A chemical compound found normally in the blood has shown promise in treating and preventing an intractable form of heart failure in a mouse model of the disease, report researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. The study is published in the February issue of Circulation. More than five and half million Americans have heart failure, according to the American Heart Association, and 670, 000 new cases are diagnosed each year. In heart failure the heart is unable to pump effectively and cannot meet the body's need for blood and oxygen. It is really two diseases, each with about half of all patients, says Dr. Samuel Dudley, professor of medicine and physiology at UIC and chair of the section of cardiology.
Researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC), in collaboration with international partners in Spain and Switzerland and colleagues in California, have found that exposure to air pollution accelerates the thickening of artery walls that leads to cardiovascular disease. The study, published this week in the journal PloS ONE, is the first to link outdoor air quality and progression of atherosclerosis in humans. Researchers found that artery wall thickening among people living within 100 meters (328 feet) of a Los Angeles highway progressed twice as quickly as those who lived farther away. "The fact that we can detect progression of atherosclerosis in relation to ambient air pollution above and beyond other well-established risk factors indicates that environmental factors may play a larger role in the risk for cardiovascular disease than previously suspected, " says study co-author Howard N.
The wait is over for 16-year-old Francesco "Frank" De Santiago. On January 29, De Santiago received a donor heart in a nine-hour transplant operation at Texas Children's Heart Center De Santiago made news last October as the first child ever discharged from a pediatric hospital with an implanted mechanical heart pump, or ventricular assist device (VAD). Until then, pediatric patients with VADs remained in the hospital, often in ICU, while awaiting a donor heart. "Frank's surgery went extremely well; he was a much better candidate for a heart transplant now than eight months ago when his heart was failing, " said Dr. David L.D. Morales, pediatric cardiovascular surgeon at Texas Children's Heart Center who implanted Frank's device last May and performed his recent heart transplant.
As Americans look to keep their fitness resolutions and increase their physical activity, Dr. Bing Liem, cardiologist and electrophysiologist at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, Calif., is hoping to raise awareness of a critical but rare heart condition: congenital malformations of the heart or vascular system, which is to blame for the majority of sudden cardiac deaths in athletes under the age of 40. "It's always heart-wrenching to hear news of a young athlete, at the zenith of fitness, dying suddenly on the sports field, " said Dr. Liem, who estimates that up to one in 500 people have inherited heart disease that may predispose them to sudden death.
New research from Sweden reveals that a person's chance of having a stroke is linked to low levels of a natural antibody in the immune system: the researchers hope to develop a vaccine that stimulates the immune system to boost levels of the antibody and thus increase the body's own defences against arteriosclerosis and stroke. The finding is the result of a study led by Professor Johan Frosteg√ rd at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, and you can read a report about it online in the 11 February issue of Stroke, a journal of the American Heart Association. Arteriosclerosis is when plaque accumulate on the walls of blood vessels.
On Thursday, February 11, former president Bill Clinton experienced chest pains and was taken to a New York City hospital where he underwent a stent procedure to open one of his coronary arteries, according to published reports. This, six years after he had quadruple bypass surgery. Brian H. Annex, M.D., chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the University of Virginia Health System, is available to speak expertly about Clinton's procedure and the signs and symptoms of heart disease that should not be ignored. Annex's clinical and research areas include a focus on peripheral arterial disease (PAD) where blockages in arteries cause illness and ongoing problems.