Monday, January 30, 2012

Blood pressure 'should be measured in both arms' (UK)

Blood pressure 'should be measured in both arms' (UK)Measuring blood pressure in both arms should be routine because the difference between left and right arm could indicate underlying health problems, says a study review. The Lancet research found that a large difference could mean an increased risk of vascular disease and death. Although existing guidelines state that blood pressure should be measured in both arms, it is not often done. But a heart charity said it was too early to judge the findings. The arm with the higher pressure can vary between individuals, but it is the difference between arms that counts, the study suggests. Dr Christopher Clark and colleagues, from the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Exeter, reviewed 28 previous study papers looking at this area. Most people in the study had an elevated blood pressure risk and about one-third had a normal level of risk. The study concluded that a difference in systolic blood pressure of 10 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg) between arms could identify patients at high risk of asymptomatic peripheral vascular disease

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ontario's first cardiac stem cell transplant performed at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre (Canada)

Heart failure is a leading cause of death in Canada. As part of the ongoing IMPACT-CABG clinical trial to treat advanced heart failure, physicians at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre performed the first cardiac stem cell transplant in Ontario using stem cells derived from the patient's own bone marrow, isolated completely within the operating room, and implanted into the heart at the time of coronary bypass surgery. Researchers hope that stem cell therapy may be developed into a novel treatment for the 50,000 Canadians diagnosed each year with advanced heart failure. The first patient to receive this type of stem cell therapy, James Culross, a 67-year-old man from Etobicoke, will be discharged this week after 2.83 million stem cells were injected into seven sites where his heart had been damaged by a heart attack in November 2011. The stem cells were injected following coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, by a multi-disciplinary team led by Dr. Terrence Yau, Cardiac Surgeon and Director of the Cardiac Stem Cell Therapy Program at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre. A second patient underwent successful stem cell implantation and CABG surgery at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre

CDC report finds large decline in lower-limb amputations among U.S. adults with diagnosed diabetes

The rate of leg and foot amputations among U.S. adults aged 40 and older with diagnosed diabetes declined by 65 percent between 1996 and 2008, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and published in the journal, Diabetes Care. The age-adjusted rate of nontraumatic lower-limb amputations was 3.9 per 1,000 people with diagnosed diabetes in 2008 compared to 11.2 per 1,000 in 1996. Non-traumatic lower-limb amputations refer to those caused by circulatory problems that are a common complication among people with diabetes rather than amputations caused by injuries. The study, "Declining Rates of Hospitalization for Nontraumatic Lower–Extremity Amputation in the Diabetic Population Aged 40 years or Older: U.S., 1988–2008," is published in the current online issue of Diabetes Care

Heart attacks deaths halved in the last decade, experts say (UK)

The death rate from heart attacks in England has halved in the last decade, says an Oxford University study. The research, published in the British Medical Journal, looked at more than 800,000 men and women who suffered heart attacks between 2002 and 2010. They found that fewer heart attacks occurred in later years and, of those that did occur, fewer were fatal. Researchers say improvements in NHS care and better prevention measures have contributed to the decline. The Oxford researchers used national hospital and mortality data to analyse 840,175 men and women in England who had suffered a total of 861,134 heart attacks over eight years. Comparing 2002 with 2010, they found death rates falling by 50% in men (78.7 per 100,000 population to 39.2) and by 53% in women (37.3 per 100,000 to 17.7). A declining mortality rate was also seen in all age groups and for both sexes

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

CARG Newsletter - February 2012

The CARG Newsletter - February 2012 is now available online

February is Heart Month in Canada

February is Heart MonthThe Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada writes: "Heart disease and stroke take 1 in 3 Canadians before their time. They are the #1 killer of women - taking more women's lives than all forms of cancer combined. This February, more than 100,000 volunteers will rally together across Canada to raise life-giving funds to give Canadians longer, fuller lives. Every donation - whether at the door, online, or through an event - is giving the people you care about more time - for more experiences, more memories and more living. Your gift of time ultimately leads to an even greater gift - the gift of life. Volunteer for the 2012 Heart Month Campaign and make a difference"

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cardiac treatment gives hope to inoperable patients (USA)

Cardiac treatment gives hope to inoperable patients (USA)Many patients with seriously narrowed aortic valves have faced a bleak future with no medical options, but a new procedure now offers the sickest of the sick a promising treatment. Two patients are doing well after receiving a transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR, using the first artificial heart valve that can be implanted without major surgery, a team of Buffalo physicians says. The physicians here are among the first nationally to use the Sapien valve, outside of doctors involved in the device's clinical studies. "This is the most exciting thing in cardiology since stents were developed for heart disease. Patients who were written off for dead beforehand will now have a therapy," said Dr. Vijay Iyer, who led the surgical team. Edwards Lifesciences received approval for the device in November from the Food and Drug Administration. Lifesciences estimates that 250,000 Americans suffer from severe symptoms of aortic stenosis, a narrowing of the main artery carrying blood out of the heart that occurs in older age. The company estimates a majority of the patients go untreated because they are deemed inoperable, have not received a definitive diagnosis, or have delayed or declined the procedure

Champix: Updated safety information for the smoking-cessation drug (Canada)

Health Canada is informing Canadians that its review of Champix is now complete and the label has been updated with new information with respect to cardiovascular safety. Champix (the brand name for varenicline tartrate) is a prescription drug used to help patients quit smoking in combination with supportive counselling. Health Canada evaluated data from a quit-smoking clinical trial involving 700 smokers with cardiovascular disease (approximately 350 who received Champix and 350 who received a placebo or "sugar pills"). Cardiovascular disease is a broad term for any condition that affects the heart and/or blood vessels, including heart attack and stroke

Dietitian & Cardiac Nurse Chat

Have a question for Rochelle Anthony, Dietitian, or Jackie Boschman, RN? They will be happy to answer your questions on Monday, February 13 @ 9:00am - 11:00am at the Field House

Food Chat with Rochelle Anthony

Do you have a question for Rochelle Anthony, Dietitian for the Cardiac Rehab Program?

Shaw Centre on Wednesday February 15 @ 9:00am - 11:00am

Diabetes on Track - do you have a question regarding your diabetes?

Marlene Matiko, Diabetes Nurse Educator, and Rochelle Anthony, Dietitian, will be in the track area to answer your questions on:

Field House:
Monday, February 6 @ 8:30am - 10:30am
Tuesday, March 20 @ 8:30am - 10:30am
Monday, April 23 @ 8:30am - 10:30am

Shaw Centre:
Wednesday, March 14 @ 8:00am - 11:00am

Please bring your logbook and blood sugar meter. No appointments required but you may book a time. Speak to your exercise therapist about this

Let's talk about your Diabetes

Let's talk about your DiabetesIf you have diabetes, here is a fun and engaging way to learn more about your diabetes.

Join us for a Conversation Map™:

* you learn from others just like you
* share your thoughts and experiences

* Date: Wednesday, March 7
* 9:30am to 11:30am meeting room #2 upstairs at the Field House
* Facilitators : Marlene Matiko, Diabetes Nurse Clinician and Rochelle Anthony, Dietitian (Phone: 655-2140)
* To register, or for more information, talk to your exercise therapist. Space is limited

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Owning TV, car ups heart attack risk (Sweden)

Owning a car and TV was associated with an increased risk of heart attack, in a study involving 29,000 people in 52 countries, a Swedish researcher says. Lead researcher Claes Held of Uppsala University in Sweden and colleagues analyzed data from 1999 to 2003. One group of more than 10,000 middle-age men and women who had had a single heart attack was compared with a group of 14,000 who had no history of cardiovascular disease. Physical activity at work and during leisure time was divided into levels of exertion. The study, published in the European Heart Journal, found any kind of physical activity during leisure time was shown to be a plus - compared to doing almost nothing - with heart attack risk dropping 13 percent for mild activity and 24 percent for moderate or strenuous exercise. Heavy physical labor did not reduce risk at all. The study found 25 percent of the respondents in poorer and middle-income nations who owned a television and a car had an increased risk of heart attack, and two-thirds of those in rich nations who had a TV and car had an elevated risk of heart attack

Scientists shed new light on link between 'killer cells' and diabetes (UK)

Killer T-cells in the human body which help protect us from disease can inadvertently destroy cells that produce insulin, new research has uncovered. The study provides the first evidence of this mechanism in action and could offer new understanding of the cause of Type 1 diabetes. Professor Andy Sewell, an expert in human T-cells from Cardiff University's School of Medicine worked alongside diabetes experts from King's College London to better understand the role of T-cells in the development of Type 1 diabetes. The team isolated a T-cell from a patient with Type 1 diabetes to view a unique molecular interaction which results in the killing of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. "Type 1 diabetes is a result of the body's own immune system attacking and destroying the cells in the pancreas that manufacture the hormone insulin. Insulin controls blood sugar levels and a lack of insulin is fatal if untreated," said Professor Sewell. The study, funded by the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation using facilities at Diamond Light Source and published in Nature Immunology, shows that the killer T-cell receptor utilises an abnormal mode of binding in order to recognise cells producing insulin

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Inactivity a greater heart risk than obesity, study finds

Inactivity a greater heart risk than obesity, study finds Never mind what the bathroom scales are saying and take a brisk walk: That's the message that emerges from a new study that shows that, when it comes to heart health, it's more important to be active than thin. The research, conducted exclusively on women, found that those who were fittest were least likely to have clogged arteries, had the fewest heart attacks and had far fewer risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The same associations did not hold true based on women's weight, or body mass index. (BMI is an approximation of body fat.) "Lack of physical fitness is a stronger risk factor for developing heart disease than being overweight or obese," said Timothy Wessel, a cardiologist at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville, Fla. He said the link between BMI and heart disease remains unclear, particularly in women. Dr. Wessel said the problem is that most obesity studies have not adequately measured physical activity and many studies of physical fitness have excluded women with known or suspected coronary heart disease. The research, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, was conducted on 906 women who were prescribed a coronary angiography - a test that measures blockages in the arteries of the heart. Practically speaking, that meant many already had a number of risk factors for cardiovascular disease

Heart disease more likely in people with psoriasis: study

People who suffer from psoriasis may want to pay extra attention to heart risks, since they may be at a greater risk for blocked arteries than those who don't have the skin disease - although the risk increase is not that high, according to a U.S. study. And the longer patients have psoriasis, the higher their risks are, said researchers, whose findings were published in the American Journal of Cardiology. "One of the things that we've come to understand is that psoriasis is not a disease that's just limited to the skin," said April Armstrong of the University of California, Davis, who worked on the study. Armstrong and her colleagues used records of patients who had undergone a heart scan called coronary angiography to compare the results of patients with and without psoriasis. Armstrong said that while the study did not prove that the condition causes heart disease, the skin rash may be a sign that there is inflammation inside the body, too

Artificial trans fat still in supermarkets despite heart risks (USA)

Marie Callender's pies, Pop Secret's microwave popcorns, and Long John Silver's Breaded Clam Strips all share a little secret: they are among many products that still contain high levels of artificial trans fat. Because trans fat is a potent cause of heart disease, the US federal government and the American Heart Association have urged consumers to avoid foods that contain it. After the Food and Drug Administration required trans fat to be listed on food labels, most large manufacturers removed partially hydrogenated oil, the source of artificial trans fat, from their products. And in response to lawsuits, bad publicity, and local and state-level restrictions, most large restaurant chains similarly stopped using the discredited ingredient. Thus, while many consumers might consider the problem solved, several large companies continue to market products containing unhealthy, and unnecessary amounts of trans fat. Marie Callender's Lattice Apple Pie (ConAgra Foods) contains 5 grams of trans fat per serving. Varieties of Pop Secret microwave popcorn (Diamond Foods) contain 4 or 5 grams of trans fat per serving. An order of Long John Silver's Breaded Clam Strips contains 7 grams of trans fat. While White Castle recently eliminated trans fat from most of its products, some regionally marketed pastries contain large amounts. White Castle's doughnuts contain a whopping 8 or 9 grams of trans fat per serving. The American Heart Association recommends that people limit their trans fat intake to no more than two grams per day. Since small amounts of trans fat occur naturally in beef and dairy products, that leaves very little, if any, room for artificial trans fat from partially hydrogenated oil - CSPI

Web-based diabetes management tools mostly ineffective - for now (Canada)

Web-based diabetes management tools mostly ineffective - for now (Canada)Researchers investigating the effectiveness, clinical usefulness, sustainability and usability of web-accessible tools for diabetes management determined that, despite their abundance, few practical web-accessible tools exist, according to a report published January 3 by the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. "Existing diabetes websites have wide variations in the quality of evidence provided and offer didactic information at high reading levels with little interactive technology, social support or problem-solving assistance," wrote lead author Catherine Yu, MD, who is affiliated with the University of Toronto and St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, and colleagues. "Similarly, although healthcare providers increasingly use online resources for patient care, the volume, breadth, editorial quality and evidence-based methodology upon which they were developed are highly variable," she continued

Where you live in Toronto can put you at cardiac arrest risk (Canada)

Where you live in Toronto can put you at cardiac arrest riskResidents of certain Toronto neighbourhoods have a significantly higher risk of cardiac arrest, according to new research from St. Michael's Hospital. The study found those living in southwest and central Scarborough, western parts of North York and north Etobicoke had the highest rates of cardiac arrest, at about 500 per 100,000 residents. The lowest rates were found in north Scarborough, downtown Toronto, East York and the northeast part of North York at about 160 per 100,000 residents. "The risk for cardiac arrest varied widely from one area to another regardless of how close they were to each other on a map," Katherine Allan, a PhD student and the lead researcher for the study, said in a press release. Researchers said neighbourhoods with higher household incomes and higher levels of education had a lower risk of cardiac arrest. The study consisted of 5,656 participants, aged 20 and up, who experienced an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in Toronto from 2006 to 2010. Previous studies measured where the cardiac arrests took place, not where the person having the cardiac arrest lived

Broken heart boosts risk of cardiac attacks: study

Broken heart boosts risk of cardiac attacks: studyGrief over the death of a loved one can cause a huge spike in a person's risk of heart attack, especially in the early days after the loss, said a US study on Monday. The research tracked nearly 2,000 adults who survived a heart attack and found that among those who had just lost a loved one, the risk of a heart attack soared 21 times higher than normal in the first day. The risk rate remained six times higher than normal through the first week, and declined slowly over the course of the first month, said the findings in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. Intense grief can cause a host of symptoms that raise heart risks, including higher heart rate, blood pressure, stress hormone levels and blood clotting. Grieving people are also prone to lose sleep, miss medications and eat less, which can also boost cardiovascular risks

Running a marathon poses no special risk to heart: study

Running a marathon poses no special risk to heart: studyCompeting in a marathon or half-marathon doesn't raise a runner's chance of suffering a cardiac arrest any more than other vigorous physical activity, according to a study reviewing a decade of data. Researchers combed databases, search engines, local newspapers and runners' websites to identify everyone who had a cardiac arrest, an electrical disturbance that halts the heart, during long-distance races in the United States from 2000 to 2010. Out of nearly 11 million participants in races of 13.1 miles to 26.2 miles, they identified 59 runners who suffered a cardiac arrest. While reports of heart complications and sudden death after long races have risen in recent years, the increase stems from a greater number of participants, the investigators said. The overall danger is low, particularly compared with the risk seen in college sports, triathlons, and among previously overweight middle-age joggers, the New England Journal of Medicine report found

Thursday, January 12, 2012

London Chest Professor leads largest-ever heart attack trial

The largest trial of adult stem cell therapy in patients has received funding from the European Union. 3000 patients suffering heart attacks will be recruited into the trial throughout the European Union to test whether stem cells administered shortly after the heart attack will prolong life. Stem cells offer the promise of revolutionary treatment for human disease. However, a definitive test of whether they work or not in this specific case of heart treatment has been lacking. This study will provide the answer. This is the largest trial of its kind, and it is hoped that it could increase survival rates by a quarter among patients having heart attacks. The study has been made possible thanks to a €5.9 million award from the European Commission. The BAMI study will involve 21 partners in 11 European countries. The results will be announced in five years and is designed to test whether stem cell therapy will save lives. Globally, more than 17m people died from cardiovascular diseases last year - more than from any other cause. This landmark trial is being led by Professor Anthony Mathur and colleagues from Barts and the London NHS Trust and Queen Mary, University of London NIHR Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit