November 3, 2017

Health Roundup: Heart Edition

‘Unbelievable’: Heart Stents Fail to Ease Chest Pain

Heart disease is still the leading killer of Americans — 790,000 people have heart attacks each year — and stenting is a mainstay treatment in virtually every hospital. More than 500,000 heart patients worldwide have stents inserted each year to relieve chest pain, according to the researchers. Other estimates are far higher. The new study, published in the Lancet, stunned leading cardiologists by countering decades of clinical experience. The findings raise questions about whether stents should be used so often — or at all — to treat chest pain.

For the study, Dr. Justin E. Davies, a cardiologist at Imperial College London, and his colleagues recruited 200 patients with a profoundly blocked coronary artery and chest pain severe enough to limit physical activity, common reasons for inserting a stent. All were treated for six weeks with drugs to reduce the risk of a heart attack, like aspirin, a statin and a blood pressure drug, as well as medications that relieve chest pain by slowing the heart or opening blood vessels. Then the subjects had a procedure: a real or fake insertion of a stent.

The stents did what they were supposed to do in patients who received them. Blood flow through the previously blocked artery was greatly improved.When the researchers tested the patients six weeks later, both groups said they had less chest pain, and they did better than before on treadmill tests. But there was no real difference between the patients, the researchers found. Those who got the sham procedure did just as well as those who got stents. ...“It was impressive how negative it was,” Dr. Redberg said of the new study. Since the procedure carries some risks, including death, stents should be used only for people who are having heart attacks, she added.

Afternoon heart surgery 'is 50% more successful'

Heart surgery is 50 per cent more successful if done in the afternoon, a major study has found conducted by study leader Professor David Montaigne, of the University of Lille in France found. Experts believe this is because the heart is better at repairing itself later in the day. Researchers tracked 596 people who had undergone heart valve replacement surgery – half of them who had surgery in the morning, half in the afternoon

Research on mice. Just ONE dose of new wonder drug can 'melt away' the fat inside arteries that causes heart attacks

Trodusquemine shows promising results for treating breast cancer and diabetes. Now researchers have found it reverses the effects of atherosclerosis where arteries become clogged with fat, causing heart disease. Researchers believe the drug 'mimics' the effects of exercise and activates a protective enzyme while inhibiting another enzyme that causes prolonged inflammation and hardens arteries.

Professor Mirela Delibegovic from the University of Aberdeen’s Institute of Medical Sciences, who led the study, said ‘We know this drug has been shown to have beneficial effects on reducing prolonged inflammation in type 2 diabetes and because this is also a factor in atherosclerosis we wanted to know if it had cardiovascular benefits too. And our initial tests on mice show that it does, so this is potentially a big breakthrough....‘Essentially, when it comes to the key enzymes in play here, trodusquemine is stopping the bad guy and helping the good guy. We will now need to carry out further research to see if the same effect is replicated in humans and it can be proven to be safe.’

Heart Attacks More Likely When It’s Cold Out, Study Finds

Researchers in Sweden examined a study of 280.873 heart attack patients from the country between January 1998 and December 2013. The team checked the weather conditions for the area where each attack was suffered...Specifically, the likelihood of a heart attack was higher when temperatures were below 0°C (32°F). About four more heart attacks per day are suffered under those conditions compared to days when the average minimum temperature was above 10°C (50°F).

The FDA Warns That Black Licorice Can Cause Heart Problems in Adults

In a report released Monday, the FDA warns, "if you're 40 or older, eating 2 ounces of black licorice a day for at least two weeks could land you in the hospital with an irregular heart rhythm or arrhythmia." Two ounces is only about five Twizzler-sized ropes of licorice, or nine Red-Vine-sized pieces. The sweetening compound in licorice root, glycyrrhizin, is the danger: Glycyrrhetic acid can elevate sodium levels and reduce potassium in the body. That temporary potassium drop can cause some people to experience abnormal heart rhythms, high blood pressure, swelling, lethargy, and congestive heart failure. According to the FDA's Linda Katz, potassium levels in licorice-eaters are usually restored with no permanent health problems once people stop eating the black stuff.

Tai Chi helps heart attack patients to recover:

Tai Chi should be recommended to heart attack patients to help them recover, new research suggests. The ancient Chinese martial art may provide a more enjoyable option to traditional rehab, which three fifths refuse to take part in because they deem it unpleasant. But deciding against taking part in rehabilitation can be fatal, increasing the risk of dying from a subsequent heart attack by 18 per cent. Used for more than 1,000 years, it could help to form part of the essential care that all heart attack patients require, Brown University experts believe.

Dr Elena Salmoirago-Blotcher, lead author, said: 'We thought that tai chi might be a good option for these people because you can start very slowly and simply. 'As their confidence increases, the pace and movements can be modified to increase intensity. Tai Chi exercise can reach low-to-moderate intensity levels. 'The emphasis on breathing and relaxation can also help with stress reduction and psychological distress.'
Posted by Jill Fallon at November 3, 2017 4:04 PM | Permalink