Heart Failure

Heart failure (HF) patients who experience moderate functional mitral regurgitation (FMR) for at least six months after cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) are at an increased risk for death, researchers suggest in a study published this week.

Compared to heart failure patients with severe secondary mitral regurgitation who were treated with guideline-directed medical therapy alone, those randomized to a MitraClip procedure plus optimal medical therapy demonstrated relative reductions of 47 percent for heart failure hospitalizations and 38 percent for mortality at two years of follow-up.

Digital games developed for cardiovascular disease self-management improve exercise capacity and energy expenditure among their users, according to a review published Sept. 18 in the Games for Health Journal, but the approach does little to overcome mental hurdles like depression, anxiety and quality of life.

A Journal of the American College of Cardiology study this week linked long-term alcohol consumption to adverse cardiac remodeling in patients who were initially young and healthy—something the paper’s authors said might be offset by drinking predominantly wine.

Heart failure patients who are discharged from the hospital before they reach euvolemia—a healthy balance of blood in the body—are more likely to be readmitted in both the short- and long-term, according to research published in the American Journal of Cardiology this month.

Despite overall advances in healthcare and targeted initiatives to address disparities in care, black patients and those with lower socioeconomic status tend to have worse outcomes for a range of conditions in the U.S. However, based on a recent analysis published in JAMA Network Open, hospital-level differences don’t explain the phenomenon.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the FDA said late last week a second toxin that may cause cancer has been detected in valsartan—a common heart drug that has already been recalled in about two dozen countries due to the presence of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a probable human carcinogen.

Carcinogen-containing valsartan products that were recalled in about two dozen countries over the past few months didn’t significantly raise cancer risk in the short term, according to a Danish registry study published online Sept. 12 in The BMJ.

A cardiologist at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center reportedly told CMS inspectors that O.H. “Bud” Frazier, MD, who started the Houston hospital’s once-renowned heart transplant program in 1982, was partially to blame for the rash of patient deaths that contributed to the transplant center losing Medicare funding last month.

Hospice use in the U.S. has grown to nearly 5 percent among elderly patients with heart failure (HF), according to a JAMA Cardiology study published Aug. 29, but palliative care will likely become increasingly difficult as treatment continues to improve.

Less than two weeks after the FDA sent a warning letter to cardiologists about high mortality and stroke rates associated with SynCardia Systems’ Companion 2 (C2) Driver System, the company has published a response saying pre-implant risk factors were responsible for those outcomes.

Cardiac patients diagnosed with “broken heart syndrome” are twice as likely to run into clinical complications during treatment if they have a history of cancer, Italian researchers reported this week at the ESC Congress in Munich.