Whistleblower Lawsuit Filed Against 5 Cardiologists in Pennsylvania

The US government has joined a cardiologist in a whistleblower lawsuit against Hamot Medical Center  in western Pennsylvania  and a group of cardiologists with whom he once practiced, Ed Palattella reports in the Erie Times-News. Cardiologist Tullio Emanuele, who now practices in Kentucky, has accused five former colleagues, members of Medicor Associates Inc. and its affiliate, Flagship Cardiac,…

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Black Tea Found To Lower Blood Pressure

A new study published in Archives of Internal Medicine provides the best evidence yet that drinking black tea can lower blood pressure. Jonathan M. Hodgson and colleagues randomized 95 regular tea drinkers to either 3 cups per day of either black tea (containing 429 mg of polyphenols and 96 mg of caffeine) or placebo. At 3 and 6…

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St Jude Medical Statement on the Riata ICD Lead Summit

In response to the guest post summarizing the Riata ICD Lead Summit, St. Jude Medical sent the following statement to CardioBrief: We recognize that the phenomenon of externalized conductors presents a complex patient management scenario for physicians who may be able to visualize an anomaly, but it is important to remember that most leads with…

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Rita Redberg and Roger Blumenthal Clash Over Statins for Primary Prevention in the Wall Street Journal

The debate over whether statins should be used for primary prevention moved to the Wall Street Journal with opposing perspectives from cardiologists Roger Blumenthal and Rita Redberg. Blumenthal argues that “there is a mountain of high-quality scientific evidence” to support the use of statins in people without known heart disease but “demonstrated to be at high…

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Guest Post: Report from the Riata ICD Lead Summit

Second update: Click here to review the slides from the meeting (posted by the Minneapolis Heart Institute), Update: Click here to read a statement from St Jude Medical in response to this post. Editor’s Note: Edward J. Schloss (Twitter ID @EJSMD), the medical director of cardiac electrophysiology at the Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, OH, returned…

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CT Angiography Found Less Helpful in Patients With High Calcium Scores

Computed tomography angiography (CTA) has been proposed as a less invasive method to exclude obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD), but no consensus has been achieved about its clinical role in different patient subsets. Now a new report published in JACC from the CORE-64 (Coronary Artery Evaluation Using 64-Row Multidetector Computed Tomography Angiography) study shows that CTA may not…

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Guest Post: A critical analysis of ABC & Bill Weir’s “lifesaving test” story

Editor’s Note: The following guest post by Gary Schwitzer is reprinted with permission from his HealthNewsReview blog, an indispensable resource for tracking the best and worst of healthcare journalism. A critical analysis of ABC & Bill Weir’s “lifesaving test” story by Gary Schwitzer ABC News is in the midst of a major promotion of Dr. David…

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FAME II: Additional Thoughts About FFR in the Real World

Earlier today I reported the news that enrollment in the FAME II study had been stopped early by the DSMB. From the initial presentation of the first FAME trial several years ago, I’ve been fascinated by the potential of this technology, since it offers the tantalizing prospect of helping identify atherosclerotic lesions that actually will…

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New Enrollment in FAME II Halted After Interim Analysis Shows Benefits of FFR

Following a positive interim analysis showing that fractional flow-reserve-guided PCI was superior to optimal medical treatment, an independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) has recommended that patient enrollment in the ongoing FAME II trial  be stopped. The news was announced by the trial sponsor, St. Jude Medical. FAME II (Fractional Flow Reserve-Guided Percutaneous Coronary Intervention Plus Optimal…

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Cangrelor Proposed As Bridge To Surgery

As a potent and reversible platelet inhibitor, cangrelor has been proposed for use in a bridging strategy for patients scheduled for surgery who are currently taking clopidogrel or another thienopyridine. To test this strategy, the BRIDGE investigators randomized 210 ACS or stent patients awaiting CABG and taking a thienopyridine to receive either cangrelor or placebo…

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Resveratrol and Fraud

Last week a new case of scientific misconduct came to light. University of Connecticut resveratrol researcher Dipak Das was accused of serious scientific misconduct. (You can read my brief post about the case or, for all the gory details, you can follow the story on Retraction Watch.) In this post I’d like to make two fairly simple…

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The Safety of the Long Distance Runner

Long distance runners may be lonely but they are not at high risk for sudden cardiac arrest, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The RACER (Race Associated Cardiac Arrest Event Registry) investigators analyzed data from 10.9 million registered participants in marathons and half-marathons that took place in the US during the…

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ASSERT Sheds Light on the Role of Subclinical AF in Stroke

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine sheds some much-needed light on the precise role of subclinical atrial fibrillation (AF) in the prognosis and development of ischemic stroke. ASSERT (Asymptomatic Atrial Fibrillation and Stroke Evaluation in Pacemaker Patients and the Atrial Fibrillation Reduction Atrial Pacing Trial) followed 2580 patients with a newly implanted pacemaker or ICD…

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Director of UConn CV Research Center Accused of Scientific Misconduct

[See update at the end of the story] Following an extensive investigation, Depak Das, a professor in the Department of Surgery and director of the Cardiovascular Research Center at the University of Connecticut Health Center, has been accused of serious scientific misconduct. UConn has informed 11 scientific journals about the investigation. Das had numerous publications on resveratrol…

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Researchers Find Lower Sweet Spot for Potassium Levels in MI

Current guidelines for the treatment of acute MI recommend that serum potassium be maintained between 4.0 and 5.0 mEq/L, and some believe that the upper limit could be raised to 5.5, but evidence is based on small, outdated studies. Now a new study published in JAMA suggests that the ideal potassium range should be adjusted downward….

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Excess Risk of Cardiac Events Associated with Dabigatran

Compared with controls, dabigatran (Pradaxa) is associated with a higher risk of myocardial infarction (MI) or acute coronary syndrome, according to a new meta-analysis published online in Archives of Internal Medicine. Ken Uchino and Adrian Hernandez analyzed data from seven clinical trials comparing dabigatran with warfarin, enoxaparin, or placebo in 30,514 patients. The rate of…

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Statins Elevate Risk of Diabetes in Postmenopausal Women

Statins increase the risk of developing diabetes in postmenopausal women, according to a new study published in Archives of Internal Medicine. The study provides more evidence and details about the previously reported link between statins and the development of diabetes. Using data from more than 153,000 postmenopausal women who were participating in the Women’s Health…

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Researchers Report a New Placebo Effect: Manipulating Clinical Trials

Two Danish diabetes researchers claim that the pharmaceutical industry may be manipulating independent clinical research by controlling access to placebo drugs or devices. In a letter published in the Lancet, Mikkel Christensen and Filip K Knop write that “this could be a major way for the pharmaceutical industry to control scientific information about their drugs.” They cite…

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Diets Differ in Effect on Weight Gain and Fat and Lean Mass

A new study published in JAMA demonstrates the various effects of overeating of three diets that differed mainly in protein composition. George Bray and colleagues randomized 25 healthy volunteers to participate in an inpatient study to consume low, normal, or high protein diets which provided 40% more calories than required to maintain their normal weight. After…

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High STEMI Readmission Rate in US Linked to Shorter Hospital Stays

STEMI (ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction) patients in the US are more likely to be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days compared to patients outside the US, but this difference loses significance when length of stay (LOS) is taken into account, according to a new study published in JAMA.  Robb Cociol and colleagues analyzed data from 5,745 STEMI…

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Missing Data: The Elephant That’s Not in the Room (Guest Post)

Editor’s Note: The following guest post by Harlan Krumholz is reprinted with permission from CardioExchange, the cardiology social media website published by the New England Journal of Medicine. Missing Data: The Elephant That’s Not in the Room by Harlan M. Krumholz, MD, SM There is a problem so grave that it threatens the very validity of what we…

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Bariatric Surgery Cuts Cardiovascular Deaths and Events

Bariatric surgery results in significant reductions in cardiovascular deaths and events, according to a new study from Sweden published in JAMA. But one expert cautions that the results do not mean that obese patients without other weight-related complications should undergo surgery. Analyzing data from more than 4,000 obese patients enrolled in the ongoing Swedish Obese…

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Measuring In-Hospital Mortality Favors Hospitals with Short Stays

As a measure of performance and quality, in-hospital mortality systematically favors hospitals with shorter length of stay (LOS) times, according to a new study published in Annals of Internal Medicine. The finding may have important implications for quality improvement initiatives that use mortality as a performance measure. Elizabeth Drye and colleagues analyzed Medicare data from 3.5…

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2011 in Review: Rivaroxaban, Sapien, Mark Midei, Conflicts of Interest, and Much More

Here’s a completely personal review of the past year in cardiology. Please write a comment if you strongly agree, disagree, or think something is missing. Drug of the Year: Rivaroxaban (Xarelto)– Despite a highly negative review from FDA reviewers, rivaroxaban gained FDA approval for the coveted stroke prevention in AF indication. The drug was approved…

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J&J Submits NDA for ACS Indication for Rivaroxaban (Xarelto)

Based on the promising results of the recently published ATLAS ACS 2 TIMI 51 trial, Johnson & Johnson has submitted a supplemental new drug application to the FDA for the approval of rivaroxaban (Xarelto) to reduce the risk of thrombotic cardiovascular events in ACS patients. Following a succession of failed trials, ATLAS was the first…

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