New data on sudden death in young athletes published

Barry Maron and colleagues have now provided the most clear and comprehensive perspective yet available on the rate and cause of sudden death in young athletes in the US. Examining data from 1980-2006, the investigators found, in a report published online in Circulation, that cardiovascular disease accounted for 56% of all cases, with more than…

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PFO and migraine: the next chapter

A new study in JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions may revive interest in the idea of PFO closure for the treatment of migraines. This area has been highly controversial in recent years. Now a new study from Italy suggests that closure of large PFOs may in fact be beneficial in these patients. Peter Wilmshurst, who has been…

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Elderly in cardiogenic shock benefit from early PCI

Elderly patients in cardiogenic shock may benefit from early use of PCI, according to a new study in JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions. “Although mortality occurs in roughly half of patients in these high risk situations, without this aggressive treatment, the prospect of survival is very poor,” said David Clark, in an ACC press release. “A patient’s…

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Researchers identify first common genes variants that regulate blood pressure

Two gene variants that encode for natriuretic peptides are associated with significant differences in blood pressure, according to a new study published in Nature Genetics….

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SALT II: letter writers react to Alderman’s NY Times op-ed piece

Letter writers to the New York Times, responding to Michael Alderman’s op-ed critique of proposed low salt regulations, are ready to go biblical on Alderman and turn him into a pillar of salt. [See our previous coverage of this here.] Dr. Steven Havas notes that high sodium consumption causes at least 150,000 prematures deaths each…

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Stent wars: Abbott wins and Medtronic loses

A year after the launch of the second generation drug-eluting stents the clear winners and losers are emerging, according to a Dow Jones story by Jon Kamp. Medtronic’s Endeavor stent seems stuck with only a 10% market share, while Abbot’s Xience stent (also marketed by Boston Scientific) holds about half the market….

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Heartwire story provides most detailed account yet of prasugrel hearing

A story in Heartwire by Michael O’Riordan has provided the most detailed account yet of the issues surrounding the FDA’s prasugrel hearing. The story quotes FDA officials, panel members, and outside observers such as William Boden, who said the absence of Sanjay Kaul “raises some obvious red flags.” John Jenkins, the FDA director of the…

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FDA advisory committee to consider dronedarone in March

Following fast on the heels of the publication of the ATHENA trial in the NEJM, the FDA has announced that it will hold a hearing of the Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee on March 18 to consider “the proposed indication in patients with a history of, or current atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter, for…

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Judge who ruled in favor of Medtronic failed to disclose family link to company

The judge who ruled in Medtronic’s favor by dismissing a big lawsuit against the company didn’t disclose that his son is a partner in a law firm that has Medtronic as a client, according to a story by Thomas Burton in Friday’s Wall Street Journal. Applying the principle of preemption, which……

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Registry sheds light on Takotsubo cardiomyopathy

Stress-induced cardiomyopathy, otherwise known as Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, is now regarded as a genuine clinical entity. Data from a Rhode Island registry, published online in the American Journal of Cardiology, sheds light on its “characteristics, treatment strategies, and natural history”.  In a cohort of 70 patients, 95% were postmenopausal women. The authors observed a spike of…

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After FAME: New study offers clues to utility of FFR

The recent publication of FAME in the NEJM drew attention to FFR (fractional flow reserve) to guide PCI during angiography. Now, a new study published online in the American Journal of Cardiology may shed some light on its practical clinical utility. In a study of 142 patients with intermediate LMCA stenosis, the researchers concluded that…

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FDA provides “explanation” for Sanjay Kaul’s absence

In response to a query from CardioBrief.Org about Sanjay Kaul’s absence from the prasugrel advisory committee meeting (click to see our initial story that first reported his absence and our subsequent editorial about some serious questions raised by the advisory committee meeting), an FDA spokesperson has provided an explanation for Kaul’s absence: “One thing I’d like…

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Contrast echo found useful in technically difficult cases

The precise role of contrast echocardiography in clinical practice has been difficult to determine. Now a new study in JACC from Methodist Hospital in Houston, TX, has found that CE can dramatically reduce the percentage of uninterpretable studies and technically difficult studies in a series of 632 patients….

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ATHENA published in NEJM: dronedarone benefits AF patients

The ATHENA trial, originally presented last May at the Heart Rhythm Society meeting, has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The trial found that “dronedarone reduced the incidence of hospitalization due to cardiovascular events or death in patients with atrial fibrillation.” The ATHENA slide set is available on ClinicalTRialResults.Com….

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Prasugrel: now the real work starts

The spotlights have been turned elsewhere, but it’s only now that thereal work on prasugrel will take place. As a brief item in Inside Indiana Business notes, Lilly officials will now begin “a period of intense discussions” with the FDA over labeling of the drug. In an accompanying video interview, Lilly VP Tony Ware said…

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SPIRIT III trial published

The two-year followup of the SPIRIT III trial comparing an everolimus- and a paclitaxel-eluting stent has been published in Circulation. The slide set is available from ClinicalTrialResults.Com….

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List of ACC 2009 Late-Breakers published

The ACC has posted the schedule of Late-Breakers for the 2009 Scientific Sessions and i2 Summit. There are 6 ACC and 3 i2 Late-Breaker sessions, and on Monday morning you’ll have to choose between two simultaneous sessions. You can search or browse using the online planner by starting at this link. Or you can download…

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David Sabiston Jr, pioneering surgeon, dead at 84

David Sabiston Jr, who performed an early version of coronary bypass surgery in 1962 while at Johns Hopkins, died last month. Sabiston’s early work helped pave the way for the ascension of CABG as a mainstay of modern medicine. Sabiston went on to become the head of Duke’s department of surgery. Sabiston’s textbook is a…

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PCI for MI: Experienced hospitals and physicians are best

Practice makes perfect. A new study in JACC shows that high volume hospitals and high volume physicians do far better for their patients than their low-volume counterparts. The data is taken from the New YorkState PCI registry. “When rare but severe complications arise, a team experienced in its recognition and treatment may be the difference…

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Expensive urine: multivitamins have no effect on major endpoints

Women who take multivitamins have the same risk for cancer, cardiovascular disease, and death as women who don’t take vitamins, according to a new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine. “These results suggest that multivitamin use does not confer meaningful benefit or harm in relation to cancer or cardiovascular disease risk in postmenopausal women,”…

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Study finds lower risk of death for primary prevention use of statins

Patients who take statins for primary prevention have a lower risk of death, according to a large new observational study published in Archives of Internal Medicine. “The observed benefits from statins were greater than expected from randomized clinical trials, emphasizing the importance of promoting statin therapy and increasing its continuation over time for both primary…

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Mass General under scrutiny for high mortality rate in cath lab

The Boston Globe is reporting that Massachusetts General Hopsital and St Vincent Hospital in Worcester are being monitored by state officials for high death rates in 2007 in cardiac catheterization patients. At MGH, 43 or 1,543 patients died. In response, the hospitals claim the high rates are due to agressive treatment of exceptionally sick patients….

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Editorial: The Incompetence Of The FDA

As a journalist and editor who’s covered the cardiovascular arena for more than 25 years I’ve tried as much as possible to avoid taking positions on the major controvesies that have appeared over the years. I’m proud that during the “TPA wars” I remained on good terms with not only Eric Topol, Rob Califf and…

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5 new studies shed new light on the genetics of MI

Nature Genetics has published 5 new genome wide association studies that may help unravel the genetic tangle behind heart attacks….

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FDA approves 2 ablation catheters for AF

The FDA today approved the first ablation catheters for the treatment of atrial fibrillation. The devices approved today are the NaviStar ThermoCool saline irrigated radio-frequency ablation catheter and the EZ Steer ThermoCool Nav….

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