Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bradford Royal Infirmary 'heart vest' trial launched (UK)

Bradford Royal Infirmary 'heart vest' trial launched (UK)Heart attack victims could be diagnosed up to 12 hours earlier than usual if trials of a new device are successful, said a West Yorkshire hospitals trust. Bradford Royal Infirmary is believed to be the first in Europe to introduce the new cardiac vest which gives doctors an instant 360 degree view of the heart. The vest will be available to high risk patients in the hospital's A&E and medical admissions units from March. The trust hopes to widen the vest trial throughout the hospital in 2013. As part of the trial, patients believed to be suffering from a heart attack will be fitted with the new cardiac vest, which places 80 electrical sensors on to the patient's chest and back


HeartDeviceInfection.comHeartDeviceInfection.com was created to raise awareness of the risk of surgical site infection associated with cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs) and to offer information and resources for reducing that risk. The site was created by TYRX, a developer of implantable combination drug and device products focused on infection control. TYRX is the maker of the AIGISRx® Antibacterial Envelope

FDA adds warnings about memory loss and blood sugar to widely used class of cholesterol drugs (USA)

Federal health officials are adding new safety warnings about risks of memory loss and elevated blood sugar to statins, a widely prescribed group of cholesterol-lowering medications. The Food and Drug Administration announced several labeling changes to medicines like Lipitor, Crestor and Zocor. Labeling on all such drugs will warn of memory loss and confusion reported among certain patients taking statins. The problems were generally not serious and went away after patients stopped taking the drugs, according to the FDA. The updated labels will also mention elevated levels of blood sugar reported in some patients taking statins

Monday, February 27, 2012

Cardiology medical malpractice cases are on the rise (USA)

Cardiology medical malpractice cases are on the rise (USA)Cardiology patients who have received surgically implanted coronary artery stents on a possibly medically unnecessary basis have been contacting their local medical malpractice attorney in greater numbers than ever in the first three months of this year. Individual as well as class action medical malpractice lawsuits against individual physicians, hospitals, and health care corporations have proliferated after a 2010 audit of coronary artery stent insertions revealed that the procedures were considered to be unwarranted in at least 140 patients at one hospital alone. Medical malpractice falls under the category of personal injury law. Though an attorney who files a case against a health care professional may refer to himself as a "medical malpractice attorney", he is in fact licensed and recognized as a personal injury attorney

Injectable gel could repair damaged heart tissue (USA)

Researchers in the US have developed a new injectable hydrogel that could be an effective and safe treatment for tissue damage caused by heart attacks. Developed by a team at University of California, San Diego, the hydrogel is made up of cardiac connective tissue that is stripped of heart muscle cells through a cleansing process, freeze dried and milled into powder form before being liquefied. Once it hits body temperature, the liquid turns into a semi-solid, porous gel that encourages cells to repopulate areas of damaged cardiac tissue and to preserve heart function. The hydrogel forms a scaffold to repair the tissue and provides biochemical signals that prevent further deterioration in the surrounding tissues

CARG Newsletter - March 2012

The CARG Newsletter - March 2012 is now available online

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sudden cardiac death: Time of day link found in mice

Sudden cardiac death: Time of day link found in miceHow the time of day can increase the risk of dying from an irregular heartbeat has been identified by researchers. The risk of "sudden cardiac death" peaks in the morning and rises again in the evening. A study published in the journal Nature suggests that levels of a protein which controls the heart's rhythm fluctuate through the day. A body clock expert said the study was "beautiful". The inner workings of the body go through a daily routine known as a circadian rhythm, which keeps the body in sync with its surroundings. Jet lag is the result of the body getting out of sync. As the chemistry of the body changes throughout the day, this can impact on health. US researchers say they have identified, in mice, how the time can affect the risk of sudden cardiac death, which kills 100,000 people a year in the UK

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

CARG: Extraordinary General Meeting April 18, 2012

An Extraordinary General Meeting of the Coronary Artery Rehabilitation Group will be held on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 in the Conference Room, Shaw Centre, 122 Bowlt Crescent, Saskatoon, SK. The agenda for the meeting will be as follows:

Date: Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Place: Conference Room, Shaw Centre
Time: 9:30 AM
1. Call to Order
2. Adoption of Agenda
3. Approval of Minutes of the AGM held on November 09, 2011
4. Business Arising from the Minutes of 2011 AGM
5. Update on CARG operation since the November AGM
6. Volunteer recognition
7. Major donation to the RUH Foundation for "Every Heart Matters" Campaign supporting an upgrade of the Electrophysiology Lab
8. Revised Budget for 2011-2012 fiscal year
9. Old Business
10. New Business
11. Adjournment

Curt Weberbauer receives CARG Volunteer of the Year Award

Curt Weberbauer receives CARG Volunteer of the Year AwardCurt Weberbauer receiving Volunteer of the Year Award from Mohindar Sachdev, President of CARG, who writes: "Curt Weberbauer received the CARG Volunteer of the Year Award at the Annual General Meeting held on November 9, 2011. Curt helped CARG for two years in collecting fees and then he organized and supervised very ably the fee collection activity for five years. He also provided liaison between the CARG members and Board of Directors during those five years. His assistance is very much appreciated by CARG members and especially by the Board of Directors"

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Swimming lowers older adults' blood pressure

Swimming lowers older adults' blood pressureMany older adults like to take a dip a pool, and now a small study suggests it can be good for their blood pressure. Researchers found that among 43 older men and women, those who started swimming a few times a week lowered their systolic blood pressure - the "top" number in a blood pressure reading. On average, the swimmers started the study with a systolic blood pressure of 131 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Three months later, it was 122 mm Hg. Normal blood pressure is defined as an average reading no higher than 120/80 mm Hg. Readings of 140/90 or higher are considered high blood pressure, and anything in between is considered "pre-hypertension." Swimming is often promoted as a good way for older people to exercise, since it's easy on the joints and it's not likely to cause overheating. And many follow that advice: after walking, swimming is the second-most popular form of exercise among the older set. But there's been little research into the health benefits of swimming - though a number of studies have suggested that it's as safe for older adults as walking and bicycling, said Hirofumi Tanaka, senior researcher on the new study. Published in the American Journal of Cardiology, the research appears to be the first to demonstrate that swimming can improve older adults' blood vessel function and curb their blood pressure

Diet pop tied to heart attack, stroke risks: Study

Diet pop tied to heart attack, stroke risks: StudyDiet pop may benefit the waistline, but a new study suggests that people who drink it every day have a heightened risk of heart attack and stroke. The study, which followed almost 2,600 older adults for a decade, found that those who drank diet pop every day were 44 per cent more likely than non-drinkers to suffer a heart attack or stroke. The findings, reported in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, don't prove that the sugar-free drinks are actually to blame. There may be other things about diet-pop lovers that explain the connection, researchers say. "What we saw was an association," said lead researcher Hannah Gardener, of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. "These people may tend to have more unhealthy habits." She and her colleagues tried to account for that, Gardener told Reuters Health. Daily diet-pop drinkers did tend to be heavier and more often have heart risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes and unhealthy cholesterol levels. That all suggests that people who were trying to shed pounds or manage existing health problems often opted for a diet pop over the sugar-laden variety

Canadian Diabetes Association applauds government support for Albertans with diabetes

Canadian Diabetes Association applauds government support for Albertans with diabetesThe Canadian Diabetes Association applauds Alberta Health and Wellness for enhancing support for Albertans with diabetes using insulin following an announcement made by the Honourable Fred Horne, Minister of Alberta Health and Wellness. The changes include expanded Blue Cross coverage for diabetes supplies, such as blood glucose test strips, lancets, syringes, needles, cartridges and urine test strips for Albertans with diabetes using insulin. As of July 1, 2012, coverage will also be expanded for clients of the Alberta Monitoring for Health program, which is a program administered by the Canadian Diabetes Association. Coverage for diabetes supplies will also be extended to women with gestational diabetes - a condition that occurs during pregnancy. Previous Association research revealed that Alberta has among the highest out-of-pocket expenses for people with diabetes if they do not qualify for low-income supports

New Mobile Phone App to help save lives announced by San Jose Fire Department and El Camino (USA)

New Mobile Phone App to help save lives announced by San Jose Fire Department and El Camino Hospital A free CPR "citizen responder" mobile phone application will help save lives through a new partnership between the San Jose Fire Department and El Camino Hospital. The PulsePoint app enables members of the public to provide life-saving assistance to victims of sudden cardiac arrest, which causes nearly 1,000 deaths a day in the United States. San Jose is the nation's largest city to utilize PulsePoint's location-aware technology. The app is available for both the iPhone and Android smart phones. "The first few minutes after a sudden cardiac arrest are critical for saving lives, and this app will help citizens provide immediate assistance," said San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed. "Technology can help us build a safer, stronger and healthier community, and our partnership with El Camino Hospital to bring PulsePoint to San Jose is a wonderful example of this commitment at no cost to us." App users, who have indicated they are trained in CPR, can be notified if someone nearby is having a cardiac emergency and may require CPR. The app uses sophisticated location-based services to alert citizens in a public place of the need for CPR. The application also directs citizen rescuers to the exact location of the nearest publicly available automated external defibrillator (AED). The PulsePoint app will be made available to additional communities in Santa Clara County over the next year

Bone marrow stem cells give 'some' heart healing

Bone marrow stem cells give 'some' heart healingBone marrow stem cell therapy offers "moderate improvement" to heart attack patients, according to a large UK review of clinical trials. The analysis by the Cochrane Collaboration looked at 33 trials involving more than 1,700 patients. It said longer-term studies were needed to see if the experimental therapy affected life expectancy. The review comes a day after doctors reported the first case of using heart cells to heal heart attack damage. If a patient survives a heart attack, dead heart muscle is replaced with scar tissue - leaving the patient weaker and possibly on a lifetime of medicine. Researchers are beginning to show that taking cells from a heart, growing millions of new heart cells in the laboratory and pumping those back into the heart may reduce scar tissue and lead to new heart muscle. However, the trials are at a very early stage and in only a handful of patients. Using a similar technique with cells taken from the bone marrow, which is a prime source of stem cells, has a much longer pedigree. The report by Cochrane pooled the data from all 33 bone marrow trials which had taken place up to 2011. It concluded that bone marrow therapy "may lead to a moderate long-term improvement" in heart function which "might be clinically very important"

Monday, February 13, 2012

Track loved ones' surgery online (Canada)

Track loved ones' surgery online (Canada)Sitting in a hospital waiting room waiting for updates on your loved one's surgery can be stressful. Our new online tracking system, "OR Status," is the first in Ontario to help reduce anxiety by keeping families in the loop on a patient's surgical progress. The real-time updates can be viewed online on a computer or handheld device, allowing family and friends to track the progress of a patient from the comfort of their home or from any location where they have internet access. Debra Anger, who registers people for surgeries at Sunnybrook, is now providing each patient with a unique surgery booking number that they can share with whoever they like. Once a family has the booking number, they can view the operating room tracking board online at sunnybrook.ca/orstatus. Family and friends can see exactly when a patient enters and leaves the operating room, with the information automatically refreshed every minute. A staff member or volunteer still comes to the waiting room to provide family and friends with information, but the service provides another option for families, especially for those with loved ones outside the city or even the country. "My sister and I could leave the hospital waiting room to go for a coffee or stretch our legs without worrying as we knew exactly when our mom went into the operating room. We felt much more involved in the process," says Christine Andrews, whose mother recently underwent knee replacement surgery. "If you can have one less thing to worry about during the stressful time around surgery, it's wonderful. Peace of mind is a priceless thing," she adds

Heart attack rates down by 50% in the UK

National Health Service data shows mortality rate at half the 2002 level, with fewer people smoking and better NHS care contributing factors. The number of people dying from a heart attack has halved in the last decade, with falling rates of smoking, greater use of statins to lower cholesterol, and better NHS care thought to be behind the fall. Fewer people in England are suffering a heart attack, and fewer of those who do are dying as a result, according to research by Oxford University reported in the British Medical Journal. They used official NHS data on hospital admissions and mortality to study 840,175 men and women who between them had 861,134 heart attacks between 2002 and 2010. Overall, mortality rates among men fell by 50% and among women by 53%. The steepest falls in heart attacks were noted among middle-aged people. Rising rates of diabetes and obesity among younger people is thought to lie behind their not seeing the same dramatic drop. Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director of the British Heart Foundation, which funded the study, said: "This impressive fall in death rates is due partly to prevention of heart attacks by better management of risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure and cholesterol and due partly to better treatment of heart attack patients when they reach hospital."

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Drinking eight teas a day 'cuts blood pressure and heart disease'

Drinking eight teas a day 'cuts blood pressure and heart disease'Having a cup of tea has long been the preferred way for the English to relax. But now scientists have found tea really does lower the blood pressure and could prevent heart disease. Drinking eight cups of black leaf tea, such as Earl Grey or English Breakfast, a day "significantly" cuts blood pressure, researchers at the University of Western Australia found. Volunteers with normal to high blood pressure were given three drinks a day containing 429 milligrams of the plant chemicals polyphenols - the equivalent of eight and a half teas a day. A second group were given a tea-flavoured placebo. After six months, the blood pressure of the tea-drinking group had fallen by between two and three mmHg, the measurement of pressure used in medicine. A blood pressure fluctuating with the heartbeat between 112 and 63 mmHg is considered healthy, while a reading fluctuating between 140 and 90 is deemed high. If the experiment was emulated by the general population, the number of people with high blood pressure would be cut by ten per cent and the risk of heart disease would fall by between seven and ten per cent. "Our study has demonstrated for the first time to our knowledge that long-term regular consumption of black tea can result in significantly lower blood pressures in individuals with normal to high-normal range blood pressures," the team, led by Dr Jonathan Hodgson, wrote in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine. Previous studies suggest adding milk to tea does not affect the body's ability to absorb polyphenols. Green tea is widely considered to have numerous health benefits because it is high in antioxidants. It is said to aid weight loss, prevent glaucoma, reduce the risk of cancer and even treat acne.

Heart failure 'affects memory'

Having heart failure, where part of the organ dies, can affect a person's brain to such an extent that they forget to take their medication, according to a study. Researchers found individuals with heart failure had worse short and long-term memory recall than those who were healthy. MRI scans also showed loss of grey matter in parts of the brain important for memory, reasoning and planning, according to Professor Osvaldo Almeida of the University of Western Australia. Writing in the European Heart Journal, he and colleagues warned that "patients with heart failure may have trouble following complex management strategies, and, therefore, treatment messages should be simple and clear". Natasha Stewart, of the British Heart Foundation, said: "The biggest implication of this research is that patients may find it difficult to stick to treatment regimes and forget to take their medication. "It is important to speak to your GP and your heart failure nurse about what is best for you. "Together you can find a way to make your meds a part of your daily routine so that they are less easily forgotten."

Purple potatoes may lower blood pressure

Purple potatoes may lower blood pressureTwo small helpings of purple potatoes a day decreases blood pressure by about 4 percent without causing weight gain, U.S. researchers said. Joe Vinson of the University of Scranton and colleagues said purple-skinned potatoes, a boutique variety increasingly available in food stores, are noted for having high levels of healthful antioxidant compounds. Purple potatoes are renowned in Korean folk medicine as a way to lose weight, so Vinson's team decided to investigate the effects of eating six to eight small microwaved purple potatoes twice a day. The study involved 18 volunteers, most of whom were overweight with high blood pressure. The volunteers ate potatoes or no potatoes for four weeks, and then switched to the opposite regimen for another four weeks while researchers monitored systolic and diastolic blood pressure, body weight and other health indicators, Vinson said. The study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found the average diastolic blood pressure - the bottom number - dropped by 4.3 percent and systolic pressure - the top number - decreased by 3.5 percent. The majority of subjects took anti-hypertensive drugs and still had a reduction in blood pressure

New method tests arterial stiffness (Japan)

Japanese researchers have developed a new method to measure arterial stiffness, a contributor to heart disease that has been difficult to assess. Hidehiko Komine of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tokyo and colleagues said the new method also can influence blood pressure readings since these rely on the time taken for arteries to return to normal volume and flow after compression. This simple, non-invasive, calculation is able to interpret standard oscillometric measurements to quantify both arterial stiffness and blood pressure simultaneously, the researchers said. Arterial stiffness is also associated with type 2 diabetes and is involved in the development of the circulatory problems. However, arterial stiffness can be addressed, if caught early enough, by diet and exercise so early detection is essential. Typically arterial pressure is measured using tonomography or ultrasound but both of these are difficult to perform and consequently are often inaccurate, Komine said. "Interpreting oscillating blood pressure provided the same accuracy of measurement for arterial stiffness as either of the established methods," Komine said in a statement. "Not only did arterial stiffness index match brachial arterial stiffness measured by tomography but it also correlated with ultrasound measurement of the stiffness of arteries supplying the heart. This means that, using the oscillating cuffs already in place in many clinical settings, arterial stiffness index could provide an early indicator of cardiovascular disease." The findings were published in the BioMedical Engineering OnLine

CT scan better than cardiac stress test to find heart blockages (USA)

CT scan better than cardiac stress test to find heart blockages (USA)A CT scan is better than a cardiac stress test finding heart blockages, according to a national study headquartered at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Michigan, USA. The study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology could help spare patients from unnecessary, invasive heart procedures, said Dr. Kavitha Chinnaiyan, Beaumont's director of advanced cardiac imaging education. She said the national study showed that CT imaging works very well as a 'gatekeeper' to the catheterization lab. As many as 10 percent of stress imaging studies, often done as patients exercise on a treadmill, are inconclusive, often leading to an invasive procedure known as cardiac catheterization. But only one-third of the patients had obstructions requiring an intervention, recent federal data from a large study show. Blue Cross/Blue Shield/Blue Care Network of Michigan funded the study as part of a statewide quality improvement initiative. Beaumont is the coordinating center for the consortium

Friday, February 10, 2012

Men can inherit a form of heart disease from father via Y chromosome

Men can inherit a form of heart disease from father via Y chromosomeMen can inherit heart disease from their father say scientists who have tracked the condition to the Y chromosome that dads pass to sons. By studying the DNA of over 3,000 men they found a particular version of the sex chromosome increases the risk of coronary artery disease by 50%. As many as one in five British men carry this version of Y. And the risk it confers is in addition to other heart risk factors like cholesterol, The Lancet reports. Experts already know that men develop heart disease a decade earlier than women, on average. By the age of 40, the lifetime risk of heart disease is one in two for men and one in three for women. Lifestyle factors like smoking and blood pressure are important contributors. This latest work suggests the male Y chromosome can also play a role in coronary artery disease - a common form of heart disease that kills thousands each year in the UK