Posts Tagged ‘high blood pressure’

Cardiologists discover cancer risks in group of blood pressure medications

June 24, 2010

University Hospitals Case Medical Center cardiologists have uncovered new research showing an increased risk of cancer with a group of blood pressure medications known as angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs).

This class of drugs is used by millions of patients not only for high blood pressure but also for heart failure, cardiovascular risk reduction and diabetic kidney disease.

University Hospitals Harrington-McLaughlin Heart & Vascular Institute’s Drs. Ilke Sipahi, Daniel I. Simon and James C. Fang recently completed a meta-analysis of over 60,000 patients randomly assigned to take either an ARB or a control medication. Their findings are published online today at The Lancet Oncology.

The researchers found that patients randomized to ARBs has “significantly increased risk of new cancer” compared to control patients.

“We have found the risk of new cancers was increased with these medications by 8-11 percent,” said Dr. Ilke Sipahi, associate director of heart failure and transplantation and assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. “Most importantly, risk of lung cancer was increased by 25 percent.”

However, the research did not establish any link between ARBs and other types of cancer such breast cancer.

“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.”

Before this study, there were no major safety concerns with ARBs except for their use in pregnancy and in patients with chronic kidney or blockages of kidney arteries. Interestingly, previous animal studies with ARBs have been negative for cancer development.

“In medicine, physicians must balance the benefits and risks of all drug and device therapies,” said Dr. Daniel Simon, director of the Harrington-McLaughlin Heart & Vascular Institute at University Hospitals Case Medical Center and professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. “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. Meta-analyses are a powerful tool to look at low frequency safety signals, but require confirmation with other approaches, such as large national health and managed care registries.”

No Need for High Blood Pressure Meds?

March 24, 2010

A novel treatment for drug-resistant hypertension

About 72 million adults in the United States suffer from hypertension, defined as having a systolic blood pressure of 140 mm Hg or higher or a diastolic blood pressure of 90 mm Hg or higher. Of these, about 4 million adults (approximately 6 percent) suffer from drug-resistant hypertension. This is a form of the disease that does not respond to normal treatments such as reducing salt intake or using various combinations of medications. John Blebea discusses new treatment options for patients.

Electrical stimulation of “stretch receptors” surrounding the carotid arteries in the neck may prove to be the next treatment for drugresistant hypertension. Clinical researchers from the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine are part of an international research group examining the efficacy of this novel treatment. John Blebea, MD, Chief, Division of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy, University Hospitals Case Medical Center; Director, Vascular Center, UH Harrington- McLaughlin Heart & Vascular Institute; and Professor of Surgery, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, reports that this technique could enable patients to reduce or entirely discontinue use of their blood pressure medications.

Shocking treatment
Performed under general anesthesia, the procedure involves surgical placement of electrodes around both carotid arteries in the neck. The electrode wires are tunneled beneath the skin to an area under the collarbone where a battery and control unit are placed. “The device is very similar to a [heart] pacemaker and, indeed, has been termed a pacemaker for high blood pressure,” says Dr. Blebea. Electrical stimulation of the stretch receptors that surround the carotid arteries, known as baroreceptors, sends an electrical signal to the brain, causing it to use its natural pathways and mechanisms to relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure – the baroreflex. “The result is seen immediately after the device is turned on,”says Dr. Blebea.

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