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April 14, 2006, 11:19 AM CT

Older Donor Hearts Just As Good

Older Donor Hearts Just As Good
Patients who receive healthy hearts from donors 50 years of age and older appear to fare just as well as patients who receive younger hearts, and that may be good news for potentially expanding a small donor pool, a University of Alberta study has observed.

A study reported in the March/April 2006 issue Journal of Cardiac Surgery reviewed the outcomes of using heart donors 50 years of age and older and discovered that there were no differences in ICU or post-operative length of hospital stay, days ventilated, or early rejection episodes.

The scientists analyzed 338 cardiac adult transplants performed at the University of Alberta Hospital between 1988 and 2002. Of those, 284 patients received hearts from donors under 50 and 54 received hearts aged 50 and older.

Recipients of the older hearts had a greater risk of death within 30 days of surgery, and pretransplant diabetes also played a significant role in survival, but despite that, long-term outcomes were similar to those of younger donor hearts. Both sets of patients had similar survival rates--at the end of 10 years, the survival rate for older hearts was 58 per cent versus 59 per cent for patients with younger donor hearts.

The research is good news for patients who will need heart transplants, said one of the study's co-authors, Dr. Shaohua Wang of the University of Alberta's Division of Cardiac Surgery. "As the population ages, it can be expected that the number of patients requiring transplantations will also increase."........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


April 14, 2006, 9:34 AM CT

Taller people more likely to develop atrial fibrillation

Taller people more likely to develop atrial fibrillation
Analysis of data from a registry of patients with left ventricular dysfunction indicates that height is an independent risk factor for an arrhythmia of the upper chambers of the heart, as per a new study in the April 18, 2006, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

"Tall stature is a potent risk for the development of atrial fibrillation and is independent of other clinical risk factors. Indeed, the male predominance of atrial fibrillation appears to be explained by the difference in height between men and women," said Jonathan J. Langberg, M.D. from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

Atrial fibrillation is the most common sustained cardiac arrhythmia. During an episode, the upper chambers of the heart flutter instead of pumping blood effectively. The incidence increases as people age, with a prevalence of more than 5 percent in patients over the age of 65 years.

The size of the left atrium of the heart is known to be associated with atrial fibrillation, so the scientists wanted to see if bigger people have a higher risk of atrial fibrillation.

"It is well known that small animals do not develop atrial fibrillation, while those larger than humans, especially horses, seem to be quite susceptible. I also encountered a string of very tall patients, most of whom were former basketball players, with lone atrial fibrillation," Dr. Langberg said.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


April 14, 2006, 9:30 AM CT

Placental Growth Factor For Repair Heart Attack Damage

Placental Growth Factor For Repair Heart Attack Damage
Heart attack patients produce higher levels of a natural substance in the body that plays a role in the growth of new blood vessels and this over-expression of placental growth factor (PlGF) may help reduce damage to the heart muscle, as per a new study in the April 18, 2006, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

"Because the degree of PlGF production released from the heart after a heart attack correlated with the improvement of cardiac function, we think PlGF becomes a potential therapy of myocardial infarction. Furthermore, prior studies have shown that PlGF enhances angiogenesis and arteriogenesis in ischemic tissue, also PlGF appears to promote mobilization of flt-1-positive hematopoietic stem cells from bone marrow to the peripheral circulation. We have started further experiments to evaluate this hypothesis," said Shiro Uemura, M.D. from the Nara Medical University in Kashihara, Japan.

The researchers, including first author Hajime Iwama, M.D., compared 55 heart attack patients to 43 control subjects. The heart attack patients had significantly higher levels of PlGF than the healthy subjects. Also, the patients with higher levels of PlGF three days after a heart attack had lower left ventricular ejection fractions, indicating more heart muscle damage. The scientists wrote that it is likely that the degree of injury is a key determinant of how much PlGF the body produces.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


April 14, 2006, 9:19 AM CT

Sleep Problems And Heart

Sleep Problems And Heart
Patients with severe sleep-disordered breathing are two to four times more likely to experience complex, abnormal heart rhythms while sleeping than individuals without the problem, as per the Sleep Heart Health Study (SHHS).

These findings are reported in the April 15 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, published by the American Thoracic Society.

Reena Mehra, M.D., M.S., of University Hospitals of Cleveland at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, and seven associates compared the prevalence of arrhythmias in 228 patients with sleep-disordered breathing and 338 with no sleep disorder. The individuals in both groups participated in the SHHS, a multi-center longitudinal study of designed to determine the cardiovascular consequences of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB).

SDB is an illness in which a sleeping individual repeatedly stops breathing for 10 seconds or longer before resuming air intake. These stoppages decrease the amount of oxygen and increase the level of carbon dioxide in the blood and brain. In this study, participants with SDB had a respiratory disturbance index that averaged about 44 pauses per hour of sleep. The control subjects experienced only 2.8 interruptions per hour.

"Individuals with sleep-disordered breathing had four times the odds of atrial fibrillation and three times the odds of nonsustained ventricular tachycardia," said Dr. Mehra.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source


April 11, 2006, 10:56 PM CT

Paramedics Save More Lives When They Don't Follow The Rules

Paramedics Save More Lives When They Don't Follow The Rules
Survival rates following the most common form of cardiac arrest increased three-fold when emergency medical personnel used a new form of CPR developed at The University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center. The new approach, called Cardiocerebral Resuscitation, is dramatically different from guideline-directed CPR procedures.

Because of its importance, the editors of the American Journal of Medicine chose to publish the report online in advance of the journal's April print issue.

"Cardiocerebral Resuscitation eliminates certain previously recommended procedures and reprioritizes the order of actions the emergency medical services deliver," said Michael J. Kellum, MD, leading author of the study report.

Under the new approach, first responders skipped the first steps of the standard protocol: intubating the patient for ventilation and delivering a shock using a defibrillator. While still attaching the victim to a defibrillator, they did not wait for the device to analyze the patient's heart rhythm, but started fast, forceful chest compressions.

"Intubating the patient and waiting for the defibrillator to do its analysis takes time - time a cardiac arrest victim doesn't have," said Gordon A. Ewy, MD, director of the Sarver Heart Center and co-author of the study. "I am convinced that Cardiocerebral Resuscitation will have a world-wide impact."........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


April 10, 2006, 8:02 PM CT

Ace Inhibitors May Reduce Death, Heart Attack

Ace Inhibitors May Reduce Death, Heart Attack
Angiotension-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, medications usually used to treat high blood pressure (high blood pressure), may reduce cardiovascular risk and the risk of death in patients with coronary artery disease, as per a new analysis of previously conducted clinical trials published in the April 10 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Several medications are available to treat patients with coronary artery disease, characterized by blockages in the vessels that supply blood to the heart, as per background information in the article. Scientists continue to examine the effectiveness of each medicine in different patient groups. Prior research has shown that ACE inhibitors can help treat patients with coronary artery disease or congestive heart failure, which occurs when the heart loses its ability to pump blood efficiently, if that patient also has problems with the left ventricle, the lower left chamber of the heart. However, studies on the use of ACE inhibitors in patients with coronary artery disease but without heart failure or left ventricle dysfunction have had conflicting results.

Nicolas Danchin, M.D., F.E.S.C., Hôpital Europeen Georges Pompidou, Paris, and his colleagues analyzed seven prior randomized and controlled trials of ACE inhibitors in patients with coronary artery disease. The studies tested five different ACE inhibitors and included a total of 33,960 patients, who were followed for a minimum of two years and an average of 4.4 years. In each trial, some patients were randomly selected to receive ACE inhibitors and others to receive placebos.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


April 10, 2006, 7:48 PM CT

Drinking May Cause Higher Death Rates Among Men

Drinking May Cause Higher Death Rates Among Men
Older men who drink as few as two drinks twice a week and also have diseases that could be worsened by alcohol or cause problems with medications taken while drinking alcohol have higher death rates, as compared to men who either drink less or may drink more but don't have such comorbidities.

Examining data from a 1971-74 health survey and a follow-up survey in 1992, the scientists found that older men who drank moderately or heavily and had accompanying comorbidities that could be worsened by alcohol use such as gout or ulcer disease, or who took medications that could interact negatively with alcohol use, such as sedatives or pain medications, had 20 percent higher mortality rates than other drinkers.

The longitudinal study -- the first to examine in a large population the mortality risks inherent in alcohol use and comorbidity -- would be reported in the recent issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. It is available now online at http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/toc/jgs/0/0.

Prior studies have observed that moderate drinking can reduce risks for vascular disease and death, said Dr. Alison Moore, associate professor of geriatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and the study's lead researcher.

"None of these studies have specifically looked at the interaction of alcohol use and conditions or medications that may be unsafe with even moderate amounts of alcohol use," she said. "This study shows that while moderate alcohol use may be fine for people who don't have other conditions that could be worsened by the use of alcohol, such alcohol use may not be fine if you take common medications for sleep, or for arthritis pain, or have depression, or have some gastrointestinal condition."........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


April 6, 2006, 11:18 PM CT

Moderate Drinking Causes Better Cognition In Women

Moderate Drinking Causes Better Cognition In Women
A drink or two a day may be associated with better cognitive function in women, according to a report from an ongoing study of New York City residents. The report was published in the rapid access issue of Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

"Women who had up to two drinks a day scored about 20 percent higher on the Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE) than women who didn't drink at all or who consumed less than one drink a week," said Clinton Wright, M.D., M.S., lead author of the study and assistant professor of neurology at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University in New York. "The difference remained after adjusting for risk factors such as income, marital status, race or ethnicity and other vascular risk factors such as high blood pressure and cardiac disease".

The researchers said they were surprised by the lack of association between carotid plaque and alcohol consumption. Other research had suggested that alcohol consumption might slow the progression of plaque, the fatty material that builds up in arteries and increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.

"This study suggests that the relationship between alcohol and cognition was not mediated by large vessel atherosclerosis," Wright said. "Future studies with brain imaging are planned to examine the importance of small vessel disease in this relationship".........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


April 5, 2006, 11:48 PM CT

Effects Of Weight Loss In Adolescents

Effects Of Weight Loss In Adolescents
A team of scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is studying how fatty liver disease affects sugar and fat metabolism in overweight adolescents and how losing weight affects the condition. In the last 30 years, the number of overweight children has doubled in the United States, and overweight children are at increased risk for the problem.

In fatty liver disease, fat accumulates in liver cells. A patient is diagnosed with fatty liver when there is more than 5 percent fat in the liver. In children and adolescents, fatty liver is most common in those who are overweight, but it also can occur in young people with diabetes or, less commonly, with other conditions.

Those with fatty liver disease may have an enlarged liver or elevations in liver enzyme tests. Most do not have obvious symptoms, but some may complain of fatigue, malaise or vague abdominal pain that can bring them to the attention of a physician. If fatty liver goes untreated and risk factors are not controlled, a small percentage of young people may progress to liver scarring or even liver failure.

Fatty liver disease is thought to affect about 20 percent of the population in the developed world, but like type 2 diabetes, it has been uncommon in young people until recently.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


April 3, 2006, 11:56 PM CT

Lack Of Sleep May Lead To High Blood Pressure

Lack Of Sleep May Lead To High Blood Pressure
If you're middle age and sleep five or less hours a night, you may be increasing your risk of developing high blood pressure, as per a research studyreleased by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and reported in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.

"Sleep allows the heart to slow down and blood pressure to drop for a significant part of the day," said James E. Gangwisch, PhD, lead author of the study and post-doctoral fellow in the psychiatric epidemiology training (PET) program at the Mailman School. "However, people who sleep for only short durations raise their average 24-hour blood pressure and heart rate. This may set up the cardiovascular system to operate at an elevated pressure".

Dr. Gangwisch said that 24 percent of people ages 32 to 59 who slept for five or fewer hours a night developed high blood pressure versus 12 percent of those who got seven or eight hours of sleep. Subjects who slept five or fewer hours per night continued to be significantly more likely to be diagnosed with high blood pressure after controlling for factors such as obesity, diabetes, physical activity, salt and alcohol consumption, smoking, depression, age, education, gender, and ethnicity.

The scientists conducted a longitudinal analysis of data from the Epidemiologic Follow-up Studies of the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES I). The analysis is based on NHANES I data from 4,810 people ages 32 to 86 who did not have hypertension at baseline. The 1982-84 follow-up survey asked participants how a number of hours they slept at night. During eight to 10 years of follow-up, 647 of the 4,810 participants were diagnosed with hypertension. Compared to people who slept seven or eight hours a night, people who slept five or fewer hours a night also exercised less and were more likely to have a higher body mass index. (BMI is a measurement used to assess body fatness). They were also more likely to have diabetes and depression, and to report daytime sleepiness.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source



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Heart disease
About 13 million Americans (about 7 percent of the total population) suffer from coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death in American men and women amounting a staggering 20 percent of all causes of death. About half of all deaths related to cardiovascular diseases occur from coronary artery disease. Through this heart watch blog we will have our humble contribution towards making men and women aware of the risks of heart diseases.

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