (RCT, NEJM)

There’s not much data to guide the transfusion of red blood cells. In 1999, there was the beautifully executed and practice-changing Transfusion Requirements in Critical Care (TRICC) trial, which showed that a restrictive transfusion strategy (hemoglobin trigger of 7 g/dL) in ICU patients resulted in a non-stat.significantly lower mortality (19% vs. 23%) compared to a [… read more]

Feb 142012
 

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and congestive heart failure (CHF) are common and together contribute enormously to the global burden of chronic disease. Although surely these conditions overlap and interact, surprisingly little study has been given to their interrelationship. Macchia et al prospectively evaluated and followed two cohorts of patients aged > 59, recruited from [… read more]

Jan 072012
 
Sleepy cops abound; you won't like them when they're angry (JAMA, NYT)

Did you ever wonder what that police officer is really doing while you wait forever in your car for him to write you your ticket? According to new research, it’s possible he’s taking a quick nap. And you’d best save your snarky comment when he brings you the citation: sleepy cops, it turns out, tend to be [… read more]

Jan 072012
 

One thing I thought I knew was that overweight and obesity cause coronary artery disease and make it worse. People with CAD who are obese should lose weight … right? Recent research shows it’s not that simple (although the answer is still “yes, probably”). Did you know about the “obesity paradox?” Or the “lean paradox,” [… read more]

Jan 012012
 
ACP advises against universal DVT/PE prophylaxis! "Quality" quagmire thickens (Guideline/Review, Ann Intern Med)

Daunted by the seeming impossibility of measuring and comparing hospitals on real outcomes (given our primitive state of data collection and heterogeneity in patient populations, among many other challenges), well-meaning bureaucrats and non-profiteering safety advocates like the Institute for Healthcare Improvement have created directives based on surrogate measures in an attempt to standardize and improve [… read more]

Jan 012012
 

This nice (and brief) review article on interpreting elevated troponin levels can be summed up by its quote from cardiologist Robert Jesse: “When troponin was a lousy assay it was a great test, but now that it’s becoming a great assay, it’s getting to be a lousy test.” Troponin abnormality is set at the 99th [… read more]

Jan 012012
 

The smoking cessation drug varenicline (Chantix) got a black-box warning in 2009 after the FDA received >500 reports of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and 32 completed suicides in the U.S. (This was out of several million prescriptions filled, though.) After that postmarketing surprise, the FDA sponsored 2 observational studies in Chantix users: one at the [… read more]

Jan 012012
 

Severe sepsis makes the heart irritable, probably due to all the evil humors and increased cardiac demand. Between 6-20% of patients with severe sepsis develop atrial fibrillation for the first time; that’s old news. What’s been unclear is what new-onset atrial fibrillation in severe sepsis means: is it an expected, yeah-so-what marker of critical illness, [… read more]

Dec 262011
 

See Update Below: the larger RELAX trial (enrolling patients with less severe pulmonary hypertension) did not show a benefit of sildenafil. Guazzi et al randomized 44 people with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction and associated pulmonary hypertension (confirmed by right heart catheterization) to receive the phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor sildenafil or placebo for one year, along with [… read more]

Dec 182011
 

Dumas et al prospectively observed 1145 consecutive victims of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest who survived to admission in France between 2000 and 2009. Among VT/VF patients, 65% got therapeutic hypothermia, while 60% of PEA/asystole patients did, with higher proportions receiving hypothermia later in the study period (86 and 73% respectively) . Most people in the PEA/asystole [… read more]