American Heart Association, Nov. 15-19

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The American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2014

The annual meeting of the American Heart Association was held from Nov. 15 to 19 in Chicago and attracted more than 19,000 participants from around the world, including cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons, and nurses, as well as other health care professionals. The conference featured presentations focusing on the latest advances in cardiovascular medicine and surgery.

In one study, Robert Hayward, M.D., of the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues found that cardiac events and mortality at the time of delivery were uncommon among pregnant women with congenital heart disease.

"The study captured the hospital admissions for over 2.7 million women admitted to California hospitals for labor and delivery between 2005 and 2011 and compared women with and without congenital heart disease. A history of congestive heart failure was more common in women with congenital heart disease," Hayward said.

In addition, the investigators found that women with congenital heart disease were more likely to undergo cesarean section and to stay in the hospital longer.

"Despite this, new onset cardiac arrhythmias, cardiac arrest, and mortality were rare during hospitalization in all groups of women and were not higher in women with congenital heart disease," Hayward added. "This analysis did not examine the outcomes for women who chose not to become pregnant or who did not carry a pregnancy to term. The population of women with congenital heart disease continues to grow and future studies can follow these women over time to further evaluate the risk of cardiovascular events over the course of an entire pregnancy."

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For children urgently awaiting a heart transplant who also have antibodies that may cause rejection of some donor hearts, Brian Feingold, M.D., of the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, and colleagues found that accepting the first suitable organ is likely to result in longer survival and to cost less than waiting for a donor heart that won't activate an antibody response.

"Accepting the first suitable offer for children in urgent need of heart transplantation, regardless of concerns that antibodies present in the candidate may cause rejection, is estimated to cost an average $122,856 less over the life of the candidate than a strategy of waiting for transplantation based on antibody status. This will also increase survival from the time of listing by more than one year (adjusted for quality of life) compared to waiting for transplantation based on antibody status," Feingold said. "Amidst the critical shortage of donor hearts for children in the United States, we must carefully consider how to optimally allocate donor organs to maximize survival while keeping costs bearable. Our work supports that candidacy for pediatric heart transplantation should not be denied on the basis of sensitization status alone."

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Matthew Tattersall, D.O., of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, and colleagues found that individuals with persistent asthma had a 60 percent increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) over a decade of observation. Persistent asthma was defined as severe enough to require daily controller medications. The investigators analyzed 6,792 participants within the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, all of whom were free of CVD at baseline, and also found that participants with persistent asthma had higher levels of the inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein and fibrinogen.

"This study highlights an important association between a common condition (asthma) and the leading cause of death in the United States (CVD)," Tattersall said. "While the mechanism is uncertain, these data should compel clinicians to focus on modifiable risk factors in methods of primary prevention of CVD, while being cognizant that patients with asthma may be at an increased risk of CVD."

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Matthew Springer, Ph.D., of the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues found that secondhand smoke from marijuana and tobacco impairs vascular endothelial function similarly under comparable exposure conditions, and that neither nicotine nor tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are required for this effect.

"In laboratory rats, vascular endothelial function (measured as arterial flow-mediated dilation [FMD]) was substantially impaired by a 30 minute exposure to marijuana sidestream smoke (the smoke from the burning tip of a cigarette; a well-accepted model for environmental secondhand smoke), when measured 10 minutes after the end of exposure," Springer said. "Impairment was comparable to that resulting from exposure to tobacco sidestream smoke (in our previous studies), although whereas impairment from tobacco smoke was temporary and had normalized by 40 minutes later, FMD was still impaired 40 minutes after the end of exposure to marijuana smoke. Smoke from marijuana lacking THC still impaired FMD, showing that THC is not required for this effect."

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AHA: Home Exercise Boosts Heart Patients' Frame of Mind

THURSDAY, Nov. 20, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Exercising at home can reduce feelings of hopelessness in people with coronary heart disease, but in-hospital workouts don't provide the same benefit, according to a new study presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association (AHA), held from Nov. 15 to 19 in Chicago.

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AHA: Oxygen May Not Help STEMI Patients

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients treated with oxygen endure 25 to 30 percent more cardiovascular damage than patients not given oxygen. These findings are being presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, held from Nov. 15 to 19 in Chicago.

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AHA: Coordination of Emergency Care Ups STEMI Survival Rates

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Improved coordination between paramedics and hospitals can reduce ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) deaths nearly five-fold by getting patients quicker treatment, according to research of an initiative to be presented Wednesday at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, held from Nov. 15 to 19 in Chicago.

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AHA: Wireless ECG Speeds Up Heart Attack Treatments

TUESDAY, Nov. 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A new wireless electrocardiogram (ECG) can cut the time it takes for heart attack patients to receive treatment, according to new research being presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, held from Nov. 15 to 19 in Chicago.

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AHA: Even With Weight Gain, Quitting Smoking Better Choice

TUESDAY, Nov. 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Fear of unhealthy weight gain can be a factor holding smokers back from quitting the habit. But a new study finds that even if people do gain a few pounds once they quit, their post-cigarette health is still much better than if they'd kept on smoking. The findings are being presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association (AHA), held from Nov. 15 to 19 in Chicago.

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AHA: Trans Fats May Sap Memory

TUESDAY, Nov. 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Young and middle-aged men who ate large amounts of trans fats exhibited a significantly reduced ability to recall words during a memory test, according to findings being presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, held from Nov. 15 to 19 in Chicago.

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AHA: No Added Benefit From Routine Heart Scans in Diabetes

TUESDAY, Nov. 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Routine screening for coronary artery disease isn't effective for people with diabetes who have no symptoms but are at high risk for myocardial infarction (MI), according to research published online Nov. 17 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The findings were released to coincide with presentation at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, held from Nov. 15 to 19 in Chicago.

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AHA: Ezetimibe Linked to Reduced Heart Attack Risk

TUESDAY, Nov. 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Patients experienced fewer myocardial infarctions (MIs) and strokes when taking ezetimibe (Vytorin). These findings from the IMPROVE-IT study were presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, held from Nov. 15 to 19 in Chicago.

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AHA: Long-Term Use of Dual Antiplatelet Therapy Appears Safe

MONDAY, Nov. 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Heart attack and stroke patients can safely take aspirin combined with a second antiplatelet medication for extended periods, contrary to recent findings suggesting otherwise, according to results of a meta-analysis. The research was published online Nov. 16 in The Lancet and presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association (AHA), held from Nov. 15 to 19 in Chicago.

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AHA: Daily Aspirin Fails to Help Older Hearts in Japanese Study

MONDAY, Nov. 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Daily low-dose aspirin therapy may not have significant heart-health benefits for older people, according to a new Japanese study published online Nov. 17 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The findings were released to coincide with presentation at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, held from Nov. 15 to 19 in Chicago.

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AHA: Young Children, Energy Drinks a Dangerous Mix

MONDAY, Nov. 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Although the target markets for energy drinks are typically teens and young adults, more than 40 percent of reports to U.S. poison control centers in a three-year period involved children under the age of 6, according to research being presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, held from Nov. 15 to 19 in Chicago.

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AHA: Deaths From Heart Disease Down, Up for HTN, Arrhythmias

MONDAY, Nov. 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Deaths from heart disease are dropping, but deaths related to hypertension and arrhythmias are on the rise, according to a new government study. The study was published in the Nov. 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, a cardiovascular disease theme issue. Findings were released early to coincide with presentation at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association (AHA), held from Nov. 15 to 19 in Chicago.

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AHA: Could A-Fib 'Overtreatment' Up Dementia Risk?

MONDAY, Nov. 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Overtreatment with anticoagulation for atrial fibrillation may double risk for dementia, a new study suggests. The study findings are being presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, held from Nov. 15 to 19 in Chicago.

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AHA: CPR Phone Guidance Boosts Cardiac Arrest Survival

MONDAY, Nov. 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Talking bystanders through cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) methods for a cardiac emergency during a 911 call can significantly boost survival rates, according to a study being presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, held from Nov. 15 to 19 in Chicago.

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AHA: STEMI Mortality Up When Event Occurs in Hospital

MONDAY, Nov. 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Patients are more likely to die of ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) if they suffer it in a hospital while being treated for non-cardiac conditions, according to research published in the Nov. 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, a cardiovascular disease theme issue. Findings were released early to coincide with presentation at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, held from Nov. 15 to 19 in Chicago.

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