Health and Fitness

Atrial Fibrillation Treated Much More Successfully With Catheter Ablation Than Drugs

Burning away heart tissue using a procedure called catheter ablation is dramatically more successful than drugs at treating atrial fibrillation, a common heart rhythm disorder, according to a new landmark study published in a leading journal today. Lead researcher Dr. David Wilber, director of the Cardiovascular Institute at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, and colleagues, write about their findings in the 27 January online issue of JAMA, Journal of the American Medical Association. Wilber presented data from this study to the Heart Rhythm Society's Scientific Sessions last year. They found that after one year, two thirds of patients who received catheter ablation to treat an irregular heartbeat caused by atrial fibrillation (A-Fib), no longer experienced recurrent irregular heartbeats or symptoms, compared with only 16 per cent of those treated with drugs. The researchers reported that the results were so good the trial stopped early. The study was sponsored by Biosense Webster, who provided the catheters.

Landmark Heart Treatment Study

Treating a common heart rhythm disorder by burning heart tissue with a catheter works dramatically better than drug treatments, according to a landmark study published in the Jan. 27 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). One year after undergoing a treatment called catheter ablation, 66 percent of patients with an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation (A-Fib) were free of any recurrent irregular heartbeats or symptoms, compared with only 16 percent of those treated with drugs. Results were so convincing the trial was halted early. The study's lead researcher is Dr. David Wilber, director of the Cardiovascular Institute at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. More than 2 million Americans have atrial fibrillation, and there are about 160, 000 new cases each year. The number is increasing, due in part to the aging population and the obesity epidemic. Patients receiving ablation reported immediate and major improvements in their quality of life, which were maintained over the nine months they were followed.

Daiichi Sankyo Initiates Largest Single, Double-Blind, Randomized, Phase III Trial For Treatment Of Recurrent Venous Thromboembolism

Daiichi Sankyo Company, Limited (TSE: 4568), announced that it has initiated a new large-scale pivotal Phase III trial for edoxaban, its investigational oral Factor Xa inhibitor. This new study, called HOKUSAI (pronounced hoeВ kooВ sigh) VTE, is evaluating the safety and efficacy of edoxaban in reducing recurrent venous thromboembolic (VTE) complications in patients with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and/or pulmonary embolism (PE). It is estimated that more than 900, 000 fatal and non-fatal VTE events occur in the U.S. annually, and approximately 300, 000 deaths are related to VTE per year.(i) In Europe, VTE affects more than 750, 000 people in six major European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, UK) annually, and approximately 370, 000 deaths are related to VTE per year in these countries.(ii) "The incidence of VTE is predicted to double by 2050, (iii)" said Harry R. Buller, M.D., Professor of Internal Medicine, chairman of the Department for Vascular Medicine at the Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam and chairman of the Steering Committee for HOKUSAI VTE.

Three Year Partnership Between Go Red For Women And Dona Bertarelli's Ladycat Enables Campaign To Grow By 56

The three year partnership between Dona Bertarelli, her Decision 35 catamaran Ladycat (SUI10) and Go Red for Women, the international campaign of the World Heart Federation to raise public awareness of heart disease and stroke in women, ended successfully in December 2009. "Thanks to Dona Bertarelli's support, the campaign has taken off in 47 countries, from 30 when the partnership began, increasing awareness among women of the need to look after their heart health and creating real momentum. Significant progress has also been made in raising attention among policy makers, " says Helen Alderson, CEO of the World Heart Federation. "Through Dona Bertarelli and her team's example, the messages of not smoking, eating healthily and doing regular exercise have been seen and heard in many places, both in Switzerland and abroad." Ladycat was launched in 2007 with the only all-female crew to compete in the Julius Baer Challenge, one of the most competitive single-design multihull regattas in closed waters in the world.

Play Yourself Healthy

A just published research experiment on inactive men with high blood pressure shows that just 3 months of soccer practise twice a week causes a significant fall in blood pressure, resting pulse rate, and percentage of body fat, and is more effective than the doctor's usual advice on healthy diet and exercise. Other parallel experiments on both women and men further demonstrates that a regular game of soccer affects numerous cardiovascular risk factors such as maximal oxygen uptake, heart function, elasticity of the vascular system, blood pressure, cholesterol and fat mass far more than e.g. strength training and just as much if not more than running. Each of the experiments was controlled randomized studies where the soccer groups were compared to other exercise groups and inactive controls. The soccer experiments are part of a large-scale research project on soccer and health carried out at the University of Copenhagen, four Danish University Hospitals, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the Schulthess Clinic in Zurich.

Tiny Constraints In Heart Blood Flow: A Better Sign Of Blood Vessel Narrowing And Early Coronary Artery Disease

Cardiologists and heart imaging specialists at 15 medical centers in eight countries, and led by researchers at Johns Hopkins, have enrolled the first dozen patients in a year-long investigation to learn whether the subtle squeezing of blood flow through the inner layers of the heart is better than traditional SPECT nuclear imaging tests and other diagnostic radiology procedures for accurately tracking the earliest signs of coronary artery clogs. Each year, nearly 800, 000 American men and women with coronary artery disease suffer a heart attack, resulting in more than 150, 000 deaths. The latest international study of so-called CT perfusion imaging will involve the participation of some 400 men and women identified as being at higher risk of coronary artery disease because they have had symptoms of the illness, such as shortness of breath, chest pain or fatigue. All qualify for a more detailed inspection of their heart's blood vessels by cardiac catheterization, an invasive procedure in which a thin plastic tube is directly inserted into the heart's blood vessels to detect blockages and help widen each artery as needed.

Seven Signs That May Warn Of A Rare Heart Condition

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. "The fact that many athletes and their parents aren't cognizant of potential warning signs speaks to the importance of raising awareness of this condition." Raise Awareness, Save a Life According to Dr. Liem, there are seven top warning signs that indicate a patient may be at risk for sudden death from cardiac arrest and should see a doctor for screening: 1.

Another Mechanism Contributing To Heart Failure Revealed By Genetically-Modified Mice

Scientists at the Robarts Research Institute at The University of Western Ontario, working in collaboration with researchers in Brazil, have used a unique genetically-modified mouse line to reveal a previously unidentified mechanism contributing to heart failure. The study, led by Marco Prado, Robert Gros and Vania Prado of London, Canada and Silvia Guatimosim of Brazil, shows how the decreased release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, a chemical messenger which slows cardiac activity, contributes to heart failure. The study is published online in Molecular and Cellular Biology at http://mcb.asm.org/cgi/content/abstract/MCB.00996-09v1 Heart failure affects close to a half million Canadians, often as a result of conditions including coronary disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and high alcohol or drug consumption. Cardiac output is controlled using two opposing divisions of the autonomic nervous system: the sympathetic nervous system which boosts the heart rate and the parasympathetic system which slows it by releasing acetylcholine.

New TAU Study Proves Smoking Cessation Significantly Increases Cardiac Health Later In Life

Smoking affects your cardiac health both before and after a major event like a heart attack. But how much? And does cutting back instead of quitting have a positive effect as well? There are definitive answers in a new study from Tel Aviv University, the largest and most comprehensive of its kind. The research found that quitting smoking after a heart attack has about the same positive effect as other major interventions such as lipid-lowering agents like statins or more invasive procedures. Study results were reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. "It's really the most broad and eye-opening study of its kind, " says Dr. Yariv Gerber of TAU's Sackler School of Medicine. "Smoking really decreases your life expectancy after a heart attack. Those who have never smoked have a 43% lower risk of succumbing after a heart attack, compared to the persistent smoker." But even those with a history of smoking can see their risk sharply decline once they give up the habit.

ARCA Announces Publication Of Bucindolol Data In Circulation: Heart Failure

ARCA biopharma, Inc. (Nasdaq: ABIO), a biopharmaceutical company developing genetically targeted therapies for heart failure and other cardiovascular disease, today announced that the paper "An alpha-2C-Adrenergic Receptor Polymorphism Alters the Norepinephrine Lowering Effects and Therapeutic Response of the Beta Blocker Bucindolol in Chronic Heart Failure" was published in the January 2010 edition of the peer-reviewed journal Circulation: Heart Failure ( http://circheartfailure.ahajournals.org ). The paper concludes that in the Beta-Blocker Evaluation of Survival Trial (BEST) adrenergic polymorphism substudy, the norepinephrine lowering and clinical therapeutic responses to bucindolol were strongly influenced by the alpha-2C adrenergic receptor genotype. "These data indicate that in heart failure patients in the study, the norepinephrine lowering effects of bucindolol are under genetic control, and that the degree of lowering may be kept in a therapeutic range by baseline screening using alpha-2C-adrenergic receptor genetic biomarkers, " said Michael R.

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