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It’s all about the whole diet, say experts in a draft of scientific findings on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USDA) website. The results, published for comment through April 8, offer diets for physicians to consider with their patients when working to improve cardiovascular risks, heart disease, obesity, and other health concerns.

 - flu vaccine

Flu season has returned and with it, a new round of vaccines. While this year the vaccine may not be a perfect match to the A strain, cardiologists will want to recommend the shot for their patients, regardless.


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FDA approves new indication for apixaban

The FDA has approved a supplemental New Drug Application for the anticoagulant apixaban for the prevention of deep vein thrombosis, which may lead to pulmonary embolism in patients who have undergone hip or knee replacement surgery.

Gestational diabetes may up risk of atherosclerosis

Women who develop gestational diabetes but have no history of type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome may be at increased risk for subclinical atherosclerosis, regardless of whether they are obese before pregnancy or not, based on the findings of a study published online March 12 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Combat exposure may increase risk of heart disease

Military deployments may increase the risk for coronary heart disease among U.S. service members and veterans, a study published online March 11 in Circulation found.

FDA places another recall on Ranbaxy’s statin

The FDA once again issued a recall on Ranbaxy’s generic statin, this time after a pharmacist spotted a 20-mg tablet in a sealed bottle of atorvastatin calcium at 10 mg doses.

AHA panel: Depression should be risk factor

Depression has been linked to poor outcomes in patients with certain cardiac conditions, and an American Heart Association (AHA) panel argued in a scientific statement published online Feb. 24 in Circulation that it should be considered a risk factor for poor prognosis among patients with acute coronary syndrome.

BP meds may put elderly at risk for serious fall injuries

Older adults who take blood pressure (BP) medication may be at increased risk for serious fall-related injuries, researchers found, especially if they have previously suffered injuries in a fall.

Think green: Meta-analysis sees BP benefit in plant-based diets

A study published online Feb. 24 in JAMA Internal Medicine added yet more ammunition to the argument, “Eat your vegetables.” The meta-analysis found an association between vegetarian diets and lower blood pressure (BP) compared with omnivorous diets.

NICE backs lower-risk threshold for statin treatment

People with a 10 percent or greater chance of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) in 10 years should be treated with high-intensity statins, the U.K.’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommended in draft guidelines published Feb. 12. This is a change from the previous guideline that recommended treatment for people with a 20 percent or greater risk.


Million Hearts: Aching at the midpoint?

About midway in its five-year plan, the Million Hearts Initiative may have to pick up the pace if it hopes to achieve its goal for blood pressure control, based on a report released Feb. 14 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Lower-intensity statin combo may benefit high-risk patients

Patients who do not tolerate or respond to higher-intensity statins may benefit from lower-intensity statin therapy along with either bile acid sequestrants or ezetimibe, findings from a study published online Feb. 11 in Annals of Internal Medicine suggest.

Society to docs: Discuss testosterone therapy’s risk with patients

The Endocrine Society recommended that physicians discuss the potential of cardiovascular risks with middle-age and older patients who are considering testosterone therapy to treat symptoms of declining testosterone levels.

Intervention may improve post-ACS medication adherence

Adherence to medication regimens among patients discharged after acute coronary syndrome (ACS) improved through the use of a multifaceted intervention, a study published in the February issue of JAMA Internal Medicine found. However, blood pressure levels and levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol did not improve.

Heart societies hail CVS decision to end tobacco sales

Cardiovascular societies praised CVS Caremark’s decision to phase out sales of tobacco products at its stores over the next year.

Early BP changes may signal risk for CAC

Higher blood pressure trajectories among younger adults may place them at risk for coronary artery calcification (CAC) in middle age, according to a study published in the Feb. 5 issue of JAMA.

Sweet tooth may prove deadly to cardiovascular systems

Most Americans consume excess sugar, which may place them at increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease (CVD), a study published online Feb. 3 in JAMA Internal Medicine found.

Package flaws prompt Merck to recall Liptruzet

Less than a year after it received FDA approval for its combo cholesterol drug, Merck reported it was recalling tablets due to packaging defects.

Guidelines: Good, bad & unreimbursed

Various guidelines appear to be under the magnifying glass these days, with dissenters challenging the need to follow recommendations. This may be part of a healthy debate. But how about instances where cardiologists are penalized for following evidence-based recommendations?

Vorapaxar gets 10-1 thumbs up from FDA panel

The FDA’s Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee voted 10-1 in favor of approval for the antiplatelet vorapaxar to reduce atherothrombotic events in patients with a history of MI.

Cholesterol guidelines: Try mixing old with new

A team of cardiologists at the Cleveland Clinic recommended a hybrid approach using previous and new guidelines for treating patients with high cholesterol levels who are at risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. They praised the simplicity of recently released guidelines but faulted their reliance on randomized clinical trial data and an untested risk calculator.

Evidence doesn't support higher SBP goal, panel members argue

Although the Eighth Joint National Committee recently recommended raising the systolic blood pressure (SBP) goal from 140 mm Hg to 150 in people 60 years of age and older without diabetes mellitus or chronic kidney disease, five members of the panel disagreed in a viewpoint published online Jan. 14 in Annals of Internal Medicine. They argued that there was not sufficient evidence to increase the target SBP.