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Electrophysiology & Arrhythmia

 - Yellow Pills

One quarter of patients with atrial fibrillation who were at a low risk for stroke were prescribed oral anticoagulants, contrary to guidelines. The results appeared online April 13 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

 - Running

Sports-associated sudden cardiac arrests (SCAs) were rare among a group of middle-age people in the northwestern U.S., according to a prospective, population-based study. Of the SCAs that occurred between February 2002 and January 2013, 5 percent were sports-associated.

 - gavel money

A company that provides outpatient cardiac monitoring agreed to pay $6.4 million to settle a case of what one federal official called “abusive billing practices.”

 - medical scale

Analyzing the link between obesity and arrhythmia, LEGACY confirmed that among obese patients, weight loss greatly influenced freedom from atrial fibrillation, particularly among those who lost weight and maintained it. However, more than 5 percent fluctuation in weight over one year increased patient risks.

 - heart puzzle

Performing an ablation along with mitral valve surgery is more likely to keep cardiac patients free of persistent atrial fibrillation (AF) at one year, according to results unveiled March 16 at the American College of Cardiology scientific session. But it also increased the risk of needing a pacemaker.


More Stories

Stepwise ablation controls some persistent afib up to 5 years

Long-term results from a French study on persistent atrial fibrillation suggest that a stepwise catheter ablation strategy may terminate atrial fibrillation in some patients for as long as five years after a procedure.

High-resolution CT focuses VT treatment on tiny targets

High-resolution imaging may get physicians closer to the areas that most need epicardial ablation when addressing ventricular tachycardia (VT). Real-time multidetector CT to assist with epicardial ablation proved useful for determining optimal ablation while avoiding coronary arteries and phrenic nerves.

Pacemaker battery life stretched with remote monitoring, optimized pacing

It sounds contradictory, but more pacemaker monitoring could lead to longer battery life. An Italian retrospective analysis compared battery life between pacemakers with remote monitoring on vs. off and found that with remote monitoring on, patients went approximately 11 months longer between battery replacements. 

FDA gives thumbs up to flex-tipped ablation catheter

The FDA approved St. Jude Medical’s FlexAbility Ablation Catheter for use in the U.S. This follows on the heels of last year’s CE mark approval of the device. 

Off-label dabigatran, rivaroxaban use with dialysis creates concerns

The number of atrial fibrillation patients on dialysis given novel oral anticoagulants is growing. Research shows that dabigatran and rivaroxaban are increasingly being used by patients with atrial fibrillation on dialysis, despite concerns about creatinine clearance in this population.

Abbott completes Topera deal for $250M

Abbott wrapped up 2014 by completing its acquisition of Topera, a company that develops electrophysiology technologies to diagnose and treat patients with atrial fibrillation.

Anticoagulation's benefits may outweigh risks for afib with chronic kidney disease

Anticoagulation therapy may have a greater benefit to patients with atrial fibrillation and chronic kidney disease than risk. However, balancing the two may be about finding the right course of treatment for the right duration.

Take the lead

A recent analysis of Optim-insulated leads for implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) reported reassuring results. The study also highlights shortcomings—not with devices, but with people.

Review shows minimal mechanical failures in newer St. Jude leads

Analysis of St. Jude Medical’s Optim-insulated leads reveals low rates of mechanical failures, conductor fractures and all-cause abrasions by five years. “The bottom line of it all is that the results are very good,” the lead researcher told Cardiovascular Business.

ICD's shock history may inform next steps after battery fades

For patients who received no shocks from an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) before the end of its battery life, it may be worth considering a new risk-benefit analysis.

Aggressively managing risk factors improves outcomes after ablations

Aggressive management of risk factors may be the key to improving patient outcomes following ablation for atrial fibrillation. Findings published Dec. 2 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggest that in patients with a high body mass index and more than one cardiovascular risk factor, improved long-term outcomes are possible when several risk factors were addressed.

Mortality findings raise more concerns over digoxin's use

Atrial fibrillation patients taking digoxin may have a 71 percent higher risk of dying, according to a study published online Nov. 20 in Circulation: Arrythmia and Electrophysiology.

Draft report: Jury’s still out on catheter ablation

The official position for catheter ablation as a treatment for atrial fibrillation in a draft technology assessment report for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is “can’t tell yet.” The draft report is open for review through Dec. 8.


Patients with in-hospital onset STEMI face worse outcomes

According to a study published Nov. 19 in JAMA, patients whose STEMI occurred in hospital had poorer outcomes than those whose STEMI occurred beyond the hospital doors.

AHA.14: Poor communication impedes efforts to curb atrial fibrillation-related stroke

Communication among patients, providers and caregivers about risks for stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation needs an assist. Research presented Nov. 17 at the American Heart Association scientific sessions in Chicago found that when polled, few atrial fibrillation patients understood their stroke risks and some physicians missed opportunities to educate them.

AHA.14: Warfarin plus antiplatelet therapy may raise dementia risk

Patients with atrial fibrillation who often are over-anticoagulated on warfarin and receive antiplatelet therapy may be at increased risk of developing dementia, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association scientific session in Chicago on Nov. 16.

Patients perceive spectrum of risk with anticoagulants

Physicians try to balance the tradeoff between bleeding and stroke risks when prescribing anticoagulants to patients with atrial fibrillation. But from the patient’s perspective, it seems new trumps old and death by bleeding is the worst, according to one study.

Robotic catheter ablation may face uphill battle

Robotic catheter ablation required less fluoroscopy time and appeared to reduce operator fatigue compared with manual procedures in a randomized trial. But a comparable success rate and technical problems may make uptake a rough slog.

Risk of cardiac death after PCI diminishes after 30 days

Cardiac mortality risks fell at the one-year mark for patients who underwent primary PCI following acute STEMI. A study published in the Nov. 18 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that while 30-day risks for cardiac death were elevated, the longer a patient survived, the more risk moved away from cardiac toward noncardiac death.

Biotronik settles fraud case for $4.9M

The device maker Biotronik agreed to pay $4.9 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit that alleged the company’s cardiac rhythm business committed fraud by “improperly inducing” cardiologists and electrophysiologists to implant its devices in patients.