Posts Tagged ‘cardiovascular medicine’

Angiotensin-Receptor Blockades (ARBs) Found to Raise Risk of Cancer

July 9, 2010

Dr. Daniel Simon M.D., Division Chief of Cardiovascular Medicine and Director of HM-Heart and Vascular Institute at UHCMC; Dr. James Fang M.D., Section Chief of Heart Failure and Medical Director of Heart Transplantation at UHCMC; IIke Sipahi M.D., Associate Director of Heart Failure & Transplantation at UHCMC at the Harrington-McLaughlin Heart & Vascular Institute of UHCMC researched the effects of Angiotensin-Receptor Blockers (ARBs) on the risk of cancer.

ARBs are a widely utilized drug class used for treatment of hypertension, heart failure, diabetic nephropathy, and recently, for cardiovascular risk reduction.

Randomized controlled trials of ARBs with a follow-up of at least 1 year, and enrolling at least 100 patients were included in this meta-analysis. Information on new cancer development (first diagnosis) was available for 61,590 patients from five trials. Cancer data on common types of solid organ cancers such as lung and prostate cancer were available for 68,402 patients from five trials, and data on cancer deaths were available for 93,515 patients from eight trials.

The meta-analysis showed that patients randomly assigned to receive ARBs had a significantly increased risk of new cancer occurrence compared with patients in control groups (7.2%vs 6.0%). Specifically, the risk of lung cancer was increased by 25%, which was also statistically significant.

“We have found the risk of new cancers was increased with these medications by 8-11 percent.  Most importantly, risk of lung cancer was increased by 25 percent,” said Dr. Sipahi. Although there was no statistically significant excess in cancer deaths (1.8% with ARBs vs 1.6% with control) the investigators pointed out that the average duration of follow-up of 4 years may be too short to capture cancer deaths.

“In medicine, physicians must balance the benefits and risks of all drug and device therapies.  We recommend that patients discuss the findings of this study with their physicians since ARBs are effective agents in the treatment of high blood pressure and heart failure,” said Dr. Simon.

They conclude that because of the limited data, it is not possible to draw conclusions about the exact risk of cancer associated with each individual ARB on the market, but they stated that their findings need further investigation.

In response to this publication from Case Western Reserve University, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) of the European Union announced that they started an investigation about the possible cancer risk of ARBs.

“This is the first time an association between ARBs and cancer development is suggested,” Dr. Sipahi continued. “While our findings are robust, they need to be replicated in other studies before they can be considered as definitive.”

The US Food and Drug Administration has not made any statement regarding this issue yet.

Much-needed complement to cholesterol testing

June 25, 2010

For patients outside the highest and lowest traditional risk factor categories, based on factors like high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, hypertension and family history of heart disease, MRP-8/14 could become a prominent diagnostic tool. “We are attempting to determine whether the use of MRP-8/14 should sway us toward more aggressive preventive therapies,” says Carl Orringer, MD, the HarringtonMcLaughlin Chair in Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine at the School of Medicine.

Currently, a “high-sensitivity C-reactive protein” (hs-CRP) assay is sometimes used in conjunction with cholesterol tests to assess heart disease risk. Like hs-CRP, MRP-8/14 represents a different biological process than cholesterol and is likely to serve as a complement to, not a substitute for, cholesterol screening. Of cholesterol testing’s shortcomings, Dr. Orringer says, “Relying on cholesterol alone is ignoring the inflammation that lights the fuse that sets off the explosion that is the heart ttack.”

Dr. Orringer, who developed an innovative heart attack risk assessment program that uses CT scans to see whether a person has hardening of the arteries, believes that MRP-8/14 may come to be incorporated to aid in risk estimation.

“A person’s heart attack risk is related to how much calcium is in the arteries—the more calcium, the greater the risk,” Dr. Orringer explains. “Those with calcium in their arteries indicating atherosclerosis might be really good candidates for MRP-8/14 evaluation to see who is at the highest risk.”

Renowned researcher to lead transformative institute

June 25, 2010

A new initiative in translational research at Case Western Reserve University Department of Medicine and University Hospitals promises to catalyze scientific discoveries, formulate new therapies and inspire the next generation of physician-scientists.

Leading the effort will be one of the school’s newest additions: Jonathan S. Stamler, MD, who will serve as founding director of the Institute for Transformative Molecular Medicine. Dr. Stamler is also the first to hold the Robert S. and Sylvia K. Reitman Family Foundation Distinguished Chair in Cardiovascular Innovation at the Case Cardiovascular Center and University Hospitals Harrington-McLaughlin Heart & Vascular Institute.

“This newly established chair in cardiovascular investigation and its relationship to the Institute for Transformative Molecular Medicine will accelerate our scientific research to its full potential and provide new cures and therapies for the patients we serve,” says Richard A. Walsh, MD, physician-in-chief at University Hospitals and the John H. Hord Professor and chair of the Department of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University.

CWRUmedicine’s Dr Marco Costa feature on ABC’s Good Morning America

May 20, 2010

Marco Costa, MD, PhD, Medical Director, Cath Lab, Director, Center for Research & Innovation, will be featured in an exclusive segment tomorrow on ABC’s Good Morning America between 7:30 and 8 am.

Dr. Costa was filmed in the Stereotaxis Lab in Lerner Tower conducting the United States’ first ever Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) procedure using the newly FDA approved C7-XR Imaging System made by LightLab. A pair of Dr. Costa’s patients will be featured in the story highlighting the speed, accuracy and new imaging technology that provides doctors faster operating times and improved accuracy.

This breakthrough intravascular imaging technology allows the clinician to readily see and measure important vessel characteristics otherwise invisible or difficult to observe with older intracoronary imaging modalities. UH Case Medical Center served as the core lab in the study prior to its FDA approval and was responsible for analyzing the study results. To date, UH Case Medical Center is the only hospital in the country where this procedure is available for patients.

Uninsured heart attack victims delay ER trip :: Watch Dr James Fang as he discusses this issue with NBC

April 14, 2010

Uninsured heart attack victims delay ER trip

A new study of heart attack patients finds those without insurance or patients with very limited coverage are more likely to delay going to the emergency room when they’re having heart attack symptoms.

That’s a huge mistake, according to Arnold’s cardiologist, Dr. James Fang of University Hospitals Case Medical Center  in Cleveland.

“If you can get to somebody within what they call the golden hour, very first hour that this is occurring the chances of their long-term survival is very close to patients who never had a heart attack,” Fang said.

Watch the video :: http://bit.ly/amhEtS

Learn about the Clinical Role of Exercise Training in Management of Patients With Chronic Heart Failure

March 31, 2010

J Cardiopulm Rehabil Prev. 2010 Mar

Prior exercise research and the recently completed HF-ACTION (Heart Failure and A Controlled Trial Investigating Outcomes of Exercise Training) trial indicate that regular exercise represents an effective therapy in the management of patients with stable chronic heart failure (HF) due to left ventricular systolic dysfunction. This review summarizes the results from these studies and provides a guide for prescribing exercise. Regular aerobic-type exercise training improves exercise capacity; does not worsen and may, in fact, mildly improve cardiac function; and partially improves other physiological abnormalities that develop because of chronic HF (eg, autonomic and skeletal muscle function). Regular exercise is safe, improves health status, and modestly reduces ( approximately 15%) combined risk for cardiovascular death or HF-related hospitalization. Even greater physiological and clinical benefits appear likely in patients with HF who adhere to a higher volume of exercise (eg, 6 MET-hr per week). The exercise regimen should include an aerobic-type activity performed at least 30 minutes, 5 or more days per week, and at an intensity approximating 55% to 80% of heart rate reserve. Resistance training should be considered for patients who first demonstrate they are able to tolerate aerobic exercise training. Common to other interventions that also rely on human behavior, long-term adherence to exercise in patients with HF remains a challenge and requires additional research to determine strategies aimed at improving compliance. Areas of needed research include identifying which patient subgroup(s) benefits the most and determination of the optimal intensity, duration, and frequency of exercise needed to maximize clinical benefits and attenuate fatigue.

Read the full article on CWRUmedicine.org

Dr James Fang discusses the VAD Approach

March 24, 2010

An alternative one-on-one, patient-oriented approach to  heart disease and heart failure

According to James C. Fang, MD, Medical Director, Advanced Heart Failure & Transplant Center and Professor, Case Western Reserve University Department of Medicine, “The mission of the Advanced Heart Failure & Transplant Center is to provide the latest and most effective therapies to patients in Northeast Ohio and surrounding regions in a personalized one-on-one, patient-centered approach.”

With a high level of expertise in treating heart failure, performing heart transplants, and implanting VADs (also known as heart pumps), the Center offers another sophisticated site in Ohio for patients to consider for their heart and vascular health. One of the most important services provided by the physicians at the Center is their ability to review a patient’s current medical and device therapies and then to provide other treatment options to improve their prognosis and quality of life. “At University Hospitals Case Medical Center, we offer many options and a very personalized approach. We are proud of the fact that we offer very individualized care,” says Dr. Fang. “Many patients don’t recognize that they are suffering needlessly.”

The VAD Option
Patients seen at the Center have refractory congestive heart failure and continue to be short of breath despite medications, device therapy (such as biventricular pacemakers) and heart surgery. These patients find that even doing simple activities like taking a shower or sitting in a chair are difficult. In addition, they cannot stay out of the hospital for very long – they are often regularly admitted for shortness of breath and fluid buildup in the legs. Such patients may be candidates for heart transplantation or a VAD.

VADs are sophisticated, miniaturized pumps that help the heart to provide sufficient blood flow throughout the patient’s body. “VADs are the newest form of a mechanical heart,” says Dr. Fang. A healthy heart can normally pump about 5 L of blood per minute around the body at rest. If, for example, a patient’s heart can pump only 1 L of blood per minute, the VAD will pump an additional 4 L, for a total of 5 L of blood per minute. “The heart pump helps,” notes Dr. Fang, “without entirely taking over the function of the heart.”

Typically, heart pumps are used temporarily while a patient awaits a heart transplant. Current first generation VADs, such as the Thoratec Heartmate XVE, are also used as a “destination” therapy – a permanent solution for heart failure. These devices can function for 12 to 18 months before they must be replaced. It is anticipated that a new, second generation of heart pumps, now undergoing investigational study, will increase the duration of ventricular assistance to two to four years. Nationwide about 2,500 heart transplant operations are performed annually and the Advanced Heart Failure & Transplant Center’s heart surgeons have collectively performed hundreds of heart transplants.

Learn more about VADs at CWRUmedicine.org