A new joint report released today by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) offers practitioners and stakeholders ten evidence-based quality and performance measures to prevent sudden cardiac death (SCD).
"This is the first comprehensive measure set in the area of SCD prevention," says Sana Al-Khatib, MD, co-chair of the report writing committee in an ACC press release. "Our vision is that these measures will be developed, tested and implemented in clinical practice and that implementation will improve patient care and outcomes."
Sudden cardiac death a "healthcare crisis"
The American Heart Association reports more than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA) occurring in 2016 with only 12 percent of people surviving to hospital discharge. These approximate statistics suggest more than 308,000 sudden cardiac deaths per year.
Continue reading ACC and AHA Release 10 “Comprehensive” Measures to Combat Sudden Cardiac Death
Sophisticated statistics in medical research can be hard to translate to layman's terms, and when they are, these common misinterpretations can be downright misleading.
1. Odds ratios don't express relative risk.
In 1999, media reports resulting from a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine wrongly suggested that black patients and women were 40 percent less likely than white patients and men, respectively, to undergo cardiac catheterization.
The study's authors had used odds ratios to describe the significance of their findings—a common practice among statistically sophisticated researchers—which showed that black patients and women were definitely less likely to be referred for invasive procedures than white patients and men, but not how much less likely.
Continue reading Two common ways you might misinterpret medical research
If simvastatin or lovastatin are combined with dabigatran—brand name Pradaxa, an anti-clotting drug—hemorrhage risk increases.
A study published today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that within a cohort of almost 46,000 patients treated with dabigatran, the use of simvastatin or lovastatin, relative to other statins, increased the risk of a major hemorrhage by approximately 42 percent.*
Administrative data supported the authors' hypothesis that these two commonly-prescribed, cholesterol-lowering statins would "increase the amount of dabigatran absorbed by the body," reads the St. Michael's Hospital press release, "something other statins would not be expected to do." A higher concentration of dabigatran, in turn, would result in higher bleeding risk.
Continue reading Study finds risky drug interaction between two common statins and anti-clotting drug for stroke
New research in ultrasound out of Lund University in Sweden might be key to better, broader screening for cardiovascular risk.
A relatively simple mathematical calculation developed at Lund University can be used to interpret ultrasound signals and identify whether or not plaques consist of harmless connective tissue and smooth muscle cells or dangerous lipids and macrophages.
Continue reading VIDEO: Ultrasound identifies dangerous plaque